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To report on the success of the Massachusetts health reform as a model for the rest of America! What I will give credit to Massachusetts for is that if the goal of health policy is to put a tag on people that says, “I am insured,” then it is a resounding success. If the goal of health policy is to keep costs in control, improve outcomes, improve health, etc., well, it is an abject failure.

And the Times is proud despite this:

… costs have risen faster than the original projections, forcing the state to raise its spending estimates for the current fiscal year from $472 million to $625 million and from $725 million to $869 million for next year. The shortfall occurred mostly because the state underestimated the number of uninsured residents and how fast low-income people would sign up for subsidized coverage. It is a warning to other states to keep projections realistic.

The key challenge will be to keep costs under control and find new sources of revenue while maintaining widespread support for the program. How well Massachusetts handles that challenge will determine whether its pioneering health plan falls into a financial pit or points the way toward universal coverage.

So costs this year are 32% higher than bargained for, and projected to be 16% higher than expected for next year. Next year’s costs are expected to be 84% higher than initial projections for this year.  So it is only a minor challenge to keep costs under control, find new sources of revenue and implicitly give everyone virtually unlimited access to top notch health care? Just like it is only a small challenge for Santa Claus to get into the chimneys of 2 billion families in a 24 hour period.

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