NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


January 31, 2007

Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has achieved what no other political leader has been able to accomplish: enacting a broad health-reform plan with strong bipartisan support. 

Many Democrats are talking about the feasibility of a universal health care based on this system.  But if Massachusetts is the model, they may want to go back to the drawing board, says Grace-Marie Turner is president of the Galen Institute

The details show Massachusetts may not have a miracle, but rather a muddle, on its hands, explains Turner:

  • The plan isn't even in effect yet, and already the state says health insurance that meets the minimum requirements for coverage will cost about $380 a month for an individual, almost twice the $200 a month that Gov. Mitt Romney had projected.
  • The plan offers subsidies for workers earning less than 300 percent of what counts as poverty -- about $30,000 a year -- but others will have to find the full $4,560 to buy health insurance or face financial penalties at tax time.
  • Employers with 11 or more employees will be forced to pay a fine of $295 if they don't offer access to insurance, as well as offering to pay any health costs above $50,000 that their uninsured workers incur.
  • The state has already been forced to create at least ten new boards and commissions to run the new health system.

A much better solution was offered by President Bush in his State of the Union address, says Turner.  The President is offering a plan that can mean a tax cut for 100 million working Americans, giving families the opportunity to own health insurance that is portable from job to job and providing new resources for the uninsured to buy coverage. And all of this without any new long-term costs to the federal treasury.

Source: Grace-Marie Turner, "Universal Health Care: Proceed with Caution," National Review, January 31, 2007.

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