For six years, my fellow physicians in Massachusetts have been working under a health reform law that, for better or worse, bears a strong resemblance to the national law that is two years old.
While some commentators may be surprised that our health care system is still standing, I can assure you that things here are going reasonably well. We're still practicing medicine, patients are still getting good care and life is continuing without undue disruption.
Nonetheless, life has changed since the law took effect in October 2006 for those who provide care, those who receive it and those who pay for it.
The numbers are well known. Many more people are insured. While we struggle with a primary care physician shortage like the rest of the states, significantly more people, especially those in disadvantaged communities, have a regular health care provider.
We also continue to struggle with rising costs -- which is not a new phenomenon. Massachusetts has been a high-cost state for a long time, and it has nothing to do with our health reform law. But with many more people in the system, it's more important than ever to do something about it.
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