Skip to comments.RomneyCare 2.0 With costs rising fast, Massachusetts moves to dictate medical care
Posted on 08/09/2012 4:01:54 AM PDT by grundle
Under the plan, all Massachusetts doctors, hospitals and other providers must register with a new state bureaucracy as a condition of licensurethat 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.
Massachusetts takes 360-degree surveillance and converts it into a panopticon prison. 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.
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 benchmarkthat 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.
(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...
Doctors down - check
Waiting times up - check
Special Deals for Politicians - check
Back to the ObamaCare Future (price controls in Massachusetts)
Natural experiments are rare in politics, but few are as instructive as the prototype for
ObamaCare that Massachusetts set in motion in 2006.
Last month, Democratic Governor Deval Patrick landed a neutron bomb, proposing hard
price controls across almost all Massachusetts health care. State regulators already have
the power to cap insurance premiums, which Mr. Patrick is activating. He also filed a bill
that would give state regulators the power to review the rates of hospitals, physician
groups and some specialty providers.
It doesn't even count as an irony that former Governor Mitt Romney (like President Obama) sold this plan as a way to control spending"
"The Huge Middle Class Tax Increase Coming Our Way With ObamaCare
The former CBO director, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, warns today on the effect ObamaCare
will have on our economy and health care. These facts should be painfully obvious to
those with even one iota of common sense. This bill will lead to a huge middle class tax increase:
Remember when health-care reform was supposed to make life better for the middle
class? That dream began to unravel this past summer when Congress proposed a bill that
failed to include any competition-based reforms that would actually bend the curve of
health-care costs. It fell apart completely when Democrats began papering over the
gaping holes their plan would rip in the federal budget.
As it now stands, the plan proposed by Democrats and the Obama administration would
not only fail to reduce the cost burden on middle-class families, it would make that burden significantly worse.
The bill creates a new health entitlement program that the Congressional Budget Office
(CBO) estimates will grow over the longer term at a rate of 8% annually, which is much
faster than the growth rate of the economy or tax revenues. This is the same growth rate
as the House bill that Sen. Kent Conrad (D., N.D.) deep-sixed by asking the CBO to tell
the truth about its impact on health-care costs.
To avoid the fate of the House bill and achieve a veneer of fiscal sensibility, the Senate
did three things: It omitted inconvenient truths, it promised that future Congresses will
make tough choices to slow entitlement spending, and it dropped the hammer on the middle class.
One inconvenient truth is the fact that Congress will not allow doctors to suffer a 24% cut in their Medicare reimbursements. "
"DEATH PANELS OPEN FOR BUSINESS IN MASSACHUSETTS
In August Sarah Palin wrote extensively about the incredible danger that ObamaCare
would lead to what amounts to "death panels." This of course caused great controversy
with many claiming Palin was either "crazy" or talking about the "end of life"
discussions that were provided for within House Resolution 3200, the prototype
As more Americans delve into the disturbing details of the nationalized health care plan
that the current administration is rushing through Congress, our collective jaw is
dropping, and we're saying not just no, but hell no!
The Democrats promise that a government health care system will reduce the cost of
health care, but as the economist Thomas Sowell has pointed out, government health care
will not reduce the cost; it will simply refuse to pay the cost. And who will suffer the
most when they ration care? The sick, the elderly, and the disabled, of course. The
America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down
Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama's "death panel" so his bureaucrats can
decide, based on a subjective judgment of their "level of productivity in society," whether
they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil. .
Now we have news from Massachusetts, the home of RomneyCare, which should be
looked at as a shining example of why ObamaCare will be an epic failure. Soaring costs
both to the taxpayers and patients was inevitable, and now the effects of these are coming home to roost.
You can't reap these savings without limiting patients' choices in some way,"
"You can't reap these savings without limiting patients' choices in some way," said Paul Levy, CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess.
The state's ambitious plan to shake up how providers are paid could have a hidden price
for patients: Controlling Massachusetts' soaring medical costs, many health care leaders
believe, may require residents to give up their nearly unlimited freedom to go to any
hospital and specialist they want.
Efforts to keep patients in a defined provider network, or direct them to lower-cost
hospitals could be unpopular, especially in a state where more than 40 percent of hospital
care is provided in expensive academic medical centers and where many insurance
policies allow patients access to large numbers of providers. ."
"Paying the Health Tax in Massachusetts [Romneycare]
My husband retired from IBM about a decade ago, and as we aren't old enough for
Medicare we still buy our health insurance through the company. But IBM, with its
typical courtesy, informed us recently that we will be fined by the state.
Why? Because Massachusetts requires every resident to have health insurance, and this
year, without informing us directly, the state had changed the rules in a way that made
our bare-bones policy no longer acceptable. Unless we ponied up for a pricier policy we
neither need nor want-or enrolled in a government-sponsored insurance plan-we
would have to pay $1,000 each year to the state.
My husband's response was muted; I was shaking mad. We hadn't imposed our health-
care costs on anyone else, yet we were being fined ("taxed" was the word the letter used).
We've spent much of our lives putting away what money we could for retirement. We
always intended to be self-sufficient. We've paid off the mortgage on our home, don't
carry credit-card debt, and have savings in case of an emergency. We also have a regular
monthly income of about $3,000, which includes an IBM pension. My husband, 61, earns
a little money on the side, sometimes working as an electronics consultant on renewable
energy projects. I'm 58 and make some money writing science books. We are not
wealthy, but we aren't a risk of becoming a burden on society either. How did we become outlaws? "
"National Health Preview - The Massachusetts debacle, coming soon to your neighborhood."
"Three years ago, the former Massachusetts Governor had the inadvertent good sense to create the "universal" health-care program that the White House and Congress now want to inflict on the entire country.
It is proving to be instructive, as Mr. Romney's foresight previews what President Obama, Max Baucus, Ted Kennedy and Pete Stark are cooking up for everyone else.
In Massachusetts's latest crisis, Governor Deval Patrick and his Democratic colleagues are starting to move down the path that government health plans always follow when spending collides with reality -- i.e., price controls.
As costs continue to rise, the inevitable results are coverage restrictions and waiting periods. It was only a matter of time.
They're trying to manage the huge costs of the subsidized middle-class insurance program that is gradually swallowing the state budget.
The program provides low- or no-cost coverage to about 165,000 residents, or three-fifths of the newly insured, and is budgeted at $880 million for 2010, a 7.3% single-year increase that is likely to be optimistic.
The state's overall costs on health programs have increased by 42% (!) since 2006.
What really whipped along RomneyCare were claims that health care would be less expensive if everyone were covered.
But reducing costs while increasing access are irreconcilable issues.
Mr. Romney should have known better before signing on to this not-so-grand experiment, especially since the state's "free market" reforms that he boasts about have proven to be irrelevant when not fictional.
Only 21,000 people have used the "connector" that was supposed to link individuals to private insurers."
A Very Sick Health Plan; Bay State's 'Grand Experiment' Fails [RomneyCare]
"The Daily News Record, Harrisonburg, Va. - 2009-03-31 "
"For folks increasingly leery of President Obama's plan to radically overhaul America's health-care system,
or 17 percent of the nation's economy, all this could hardly have come at a better time -
that is, fiscal troubles aplenty within Repubican Mitt Romney's brainchild, Massachusetts' "grand experiment" in "universal" health care."
"Initiated on Mr. Romney's gubernatorial watch in 2006, this "experiment" has fallen on hard times, and predictably so.
Even though the Bay State commenced its program with a far smaller percentage of uninsured residents than exists nationwide,
"RomneyCare" is threatening to bankrupt the state. Budgeted for Fiscal Year 2010 at $880 million,
or 7.3 percent more than a year ago, this plan, aimed at providing low- or no-cost health coverage to roughly 165,000 residents,
has caused Massachusetts' overall expenditures on all health-related programs to jump an astounding 42 percent since 2006.
So what does Mr. Romney's successor, Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick, propose as a remedy for these skyrocketing costs?
Well, whaddya think? The standard litany of prescriptions (no pun intended) - price controls and spending caps, for a start, and then, again predictably, waiting periods and limitations on coverage.
As in Europe and Canada, so too in Massachusetts. And, we feel certain, everyone from Mr. Romney to Mr. Patrick said, "It would never happen here."
But then, such things are inevitable when best-laid plans, with all their monstrous costs, run smack-dab into fiscal reality.
Health care in Massachusetts: a warning for America [Romney brings Mass. to its knees]
The Bay State's mandatory insurance law is raising costs, limiting access, and lowering care.
Sedalia, Colo. - In his recent speech to Congress, President Obama could have promoted
healthcare reforms that tapped the power of a truly free market to lower costs and
improve access. Instead, he chose to offer a national version of the failing
"Massachusetts plan" based on mandatory health insurance. This is a recipe for disaster.
Three years ago, Massachusetts adopted a plan requiring all residents to purchase health
insurance, with state subsidies for lower-income residents. But rather than creating a
utopia of high-quality affordable healthcare, the result has been the exact opposite -
skyrocketing costs, worsened access, and lower quality care.
Under any system of mandatory insurance, the government must necessarily define what
constitutes acceptable insurance. In Massachusetts, this has created a giant magnet for
special interest groups seeking to have their own pet benefits included in the required
package. Massachusetts residents are thus forced to purchase benefits they may neither
need nor want, such as in vitro fertilization, chiropractor services, and autism treatment -
raising insurance costs for everyone to reward a few with sufficient political "pull."
Although similar problems exist in other states, Massachusetts' system of mandatory
insurance delivers the entire state population to the special interests. ."
"'Severe' doc shortage seen hiking wait time The Boston Herald ^ | 9/15/09 | Christine McConville As the state's shortage of primary care doctors grows, people are waiting longer for medical care, according to a new survey by the Massachusetts Medical Society. "The shortage is getting more severe," said Dr. Mario Motta, the medical society's president. The state's health care dilemma can serve as a valuable lesson for a nation whose residents are locked in a frenzied debate about health care reform, he added."
"Health costs to rise again.( RomneyCare )
The state's major health insurers plan to raise premiums by about 10 percent next year,
prompting many employers to reduce benefits and shift additional costs to workers.
The higher insurance costs undermine a key tenet of the state's landmark health care law
passed two years ago, as well as President Obama's effort to overhaul health care. In
addition to mandating insurance for most residents, the Massachusetts bill sought to rein
in health care costs. With Washington looking to the Massachusetts experience, fears
about higher costs have become a stumbling block to passing a national health care bill."
"Nation's ill-advised to follow Mass. plan [Health plan a failure]
September 17, 2009 The canary is dead.
Massachusetts, the model for the ObamaCare universal insurance plan, is the canary in
the health care coal mine. Yesterday, its obit appeared on the front page of both The Wall
Street Journal and The Boston Globe-Democrat.
Both papers reported that our Commonwealth Care reform isn't working as planned. A
new law that was supposed to control costs and drive prices down (sound familiar?) has
instead sent costs soaring. "
"Bay State Insurance Premiums Highest in Country - Boston Globe August 22, 2009
Massachusetts has the most expensive family health insurance premiums in the country,
according to a new analysis that highlights the state's challenge in trying to rein in medical costs
after passage of a landmark 2006 law that mandated coverage for nearly everyone...
The report by the Commonwealth Fund, a nonprofit health care foundation,
showed that the average family premium for plans offered by employers in Massachusetts was $13,788 in 2008,
40 percent higher than in 2003. Over the same period, premiums nationwide rose an average of 33 percent..."
"Massachusetts: the laboratory for ObamaCare
Cato Institute looks a little farther down the coast to Massachusetts, where the state began its own health-care reform complete
with individual mandates and a government plan.
Cato calls it an "almost perfect" mirror of ObamaCare, complete with promises of reducing cost and extending care - that failed in both respects:
Massachusetts shows that such a mandate would oust millions from their low-cost health plans and force them to pay higher premiums.
"Massachusetts' Obama-like reforms increase health costs, wait times [RomneyCare]
"If you are curious about how President Barack Obama's health plan would affect your health care, look no farther than Massachusetts.
In 2006, the Bay State enacted a slate of reforms that almost perfectly mirror the plan of Obama and congressional Democrats.
.... Premiums are growing 21 to 46 percent faster than the national average
in part because Massachusetts' individual mandate has effectively outlawed affordable health plans."
"Mass. Pushes Rationing to Control Universal Healthcare Costs (RomneyCare)
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.
No fan of Romney care, but this is a brand new law passed by a Democrat state house and state senate, and signed by a Democrat governor. This was NOT part of the health care bill that Romney signed.
Live with it. HERE IT WAS SIGNED:
"It's a feel-good story, this Romney thing.
Romney is an ascendant guy."
Sen. John Kerry (D) to Don Imus on RomneyCARE:
"I like this health care bill".
Sen. Hillary Clinton (D) on RomneyCARE:
"To come up with a bipartisan plan in this polarized environment is commendable."
It’s like that directive from “Atlas Shrugged”.
I don’t really feel like living in the world of that book, yet here I am.
No, it was not. BUT, it was the inevitable result of what happens when the government foot gets in the door.
It was only a matter of time.....
Can you name one government program that has not grown and expanded over the years?
I hate Romneycare as much as I hate Obamacare
The 50-year run of paying for hospital and physician services with OPM is coming to an end.
It is inevitable, even just, that if you are taxing a man by force to pay for someone else’s doctor visit or hospital stay, that the man has some say in how his money is to be spent.
“it was the inevitable result of what happens when the government foot gets in the door.”
Costs were (as predicted by actual conservatives) rising rapidly out of control due to RomneyCare; this is an attempt to make matters worse -- oops! . . . to control costs -- yeah, that's it.
I guess you are so naive that you have never heard the old phrase “the camel’s nose under the tent.”
Romney was the “nose” and now the rest of the camel is coming into the tent.
If you have ever stopped and observed ANY government regulation, no matter how small, it soon becomes a gangrenous sore that continues to grow in size without any limitations.
That’s a rule that always applies...no matter what...and happens as sure as the sun rises in the morning.
Romney was the started the infection and now it feeds on itself. When (and if) he gets into office you will see the Obamacare sore start to grow with Romney’s help and nurturing, for it is his legacy to the world.
Hmmm.....maybe there will be one less red state soon. The old liberals will be rationed out of their “free” health care. There are always unintended consequences in government-run “services.”
That's gonna piss off the insurance companies, which have been doing just that for years.
We are losing our country to godless socialism and what does the GOP do? Run an abortionist/homosexualist statist whose socialist RomneyCare program was the blueprint and impetus for ObamaCare! Screw that!! Ill vote for the GOPs candidate for the presidency when they run a CONSERVATIVE!! Otherwise, to hell with them!! The GOP is fast cementing their place as part of the problem! Wake up America!!
No I will not vote for an abortionist for president. Period. Its no secret. Ive been posting that I will not vote for Rudy/Romney abortionist for many years.
Welcome to Free Republic, Americas exclusive site for God, Family, Country, Life & Liberty conservatives!
Romney does not qualify on any count!
“The Massachusetts left complains that this government control is too weak because the delinquents can only be fined $500,000 for disobeying the commission’s dictates.”
Oh sure, that will prevent doctors from taking early retirement. It’s not just the low reimbursement and rationing that will hasten the physician exodus, it is the threat of financial ruin and the very real prospect of prison that will have phsicians dropping out of government insurance plans. Those near retirement, especially primary care, will stop taking insurance and go to an all cash practice while they still are allowed to do so. Middle aged physicians will migrate to hospital practices where they will be less productive because of fewer incentives. Younger docs will become acclimated and accepting of lower status and wages; the emphasis for the ambitious ones will be making profitable political connections. But most of the younger docs will be more concerned about fighting for better work conditions and longer vacations.
Here's my favorite gov gimme to rail against;
The Earned Income Tax Credit, whereby people who pay in little or no federal income taxes receive huge "refunds", socialism/communism at its finest. First proposed by Richard Nixon, he didn't stick around long enough to see it enacted, signed into law by Gerald Ford and increased under every administration since, without exception.
Over the years when a conservative politician brings up the fact that it should be at least slowed down a bit, every liberal has a hissy fit and accuses republicans of "hating poor people" and then the republicans slink away in shame.
True. But this new law is considered as the natural outcome of Romneycare, even though Romney himself did not create this new law.
I was thinking the same thing.
This is a surprise only to those ignorant of history; the State Machinery of a Marxist government invariably expands until it border on - and eventually crosses - the line of tyranny.
Wonder what the Founders think of all this....
He might even be able to get my vote.
Of course this is part of “nose under the tent” and all that jazz, and of course gov’t destroys what it touches, but all I did was to state the fact that this particular piece of legislation was NOT part of the original bill, nor were a bunch of other mandates enacted since, like prescription medication. I’ll kick Romney for what he did, but he shouldn’t bear the burden of Deval’s bills as well.
I agree with you that anyone who studies how government grows and grows and grows would not be surprised by this. But there are a lot of ignorant people who haven’t studied history very much.
OK. you’re right. It’s not fair to blame Ronmey for this new law. But it is perfectly OK to make the observation that this new law is what one would expect to come after Romneycare. Whenever government legislation causes a problem, we can expect that the government will try to pass even more legislation to “fix” it, instead of repealing the bad legislation that caused the problem in the first place.
So will old conservatives, medicare is the only option for the non rich.