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Gov. Patrick: Obamacare works

On Monday, I attended the OFA Obamacare Summit where I was able to share my thoughts on how health reform is benefiting Americans nationwide—and what we can learn from Massachusetts, where thousands of people have had their lives saved because of access to quality care.

Virtually every resident in the Commonwealth is insured. More private companies offer insurance to their employees than ever before. More than 90% of our residents have a primary care physician. Preventive care is up, and health disparities are down. Most important of all, on a whole host of measures, we are healthier. And over the past five years, health reform has added only about 1% of state spending to our budget.

How did we do it? Here's how: a broad coalition of providers, payers, patients, consumers, policymakers, academics, business and labor, from both political parties or no party at all, came together in 2007 to invent health care reform in Massachusetts and then stuck together to refine it as we moved forward.

They didn't lose heart when we hit a snag. They didn't cut and run or act like the sky was falling when our website didn't work. They didn't stand on the sidelines and root for failure. They stuck with it and with each other, because of the shared value that health is a public good, and everyone deserves access to affordable, quality care.
It’s working in Massachusetts. And thanks to our President, it will work for America—and it already is. The benefits of Obamacare are available right now to citizens who can sign up in person or on the phone. And the benefits are what we should be talking about.

  • Medical bills are the number one cause of personal bankruptcy in America. That ends with Obamacare.

  • 25 million Americans with a pre-existing condition either can't get or can't count on their insurance when they need it most. That ends with Obamacare.

  • 30 million free riders get health care without paying for it, while the rest of us pick up the tab in our premiums and our taxes. That ends with Obamacare.

The truth is that critical politicians and policy makers like everything about Obamacare except the Obama part.

Supporters of reform won a legislative debate, a congressional vote, a misinformation campaign, a presidential election, and a Supreme Court challenge over the ACA. Don't be discouraged by this latest dust-up. It presents a huge opportunity for us. People are listening, so let's talk about the Affordable Care Act.
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