Aired May 21, 2008 – 19:00:00 ET
… Up next, as Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy begins his battle, he is lucky to have one of the best health-care plans available. Reality is, not a lot of people in that state are as fortunate. I`ll explain in tonight`s “Real Story.” …
BECK: Welcome to the “Real Story.” Senator Ted Kennedy was released from Massachusetts General Hospital today. And on behalf of everybody on this program, we want to send our best wishes for what I`m sure is going to be a terribly difficult fight ahead. But fortunately, as a senator, Ted Kennedy is covered by one of the best health care plans in the country. Unfortunately, you can`t really say that about the guy who was in the room next to him. If you remember back in 2006, Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney signed into law sweeping new health care reforms that required citizens to obtain health insurance. Here`s how he described it at the time.
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MITT ROMNEY (R), MASSACHUSETTS: Every citizen with affordable comprehensive health insurance, small businesses able to conveniently buy insurance for their employees at a cost that`s competitive with big businesses, medical transparency, bringing marketplace dynamics to health care, really for the first time. And finally, beginning to rein in health care inflation.
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BECK: Yes, finally a workable model for nationwide universal health care. It is fabulous, almost too good to be true. It is too good to be true.
The real story is this is why I was always conflicted when I said I supported Romney. He was flirting with Marxism and socialism. RomneyCare is a model for government mandated universal health care. A model for why it will never work. The program was supposed to make private health insurance more affordable. You heard him just say it.
But instead, people have flocked to the state subsidized public insurance option. Who would have seen that coming? That forced the state to expand the public insurance program and now RomneyCare is virtually financial ruins. Over the next decade, RomneyCare is expected to run about $4 billion over budget. More than half of that will be covered by state taxes. So where does the other half come from?
Romney has promised no new taxes to fund the plan. But he`s gone now to — he is gone and now state legislators are looking to increase both business and tobacco taxes to pay for that. Boy, you better train your kids to start smoking early because the state needs the money if they are buying cigarettes. You know what? Either they do all that stuff or they have to reduce enrollment and eliminate benefits.
Starting to sound a little familiar? It is the same old theme. When the government grows, your bank account shrinks. What about the requirement that everybody buys insurance? Well, still more than 300,000 Massachusetts citizens without it. Not surprising considering that in California, there are still more people who have voluntary health insurance than mandatory auto insurance.
I`m a big fan of Mitt Romney on a lot of things, but this is what happens when a fiscal conservative takes a stab at universal health care. Good god almighty. What would it look like? What is our country`s medical system look like if big spenders like Clinton or Obama gets their hand on it?
Dad? Listen to me, brother. Get the best doctors you can. Get as well as fast as you can because health care in this country, I`m afraid, is about to change.
Sally Pipes is the president of the Pacific Research Institute, served as a health care adviser during the Rudy Giuliani campaign. I have to tell you, Sally, Rudy Giuliani`s plan was the best. He was the only candidate that actually had it down. What`s this — what`s this actually costing in Massachusetts?
SALLY PIPES, PACIFIC RESEARCH INSTITUTE: In Massachusetts, yes. I became a critic of the plan back in January `06 when it first was introduced. Now I say it is in the terrible twos. And you know, Deval Patrick has said for fiscal `09, the plan is going to cost about $869 million. That was the estimate. But now they`re already saying that it`s probably going to run in around $1.1, $1.2 billion and, you know, as you say, tax increases on citizens, governments don`t have money. They have to get it from us.
BECK: Go ahead.
PIPES: I was just going to say, tax increases on cigarettes, very few people are smoking today. When the tax goes up, fewer will smoke.
BECK: Right. You also have the taxes on business. You are already seeing it. I mean, we talked about this — I talked about this with Clinton and Obama`s plan. If you tax business and you make things so uncomfortable for them do business, and then you also say oh, you know, there`s also this option over here. Businessmen are going to say you know what? I`m not paying for it twice. I`m not going to pay a heavy tax and provide private insurance. Let the state do it.
PIPES: Why should businesses expand or businesses will leave the state of Massachusetts. I mean, this is what happens when the market works. Unfortunately, this plan and now under a Democratic governor has proved to be very expensive and as you said, two-thirds of the people have signed up for Commonwealth Care, the free or subsidized plan. They`ve added about 70,000 more people to Medicaid. And the number of people that signed up for Commonwealth Choice, the paying plan, is very small. It is about 70,000. People said I would rather lose the income tax deduction of $219 than buy expensive insurance that I don`t need and am not going to get sick.
PIPES: You are a Canadian, if I`m not mistaken.
BECK: I am.
PIPES: When you hear people like Obama and Clinton and John McCain talk about universal health care, what goes through your mind?
PIPES: I think universal health care to me, universal coverage by using mandates, is not the way to go. I think — moving down the path, it is going to be very expensive. Hillary says $110 billion. No government program ever costs that. I see you us moving down the pathway to a single- payer government run health care system such as exists in Canada. Long waiting lists, rationed care and lack of equipment. You can control your budget, but that`s what happens when you try. And I left Canada.
BECK: You`ve got people in Canada right now in the Supreme Court saying hello, I need health care and I can`t it in Canada. That`s where we are headed. Sally, thank you very much.
Now, it has been somewhat of a recurring theme here on this program that whatever our politicians try to solve one problem, they create 8,700 bigger ones. RomneyCare story, great example. But so is the Iraq war supplemental that is currently being debated in the Senate. Problem, troops need more money. My solution, send them more. Congress` solution, load up the emergency bill with all sorts of junk that has nothing to do with work. …