NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


April 12, 2006

It is no surprise that Massachusetts is the first state to mandate universal health care insurance. But the devil is in the details and the law of unintended consequences inheres, says the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

  • Generally speaking, employers must provide health insurance or pay a fee to the state.
  • Those without employer-paid insurance who can afford it must purchase it or suffer financial penalties on their state income taxes.
  • Subsidies will be offered by the government so the poor may buy insurance.
  • A government clearinghouse will match private buyers with private sellers.

All this for a mere $125 million in additional government spending over three years and a huge new bureaucracy. And for a "private-sector solution," there's sure a lot of statism and compulsion, says the Tribune-Review.

There are assurances that drawing the uninsured, poor "free riders" into the system will save money. They will be more likely to go to the doctor than to emergency rooms and receive more preventive care.

According to the Tribune-Review, the Massachusetts plan is like using a jackhammer to drive a finishing nail. Rather than just helping the needy, it demands that everyone be conscripted. We will see how much this costs.

Source: Editorial, "Bay state experiment: A dubious panacea," Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, April 10, 2006.

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