The clearest effect is an increase in health insurance coverage, going from 86.6 percent of adults with health insurance in 2006 to 94.2 percent in 2010. As the above chart shows, most of the coverage gains came in the first two years of the health reform efforts, and have remained relatively stable ever since.
An increase in coverage has correlated with another encouraging trend: a decrease in more costly forms of health coverage, such as emergency room visits. That turns out to be a more recent development, with rates of emergency room visits dropping 3.5 percent between 2009 and 2010.
In the coming year, you can expect more action on this front. Lead by Gov. Deval Patrick (D), there’s increasing attention paid toward global payments that compensate doctors for each patient they cover or condition they treat, rather than a traditional fee for every service they provide. That next round of reform will be a crucial test for Massachusetts’ efforts to move past its coverage solution, and onto its cost challenge.