Massachusetts poll finds high satisfaction under 'RomneyCare'


The survey noted that the wait times were less of a problem for existing patients, or those that had seen a primary care doctor in the previous year, and for patients with serious conditions.

The Massachusetts healthcare reform law, or "RomneyCare," inspired ObamaCare. The two share several key components, including an individual mandate to provide insurance and a marketplace where the uninsured can purchase coverage.

Monday's poll sheds light on how Massachusetts residents have adjusted to the state's reform since it was passed in 2006.

The survey also suggested several areas that still need improvement in the state's healthcare system.

Nearly 80 percent said cost is the most important healthcare issue facing Massachusetts compared with access to care and quality of care. Another 65 percent said their healthcare costs are more expensive than last year.

The survey also found a 6 percent rise in the share of Massachusetts residents (31 percent) who reported using the emergency room last year. ER visits were more frequent among people age 40 and younger compared with the elderly.

The trend is problematic given the state's desire to constrain healthcare cost growth. The emergency room is one of the most expensive medical venues, and people without health insurance sometimes use it for basic care — a factor behind the state's individual mandate to buy health coverage.

Massachusetts residents also indicated that they have limited understanding of new insurance options and care models such, as tiered health plans and accountable care organizations.

"As emergency department use has a considerable impact on costs, and as new insurance plans and models of care become more prevalent, these areas call for more attention and more patient education," said Ronald Dunlap, president of the Massachusetts Medical Society, in a statement.

The survey was conducted by phone in May and included 417 randomly selected interviews.