Monday, August 6, 2012

The Disaster that Romneycare is Becoming

Anyone who understands basic economics and how interventionist government leads to greater interventionist government  knew this was going to happen. Market price signals are destroyed, supply and demand distortions start to occur and the regulative power centers are captured bu insiders. Costs go up, care goes down and the only solution the interventionists can think of are more interventions.

WSJ has the details (my bold):
So Boston's latest adventure deserves particular scrutiny, since odds are its methods are coming soon to a hospital near you. After more than a year and a half of debate, last week the legislature passed a far-reaching "cost containment" bill that Democratic Governor Deval Patrick is about to sign. It is the inevitable postscript to the model that Mitt Romney introduced in 2006. 
The claim then, as with the Affordable Care Act, was that health care would be less expensive if everyone had insurance. Soon Massachusetts Democrats leaked that their political strategy all along was to expand coverage only, because had RomneyCare seriously squeezed providers it never would have overcome industry opposition. "Bending the curve" on costs could be saved for another day, once a vast new government liability was locked in.
Sure enough, 79% of the newly insured are on public programs. Health costs—Medicaid, RomneyCare's subsidies, public-employee compensation—will consume some 54% of the state budget in 2012, up from about 24% in 2001. Over the same period state health spending in real terms has jumped by 59%, while education has fallen 15%, police and firemen by 11% and roads and bridges by 23%.
Meanwhile, Massachusetts spends more per capita on health care than any other state and therefore more than anywhere else in the industrialized world. Costs are 27% higher than the U.S. average, 15% higher when adjusted for the state's higher wages and its concentration of academic medical centers and specialists...
The health-care postman always rings twice, and now medicine itself is the target, instead of unsympathetic insurance companies. Under the plan, all Massachusetts doctors, hospitals and other providers must register with a new state bureaucracy as a condition of licensure—that is, permission to practice. They'll be required to track and report their financial performance, price and cost trends, state-sanctioned quality measures, market share and other metrics...
An 11-member board known as the Health Policy Commission will use the data to set and enforce rules to ensure that total Massachusetts health spending, public and private, grows no more than projected gross state product through 2017, and 0.5 percentage points lower thereafter. (And Paul Ryan's Medicare projections are unrealistic?)
No registered provider is allowed to make "any material change to its operations or governance structure," the bill says, without the commission's approval. The commission can also rewrite the terms of provider contracts with insurers and payment levels and methods if they are "deemed to be excessive."
As the commission polices the market, it can decide to supervise the behavior of any provider that exceeds some to-be-specified individual benchmark—that is, doctors and hospitals that are spending too much on patient care. These delinquents must submit a "performance improvement plan" that the commission must endorse. 
In other words, the commission is empowered to control the practice and organization of medicine. 
Bottom line, healthcare in Massachusetts, i.e. Romneycare, is becoming a centrally planned sewer pit. And Obamacare is Romneycare on steroids. Stay healthy my friends, the quality of healthcare is about to nosedive in America. It won't happen over night, but it will creep up on us with centrally planned micro-regulation after micro-regulation. If you think TSA treatment of passengers is bureaucratic madness, mixed with crony radiation machines, way for the absurdity of medical treatment that is a combination of Obamacare and crony pharma.  

Romneycare is only the teaser.


  1. The seasteaders should be planning for a medical oasis instead of a technical one.

    1. Roger that, Anon.

    2. I see it all now. It's a nefarious plot by the airlines to pump up medical tourism!

    3. LOL Capn.

      There's actually quite a bit of medical tourism now. My wife is Taiwanese, and it's not uncommon for people to plan trips back to Taiwan saving enough money on a procedure to pay for the airfare & more. They do have some kind of socialized medical care there as well that I have yet to fully understand. The economics can't possibly support such a system long-term.

      I am serious about the seasteaders, though. I also think Mexico has a tremendous opportunity in Tijuana if they were only smart enough to capitalize on it.

    4. A while ago I quipped to my dog's veterinarian that if Obamacare passed, I'd be seeing her when I get sick.

  2. "No registered provider is allowed to make "any material change to its operations or governance structure," the bill says, without the commission's approval."

    Does that mean a doctor can't shutter his practice w/o the commission's approval? Didn't think I'd be using the term "medical slavery" so soon.

  3. Next on their to do list, will be to require doctors to accept ONLY Medicaid or Medicare for payment, as a condition of licensure...preventing preventing them from opting out of these plans

  4. The medical system was a disaster long before Romney and Obama tried to put band aids on some of the most egregiously dysfunctional elements of "modern medicine".

    1. Funny that you would call what was previously the best medical system in the world a "disaster". I smell agenda.

  5. So much of what I read in the news today is taken almost verbatim from Atlas Shrugged... a book written 50 years ago that the Left is still in denial over.