State Health Reforms — Do They Deliver?

The AP reports,

Maine’s Dirigo Health Reform Act drew national attention when it was signed into law in 2003, making Maine the first state in recent years to enact legislation aimed at providing universal health care access.

The law, which went into effect Jan. 1, 2005, is designed to contain health care costs and ensure access to health care for all. When it passed in the Legislature, its goal was to insure 31,000 people in its first year and to cover all of the state’s 130,000 uninsured by 2009.

The program has fallen short of its goals — 12,153 were enrolled in the Dirigo Choice health insurance program at the end of October — and was placed under review this year by a Blue Ribbon Commission representing business, insurers, consumers, labor and the state.

The article reports that Maine is considering tax increases among other measures to address problems with its reform.

There is a huge incentive for states to over-promise and under-deliver on providing health care solutions. The most popular programs will be ones that have not been given a thorough trial yet.