On January 31, Shikha Dahlia of the Reason Foundation wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, “Saying No to Coercive Care”. It was great to see someone from Reason Foundation have a swing at the piñata: after all, it was back in November 2004 that Ronald Bailey wrote a feature in Reason Magazine demanding “Mandatory Health Insurance Now!” Anyway, Ms. Dahlia points out that, with costs now anticipated at $400 million, the “reform” is costing 85% more than originally budgeted.
That did not sit well with Jon Kingsdale, the reform’s czar (officially, Executive Director of the Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Authority), who responded in today’s WSJ that “the original estimate by the conference committee that wrote the legislation in 2006 pegged it at $725 million” (letter to the editor: “Bay State Insurance is Doing Fine, Thanks”). To be blunt: What is he talking about?
Everyone who has followed the travails of the Massachusetts reform knows that the originally budgeted cost was $125 million from the general fund. Indeed, it’s on p. 17 of the health care reform conference committee’s report to the House joint caucus, of April 3, 2006, which is at the state’s website here – or at least it will be until someone in the Connector bureaucracy reads this blog and makes the report disappear!
The wheels are coming off the Massachusetts health reform – and rewriting its history will not change that.