The state and its residents will receive $7.7 billion in aid and tax credits under national health care reform, according to an analysis by a congressional committee released yesterday by U.S. Rep. Edward Markey.
The state and its residents will receive $7.7 billion in aid and tax credits under national health care reform, according to an analysis by a congressional committee released Wednesday by U.S. Rep. Edward Markey.
The report was prepared by staff for the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which includes Markey, D-7th. Its findings include:
- An extra $2.3 billion in federal Medicaid money for the state over 10 years, an increase from the initial $2 billion projection.
- $1 billion in tax credits for businesses with fewer than 25 employers to provide insurance coverage.
- $2.4 billion in tax credits for residents to buy insurance, with eligibility expanded from what the state now provides.
- $1.6 billion to fill the "doughnut hole" gap in Medicare prescription drug coverage.
- $400 million for community health centers, like the one in Framingham.
The numbers are further broken down by House district, with individual reports available for residents represented by Markey; Rep. Jim McGovern, D-3rd; and Rep. Richard Neal, D-2nd.
"This health care law is the right prescription for the commonwealth and now we have the numbers to prove it," Markey said in a statement.
When President Barack Obama signed the first part of the legislation Tuesday -- the Senate needs to pass a separate but related bill -- he touted a $940 billion plan that the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office said would lower the federal deficit $138 billion over a decade.
But Republicans on the Energy and Commerce Committee said they were not included in preparing the analysis and were not provided the background research.
A spokesman for Sen. Scott Brown also issued a different set of numbers Wednesday, saying the bill will cost $2.6 trillion and add to the debt. He criticized Medicare cuts and new federal taxes aimed at individuals making $200,000 a year and couples $250,000 and said the legislation will threaten jobs and raise premiums.
Brown co-sponsored an amendment to turn back a tax on medical device makers and called for replacing the reform bill with new legislation focused on costs.
"Placing a tax on medical devices, in my opinion and their opinion, will dramatically affect jobs, not only in Massachusetts but throughout the country," he said during floor debate, according to a transcript provided to reporters.
But at least for Medicaid money, Massachusetts appears to have fared well, said Michael Widmer, president of the business-backed Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation.
"My impression is Massachusetts has done well by the national legislation and the fear we would be penalized for our leading role has apparently not materialized," he said.
Widmer said his group plans to collaborate with the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation to further study the implications of national reform for the state.
MetroWest Daily News writer Michael Morton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 508-626-4338.