Health Care Reform is working in Massachusetts

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    May 21, 2011 2:26 PM GMT
    It sucks for everyone who isn't living in Massachusetts [where, incidentally, I am moving in a few months]:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/21/opinion/21sat1.html?_r=1&hp

    Note the key result: MEDICAL INFLATION IN MASS is now WAY below the national average.

    It's a pity that this makes Mitt Romney completely unlikely to be selected as the Republican Candidate.
  • CuriousJockAZ

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    May 21, 2011 2:31 PM GMT
    I have always said that Romney-Care, while not perfect, will end up being a POSITIVE for Romney in the election rather than a NEGATIVE. I think part of the problem is that most of America doesn't really understand the nuts & bolts of Romney-Care, much less Obama-Care. Once people become more educated about both, I think they will see that Romney deserves props for being ahead of the curve in at least attempting to get health care to all citizens.
  • GQjock

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    May 21, 2011 2:35 PM GMT
    CuriousJockAZ saidI have always said that Romney-Care, while not perfect, will end up being a POSITIVE for Romney in the election rather than a NEGATIVE. I think part of the problem is that most of America doesn't really understand the nuts & bolts of Romney-Care, much less Obama-Care. Once people become more educated about both, I think they will see that Romney deserves props for being ahead of the curve in at least attempting to get health care to all citizens.


    But that very thing makes him unqualified a s republican candidate
    You want the RNC's number AZ to complain? icon_wink.gif
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    May 21, 2011 2:36 PM GMT
    Except that it's not - and the evidence is pretty damning:

    http://www.forbes.com/2011/04/25/health-care-mitt-romney_print.html

    In 2006 the number of uninsured in Massachusetts ranged from 372,000 to 618,000. Five years later, over 100,000 remain uninsured.

    So more Bay Staters do have insurance. But that doesn't mean they've been able to get care.

    The Massachusetts Medical Society found that 56% of physicians are not taking on new patients. Wait times for appointments are climbing. Just two years after reform took root, one clinic in Western Massachusetts had amassed a waiting list of 1,600 patients.

    RomneyCare expanded coverage simply by putting more people on the dole. Since 2006, 440,000 people have been added to state-funded insurance rolls. Medicaid enrollment alone is up nearly 25%, and Massachusetts is struggling to cover the cost.

    Of the previously uninsured individuals who have signed up, 68% are receiving free or subsidized coverage.

    Many of these people aren't even citizens of Massachusetts. A recent report from the Massachusetts Inspector General found that state agencies have failed to implement controls to prevent ineligible people from making claims. In 2010 millions of dollars were spent on medical services for individuals from 48 other states and several foreign countries.

    Despite the expansion of insurance coverage, people are continuing to seek routine medical care in expensive emergency rooms. Emergency room visits climbed 9%--or 3 million visits--between 2004 and 2008. The bill for uncompensated care has exceeded $400 million.

    That's only the tip of the RomneyCare cost iceberg. Originally projected to cost $1.8 billion this year, the reform effort is now expected to exceed those estimates by $150 million. An analysis from the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation found that state spending on health care reform grew from $1.04 billion in 2006 to about $1.75 billion in 2010. Over the next 10 years, RomneyCare will likely cost $2 billion more than predicted.

    Massachusetts taxpayers are not only footing the bill for all this new public spending--they're also facing higher rates for private coverage. A 2010 study published in the Forum for Health Economics & Policy found that health insurance premiums in Massachusetts were increasing at a rate 3.7% slower than the national average prior to the implementation of RomneyCare. Post-overhaul, they're increasing 5.8% faster. Annual premium hikes in the state have averaged 7.5% since 2000.

    The average employer-sponsored family health plan costs nearly $14,000. That's higher than anywhere else in the nation.

    Massachusetts businesses have felt the sting of rising health care costs too. They've had to shoulder an additional $750 million in costs since reform began to insure more workers and dependents. Massachusetts retailers report that their health insurance costs have risen 15% per year since 2006.

    Bay State small-business owners like Donna Donovan say that the law has not helped them. Her small technology company has seen its monthly individual employee premiums almost double, from $500 soon after the law was signed to $992.

    As health costs have risen public approval of the law has dwindled. A poll by Suffolk University found that 49% of state residents do not think that RomneyCare has been beneficial. That represents a 20% drop since the law passed in 2006. A mere 38% felt the law was helping.

    Over the past five years, Massachusetts has spent billions expanding access to coverage--but has little to show for its efforts. ObamaCare has the country positioned to repeat the Bay State's mistakes--many more times over.
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    May 21, 2011 2:40 PM GMT
    CuriousJockAZ saidI have always said that Romney-Care, while not perfect, will end up being a POSITIVE for Romney in the election rather than a NEGATIVE. I think part of the problem is that most of America doesn't really understand the nuts & bolts of Romney-Care, much less Obama-Care. Once people become more educated about both, I think they will see that Romney deserves props for being ahead of the curve in at least attempting to get health care to all citizens.


    So do you disagree with the Republican efforts to remove Obamacare? [which is, frankly, indistinguishable from Romneycare].
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    May 21, 2011 2:48 PM GMT
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    May 21, 2011 3:01 PM GMT
    http://www.bostonherald.com/news/opinion/op_ed/view/2011_0412romneycare_a_big_bust/

    As governor, Mitt Romney accomplished a feat that most Republicans would have thought impossible. With the single stroke of a pen he convinced the liberal population of Massachusetts that they, too, hate government-run health care.

    As a health care plan, Romneycare is an unmitigated fiasco. It has caused costs to skyrocket, insurance premiums to soar and nonprofit providers like Blue Cross to suffer hundreds of millions of dollars in losses.

    But as a political policy, Romneycare is nearly unparalleled in Republican history. It has destroyed one front-runner’s presidential hopes (Romney’s) and helped undermine an entire presidency. For, as Barack Obama’s supporters keep reminding us, Romneycare was the precursor to Obamacare.

    [...]

    Think about how powerful Romneycare has been. In 2008 — when Obama was running for president and Ted Kennedy was towering over the Senate — nearly 70 percent of Massachusetts voters supported the plan. A mere 22 percent of right-wing holdouts opposed it.

    After all, this is Massachusetts, where “uni- versal health care” is a political mantra, like “collective bargaining rights” or “indicted House member.”

    But after five years of actually experiencing this new universe, even the Kennedy Democrats have had enough. A new Suffolk University poll showed that nearly half of Massachusetts voters say the law isn’t helping, while just 38 percent say it is. As Michael Cannon at the Cato Institute pointed out, Romneycare is almost as unpopular here as Obama- care is across America.

    [...]

    Romneycare has also blown a hole in Romney’s reputation as a “numbers” guy, a savvy business guru who, like him or not, knows how to handle your money.

    Uh, anyone checked these Romneycare numbers lately?

    Taxpayers now spend $2.5 billion more on our state’s health care budget. The direct cost of Romneycare has gone from less than $100 million a year to at least $400 million — and even that number is suspect. But we do know we’ve spent more than $35 million in a single year on health services for illegal immigrants, and tens of millions more on illegal, unallowable or outright bogus claims.

    [...]

    Romneycare hasn’t made that insurance more affordable — just the opposite. Many people have seen their premiums double in the past five years. Supporters also never mention that when Romneycare was signed, Massachusetts already had one of the nation’s lowest rates of uninsured.
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    May 21, 2011 3:03 PM GMT
    Note to Mitt Romney

    Mitt meet you core constituency icon_biggrin.gif
    Ya wanna cash in that ticket to Disneyworld now or wait til later?
  • CuriousJockAZ

    Posts: 19138

    May 21, 2011 3:38 PM GMT
    GQjock said<
    But that very thing makes him unqualified a s republican candidate
    You want the RNC's number AZ to complain? icon_wink.gif



    Says Who? Watch and see how well Romney does. He is a very smart man, and he wouldn't be running if he didn't think he could get the nomination. Granted, I suppose that would be true of any of the potential candidates. Regardless, I suspect Romney will be at or near the top of leading contenders to get the GOP nomination, barring any major trip-ups or revelations during the campaign, or any as of yet unforeseen candidate that throws his/her hat into the ring who is greeted with great enthusiasm.
  • CuriousJockAZ

    Posts: 19138

    May 21, 2011 3:47 PM GMT
    TigerTim said

    So do you disagree with the Republican efforts to remove Obamacare? [which is, frankly, indistinguishable from Romneycare].



    To be perfectly honest, I am sort of on the fence about Obama-Care because, like I suspect most Americans, I'm not really sure I know enough about it yet. I do know that I just received a letter in the mail yesterday that my health insurance premium is jumping from $302 a month to over $400 a month starting next quarter, and I have no health problems at all or haven't even had a single insurance claim other than my once-a-year annual check-up, so I'm not real happy about such a huge jump in my premium. Not sure if Obama-Care is to blame, or that it will help. So I am on the fence about it, as I suspect many others are here as well --- mostly because of the unknowns.

    As for Romney-Care, I don't know a whole lot about that either, but what I do know is that it served as a model of sorts for Obama-Care, and I respect the fact that Mitt Romney at least tried something and got it put into law on the state level. To me, that is probably a step in the right direction though, admittedly, there appears to still be some kinks that need to be worked out with it.



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    May 21, 2011 4:11 PM GMT
    CuriousJockAZ said
    TigerTim said

    So do you disagree with the Republican efforts to remove Obamacare? [which is, frankly, indistinguishable from Romneycare].



    To be perfectly honest, I am sort of on the fence about Obama-Care because, like I suspect most Americans, I'm not really sure I know enough about it yet. I do know that I just received a letter in the mail yesterday that my health insurance premium is jumping from $302 a month to over $400 a month starting next quarter, and I have no health problems at all or haven't even had a single insurance claim other than my once-a-year annual check-up, so I'm not real happy about such a huge jump in my premium. Not sure if Obama-Care is to blame, or that it will help. So I am on the fence about it, as I suspect many others are here as well --- mostly because of the unknowns.

    As for Romney-Care, I don't know a whole lot about that either, but what I do know is that it served as a model of sorts for Obama-Care, and I respect the fact that Mitt Romney at least tried something and got it put into law on the state level. To me, that is probably a step in the right direction though, admittedly, there appears to still be some kinks that need to be worked out with it.


    I'm not sure that the bias towards action is necessarily a good thing. It's interesting that the New York Times entirely cherry picked their data to the point of being dishonest. For example from the WSJ: "An analysis from the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation found that state spending on health care reform grew from $1.04 billion in 2006 to about $1.75 billion in 2010. Over the next 10 years, RomneyCare will likely cost $2 billion more than predicted."

    It's also noteworthy that for a lot of businesses and individuals, insurance premiums rose dramatically, not to mention the difficulty in finding a physician. It's tough to understand how they believe this system "works" especially considering that 90% of people in MA were already insured prior to Romneycare.

    I don't doubt that Mitt Romney is a bright guy - I also happen to believe strongly that Obama is a bright guy. The problem often comes from the arrogance that they know better than the collective judgments of market players. The healthcare systems in the US (and Canada) are broken and unsustainable - and there are a lot of structural reasons for this especially since much of the bureaucracy put in place is mandated by law (and insurer profits are marginal). Reform is required, but this faith that governments are better at rationing than markets is a misplaced faith at best.
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    May 21, 2011 5:31 PM GMT
    CuriousJockAZ saidI have always said that Romney-Care, while not perfect, will end up being a POSITIVE for Romney in the election rather than a NEGATIVE. I think part of the problem is that most of America doesn't really understand the nuts & bolts of Romney-Care, much less Obama-Care. Once people become more educated about both, I think they will see that Romney deserves props for being ahead of the curve in at least attempting to get health care to all citizens.


    I agree with most of your post. However, I really believe that Romneycare will be the albatross around Mitt's neck during his presidential run. Romneycare is a HUGE success. But the Republicans went to great lengths to vilify Obama's Health Care Reform (which was modeled after Romneycare). Romneycare will be construed as a NEGATIVE secondary to "guilt by association".
  • CuriousJockAZ

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    May 21, 2011 6:01 PM GMT
    catfish5 saidRomneycare will be construed as a NEGATIVE secondary to "guilt by association".


    This will all depend on how Romney handles the whole issue and how he frames it within his campaign. I still think he can turn what may be at the moment perceived as a NEGATIVE into a POSITIVE. If anyone can manage to do that, Romney can.
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    May 21, 2011 6:07 PM GMT
    CuriousJockAZ said
    catfish5 saidRomneycare will be construed as a NEGATIVE secondary to "guilt by association".


    This will all depend on how Romney handles the whole issue and how he frames it within his campaign. I still think he can turn what may be at the moment perceived as a NEGATIVE into a POSITIVE. If anyone can manage to do that, Romney can.


    Thank you, AZ. It's nice to read an objective opinion rather than opinions painted into corners by party platforms.

    Romney will position himself as a states-rights guy. "The solution for Massachusetts is not the solution for Mississippi" - that is what I imagine him saying. Huntsman did the same thing in Utah and he will be attacked there as well. What is nice, is that both of these men are former Governors creating positive solutions for their citizens.
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    May 21, 2011 8:30 PM GMT
    See if you can tell the Romney and Obama versions apart (no cheating):

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2011/may/18/romneycare-and-obamacare-can-you-tell-difference/
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    May 21, 2011 9:29 PM GMT
    riddler78 saidExcept that it's not - and the evidence is pretty damning:...

    What is interesting riddler, is apparently no one is paying attention to you or the facts you are citing. These facts are not driving the discussion here at all. What seems to be more important here are people's "feelngs" about it.
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    May 21, 2011 10:12 PM GMT
    socalfitness said
    riddler78 saidExcept that it's not - and the evidence is pretty damning:...

    What is interesting riddler, is apparently no one is paying attention to you or the facts you are citing. These facts are not driving the discussion here at all. What seems to be more important here are people's "feelngs" about it.


    http://factcheck.org/2011/03/romneycare-facts-and-falsehoods/
    ■The major components of the state and federal law are similar, but details vary. The federal law put a greater emphasis on cost-control measures, for instance. Massachusetts is just now tackling that.
    ■The state law was successful on one big goal: A little more than 98 percent of state residents now have insurance.
    ■Claims that the law is "bankrupting" the state are greatly exaggerated. Costs rose more quickly than expected in the first few years, but are now in line with what the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation had estimated.
    ■Small-business owners are perhaps the least happy stakeholders. Cheaper health plans for them through the state exchange haven’t materialized, as they hoped.
    ■Despite claims to the contrary, there’s no clear evidence that the law had an adverse effect on waiting times. In fact, 62 percent of physicians say it didn’t.
    ■Public support has been high. One poll found that 68.5 percent of nonelderly adults supported the law in 2006; 67 percent still do.
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    May 21, 2011 10:33 PM GMT
    catfish5 said
    socalfitness said
    riddler78 saidExcept that it's not - and the evidence is pretty damning:...

    What is interesting riddler, is apparently no one is paying attention to you or the facts you are citing. These facts are not driving the discussion here at all. What seems to be more important here are people's "feelngs" about it.


    http://factcheck.org/2011/03/romneycare-facts-and-falsehoods/
    ■The major components of the state and federal law are similar, but details vary. The federal law put a greater emphasis on cost-control measures, for instance. Massachusetts is just now tackling that.
    ■The state law was successful on one big goal: A little more than 98 percent of state residents now have insurance.
    ■Claims that the law is "bankrupting" the state are greatly exaggerated. Costs rose more quickly than expected in the first few years, but are now in line with what the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation had estimated.
    ■Small-business owners are perhaps the least happy stakeholders. Cheaper health plans for them through the state exchange haven’t materialized, as they hoped.
    ■Despite claims to the contrary, there’s no clear evidence that the law had an adverse effect on waiting times. In fact, 62 percent of physicians say it didn’t.
    ■Public support has been high. One poll found that 68.5 percent of nonelderly adults supported the law in 2006; 67 percent still do.

    Why can't you address the specific points cited in the article riddler provided?
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    May 21, 2011 10:38 PM GMT
    socalfitness said
    riddler78 saidExcept that it's not - and the evidence is pretty damning:...

    What is interesting riddler, is apparently no one is paying attention to you or the facts you are citing. These facts are not driving the discussion here at all. What seems to be more important here are people's "feelngs" about it.


    I think the interesting point is that until the Tea Party, this model of Health Care Reform was actually Republican Party policy.

    What's changed? What's wrong with it? All of my friends in Massachusetts are very happy with it!
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    May 21, 2011 10:52 PM GMT
    Nothing's changed. It's because the Democrats have embraced their idea and it's no longer "theirs", so they would rather adopt the opposite. Consensus is dead.

    The more I read the 1960 GOP platform, the more think it ironic that it's the Democrats nowadays that espouse much of the pledges:
    http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=25839#axzz1N1us0ob2
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    May 22, 2011 2:24 AM GMT
    TigerTim saidWhat's changed? What's wrong with it? All of my friends in Massachusetts are very happy with it!

    Even assuming you're an extremely popular guy, and I bet you are, do you have high confidence in your sample size?
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    Jun 27, 2011 9:14 PM GMT
    http://theincidentaleconomist.com/wordpress/a-summary-of-the-massachusetts-health-reform-experience/

    1) There has been a dramatic expansion of health insurance, reducing the uninsurance rate by 60-70%.

    2) No change in wait times for general an internal medicine practitioners have been observed.

    3) The share of the population with a usual source of care, receiving preventative care, and receiving dental care all rose.

    4) The rate of utilization of emergency care fell modestly.

    5) There has been a 40% decline in uncompensated care.

    6) The proportion of the population with employer-sponsored health insurance increased by 0.6%.

    7) The rate of employer offers of coverage grew from 70% to 76%.

    8 ) Mandate compliance has been very high: 98% compliance in reporting via tax filings of obtaining coverage or paying penalties.

    9) The administrative costs of health reform have been low. Overall implementation costs have been close to expectations.

    10) Premiums have fallen dramatically in the non-group market.

    11) Though group premiums have risen, they have not increased faster than one would expect from increases in other states in the region.
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    Jun 27, 2011 9:18 PM GMT
    Plus, not gonna lie, Massachusetts is awesome!!
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    Jun 27, 2011 9:30 PM GMT
    MassCare is limited in its scope because it is only applied to that state. It's fine if a state wants to experiment with different options.

    But I have a real problem with the federal government mandating us with its plans. DC can F-off.
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    Jun 27, 2011 9:33 PM GMT
    JackNWNJ saidMassCare is limited in its scope because it is only applied to that state. It's fine if a state wants to experiment with different options.

    But I have a real problem with the federal government mandating us with its plans. DC can F-off.


    So you think it's ok that Healthcare in the US costs ~ twice as much (as a %age of GDP per capita at PPP) than other western countries with worse outcomes?

    I don't care to indulge your profligate Utopian fantasies.