Massachusetts Health Reform: More Money, Please

…..but it’s a pretty good bet.

One can never really be sure one’s right on public policy until the New York Times weighs in on the issue. And so it has, giving the thumbs up to Massachusetts’ two-year old health reform, which largely consisted of ordering its residents to buy health insurance. There is a substantial thread here, discussing the pitfalls of Massachusetts’ experiment with mandatory, “universal,” private health insurance.

OK, says the Times, maybe only about half of the uninsured have signed up yet; and two thirds of those get subsidies to enrol. Never mind that those who have to pay full premiums are staying away in droves: premiums for that part of the program are only going up 5% this year. But how much would they expect premiums to go up, for a health plan that nobody wants to join? Or how about this: The Commonwealth could be keeping premiums artificially low in order to attract non-subsidized people to sign up before next year, when the penalties for non-submission ratchet up and they might have a tax revolt on their hands.

The fact that the proposed budget for the program is much higher than anticipated only two years ago does not sway the Times, nor the fact that health spending has spiralled upward while access to care has improved minimally, at best. Indeed, that may be why the editorialists call it an “entitlement” and not a “mandate”.

All the state needs to do is find “new sources of revenue”. Come on, fellows, come right out and say it: tax hike! According to the Times, it’s not the government’s job to allow people to figure out health care that serves their needs; it’s the people’s job to fund health care that serves the government’s needs. Let’s wait and see what they have to say on the third anniversary.

Nothing contained in this blog is to be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of the Pacific Research Institute or as an attempt to thwart or aid the passage of any legislation.

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