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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

ObamaCare In Microcosm

Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney will tell you the health care plan that he crafted in Massachusetts in 2006 is different from ObamaCare.

But the evidence - and there's now lots of it - says otherwise.

Read through "Massachusetts Tries to Rein in Its Health Cost" in today's New York Times and you're struck by two things. (1) How the saga that plays out in Massachusetts mirrors that which is unfolding with regard to Obama's only important piece of legislation - forever known as ObamaCare - and (2) the end-results are shaping up to be identical.

The essence of the story:
After three years of study, the state’s legislative leaders appear close to producing bills that would make Massachusetts the first state — again — to radically revamp the way doctors, hospitals and other health providers are paid.

Those who led the 2006 effort to expand coverage readily acknowledge that they deferred the more daunting task of cost control for another day. It was assumed then that the politics would pit doctors, hospitals, insurers, employers and consumers against one another, and obliterate the fragile coalition behind the groundbreaking coverage law.

Predictably, the plan did little to slow the growth of health costs that already were among the highest in the nation. A state report last year found that per capita health spending in Massachusetts was 15 percent above the national average. And from 2007 to 2009, private health insurance premiums rose between 5 and 10 percent annually, according to another state study.

Yet the plan, which generated fresh attacks on Mr. Romney in a recent New Hampshire debate and a blistering Internet ad by Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, has largely succeeded in providing nearly universal coverage. Only 2 percent of residents and a fraction of 1 percent of children in Massachusetts are uninsured. The law’s popularity has given state leaders added incentive to make it financially sustainable.
With regard to (1), you'll note the colossal spin effort that's going on. The whole reason Romney and all his Democrat buddies in Massachusetts decided to reform the health care delivery system there was to reduce the cost of health care. Now they're saying - and the New York Times is willingly letting them get away with it - well, the primary mission - to provide universal coverage - is a success; now we need to tackle costs.


ObamaCare, launched with great fanfare by the cost-controller-in-chief, somehow, morphed into the same entitlement plan. An extremely expensive entitlement plan. And will do as little as RomneyCare to control Americans' out-of-pocket expenses.

And (2) the end-results: Both ObamaCare and RomneyCare will, in the end, bring on (a) higher health costs for those who won't be getting service for free, and (b) will saddle taxpayers with an entitlement bill - another entitlement bill, impossible to pay.

Mitt Romney will still tell you his health care plan was right for Massachusetts. You decide, based on the evidence obtained, if he's right for America.

I have serious doubts.