Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

June 6, 2008

Massachusetts Health Care Woes – Someone Tell Obama!

by Brad Warbiany

As anyone with a shred of economic sense would predict, Massachusetts is not experiencing quite what they promised. From Cato:

* Slightly less than half of Massachusetts’ uninsured population actually complied with the mandate. True, the number of people without health insurance was reduced from 13% of the state’s population to 7%, but when the bill was passed, advocates promised that “all Massachusetts citizens will have health insurance.” Perhaps it depends on your definition of “all.”
* Most of those who are signing up are low-income individuals, whose coverage is fully or partially subsidized, proving once again that if you give something away for free people will take it. It certainly appears that it is the expensive and generous Massachusetts subsidies (up to 300% of the poverty level), not the unprecedented individual mandate that is responsible for much of the increased coverage.
* Adverse selection remains a big problem, with the young and healthy failing to comply with the mandate. The state refused to change its community rating laws which drive up the cost of insurance for young, healthy individuals. Not surprisingly, they don’t find this a good deal.
* The program is far exceeding its projected costs, with at least a 33% budget overrun in its first year.
* The program has increased demand for health care services without increasing the supply of providers. As a result, patients are having trouble finding providers and waiting lists (Canada here we come) are beginning to develop.

Sadly, this is unlikely to stop other states or the fed from following their path.

Hat Tip: Coyote Blog

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  • Justin Bowen

    Unless I’m mistaken, Cato already did a study on MA’s universal health care policy. From what I remember, they had already labeled it a failure.

    Of course, this study is going to be completely useless if people don’t read it.

  • tfr

    Folks here who live in Mass. say that as the deadline approached, doctors got scarce to the point of being unable to locate one within a 50 mile radius who was accepting patients. If “universal” healthcare passes, be ready for that.

  • http://thelibertypapers.org/2005/11/22/a-bit-about-kevin/ Kevin

    Brad,

    In fairness to Obama, his healthcare plan is not as bad as what Mitter did in Massachusetts. He’s against mandated coverage for adults where as the Mitter plan has mandated coverage for adults. If anyone is more likely to go the Massachusetts route, it would be McCain.

    http://www.barackobama.com/issues/pdf/HealthCareFullPlan.pdf

    Obama’s plan still sucks, but its better than what Mitt Romney did in Massachusetts.

  • http://dangerouslyidealistic.blogspot.com/ UCrawford

    Kevin,

    In fairness to Hitler, what he did to the German people was not as bad as what Stalin did to his people.

    That’s right…I invoked Godwin’s Law and linked socialized medicine advocates to Nazis :)

  • http://hathor-sekhmet.blogspot.com VRB

    UCrawford,
    It amazes me how in such a short period, your mind jumped to that analogy.

    Libertians need to run their own state; get a little practical experience. See how well their “if an only if” premises work.

  • http://www.thelibertypapers.org/author/stephen/ Stephen Littau

    VRB:

    Libertians need to run their own state; get a little practical experience. See how well their “if an only if” premises work.

    Yeah because you collectivists, socialists, and authoritarians have done such a wonderful job running things! Libertarians couldn’t do any worse. Liberty works whenever it’s tried.

    BTW, the entire purpose of this blog is not so much that “Libertarians should run their own state” but to create a state where individuals “run” their own lives with minimal interference from the state. Libertarians don’t want to “run” anything but their own lives.

  • Pingback: FreedomSight » Blog Archive » Nevermind Obama, Someone Tell the Colorado Legislature

  • UCrawford

    Libertarians don’t want to “run” anything but their own lives.

    Yup…”leave me the hell alone” does indeed work as a governing principle when it’s directed from the individual towards the government. The world would be far better off if people focused more on their own lives instead of trying to run everyone else’s.

  • UCrawford

    VRB,

    It amazes me how in such a short period, your mind jumped to that analogy.

    It was a pretty easy link to make, since when the government gets control over your medical decisions, it’s just a matter of time before they start choosing who “deserves” to get medical care (and therefore who gets to live or die)…just like the Nazis did to their “undesirables”.

    HA!!! Godwin’s Law again…take that, Medical Nazis :)

  • Don

    So it seems that single payer is the only way to go then.

  • UCrawford

    Don,

    Only if you think politicians are better able to make your medical decisions than you are.

  • Theda

    Oh the horrors of “socialized” medicine. Yep, we should link it right up there with socialized fire protection and crime protection. So if all of you “be responsible for your own lives” want to go alone then please do. Just don’t start crying when your house burns down cause you can’t find enough people to help you put it out. Not everyone can afford to purchase health care insurance nor are they of such low income they can get state aid. Guess it’s just better that if they get sick they should just suck it up and die without complaint. Never mind if they have young children. Yep, let’s be like every other third world country. Now they really know how to live by self responsibility. Frankly, I’d rather have a government sponsored health care that has to answer to the taxpayers then the bloated private corporations whose CEO’s make millions every year yet feel it’s quite alright to deny health care to those who pay their premiums every month. Like I’ve asked so many, many times – When did selfishness become a virtue?

  • http://www.thelibertypapers.org/author/tarran/ tarran

    Theda,

    We libertarians feel it is immoral to seize other people’s property to satisfy our desires and wants. You, on the other hand, are advocating the opposite: demanding that people be forced to pay for your medical care.

    We’re not the selfish ones.

  • UCrawford

    Theda,

    If you like Europe’s socialized medicine so much, I suggest you go live there.

    http://www.thelibertypapers.org/2007/08/01/you-like-europes-health-care-so-much-then-go-live-there/

  • UCrawford

    Theda,

    When did selfishness become a virtue?

    And following in tarran’s line of thought, what, exactly have the people who want socialized medicine done for me or any other taxpayer that entitles them to get free health care at our expense? Especially considering that we also pay taxes for welfare, Social Security, Medicare, food subsidies, and any number of other programs that most people with jobs will never use.

    I think we’ve been quite charitable to a group people who like to whine a lot about “selfish” taxpayers who are working jobs to support complete strangers at little or no benefit to themselves. It’s not our fault that the solutions poor people are always demanding are flawed and incompetently executed because they depend on the government to run them.

  • http://trumpetbob15.blogspot.com/ trumpetbob15

    Theda,

    Oh the horrors of “socialized” medicine. Yep, we should link it right up there with socialized fire protection and crime protection.

    I can’t speak for other people, but exactly how well does the police service work? What is the average crime solving rate? Instead, people who are really worried get a service like ADT or Lo-Jack to protect valuables, services akin to Aflac and other supplemental insurance coverage. Sure, a lot of people can’t afford to buy ADT or Aflac, but if we stopped forcing police to patrol the roads and instead focus on crimes (not to mention all the useless drug stings) and we had insurance companies focus on lowering costs instead of trying to cover everybody and their brother for procedures they will never need (I can safely say I don’t need ovarian cancer coverage on me), maybe the police would solve more crimes, protect more people, and more people might be able to afford to protect themselves from health disasters. But, that last thought gets into the definition of “insurance,” which must be the topic of another comment.

  • http://thinkyhead.com Thinkyhead

    Trumpetbob15, you make an excellent point that most people don’t perceive – the cascading effects of our hands-off approach to everything. When you fail to address social problems like education, health care, and poverty, you only foster more poverty, ignorance, drug abuse, crime, and costly but preventable health problems. The lovely new economy we have today is built on the needs of suffering people, we are taught to seek out poisons so we can be coerced into buying the cure. We allow disasters to occur so we can capitalize on them.

    Or, you might say our wisdom has become: “A stitch in time saves nine… but just imagine how much we can charge for those 9 stitches, Bob!”

    We as a society need to not only fund social programs, education, and health care at the government level, but we need to be encouraged to get involved at the grass roots and become active citizens, taking responsibility for our communities and taking the time to understand the dynamics of our problems.

    Every person has much to offer in the way of taking care of his neighbor, but as long as we’re being played against one another and spoon-fed the myth of the rugged darwinian individualist all our attempts at creating a cohesive system are bound to fail.

  • UCrawford

    Thinkyhead,

    We as a society need to not only fund social programs, education, and health care at the government level

    Here’s an idea…why don’t you make that taxation voluntary? You and everyone else who want social programs can pay your tax dollars for it while everyone who doesn’t want the government running wealth redistribution programs can spend their money how they see fit.

    Every person has much to offer in the way of taking care of his neighbor, but as long as we’re being played against one another and spoon-fed the myth of the rugged darwinian individualist all our attempts at creating a cohesive system are bound to fail.

    You’re correct in that everyone has something to offer his neighbor, but then you veer off into a common fallacy that capitalism is a zero-sum game and undermine your own point. The free market does encourage neighbors to work together for mutual gain out of self-interest…it’s not exclusively predatory. Government programs, on the other hand, are entirely predatory since they are based on force. Check out Milton Friedman’s “Free to Choose” sometime, I think you’ll find it interesting.

  • http://www.thelibertypapers.org/author/stephen/ Stephen Littau

    In addition to “Free to Choose,” I would suggest Ayn Rand’s “The Virtue of Selfishness” and “Atlas Shrugged.” Both books expose the Judeo-Christian philosophy (and all the other collectivist philosophies) of sacrifice as an immoral philosophy. Rand believed selfishness to be a very good thing provided that everyone pursues their selfish desires without violating anyone else’s rights.

    I know this sounds like a very radical concept but I encourage you to read about Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism.

    Here are a few good places to start:

    http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pagename=index

    http://www.objectivistcenter.org/

    http://capmag.com/
    http://fpffressminds.blogspot.com/2008/02/john-galts-words-more-relevant-than.html
    http://fpffressminds.blogspot.com/2008/02/john-galt-part-v-viii.html
    http://fpffressminds.blogspot.com/2008/02/john-galt-part-ix-xii.html

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