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Massachusetts "health care" prelude to government takeover?
Posted by: McQ on Monday, April 10, 2006

Sally Pipes discusses the Massachusetts "health care plans" and finds it doomed to fail and be taken over by government.
Individual health insurance is not always a good deal in Massachusetts, thanks to state-imposed community rating regulations that require companies to charge the sick and healthy the same rates. The result: Some people elect not to purchase it.
We've talked about this before. Government mandates require any health insurance vendor to sell minimum insurance coverage to all. So, buyers don't get an ala carte choice. Don't want insurance of a certain type? Too bad. Government has mandated that you buy an particular insurance package and you don't get to pick and choose. And rates aren't different, as Pipes point out, if your healthy rather than sick.

In other words, government has set an artificially high floor for the cost of insurance.

So, says Pipes, that will lead to the inevitable complaints about price and that will set government to do precisely what many would like to see it do - take over health care insurance.
The end result of Massachusetts' "innovative" plan will be a total government takeover of health care. Individual mandates lead to groaning about price. At the same time, the true costs to the state will explode. This will build pressure for price controls. Having already erected a government apparatus to impose price controls, regulation and rationing, the state will again come to the rescue of those it stranded by imposing single-payer health care, or Medicaid, for all.
Government creates the problem and then presents itself as the solution. As Pipes points out, if they were really serious about being innovative toward making health insurance available to everyone, they'd deregulate the health insurance industry:
An innovative approach would deregulate the individual market and allow insurance companies to design policies that are attractive to the non-needy uninsured.
A 22 year-old probably doesn't have the same health care demands as a 50 year old and thus won't need the type or level (and cost) of insurance that 50 year old will need.

Instead, what Massachusetts did was the following:
In a blast from the past, Massachusetts law does just the opposite. It protects all existing government mandates and regulations while creating a bureaucracy to distribute new taxpayer subsidized insurance products that have no deductibles. This is the same health plan design threatening General Motors Corp.'s viability and bankrupted its suppliers.

The legislation will not control the true costs of these plans. It will set the premiums on a needs-based sliding scale. But the underlying costs will certainly be much, much higher. The average amount spent on health care in Massachusetts is $6,000 annually. The difference will be funded from taxes.
There is nothing innovative about the plan. It is a backdoor way to enable what many on the left see as the ultimate end-state they prefer. And the formula for getting there is as old as the hills. Government creates the problem, government passes something and calls it a 'market based solution' when it isn't at all. Government rescues its citizens from the unfeeling and greedy market.

All Massachussets has done is give us a look at the future nationally. And, as usual, the GOP in the guise of the Governor of the state, has enabled that eventual takeover by government.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

It looks like the old "starve the beast" (StB) strategy that’s part of the standard conservatarian playbook, only in reverse. In classic StB, a government program is de-funded and/or managed so ineptly that it ends up getting eliminated or privatized. FEMA is only the most obvious example. Of course a government managed by people who believe government is always inept and corrupt will be - surprise! - inept and corrupt, but that doesn’t mean all governments must be. But I digress. In the Massachusetts case, if I read your borrowed conspiracy theory correctly, the goal is to create a private sector non-solution so hobbled that there will be "no choice" but for the government to take over that function. Is Hayek vindicated when his prediction only comes true after his fans have demonstrated the same method repeatedly?
Written By: Platypus
But I digress. In the Massachusetts case, if I read your borrowed conspiracy theory correctly, the goal is to create a private sector non-solution so hobbled that there will be "no choice" but for the government to take over that function.
I’m not sure it’s a conscious "conspiracy theory" but it is method we see repeated constantly. Case in point is energy "deregulation" GA, where only one part of the system was actually deregulated. Solution? Reintroduce government controls after the public has a bad experience with "the market".
Written By: McQ
McQ’s position is supported by the observation that it’s much, much easier to introduce or increase government involvement in healthcare than it is to reduce it. Tennessee’s TennCare program is a good example. Despite all sides admitting that it’s a disaster, every attempt to kill it is beaten back. Even reducing eligibility to stave off fiscal disaster is met with court cases and propaganda.
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
with your health plan can a women with one of the 130 plus inherit genetic diseases abort the baby.
Written By: gil silvers
URL: http://
That depends on her insurance coverage, doesn’t it?
Written By: McQ

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