Monday, November 02, 2009

I'm shocked, SHOCKED, I tell you

ObamaCare: A National Version of RomneyCare:
The details of Congress' health care "reform" legislation are finally coming into focus, and it’s not a pretty picture. Congress is essentially proposing a national version of the failing Massachusetts system.

In 2006, Massachusetts adopted a health care plan which included an individual mandate requiring residents to purchase state-approved health insurance, new regulations on insurance companies specifying who they must cover and what benefits they must provide, and a government-subsidized "public option" for low-income residents. Supporters promised a utopia of "universal coverage" which would save money while improving quality of care. However, the exact opposite has occurred - health costs in Massachusetts have skyrocketed, while patient care has suffered.
Hmmm. So what do we need to know about RomneyCare?
1) Massachusetts’ system of mandatory insurance drives up costs and violates individual rights.
Massachusetts residents are thus required 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." In aggregate, such mandated benefits have increased the costs of health insurance in Massachusetts by up to 50%.

Since 2006, providers have successfully lobbied to include 16 new benefits in the mandatory package (including lay midwives, orthotics, and drug-abuse treatment), and the state legislature is considering 70 more. In the past three years, insurance premiums in Massachusetts have increased by 8-10% each year, nearly twice the national average.
Wow! What else?
2) “Coverage” is not the same as actual medical care.

Because the state-mandated health insurance is so expensive, the government must subsidize the costs for lower-income residents. In response, the state government has cut payments to doctors and hospitals. With such poor reimbursements, physicians have become increasingly reluctant to see new patients.

The Massachusetts Medical Society reports that 40% of family practice doctors and 56% of internal medicine physicians no longer accept new patients - "the highest percentages of primary care practices closed to new patients...ever recorded."
Really? There's more?
Similarly, the average waiting time in Boston to see a specialist has increased to seven weeks. In contrast, waiting times in comparable cities in other states have been decreasing and now average three weeks.

Massachusetts patients may have theoretical "coverage," but that’s not the same as actual medical care.
That sounds awful. But it gets worse.
3) The Massachusetts plan will end in rationing.

Although supporters of the Massachusetts plan had hoped it would save money, the opposite has occurred. The state expects to spend $595 million more in 2009 on its health insurance program than it did in 2006 - a 42% increase.

In response, a special state commission has proposed controlling costs by radically restructuring how doctors and hospitals will be paid. Instead of paying providers based on the services they render, the state would pay a fixed annual fee to cover all of a patient’s medical needs. In theory, this would give providers an incentive to improve efficiency and eliminate unnecessary tests and treatments.
That's horrible. Next thing you'll say is that there are death panels...Oh, wait.
Your doctor will thus be forced to constantly balance your interests against the demands of a hospital administrator who might be deciding whether or not to renew his practice privileges.

Advocates of government-run health care like to claim that it is morally superior because it "doesn’t put a price on human life." But when the government sets an annual spending cap for each patient, then that’s exactly what it will be doing.
It can't be said enough, but our health care is too important to leave it up to a bunch of know-nothing big governemnt types.