Our country now faces the best opportunity in decades to provide quality health care for all Americans while containing spiraling costs. My state, Massachusetts, can serve as a model for national reform. [bold added]It is certainly true that Mass. can serve as a model, but precisely in the opposite way that Patrick intends. The healthcare debacle in Massachusetts is a perfect model for why a "mandatory insurance" plan will fail in particular, and more generally, why any government meddling in healthcare is a violation of individual rights and will only grow like a cancer if implemented.
Looking briefly to Patrick's article itself, he starts with an emotionalist argument (talking about hurting families), an altruistic argument ("everyone has a stake in health-care reform"), and then patronizingly says that we shouldn't be afraid.
From then on, he dances around, claiming that things are rosy without any facts to back it up, and comes off as a woefully naive (or insidiously manipulative) cheeleader, which is exactly what he is. The quality of his op-ed is so poor, in fact, that I'm surprised it passed the WSJ's standards. It makes me wonder if they allowed it just as an example of the vacuous nature of the arguments for socialized medicine.
Rather than waste too much time reading Patrick's pablum, instead I recommend that you read (or re-read) Dr. Paul Hsieh's excellent autopsy of Massachusetts' mandatory insurance debacle at The Objective Standard. The entire article is available for free.
The Objective Standard -- Fall 2008