Mitt Romney desperately wishes he could erase Romneycare from the history books until at least after election day, but a new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research in Massachusetts shows that the health care reform passed by state Democrats and enthusiastically endorsed and signed by then-Gov. Mitt Romney is making the state healthier.
Ezra Klein highlights some of the positive effects detailed in the report — improvements in “physical health, mental health, functional limitations, joint disorders, body mass index, and moderate physical activity.”
The report also examined whether the benefits of the Massachusetts plan could effectively offer insight into the impact that the Affordable Care Act may have when it goes into full effect in the next few years. The report’s authors note that there are some differences between the Massachusetts law and Obamacare, but Klein explains that those differences could end up actually inflating the positive impacts of President Obama’s health care reform:
The national reforms, unlike the Massachusetts reforms, included major investments in comparative-effectiveness research, electronic health records, accountable care organizations and pay-for-quality pilots. If any or all of those initiatives pay off, they could dramatically improve our understanding of which treatments work and force the health-care system to integrate that new knowledge into everyday treatment decisions very quickly.
If that happens, medical care could become substantially more effective than it is now, which should also improve health outcomes.
Romney’s fervent support for the Massachusetts plan has been a lightning rod for the rest of the Republican field and conservatives across the country who are hesitant to back a candidate they view as too moderate, but this report shows that conservatives shouldn’t be so quick to disregard Romney’s or Obama’s health care reforms. To any other politician, a mostly-glowing report that validates a central piece of legislation passed on his watch as a governor would be paraded before voters and the media. But the Romney campaign is in no rush to remind Republican voters that Democratic-style health care reforms really do work.