The Promise and Pitfalls of the MA Health Care Experiment and its Lessons for Congress

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The State Net Capitol Journal reports that Massachusetts' universal health care overhaul of 2006 provides a cautionary tale of what happens when health care demand outstrips the supply of doctors.

Massachusetts's historic universal health care program, first launched in 2006, has become a model of a similar proposal currently under consideration in Congress. But the State Net Capitol Journal's Lou Cannon reports that the while the Mass Health plan has been mostly successful, it is also a cautionary tale of what happens when health care demand outstrips the supply of doctors.

Cannon, a historian and former senior White House correspondent for The Washington Post who has covered every president since Richard Nixon, says the Mass Health program suffers from a lack of primary care doctors, which has driven up "the average wait time for a new patient seeking a primary care doctor is from 36 to 50 days, with almost half of internal medicine doctors refusing to take any new patients."

This could particularly problematic as similar health care plans move to other states or, should Congress adopt a national plan, the country as a whole. "If [Massachusetts], which has the highest concentration of primary care physicians in America, has such long waiting times for appointments, what will happen in states with fewer doctors if Congress approves a health care bill providing universal coverage?" Cannon reports.

To get the full story, check out the new issue of the State Net Capitol Journal on the State Net Web site at

About State Net
State Net ( has helped organizations track legislative and regulatory developments for more than 30 years. Headquartered in Sacramento, State Net monitors every bill in the 50 states, District of Columbia and Congress as well as all state agency regulations. The company delivers online services, issue-based consultation and analysis that enable the nation's leading organizations to effectively respond to opportunities and risks across the nation.

The State Net Capitol Journal delivers coverage of public policy issues from all 50 states. Featuring analysis of emerging trends, state budgets, governors, legislatures and elections, SNCJ readers gain an intelligent overview of the major political issues and events in state governments.

References: Cannon, Lou. (2009, September 21, 2009). "The promise and pitfalls of the MA health care experiment" State Net Capitol Journal.


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Art Zimmerman
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