Free Markets, Free People

Your future under ObamaCare? Just look to RomneyCare

The future of US medicine under ObamaCare is already on display in Massachusetts.

The top four health insurers there just posted first-quarter losses of more than $150 million. Most of them blamed the state’s decision to keep premiums at last year’s levels for individual and small-business policies, when they’d proposed double-digit hikes to match the soaring costs they’ve seen under the state’s universal-coverage law.

The companies have gone to court to challenge the state’s action — it apparently had no basis for its ruling beyond the political needs of Gov. Deval Patrick. If they win, Bay State health premiums will continue their rapid rise; if they lose, they’ll eventually have to stop doing business in Massachusetts — and the state will be that much closer to a “single payer” system of socialized medicine.

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.

Of course, speaking of audacity, it was Mitt Romney who signed MassCare into law.

That said, anyone who can’t see the parallels either isn’t playing with a full deck or is being willfully blind. Just analyze what is happening in MA and it becomes obvious what our future holds under ObamaCare:

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.

Speaking of the “supposed slashing of Medicare payment rates”, forget it. Keith Hennessey has caught them red-handed trying to slide the “doc fix” through under the radar. It increases Medicare payments for doctors for 18 months at a cost of $63 billion. It also raises taxes – mostly on businesses and certain kind of partnership income called “carried interest” – and extends unemployment benefits again, at a cost of another $47 billion we don’t have.

The bill is H.R. 4213, The American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act of 2010. Don’t you just love the Orwellian names they give these things?

CBO gives us the net budgetary effects of the bill over the 11-year period 2010-2020:

* $40 B net tax increase;
* $174 B spending increase;
* $134 B deficit increase.

PAYGO? Bwwaaahahaha.

Health care disaster looms, financial disaster looms, and those presently in Congress still don’t seem to get it, of if they do, they just don’t give a damn.

This is your America today.



19 Responses to Your future under ObamaCare? Just look to RomneyCare

  • You do know that many libs now consider “Obamacare” to be a pejorative, right?    Why do you have to be so provacative and offensive?

  • In unrelated news, Massachusetts wage earners got a nice surprise when they opened their most recent pay statements to find that their MA tax withholding has increased by $10 a pay period.  Just a co-inky-dink, I am sure.

  • RomneyCare offered no real means to control and ultimately reduce costs.

    Not true.  It offered fantasy scenarios and pie-in-the-sky promises.
    What do you mean, “those aren’t REAL???”

  • I live in Canada, and I have followed the healthcare debate in the US with great interest. 

    It appears clear to me that Obamacare has been designed to fail so that a Single Payer system can be implemented in its place.  This is what many politicians have said what the ultimate goal is – Barney Frank’s comments on the subject come to mind.

    Seen in this light, documenting the shortcomings of ObamaCare and RomneyCare seems to play in the statists hand, right? So, what is the best policy response for liberty-minded individuals?

    Could Republicans and libertarian-minded voters get behind a single payer system that uses some form of  Health Spending Accounts?   

    HSA’s would achieve the policy goal of single payer and universality, but retain market elements by having insureds make decisions about what coverage to buy and what they want to pay for.

    I understand the caterwauling about ObamaCare and what it means to individual liberty and the intrusion of government power into your everyday lives.  I am living with a system that is as socialist and redistributive as any entitlement program you would find in North Korea and Cuba , but from my perspective, an HSA looks like a pretty good alternative.   


    • Well, if the republicans would ever get a big enough majority to enact such accounts (they would certainly be opposed by the Democrats, they NEVER are in favor of anything that increases individual choice) then they would also just be able to ditch the whole thing and start over.

  • There is no more need for a single payer system for health care then there is for such a program for home purchases, car purchases, rent, utility payments, etc.
    This isn’t to say that the status quo (or the previous status quo) is ok.  It was and is in need of a severe redefinition of just exactly what is Health Insurance and what it should cover, whether we should allow the actual cost to be “hidden” by paycheck withdrawals.
    HSA do look like a great step in the right direction towards reintroducing market forces which have been removed from the Health Care industry.  It is not, however, the government’s job or right to mandate what form of, or any, protection that an individual or their family purchases.

    • Scott, agreed.  However, I think it is futile to argue to your electorate what is and what is not the government’s job vis vis healthcare.  I think the ideological battle has been lost: a significant portion of the American public believe government has a large role to play in the healthcare business.

      I am arguing this: Rather than fight the “liberty versus the power of the state argument”, why not  redirect energy into advocating a system that can meet the needs (imperfectly) of both sides?

      Or do you continue to argue for some Utopian version of healthcare reform that is politically impossible to sell?

      • JasperPants, I don’t agree with your assessment.  The whole point of looking to RomneyCare is to see that government involvement is a disaster.  That, of course, is not just health care, but in any area where there are viable alternatives.  Medicare is an example.  The Democrats specifically did not include the “Doc Fix” because they did not want the cost in the health care bill.  But, few people are fooled.  We all know that Medicare faces huge unfunded liabilities, so why would anyone think a single payer system would not have the same problem.  A single payer system will still face the same problem of demographics that Medicare faces now.   The difference is that ObamaCare has to provide service to those younger than 65, too.  So, it is rational to expect it will be even worse financially than Medicare.

        • I agree the overwhelming evidence is that government involvement in healthcare (and any government intervention in markets) has been a disaster. It will always be thus. 

          Yet, this president, a polarizing figure in favour of government run healthcare, still enjoys a 47% approval rating.  The direction of US policies could not be more clear, and a sizable portion of the US population still supports him and his policies.

          Medicare & Medicaid is full of waste, fraud and it is expensive.   But there is no substantial support to replace it.  I think this tells you there is a huge constituency of people who like government solutions to their problems.

          If the final objective of Obamacare is to create a pathway to single payer, do you really think that once Obamacare fails the solutions proposed will be anything else other than MORE government intervention?

          With such substantial support for socialism-lite in the US, “progressives” and the voters that support them won’t rollover and admit they were wrong about Obamacare. 

          In fact, I think its part of their agenda.

      • Jasper, I agree that the fighting the ideologues on the current battle field is a losing proposition.  We need to change the rules of the battlefield; ie term limits, full financial disclosure, real campaign finance reform, restrict the President’s involvement in elections around the country, real transparency (not this half assed bullhockey), at least put up a good fight against “horse trading” and politics as usual, re-address Public Law 62-5 (that restricted the size of the House and allows for more concentration of power as the number of people each representative represents goes up), put rules in place to slow/eliminate the micromanaging tendidcies of the Prez and the Congress in the government’s day to day business (by controlling what “projects” get funded or not, or what the military should or should not buy regardless of whether they want it), require that the budget from the President and the Congress fund the agencies and not their projects…
        The argument against these reforms is that nothing would get done by the government, to which my response is…. GOOD!  The less that our government is able to do/change on a day to day basis the better for our country overall.  Diffuse the power of each member of our government and only the very necessary items will get through.

  • ‘Romneycare’ term is a little unfair, because Romney faced state legislatures that would have overridden his veto, unlike Obama.  I don’t like Obamacare that much either.  I mean its easy to fixate on a single person like the Left did with Bush, but  blame lies with Congress. 

    And the reason its important to properly assign blame, its important that the public realizes its Congress that needs to be replaced in order to repeal HCR and not the President. 

    • It brings in a sense of personal responsibility that is important, especially since the MSM has managed to let Obama off the hook on most of his campaign promises, in a way that the opposition never gets such cover.