In 2010, John F. Cogan, R. Glenn Hubbard, and Daniel P. Kessler published in Forum for Health Economics & Policy a report (“The Effect of Massachusetts’ Health Reform on Employer-Sponsored Insurance Premiums”) on the effects of Governor Mitt Romney’s 2006 health-care reform in Massachusetts. This report suggested that, up until 2008, these reforms (hereafter referred to as “Romneycare”) led to a relative increase in health-insurance premiums. This report was cited numerous times by opponents of Romney and helped fuel the belief that Romneycare caused health-insurance premiums to skyrocket in Massachusetts (even though Cogan et al. did not make this claim).
However, new data has now come out (covering through 2010), and this data tells a rather different story. It instead suggests that Massachusetts’s health-insurance premium growth declined relative to the nation as a whole in the years since Romneycare has been enacted. From 2006 to 2010, employer-sponsored health-care premiums for a family rose about 19% in Massachusetts, while they rose about 22% in the US as a whole. Compare that to the period between 2002 and 2006, when Bay State family premiums increased 40% and US family premiums rose only 34.5%. Family premiums have seen the greatest reduction in growth since Romneycare; individual premiums have also slowed their rate of growth, though by not as much. For both family and individual premiums, the rate of growth fell below the national average in the period between 2008 and 2010.