Mass. Healthcare Law Fails to Cut Medical Debt

Monday, 10 Sep 2012 09:25 AM

By Greg McDonald

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The 2006 Massachusetts healthcare law has failed to cut the medical debts of state residents, despite expectations it would reduce medical expenses overall, according to a report Monday in the Boston Globe.
 
The newspaper, citing a study released earlier this year by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Massachusetts Foundation, blamed the failure on temporary lapses in insurance coverage and "increasingly common plans with high deductibles and copayments" as contributing to the problem of people being unable to pay off hospital, doctor, and other healthcare-related bills.
 
At the same, however, healthcare industry experts told the Globe the law "may have prevented an increase" in medical debts by providing greater access to insurance coverage.
 
Consumer advocates suggest the problem in Massachusetts could be an issue as well nationally, unless stronger patient protections are written into the federal law known as Obamacare, which was designed like the Massachusetts law to help reduce and control family medical bills.
 
"The 2006 [state]law didn’t eliminate medical debt by a long shot," Matt Selig, executive director of Health Law Advocates in Boston, told the Globe. "It's an underappreciated problem."

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