In 1988, the Massachusetts Legislature passed a new law, a “play or pay” employer mandate, requiring all employers with six or more workers to provide health insurance coverage for their employees. A few years later, with Medicaid identified as a “Budget Buster,” the Weld administration sought deregulation as the way to cut costs and expand access by establishing MassHealth, which dropped the employer mandate and expanded Medicaid, and eventually distinguished Massachusetts as the state with the greatest percent of covered citizens. But MassHealth enrollment has declined as premium costs have risen, and the Uncompensated Care Pool is once again faced with providing for large numbers of uninsured — a solution more expensive than providing health insurance. It appears that the Romney administration may be on the verge of launching another initiative.



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