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Thread: Romney: Obama could learn a thing or two about health care reform from Massachusetts

  1. #1

    Default Romney: Obama could learn a thing or two about health care reform from Massachusetts

    Mr. President, what's the rush?
    Obama could learn a thing or two about health care reform from Massachusetts. One, time is not the enemy. Two, neither are the Republicans.

    By Mitt Romney | USA Today

    Health care cannot be handled the same way as the stimulus and cap-and-trade bills. With those, the president stuck to the old style of lawmaking: He threw in every special favor imaginable, ground it up and crammed it through a partisan Democratic Congress. Health care is simply too important to the economy, to employment and to America's families to be larded up and rushed through on an artificial deadline. There's a better way. And the lessons we learned in Massachusetts could help Washington find it.

    No other state has made as much progress in covering their uninsured as Massachusetts. The bill that made it happen wasn't a rush job. Shortly after becoming governor, I worked in a bipartisan fashion with Democrats to insure all our citizens. It took almost two years to find a solution. When we did, it passed the 200-member legislature with only two dissenting votes. It had the support of the business community, the hospital sector and insurers. For health care reform to succeed in Washington, the president must finally do what he promised during the campaign: Work with Republicans as well as Democrats.

    Massachusetts also proved that you don't need government insurance. Our citizens purchase private, free-market medical insurance. There is no "public option." With more than 1,300 health insurance companies, a federal government insurance company isn't necessary. It would inevitably lead to massive taxpayer subsidies, to lobbyist-inspired coverage mandates and to the liberals' dream: a European-style single-payer system. To find common ground with skeptical Republicans and conservative Democrats, the president will have to jettison left-wing ideology for practicality and dump the public option.

    The cost issue

    Our experience also demonstrates that getting every citizen insured doesn't have to break the bank. First, we established incentives for those who were uninsured to buy insurance. Using tax penalties, as we did, or tax credits, as others have proposed, encourages "free riders" to take responsibility for themselves rather than pass their medical costs on to others. This doesn't cost the government a single dollar. Second, we helped pay for our new program by ending an old one — something government should do more often. The federal government sends an estimated $42 billion to hospitals that care for the poor: Use those funds instead to help the poor buy private insurance, as we did.

    When our bill passed three years ago, the legislature projected that our program would cost $725 million in 2009. At $723 million, next year's forecast is pretty much on target. When you calculate all the savings, including that from the free hospital care we eliminated, the net cost to the state is approximately $350 million. The watchdog Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation concluded that our program's cost is "relatively modest" and "well within initial projections."

    And if subsidies and coverages are reined in, as I've suggested, the Massachusetts program could actually break even. One thing is certain: The president must insist on a program that doesn't add to our spending burden. We simply cannot afford another trillion-dollar mistake.

    The Massachusetts reform aimed at getting virtually all our citizens insured. In that, it worked: 98% of our citizens are insured, 440,000 previously uninsured are covered and almost half of those purchased insurance on their own, with no subsidy. But overall, health care inflation has continued its relentless rise. Here is where the federal government can do something we could not: Take steps to stop or slow medical inflation.

    At the core of our health cost problem is an incentive problem. Patients don't care what treatments cost once they pass the deductible. And providers are paid more when they do more; they are paid for quantity, not quality. We will tame runaway costs only when we change incentives. We might do what some countries have done: Require patients to pay a portion of their bill, except for certain conditions. And providers could be paid an annual fixed fee for the primary care of an individual and a separate fixed fee for the treatment of a specific condition. These approaches have far more promise than the usual bromides of electronic medical records, transparency and pay-for-performance, helpful though they will be.

    Try a business-like analysis

    I spent most of my career in the private sector. When well-managed businesses considered a major change of some kind, they engaged in extensive analysis, brought in outside experts, exhaustively evaluated every alternative, built consensus among those who would be affected and then moved ahead. Health care is many times bigger than all the companies in the Dow Jones combined. And the president is rushing changes that dwarf what any business I know has faced.

    Republicans are not the party of "no" when it comes to health care reform. This Republican is proud to be the first governor to insure all his state's citizens. Other Republicans such as Rep. Paul Ryan and Sens. Bob Bennett and John McCain, among others, have proposed their own plans. Republicans will join with the Democrats if the president abandons his government insurance plan, if he endeavors to craft a plan that does not burden the nation with greater debt, if he broadens his scope to reduce health costs for all Americans, and if he is willing to devote the rigorous effort, requisite time and bipartisan process that health care reform deserves.

    Mitt Romney was governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007.
    The Massachusetts plan

    • Everyone must buy health insurance or face tax penalties.

    • Hundreds of millions of dollars being spent on free hospital care were converted into subsidies to help the needy buy insurance.

    • A health insurance "exchange" was established to help connect the uninsured with private health plans at more affordable rates.

    • Health plans can offer consumers higher deductibles and more restrictive physician and hospital networks in order to lower costs.

    • Businesses with 11 or more workers that do not offer insurance must pay a $295 per employee fee.

    Source: Massachusetts Health Connector Authority


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  3. #2


    Massachusetts Pushes Rationing to Control Universal Healthcare Costs

    Thomas R. Eddlem | The New American
    19 July 2009

    A 10-member Massachusetts state healthcare advisory board unanimously recommended that the state begin rationing healthcare to keep the state’s marquee universal health care program afloat financially.

    The July 16 recommendations, the Boston Globe explained, would result in a situation where “patients could find it harder to get procedures they want but are of questionable benefit if doctors are operating within a budget. And they might find it more difficult to get care wherever they want, if primary doctors push to keep patients within their accountable care organization.”

    The Globe stressed that the recommendations would “dramatically change how doctors and hospitals are paid, essentially putting providers on a budget as a way to control exploding healthcare costs and improve the quality of care.” "Budget" is a more politically acceptable word for rationing. The Globe also noted that “consumer advocates said patients are going to have to be educated about the new system.” Yes, apparently they will have to get used to having their healthcare rationed.

    Massachusetts enacted a universal healthcare mandate in a partnership between the liberal and overly Democratic state legislature and Republican Governor Mitt Romney in 2006, and many Obama administration officials view their bipartisan compromise as the model upon which a national healthcare system should be based. The state legislators and Romney agreed that the central principle of this universal coverage would be that anyone who didn’t buy health insurance or sign up for a state program should be fined by the state. The landmark legislation also set up a state-run healthcare plan that individuals and families could subscribe to if they couldn’t afford private coverage. Under the 2006 bipartisan political bargain, Mitt Romney got to say on the presidential campaign trail that he had instituted universal health care in Massachusetts and that it wasn’t entirely “socialized medicine.” And the liberal Democrats in the state house (who outnumber Republicans by more than a six-to-one margin) got to say that they enacted universal coverage with an alternative to the heartless insurance companies.

    The Massachusetts system imposes a fine on uninsured residents that's equal to “50 per cent of the minimum insurance premium for creditable coverage for which the individual would have qualified during the previous year. ” The fine is paid via the state income tax return, and can run up to $1,068 in 2009, which is about a five-fold increase from the $219 maximum fine excised just two years earlier. Currently, the "affordable" rates under the state plan for a family of three or more making $80,000 per year in Massachusetts is $6,828 dollars per year. That will soon translate into a $3,414 fine for lack of coverage, assuming that rates stay the same.

    But costs are not staying the same. Although many Massachusetts citizens have resisted purchasing the state-run insurance (despite the wildly increasing fines), the recommended changes are being made primarily because of dramatically increasing costs in the state-run healthcare program. The Globe reported that “Commission members stressed that failing to control medical spending - which is growing by more than 8 percent annually in Massachusetts, driven largely by the high price and heavy use of hospitals - could threaten the state’s model health insurance law and bankrupt employers and patients.”

    Even the leftist Daily Kos' bloggers admit that Massachusetts’ experiment in government-mandated universal healthcare is a failure, though those same bloggers still support socialized medicine. One Daily Kos blogger wrote this week: “The fact is that Obama's and the Democrats' proposals are terrible and the GOP is correct that none of the initial goals will be met. The failing of Massachusetts do not support eschewing reform, however.”

    The last part of the statement by the Daily Kos blogger is reminiscent of George Will’s satirical summary of Trotsky acolyte Isaac Deutscher’s worldview that “proof of Trotsky's farsightedness is that none of his predictions has yet come true.” The very concept that government, which is legendary for waste and inefficiency, could deliver services better than the private sector would be rather humorous if it weren’t so likely that it is on the verge of enactment by Congress. To believe in the oxymoron of "government efficiency," despite overwhelming historical and practical experience, requires real, though misplaced, faith.


    Ron Paul Forum's Mission Statement:

    Inspired by US Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, this site is dedicated to facilitating grassroots initiatives that aim to restore a sovereign limited constitutional Republic based on the rule of law, states' rights and individual rights. We seek to enshrine the original intent of our Founders to foster respect for private property, seek justice, provide opportunity, and to secure individual liberty for ourselves and our posterity.

  4. #3


    Rommney Care!

    Ride the fail boat to good health!

  5. #4


    Romney is so $#@!ing dumb.

    I can't believe some people think he's a conservative. He did RomneyCare and said he was for the TARP Bailout last November.

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    Dear Mr. Romney,

    You are sure to make the bestest afterlife-planet governor that ever was.

  7. #6


    Romney is a parasite, whether be lining his own pockets or those of his power elitists.

    From Romney's time at Bain capital and the corporate raiders in slice and dice companies, to leeching off of company cash reserves and over funded pensions.

    Romney lit the fuse to the Power Keg of Health Care Disaster in Massachusetts. Many, still aren't cover, quality has gone down, costs have risen, and still massively in Debt.

    Manchurian Mitt & his Mandates prove his track record in politics are a disaster.

    Last edited by HOLLYWOOD; 07-31-2009 at 02:59 PM.
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  8. #7


    i think i need to bump my polls with mitt romney's name in them... i sense that a second run for the presidency is being toyed with...

  9. #8


    Too busy to re-type my comments: shameless link to a blog post I wrote if you want my short pithy cynical opinion:
    * Enforce Border Security – America should be guarding her own borders and enforcing her own laws instead of policing the world and implementing UN mandates.

    * No Amnesty - The Obama Administration’s endorsement of so-called “Comprehensive Immigration Reform,” granting amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants, will only encourage more law-breaking.

    * Abolish the Welfare State – Taxpayers cannot continue to pay the high costs to sustain this powerful incentive for illegal immigration. As Milton Friedman famously said, you can’t have open borders and a welfare state.

    * End Birthright Citizenship – As long as illegal immigrants know their children born here will be granted U.S. citizenship, we’ll never be able to control our immigration problem.

    Reprinted from [Nov. 29, 2011]

  10. #9


    Notice the 1st sentence above... Romney was all for the stimulus and cap and trade. I seriously can't wait to hear the next person talk about Romney being a conservative, it's gonna be fun.

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