HILLARYCARE -- THE PREVIEW
October 15, 2007
Sen. Hillary Clinton's (D-N.Y.) American Health Choices Plan is not a recipe for cost control but for disaster. For proof, you need look no further than Massachusetts, says Sally C. Pipes, president and CEO of the Pacific Research Institute.
Bay state residents are still feeling the aftershocks of then-governor Mitt Romney's plan (which is similar to the one proposed by Sen. Clinton now):
- Of the 115,418 people who have enrolled in the new plans, more than 90,000 have signed up for the 100 percent free option -- free to the enrollee, if not to taxpayers.
- As of Sept. 1, only 7,164 people had signed up for these new plans, despite the July 1 mandate; that's a mere 4 percent of the estimated eligible uninsured population.
- Experts predicted that upwards of 70 percent of enrollees in the plans with subsidized premiums would be under 45, and fewer than 15 percent older than 55.
- In fact, 27 percent to 40 percent were older than 55, depending on the plan.
As a result, costs have been higher than expected -- and they promise to keep climbing, says Pipes:
- In a bond filing, government officials told Wall Street that health spending under its plan would increase total state spending by $151 million.
- This was before the administration of Gov. Deval Patrick, in the face of a collapsing coalition, pushed $13 million more into the plan.
- On a household level, citizens have found that their government expects them to spend as much as 10 percent of their household income on health insurance and then face deductibles and copays.
The lesson here is plain for Clinton's plan, says Pipes. It already projects an increase in spending of $110 billion and, unlike the state, cannot hide cost increases by shifting some of them to the federal taxpayer.
Source: Sally C. Pipes, "HillaryCare -- The Preview," Wall Street Journal, October 12, 2007.
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