NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

OBAMACARE BETA IS A DUD

March 5, 2010

In defending his decision to go nuclear (i.e., using reconciliation to pass his unpopular health care bill), President Obama talked Tuesday about insurance company "abuses."  He talked about premium hikes in California.  He talked about a sick mom in Wisconsin.  He even talked (in extremely modest ways) about Republican ideas like tort reform and fighting Medicare fraud. 

What Obama didn't mention was Massachusetts or bringing the benefits of Bay State reform to all America.  Quite simply, he avoided mentioning the Bay State's attempt at government-run health care because it has been a debacle in Massachusetts, says columnist Michael Graham, of the Boston Herald. 

Here are a few "highlights" of the current status of the Obamacare experiment in Massachusetts: 

  • The Bay State's "universal" health insurance scheme is already $47 million over budget for 2010; "Romneycare," or "Obamacare Beta" as some are calling it, will cost taxpayers more than $900 million next year alone.
  • Average premiums are the highest in the nation and rising.
  • The state also spends 27 percent more on health care services, per capita, than the national average; those costs, contrary to what we were promised, have been going up faster here than nearly everywhere else.
  • It's creating bizarre marketplace mutations; in Massachusetts, Obamacare 1.0 is such a mess the governor is talking about imposing draconian price controls.
  • Gov. Deval Patrick (D) has even suggested going to "capitation," a system where doctors get a fixed amount of money per patient -- and then that's it; which means it would become in your doctor's financial interest never to see you again. 

All this damage to the taxpayers, the insured and the responsible business owners . . . and for what?  The percentage of uninsured Bay State residents has gone from around 6 percent to around 3 percent.  In other words, it's a dud, says Graham. 

The damage Obamacare would do to the current health care system -- where 85 percent of Americans are happy with their health care, by the way -- could be so great, the only institution big enough to repair it would be the government.  The fact that the government inflicted that damage would be a moot point, says Graham. 

Source: Michael Graham, "Romneycare model a dud," Boston Herald, March 4, 2010. 

For text:

http://www.bostonherald.com/news/opinion/op_ed/view.bg?articleid=1237112 

 

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