The Massachusetts “health reform” disease means more than just bureaucrats setting prices. It also includes rising government spending and taxes; politicians demonizing doctors, hospitals and insurers — and patients getting lectured that the restrictions of managed care are good medicine.
It’s what’s in store for all of America. The Bay State’s structure provided the base for ObamaCare. “Basically, it’s the same thing,” says MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, who was a health adviser to GOP Gov. Mitt Romney and President Obama.
Like ObamaCare, RomneyCare includes a government-run exchange (the “Commonwealth Connector”), mandates and fines on individuals and fines on businesses. It expanded coverage mainly by expanding Medicaid. Of the 176,766 insured through the Connector, more than 152,000 are on subsidized plans, most paying nothing.
ObamaCare will follow suit. Richard Foster, chief actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, reports that the law will add $310 billion over 10 years to federal spending and put 18 million more Americans on Medicaid.
Another similarity: RomneyCare offered no real means to control and ultimately reduce costs. Its backers made airy promises of redirecting monies from state-sponsored charity care to insurance premiums, claiming that an insured population would be healthier and save money. In fact, the state has begged Washington year after year for money to plug the system’s gaps. In the program’s first three years, the feds will have spent $21.2 billion — $3,000 per Massachusetts resident.
Actually, ObamaCare’s cost-control promises are even more fantastic — from supposed slashing of Medicare payment rates to politically impossible “Cadillac” taxes. The only real cost control in either plan will be the brute force of government.