10.01.2008 0

RomneyCare is Not a Model for National Health Care

  • On: 10/09/2008 09:59:41
  • In: Health Care
  • As Americans consider whom to vote for this presidential election year, one issue that’s bound to come up is health care. In particular, national, universal health care being proposed by both of the Democrat candidates for president.

    Health care is one thing that is not getting any cheaper, and high costs are often used to justify such a universal approach. But, as ALG News has reported in “Socialized Medicine is Less Efficient and More Expensive” and “The Power of Choice”, increased government involvement in sectors like health care increases that sector’s prices by increasing costs associated with overregulation, and by putting an artificial floor under those prices.

    In other words, for Americans wondering why medical costs keep increasing, they should consider the enormous burden that public health care systems cause, and be very skeptical of populists who promise to deliver health care “for everyone.”

    For a model for their own Big Government approaches to socialized medicine, both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have pointed to aspects of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s approach to universal care in that state. In fact, Massachusetts is a model for why those systems consistently fail, as reported by the Wall Street Journal:

    “One lesson here is that while pledging ‘universal’ coverage is easy, the harder problem is paying for it. This year’s appropriation for Commonwealth Care was $472 million, but officials have asked for an add-on that will bring it to $625 million. For 2009, Governor Deval Patrick requested $869 million but has already conceded that even that huge figure is too low. Over the coming decade, the expected overruns float in as much as $4 billion over budget. It’s too early to tell how much is new coverage or if state programs are displacing private insurance.

    “The ‘new Big Dig’ moniker refers to the legendary cost overruns when Boston rebuilt its traffic system. Now state legislators are pushing new schemes to offset RomneyCare’s runaway expenses, including reductions in state payments to doctors and hospitals, enlarged business penalties, an increase in the state tobacco tax, and more restrictions on drug companies and insurers.

    “Mr. Romney’s fundamental mistake was focusing on making health insurance ‘universal’ without first reforming the private insurance market. The ‘connector’ that was supposed to link individuals to private insurance options has barely been used, as lower-income workers flood to the public option. Meanwhile, low-cost private insurers continue to avoid the state because it imposes multiple and costly mandates on all policies.

    “Hailed at first as a new national model, the Massachusetts nonmiracle ought to be a warning to Washington. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are both proposing versions of RomneyCare on a national scale, with similar promises that covering everyone under a government plan will reduce costs.”

    In other words, universal care in Massachusetts has increased the costs of practicing medicine, and created an unsustainable burden for taxpayers. The subject is more thoroughly explained by this CATO Institute publication. Former Governor Romney may have been optimistic about his plan at the time, but time has told the American people what they already knew to be true: Universal health care does not work.

    ALG Perspective: American voters need to pay close attention to proposals made by politicians that promise more than can actually be delivered. Chances are, if those promises sound too good to be true, they probably are, as residents of Massachusetts are rapidly learning just one year into RomneyCare.

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