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Thursday, April 02, 2009

Is the Massachusett Universal coverage plan the canary in the mine?

See this article from WSJ online to gather facts about how poorly things are working out in the grand universal health care program for Massachusetts.

Three years into the program (which has been labeled the Bay State bait and switch) the costs have increased far beyond the projections that were part of the program's promises. The budget projection for 2010 is 880 million which is a 42% increase from the 2006 number. (other projections go even higher, see below). They have increased fines for those who can afford insurance but choose to not sign up, also increasing are premiums and penalties for business. A panel has been set up to look at options. It is never good news that a panel has been set to "find solutions". Limiting care is one,limiting profits for insurers is another after premiums and penalties have increased to a point were public outcry becomes too loud.

Proponents had promised universal coverage with lower costs.

Go here for many more details of how badly things have gone as outlined on the Blog Junkfood Science.Here is an except:

By February of this year (2008), the state was asking the Federal government to bail it out ( my bold) and cover half of the program’s costs from 2009 through 2011. According to the Boston Globe, the program will cost taxpayers $1.95 billion this year and is expected to cost $1.35 billion annually by June 2011 — figures that “far outstrip the original plans.” Massachusetts medical authorities, in efforts to keep the program solvent, had approved changes in December to cut payments to doctors and hospitals, reduce choices and benefits for patients, and possibly increase how much patients have to pay.

The WSJ article closes with:

The real lesson of Massachusetts is that reform proponents won't tell Americans the truth about what "universal" coverage really means: Runaway costs followed by price controls and bureaucratic rationing.

At least citizens of Massachusetts have a safety value, something that might not be readily available if the Mass. plan goes national.

We are promised universal health care that will magically be less expensive because of the promised savings of "investments" in medical IT, comparative effectiveness research and preventive medicine.The plan seems to be spend more on health care so we can save more.What could go wrong with that?

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