Lots has been written about the effects and statistics surrounding Mitt Romney’s MassCare Health plan, also known as Romneycare.  It has been compared with Obamacare. But very little has been devoted to actually looking at what the plan requires and what a bureaucracy it has created.

Mitt Romney once claimed that he had never suggested that MASSCare would reduce the cost of health care, but his own Boston Globe article showed that wasn’t so.  It certainly didn’t lower costs as Romney promised.  Bay-Staters and employers there still pay the highest premiums costs in the country.   But is this just a free-market response to the bad economy of the last few years?  No, and Romney can’t blame subsequent Democrats for the changes in the system since he left office, for all of the regulations and mandates below were in the original Romney plan or left unchanged by Romney.

But Massachusetts Health care hadn’t been about freedom for a long time:

“The 2006 reform built on Massachusetts’ expanded public programs and its highly regulated

insurance market. The state’s small group and individual insurance markets were already

subject to rate regulations that were designed to bring down premiums and provide greater

access to health coverage.”

“required all residents over the age of 18 to obtain health insurance by July 1, 2007.”

“The 2006 reform also requires employers to participate.”

“Insurers were required to submit plans with three different levels of cost-sharing.”

Which one of these parts of Romneycare encourages a free market?

  1. To Citizens: You must buy insurance, whether you want it or not.
  2. To Insurance Companies: You must cover people with pre-conditions.  You cannot have caps on lifetime coverage.
  3. To Both: You cannot negotiate for a low-cost catastrophic plan.
  4. To Both, Respectively: You must cover drug treatment, family planning, mental health problems and pregnancies. You must pay for these things even if you don’t want them or need them.
  5. To Private Employers: You must cover employees or pay huge “fees” or fines for not doing so.
  6. To Insurance Companies: You must not raise rates above a certain level, regardless of rising costs.
  7. To Taxpayers: You must help pay the cost of not only your own insurance, but the insurance of families making $50,000 a year (At least 15% of Massachusetts residents are almost fully subsidized, another 5% get partial subsidies).

The people who manage Romneycare like mandates and regulation, just like Romney does.

On July 1, 2007, the state merged the small group and individual insurance markets

in order to make coverage for individuals more affordable. Individuals who obtain

insurance only for themselves often have above-average medical costs, whereas small

groups share risk and attract people who have a full range of medical costs. Merging

these markets pools risk and lowers premiums for those with individual coverage.

 

In other words, the group that receives the greatest benefits, must pay lower premiums, which is the opposite of the law of supply and demand known as the free market.

For those who recognize the terms used to ration care (with death panels to follow?), Romneycare created a new bureaucratic state agency called innocuously, “a Quality and Cost Council. The council must set benchmarks for quality improvement and cost containment, collect data on health outcomes and health system spending from providers throughout the state’s health care system, and publish its findings on its Web site.”   Among the goals are “population health management” which include taxing high-sugar foods and coercing restaurants into changing their menus.  In spite of claims to the contrary, the program intends to impose on all doctors and hospitals such mandates/controls as this one: “reduced payments for avoidable hospitalizations and preventable readmissions.”  Another socialist idea in Romneycare is the global payment model, where instead of paying for individual treatments, doctors get paid according to how their patients improve.  Of course, this will be an incentive to drop patients who don’t show improvement.

The plan is full of bureaucrats who know nothing about medicine but will be making medical decisions for the population of Massachusetts:  “available comparative effectiveness information and analysis should be utilized to develop consensus recommendations for coverage and medical necessity policies”.

To respond to the 100-page PDF document linked to above would take a couple of hundred pages of commentary.   Reading it is like reading something out of Animal Farm or 1984.   It calls for every single detail of health care to be decided by “scientists” and cost-containment experts.

Another point for those who weren’t paying attention, and only paying more for insurance in Massachusetts, Romneycare even created a form of racial quotas:

“The reform also established a statewide Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities Council to track disparities data and create Pay for Performance benchmarks.”

Apparently, the goal of REHDC is not to reduce actual incidents of diseases, but to narrow the disparities between Italians and Swedes, and even pay people to help the stats to match up.

There is another mandate mentioned by those who support Romneycare: The Reagan era requirement that emergency rooms treat any person who comes in.  While this is a legitimate complaint about the current set-up, one cannot take two wrongs and make a right out of it.  That law should not have been passed, but it could be removed or changed so that only true emergencies must be treated.  Hospitals would have to weigh the risk of not treating someone who might sue, but otherwise could turn away people who refused to pay, when they are able.

Finally, there are those who claim that the previous system rewarded “freeloaders”, who could pay for their care, but didn’t.  Because they weren’t insured, tax payers got stuck with the bill.   But those freeloaders just got signed up for free or subsidized health treatment, and guess who still pays for their care?  The taxpayers, of course.  Massachusetts just added more freeloaders, on purpose.

The Romney experiment in health care reform was a failure.   But free market economists did know or should have known it from the beginning.   Because it was anything but a free-market system.

17 comments
  1. I used my first vote to elect Barry Goldwater President, I am still proud that I did. With that said, one of my big problems today is with “True Conservatives” (TC’s) who just want to “blow off” doing anything about health care and only offering band-aids like “Tort Reform” and “Buy Insurance Across State Lines”. I’m startled by the astronomic bills that hospitals charge my insurance company because I have to pay for the uninsued “TC’s” who come to the hospital when they get sick. This makes “TC’s” no better than the illegal immigrants who do the same thing. Are you “TC’s” afraid that if Mitt is elected President he won’t sign the legislation to Repeal “Obamacare”?. You know he WILL sign the “Obamacare” Repeal. So what is it you “TC’S” really don’t like about Mitt?

    1. It is you is who is blowing off two things that would help. Tort Reform that would require losers to pay would go a long way in stopping money-grubbing lawyers from getting settlements in the millions while each of their clients get $8.56 each.

      It is bigger than just buying insurance across state lines, it is allowing consumers to buy whatever insurance they want to buy, without the interference of states or the federal government.

      If Mitt has the same attitude towards “TCs” as you do, I am quite certain he would not repeal it all. Or he would restore the mandates, which he likes, In Massachusetts you are still paying for those who up to three times the poverty level ($50,000) use medical care. Conservatives pay for their own health care.

      1. Having read such comments as this I have come to conclude that one of a “TC’s” major characteristics is a very narrow world view. “TC’s” are convinced that most people will agree with them on their narrow world view. Forget about all those independents, RINO’s, progressives. They don’t exist. They have no voice and must accept the “TC” principles…like it or not.

        Mitt has said “He will sign any legislation to repeal Obamacare”. If “TC’s” are so paranoid that they think he is lying and will reneg when presented with such legislation, then I am glad I am not with the “TC’s”.

  2. The real trouble is not controlling health care costs, but controlling Democrats in the state Congress who are too easily persuaded that health care as a “right” is more important than our economic rights, including jobs and the American dream. A dream that, once reached, allows one all they can handle of health care, without government intervention. If not reached, one can still get health care in emergency rooms, with or without a health care bill.

    Romney’s bill was intended to be zero cost to the state of Massachusetts. Unfortunately, his recipe was tainted by too many cooks in the kitchen. What started our good for the soul ended up full of lard like the President’s bill that many say could have been ten pages instead of 2,800.

    One bowl of mush plus four sticks of butter is not a health plan I could recommend to America.

    Romney’s experiment is appreciated, and still semi-popular in Massachusetts, but I see no instance where it could be a good fit for America, especially since it could eventually fall into the hands of bad cooks like Obama.

    1. I would be more optimistic about Mitt’s ability to fix it, if he wasn’t defending the principles behind it.

    2. I would be more optimistic about Mitt’s ability to fix it, if he wasn’t defending the principles behind it.

    3. I would be more optimistic about Mitt’s ability to fix it, if he wasn’t defending the principles behind it.

  3. Wonder if David never got his driver’s license to drive a vehicle on the city streets. Of course he never had to get auto insurance then, so he would not know and understand the difference between MA universal health care and Obamacare..

    That would explain his lack of knowledge and understanding of the differences in federal mandates and state’s right to their own mandates.

    Tell me of one state that will allow you to drive a vehicle on city streets without mandated auto insurance. Which one??? Of course only someone with knowledge and understanding could correctly answer that question… Everyone else thinks that “Obamacare” is just a copy of “RomneyCare”
    .

    1. Comparing car insurance and requiring health insurance are two entirely different things. Car insurance makes people pay for damage to other people’ cars. People are quite free to not insure their own car. You are requiring people to pay for their own health insurance (which they may never use!) and pay for the health care of others, who perhaps damaged their own health.

      I wasn’t comparing O-care to R-care. R-care falls on its own merits, even if Ocare never existed.

      1. So corporate and individual polluters should be taxed as an externalize to subsidize the negative health effects of on others. Got it. If you crash your car into me, I am covered, because the state made you buy insurance to protect me. But the pollutants from factories and vehicles that are giving my kid asthma – will you pitch in for that?

      2. No matter how good of a driver you are and whether you have never had an accident, your base insurance premiums are based on the “claims” of all other insurers in the state.

    2. Tell me of one state that will allow you to drive a vehicle on city streets without mandated auto insurance. Which one???

      New Hampshire

    3. Tell me of one state that will allow you to drive a vehicle on city streets without mandated auto insurance. Which one???

      New Hampshire

      1. I see your pioint… however they have other laws to meet the same situation of having auto insurance, such as verification that you have fiscal resources to cover liability for driving without auto insurance, including a “financial” responsibility law that takes care of some problems. You can lose everything, including “the shirt on your back”, depending on the court’s decision regarding any vehicular accident.

      2. I see your pioint… however they have other laws to meet the same situation of having auto insurance, such as verification that you have fiscal resources to cover liability for driving without auto insurance, including a “financial” responsibility law that takes care of some problems. You can lose everything, including “the shirt on your back”, depending on the court’s decision regarding any vehicular accident.

      3. I see your pioint… however they have other laws to meet the same situation of having auto insurance, such as verification that you have fiscal resources to cover liability for driving without auto insurance, including a “financial” responsibility law that takes care of some problems. You can lose everything, including “the shirt on your back”, depending on the court’s decision regarding any vehicular accident.

Comments are closed.

Get CT In Your Inbox!

Don't miss a single update.

You May Also Like

Backward Sovereignty

If you were to ask most Americans what the highest level of…

Introducing Iowa Grounds and Caffeinated Carolina

Some of you may have noticed the links and the widgets in…

Do You Like Job Creation?

Then you might want to look to where job creation has occurred.…

Federal judge puts NH buffer zone law on hold

A federal judge has temporarily blocked enforcement of a New Hampshire law…