Skip to comments.Mass. Pushes Rationing to Control Universal Healthcare Costs (RomneyCare)
Posted on 07/30/2009 3:03:45 PM PDT by ellery
A 10-member Massachusetts state healthcare advisory board unanimously recommended that the state begin rationing healthcare to keep the states 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 didnt 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 couldnt 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 wasnt 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.
Under the Massachusetts system, a fine on uninsured residents is being phased in that will soon equal 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 states 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 Wills satirical summary of Trotsky acolyte Isaac Deutschers 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 werent 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.
this is so obvious that pelosi and the obamanation have to feel like they are gods and can disregard all proof of their risky and reckless plans
Election2008 Spoiler Mitt Romney chortles,
as he inflicts his socialized medicine (HillaryCARE=RomneyCARE)
upon the Massachusetts citizens, of course without any of their votes (The ROMNEY-Way).
"Massachusetts Universal Healthcare System Breaking Down Already
When Governor Mitt Romney instituted a universal healthcare plan for Massachusetts in 2006 he proclaimed it a conservative idea.
But has it worked? Has it been successful?
For a time, many thought it might but cracks in the system are already being seen.
These cracks are instructive as a lesson on how Obamacare will crash and burn just like Romneycare is now in the process of doing.
One of the early claims that helped push Romneycare through to law was the insistence by its supporters that Emergency Room visits would fall as more and more citizens became covered under healthcare insurance.
Since ER care is far more expensive than a doctor's care, it was thought that more people with insurance would ease the overcrowding of ERs as well as lower the overall costs of healthcare.
However, a flaw in this logic has been seen throughout the state. As more people became insured, more people demanded the care of doctors. These doctors became overloaded with patients and waiting lists for doctors got longer and longer.
As a result, ERs in Massachusetts have not seen a downturn in visits. On the contrary, it seems that ER visits are actually on the upswing in the Bay State. In fact, in 2007 they were higher than the national average by 20 percent...
"Hospital patients 'left in agony'"
"Patients were allegedly left screaming in pain and drinking from flower vases on a nightmare hospital ward.
Between 400 and 1,200 more people died than would have been expected at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust over three years, a damning Healthcare Commission report said.
The watchdog's investigation found inadequately trained staff who were too few in number, junior doctors left alone in charge at night and patients left without food, drink or medication as their operations were repeatedly cancelled.
Patients were left in pain or forced to sit in soiled bedding for hours at a time and were not given their regular medication, the Commission heard.
Receptionists with no medical training were expected to assess patients coming in to A&E, some of whom needed urgent care.
Sir Bruce Keogh, medical director of the NHS, said there had been a "gross and terrible breach" of patients' trust and a "complete failure of leadership".
The Healthcare Commission's chairman Sir Ian Kennedy said the investigation followed concerns about a higher than normal death rate at the Trust, which senior managers could not explain.
He said: "The resulting report is a shocking story. Our report tells a story of appalling standards of care and chaotic systems for looking after patients. These are words I have not previously used in any report.
"There were inadequacies in almost every stage of caring for patients. There was no doubt that patients will have suffered and some of them will have died as a result."
Julie Bailey, 47, was so concerned about the care being given to her 86-year-old mother Bella at Stafford Hospital that she and her relatives slept in a chair at her bedside for eight weeks.
She said: "We saw patients drinking out of..."
"Paramedics told: 'Let accident victims die if they want to' in new row over patient rights (UK)"
Health Service paramedics have been told not to resuscitate terminally-ill patients who register on a controversial new database to say they want to die.
It has been set up by the ambulance service in London for hundreds of people who have only a few months to live so that they may register their 'death wishes' in advance.
It is believed to be the first in the country, but other trusts around the country are expected to follow suit to comply with Government guidelines which state that patients' wishes should be taken into account, even at the point of death.
Patients' groups and doctors have welcomed the scheme, but it has met opposition from pro-life groups who say it violates the sanctity of life.
The system would come into play if a cancer patient, for example, was in serious pain and rang 999 for help to alleviate the suffering.
But if the paramedics arrived and the patient was close to death, he or she would not be resuscitated if such a request was registered on the database.
This would also be the case if a patient on the database was being transferred between hospitals, and had a heart attack.
Dominica Roberts from the Pro-Life Alliance said: 'This is very sad and very dangerous. It's another step along the slippery slope, at the bottom of which is euthanasia as we see in Holland. 'Paramedics should be there to save lives. They should not be there to let patients die. The medical profession should not agree with someone's belief that their life is worthless.'"
"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 States Grand Experiment Fails [RomneyCare]
"The Daily News Record, Harrisonburg, Va. - 2009-03-31 "
"For folks increasingly leery of President Obamas plan to radically overhaul Americas health-care system,
or 17 percent of the nations economy, all this could hardly have come at a better time
that is, fiscal troubles aplenty within Repubican Mitt Romneys brainchild, Massachusetts grand experiment in universal health care."
"Initiated on Mr. Romneys 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. Romneys 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.
Thousands of patients with terminal cancer were dealt a blow last night after a decision was made to deny them life prolonging drugs.
The Government's rationing body said two drugs for advanced breast cancer and a rare form of stomach cancer were too expensive for the NHS.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence is expected to confirm guidance in the next few weeks that will effectively ban their use.
The move comes despite a pledge by Nice to be more flexible in giving life-extending drugs
to terminally-ill cancer patients after a public outcry last year over 'death sentence' decisions."
"Patients Forced To Wait Hours In Ambulances Parked Outside A&E Departments
"An investigation by The Sunday Telegraph has found that thousands of 999 patients are being left to wait in ambulances in car parks and holding bays, or in hospital corridors in some cases for more than five hours before they can even join the queue for urgent treatment.
Experts warn that hospitals are deliberately delaying when they accept patients or are diverting them to different sites
in order to meet Government targets to treat people within fours hours of admitting them."
Mitt Romney is a fricken socialist idiot! The enemy within.
Romney’s ignorance is not going away anytime soon...
Romney just recently gave this mess in Mass an A...
Good bye to those in Mass that needed health care help the most....hello soylent green without the food additives (for now).
Government run healthcare(socialism) ending where it always does...in debt,destruction and death.
We should put this is the ‘Romney file’.
Ahh yes, the economic “genius” Mitt Romney’s plan at work.
“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.”
What kind of convoluted logic is this???
Thanks, Mitt.....you socialistic fool.
“What kind of convoluted logic is this???”
I suppose they think that if a Republican had not been involved, it wouldn’t have been poisoned. Or something.
"A political party cannot be all things to all people.
It must represent certain fundamental beliefs
which must not be compromised to political expediency
or simply to swell its numbers."
-- President Ronald Reagan
"We don't intend to turn the Republican Party
over to the traitors in the battle just ended.
We will have no more of those candidates who are pledged
to the same goals as our opposition and who seek our support.
Turning the Party over to the so-called moderates
wouldnt make any sense at all.""
-- President Ronald Reagan
This is impossible because government intervention in the health care market will never result in rationing.
0bummer told me so.
Mitt Romney 2012!
What’s truly amazing is that RomneyCare is such a spectacular failure that it only took three years to get to this point!
Even most bad government programs tend to chug along for a decade or so before the poor results become too obvious to ignore...
Of course, as you mention, Romney continues to ignore the fruits of his great Massachusetts collaboration.
The stink from this mess in Mass will follow Romney for the rest of his days.
Cannot tell a real conservative how wonderful he is when this is trailing around behind him
I predict that Romney has forever thrown away his chances of ever becoming a Presidential nominee of the Republicans ever in his lifetime. Maybe the Independents will look at him, but I will never vote for him.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.