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'Obamacare' lessons from 'Romneycare'

ALBANY -- Implementation of the Affordable Care Act has sparked debate across the country.

Massachusetts has a unique perspective on the controversy, having already been through the difficult sign-up process, and come out the other side with many supporters of healthcare overhaul.

It's been seven years since then Governor Mitt Romney unveiled a plan to get most, if not all Massachusetts residents insured. In 2012 the Kaiser Family Foundation, a health policy research group, concluded after a six year study the percentage of uninsured people living in Massachusetts dropped from 11%, to 6%, one of the lowest numbers in the nation.

As the White House continues to roll out the Obamacare similarities can been seen between their own and the Bay State's program.

Both laws allow for state run exchanges, both have subsidies for lower income households, and both have mandates on individuals and business.
Keith Dolan, Vice President of Rose & Kiernan Inc., says the Massachusetts mandates helped make Romneycare so successful, so fast.

"The penalties were much more substantial in Massachusetts," Dolan said. "I think they encouraged more people in Massachusetts to sign up over the short term."

When talking about the success of the Massachusetts law you have to take into consideration the goal, Dolan added saying both the Mass law and Obamacare law focus on enrolling people and not keeping costs down.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation report although more are insured the report states "rising costs remain a serious problem".