The Obama administration has made creating a national health care system for ALL citizens a very clear goal. With national hearings underway and action being taken it seems this just might happen. Yet, with a recession in our midst that is much worse than the administration and most economists predicted many are beginning to wonder if a national healthcare system is possible in the manner it was originally planned.
The Massachusetts universal healthcare system serves as a model as to why regulated healthcare works: the commonwealth boasts the lowest uninsured rate in the country with just 2.6 percent, nearly 12 percent lower than the national average. Massachusetts has been able to provide an overwhelming majority of its citizens with healthcare benefits through government funded projects. Perhaps this program is what convinced President Obama his healthcare proposal was not just a blue print but a plan already successfully underway that could include the entire country.
The aspirations to insure everyone might be larger and more costly than predicted.
With a shaky economy surrounding us Massachusetts serves as a model that perhaps the health care plan should wait, at least for now. If Massachusetts is to serve as a model for its success it must also serve as a model for its possible shortcomings. Recent reports revealing that Massachusetts faces a huge deficit and plans to cut services to legal immigrants who have been in the country for less than five years. Due to unforeseen economic troubles the state cannot afford the program for all citizens and has decided that certain citizens (legal immigrants whose citizenship is less than five years) will not be covered; therefore all citizens are not benefited. Some must wonder if doing so undermines the credibility of the program designed to help all residents.
Massachusetts Governor Patrick understands that the healthcare system proposed by his state means much more than healthcare for all of its citizens. It does not only affect his state alone. The Massachusetts health care system is representative of a promise that if broken is symbolic of what the state of Massachusetts and perhaps the United States government is unable to do: provide healthcare for all without leaving out a few.
Response to: Massachusetts Takes a Step Back From Healthcare For All by Abby Goodnough New York Times