This article briefly describes the key features of the Massachusetts Health Care Reform Act, focusing particularly on the Connector. It then offers preliminary thoughts on the expected effect of that mechanism for creating quality, affordable health insurance products for individuals. Observers anticipate that commercial insurers will offer scant coverage and high-premium, high-deductible plans through the Connector, which coverage ultimately may be neither more affordable than products currently or more helpful to covering the cost of health care than no coverage at all. If the Connector fails to facilitate the individual insurance mandate, Massachusetts's promise of universal coverage may begin to unravel. Moreover, its usefulness as a model for other states proposing or considering similar risk-pooling mechanisms will be greatly diminished.
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