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59 percent support Massachusetts' Landmark 2006 health reform law
Date:9/28/2009

Boston, MAA new poll by the Harvard School of Public Health and The Boston Globe finds 59% of Massachusetts residents who are aware of the state's health reform legislation, which was enacted in 2006, support it. A little more than one in four oppose it (28%), and 13% are not sure. The level of public support for the law has declined somewhat in the last year, from 69% saying they support the law in 2008 to 59% in the current poll. The current number is similar to the 61% found in 2006. Support for the law varied by party affiliation, with 76% of Democrats, 56% of Independents, and just 35% of Republicans saying they support the legislation. The poll was conducted September 14-16, 2009.

Massachusetts is currently facing the impact of a severe recession, state budgetary and fiscal problems, and continued rising health care costs. Despite this difficult environment, the poll found that 79% want the law to continue, with 57% favoring continuing it with some changes and 22% continuing it as is. Only 11% of state residents favored repealing the health reform law. There has been no change in the last year in those supporting repeal of the legislation--12% in 2008 versus 11% in 2009.

"The implication of this poll for the national debate is that it is possible to get continuing public support for a program that leads to nearly everyone in the population having health insurance coverage," said Robert J. Blendon, Professor of Health Policy and Political Analysis at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Impact of the law

The principal intent of the Massachusetts legislation was to provide health coverage for nearly all of the state's residents and, as a result of the widely discussed measure, Massachusetts is the only state where nearly all of the population has health insurance coverage. The poll found that 64% thought the health reform law was successful in reducing the number of uninsured in the state, 22% thought it was not succ
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Contact: Todd Datz
tdatz@hsph.harvard.edu
617-432-3952
Harvard School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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