Congrats, governor Romney, on forging what was to become the Obama administration's signature achievement: universal access to healthcare insurance:

This week, the state's health and human services agency released the results of a new, independent survey examining coverage in Massachusetts. More than 98 percent - 98 percent! - of the state's residents now have health insurance, as do more than 99 percent of the state's children.

Remarkably, those numbers have gotten better in recent years, with the number of uninsured residents in the state falling to 1.9 percent in 2010 from 2.6 percent in 2008. That's very unusual. Normally, the ranks of the uninsured swell during recessions as people lose their jobs and states cut back on public programs to balance their budgets. Nationally, the number of Americans who are uninsured rose to 16.76 percent in 2010 from 14.8 percent in 2008, according to Gallup.

That Massachusetts's reforms have survived, and even prospered, in this economic environment has left the law's architects feeling vindicated. "The goal of the law was covering people," says Jonathan Gruber, an MIT health economist who worked on the legislation, "and it couldn't have gone better."

By far the most interesting wrinkle: the healthcare exchanges set up for those shut out of the employer system have seen premiums decline 40 percent, even as all premiums have risen 14 percent nationwide. The power of the market. If the GOP were a serious governing party, they would focus on strengthening those exchanges in the federal bill, and working to break the employer-based healthcare system.

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