The people who oppose Obamacare have come up with a long list of “doomsday” scenarios that will happen once the plan is fully implemented. The plan’s supporters say the warnings are just partisan politics and total nonsense. But if you look at what’s happening in Massachusetts; businesses dumping plans, doctors refusing coverage and insurers leaving the state, it seems as if “the nays have it.” According to Sally Pipes in the NY Post, the Bay State is giving us a good view of the future of the rest of the country and the coming squeeze on the federal budget.
- The law didn’t reduce expensive emergency-room use as predicted. Instead, emergency-room visits have climbed by 9 percent, or about 3 million visits, from 2004 to 2008. But it’s bankrupting the state, while the pressures on small businesses and on health-care insurers and providers continue to build toward the breaking point.
- Health care now consumes 35 percent of the state budget, up from 22 percent in 2000. The governor recently asked Washington for $473 million to help make the Massachusetts reform work — on top of the $1.2 billion in support the feds have already kicked in over three years, more than $3,000 per person in the state. Since the Washington does not have a “Washington” to ask for more money, when that happens with Obamacare it will mean even higher taxes than the plan already calls for.
- Reimbursements are already so low under the state-subsidized plans (most of whose 152,000 enrollees pay nothing) that doctors are already refusing to accept new patients with that “coverage.”The only solution will be higher taxes and/or health care rationing. It looks as if granny wont be getting that pacemaker after all.
- Small businesses are clearly finding it necessary to dump their employees on the public health plans. The Boston Globe recently reported on a broker who helps firms do just that; his practice is booming (the free market fulfilling a need). He’s seen about 90 business owners terminate their plans since April.
Just as is predicted with Obamacare, the fact that insurance companies have to cover everyone, regardless of health status, is driving costs up.
- The maximum fine for not buying insurance is $1,116, far below the cost of a private plan. So some people are plainly waiting until they face a major medical expense to buy — and then dumping the coverage as soon as the problem’s resolved.
- The state says that the number of short-term insured tripled from 3,508 in 2006 to 17,177 in 2008 — and that the problem adds up to 1.5 percent to the cost of insurance for everyone else. Patrick and his allies are looking at limiting the periods when anyone can enroll to once or twice a year.
- The state is also determined to force insurance companies to eat more costs. But that can’t keep happening, either: Most of the big insurers compromised on rates this year after a months-long fight — but the state Insurance Appeals Board had ruled that the original, higher rates were reasonable, given what insurers must pay to hospitals and doctors.
Tufts Health Plan CEO Jim Roosevelt spoke the obvious: If the state keeps insisting on making health insurance a money-losing business, it “will ultimately force insurers to go out of business or leave the market.”
Massachusetts is a trailblazer, look at the health care problems facing it today…they will be America’s problems tomorrow.