What Will ObamaCare Look Like

Friday, March 5, AD 2010

[4 updates at the bottom of this post as of 8:08am CST]

If ObamaCare somehow passes through Congress and signed by President Obama, what can Americans look forward to?

Well the Republican Party’s very own potential presidential candidate Mitt Romney did just that as governor of Massachusetts, passing universal health coverage for the entire state.

The results are mixed at best, and scary at worst.

Here are some highlights from the op-ed titled Romneycare model a dud in the Boston Herald by Michael Graham where Massachusetts is “already glowing in the radioactive haze of Romneycare, aka “ObamaCare: The Beta Version.” [emphases mine]:

Shouldn’t Obama have been bragging yesterday about bringing the benefits of Bay State reform to all of America?

As we prepare to wander into this coming nuclear winter of hyper-partisan politics – one in which we’re almost certain to see widespread political fatalities among congressional Democrats – I have to ask: If bringing Massachusetts-style “universal coverage” to America is worth this terrible price, why doesn’t Obama at least mention us once in awhile?

Maybe he thinks of us as the Manhattan Project of medical insurance reform. Too top secret to discuss. More likely, it has something to do with the nightmare results of this government-run debacle. Here are a few “highlights” of the current status of the Obamacare experiment in Massachusetts:

It’s exploding the budget: Our “universal” health insurance scheme is already $47 million over budget [imagine it in trillions for American tax-payers] for 2010. Romneycare will cost taxpayers more than $900 million next year alone.

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11 Responses to What Will ObamaCare Look Like

  • Clearly, the program only failed because it wasn’t properly funded. The rich need to pay their share to ensure everybody has access to health care. Your opposition to health care reform is really a manifestation of your deep-seeded hatred of the poor and fear of those who are not like you. It is shameful for you to use abortion as a smokescreen for your racism.

    //There. Just saved a few folks some time this morning.

  • Steve,

    That is a failure of imagination.

    All problems cannot be solved by throwing more money at it.

    Massachusetts is a model of what will happen to America.

  • Steve, you do deadpan humor better than I do it! You parodied the arguments of the Left to perfection. Well done!

  • Steve,

    I’m enjoying my sucker-pie right now.

    Good one!

    🙂

  • Yes, but Steve forgot to mention fascism. A fatal flaw in any real argument

  • I don;t know enough about Mass to comment.

    However, if public options are doomed to fail, how come they seem to do OK in Canada and Europe and have done for decades?

  • RuariJM,

    Canada and Europe have been subsidized by American military power for the past fifty years. If those ungrateful countries had to spend money on their own military, they wouldn’t have enough money for universal health care. The only our country could afford to ensure health care for all is to do what those countries do – gut our military spending and shut down the one trillion dollar budget.

    Yeah, right! Who else is going to stop Western Civilization from succumbing to the jihadists, if not the American military?

    // I jest. 🙂

  • “universal” health insurance scheme is already $47 million over budget

    Thanks to greater-than-expected enrollment. It’s a good thing.

    Romneycare will cost taxpayers more than $900 million next year alone.

    So what’s an acceptable price tag? The VA budget is $57 billion. Is that too much?

    Besides, most of the $900 million was already being spent to reimburse hospitals for treating the uninsured. The shortfall is $100 million.

    The choice is between insuring the uninsured, reimbursing hospitals for treating the uninsured, making hospitals suffer the losses from treating the uninsured, or allowing hospitals to turn away the uninsured. Pick one.

    Average Massachusetts premiums are the highest in the nation and rising. We also spend 27 percent more on health care services, per capita, than the national average.

    It was probably already the highest before the reform. I do know for a fact that since the reform, the rate of increase has declined both compared to the past and compared to other states. This is consistent with the CBO report which predicts lower costs offset by higher premiums for more comprehensive plans (a net increase in premiums but a decrease in cost). The Massachusetts plan apparently lowered costs more than it increased the price of premiums.

    In Massachusetts, ObamaCare 1.0 is such a mess our governor is talking about imposing draconian price controls.

    The federal government will deal with a larger deficit the way it always does, borrowing. If the federal government was going to impose price controls, it would’ve done so already to save money on Medicare/Medicaid which dwarfs ObamaCare.

    uninsured Bay State residents has gone from around 6 percent to around 3 percent.

    That’s hundreds of thousands of people. That’s great news! A federal program will help millions!

    In conclusion, the Massachusetts plan doesn’t defy logic and works largely as it’s expected to work. Nobody expected it to be free.

    If you oppose ObamaCare, offer an alternative. The way I see it if you take out the public option and include the Stupak Amendment, you have an acceptable plan. Sure, HSA’s would be preferable but if that’s not an option, insurance is still better than nothing.

  • In all seriousness, the rich have no greater right to health care than the poor. The rich are rich not for their own sake, but for the sake of the poor. To those whom much is given, much will be expected.

    Now, having said that, I do not approve of national taxes and national health care schemes. State taxes and state health care schemes . . . I’d have to think about.

  • RuariJM,

    That would explain why the premiere of Newfoundland decided to have surgery in the US and not Canada.

    As well as many more Canadians crossing our border for superior and sorely needed doctors visits.

    Remember, dead patients don’t complain while waiting in line for a transplant.

    That’s why you don’t hear much of them complaining, but there are complaints and it is ugly.

  • I hope Republicans will run attractive candidates for every open House and Senate seat who promise to repeal it. If this Obama/Piglosi/Reid abomination can be crammed down our throats via the nuclear option, why can’t it be repealed via nuclear option once all the Marxist-Alinskyite dirt bags have been voted out of Congress this November? By the grace of God there will be enough of a conservative flip to override ObaMao’s veto.

Did Health Care Reform Help Massachusetts?

Thursday, November 5, AD 2009

Ezra Klein has a post up trumpeting a new paper from MIT economist Jon Gruber which purports to show that Massachusetts significantly reduced individual health care premiums through its 2006 health care reform bill — which in many ways was similar to the Democratic proposals currently moving forward in congress. (Needless to say, this would be contrary to what most people who have actually experienced health care in Mass., even this liberal speech writer, have experienced.) However, looking at all the findings is key:

In their December 2007 report, AHIP reported that the average single premium at the end of 2006 for a nongroup product in the United States was $2,613. In a report issued just this week, AHIP found that the average single premium in mid-2009 was $2,985, or a 14 percent increase. That same report presents results for the nongroup markets in a set of states. One of those states is Massachusetts, which passed health-care reform similar to the one contemplated at the federal level in mid-2006. The major aspects of this reform took place in 2007, notably the introduction of large subsidies for low-income populations, a merged nongroup and small group insurance market, and a mandate on individuals to purchase health insurance. And the results have been an enormous reduction in the cost of nongroup insurance in the state: The average individual premium in the state fell from $8,537 at the end of 2006 to $5,143 in mid-2009, a 40 percent reduction, while the rest of the nation was seeing a 14 percent increase.

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6 Responses to Did Health Care Reform Help Massachusetts?

  • We can be virtually certain from these results that the cost of medical coverage will go up significantly under the current Democratic proposals, it’s just a question of how much.

    Depends. It’ll go down for the sick. I’ll go up for the healthy. On average, it’ll go up because more sick people than healthy people will buy insurance. But then guaranteed issue will naturally lead to a mandate. So under the current Democratic proposal, it’s virtually certain that in the long term the cost of medical coverage will not be affected.

  • You’re just pointing out the poor results and insane cost because you want sick people to die!

    😉

  • RR,

    I’m not sure I follow your logic. Let’s be simple-minded for a moment and assume that health insurance is subject to the law of supply and demand (ridiculous, I know, but bear with me). A mandate means a increase in the demand for health insurance (since people who wouldn’t otherwise have bought insurance are now forced to do so). Shouldn’t we expect this increase in demand to lead to an increase in the price of insurance?

  • Insurance isn’t like a manufactured product or service with finite supply, in a sense. A company can make only so many widgets; lawyers can only provide X amount of hours per day (theoretically). A health insurer can write as many insurance policies as the law will allow. There may be some regulatory issues wrt reserves and financial health, so that may restrict the supplyside somewhat, but if the Govt wants universal coverage, they will have to allow adjustment for it.

    So, with a potentially unlimited (or near unlimited) supply, an increase in demand should not affect price. Change in risk pool, however, would.

    Oh, and for those who think tort reform will help – Texas has had tort reform for 30 years. One of the larger health insurers (Unicare) is now calling it quits in Texas. So much for tort reform.

  • I’m not sure that increasing the demand would increase the cost of health insurance, since it doesn’t seem to me that coverage itself would necessarily be a supply constrained product. (If this resulted in the total consumption of health care services significantly increasing, which is certainly possible, that might result in a temporary cost of care increase as contrained provider supply resulted in higher prices to slow demand and fund building new infrastructure, training new people, etc.)

    More to the point, though, is this: Unlike the proposals that center around high deductible insurance combined with funded health care spending accounts — the proposals being pushed by the Democrats do nothing to increase price competition among medical providers, and nothing to encourage people to avoid unnecessary treatment.

    That said, it’s main effects will be guaranteeing issue to those with medical problems that current have them outside the individual insurance market and forcing into the market those who are currently staying out voluntarily. (Employer insurance generally doesn’t have this problem, so this is really just an issue for about 10% of Americans.) It will probably do a lot more of the former than the latter, because for people who are being kept out of the insurance market by costs, the fine for not getting health insurance will almost always be a lot less than the amount you’d be required to pay out of pocket for getting health insurance (even after government subsidies.) On top of this, the CBO is projecting that the “public option” will actually cost more than the average individual plan currently does.

  • I do know health care has shown remarkable improvement in Ohio. In no small part, thanks to non-profit health management companies that are serving many many people. Here’s just one. http://cli.gs/z3AtaY/