Healthcare Plan Forced on all Massachusetts Residents with Big Hail Mary Pass

In a move certain to make both the socialists and the fascists content, mandatory health insurance is almost the law in Massachusetts. That’s right, you have to pay for it whether you want it or not. Even if you can’t afford it. The House approved the bill on a 154-2 vote and the Senate was unanamous with a vote of 37-0. Governor Romney intends to sign the bill. As they’ll be providing lower than market value insurance to some people, the rest will have to pick up the tab with increased premiums and taxation.

The Boston Globe is already critical of the plan. Here’s some snapshots from three of their writers. Liz Kowalczyk gets the red quotes, Joan Vennochi gets the green and Scott Helman gets the blue ones.

The first-of-its-kind healthcare plan passed by the Legislature provides Governor Mitt Romney valuable political capital, but it is also fraught with potential perils as he aims to make the top tier of Republican presidential contenders.

Romney is facing criticism from some conservatives that the bill he helped engineer would expand government and impose a new financial burden on businesses. The plan has already come under attack from the libertarian Cato Institute in Washington, D.C., the op-ed columns of the Wall Street Journal, antitax activists such as Grover Norquist, and MSNBC pundit Tucker Carlson.

MASSACHUSETTS POLITICIANS just built the healthcare McMansion of their dreams. Now, where do they get the money to underwrite the mortgage?

Like many a thrilled new homeowner, they’re not sure.

Uninsured residents with incomes over 300 percent of the poverty level, about 200,000 people, will be on their own to pay the full cost.

A major question is whether this group will be able to afford coverage. ”That is unknown,” said John McDonough, executive director of Health Care for All, an advocacy group based in Boston. ”We’re still waiting for someone to show us what a plan would look like. Show us the money.”

In the legislation, lawmakers did not allow for very-high-deductible plans or for plans that drastically limit benefits such as mental health care and infertility treatments, approaches that would have cut premiums further.

At the same time, they hope there is enough money to cover commitments made in this sweeping healthcare package — especially the commitment to extend health insurance coverage to 95 percent of the population within three years.

But to some degree, the foundation for this plan is a mixture of euphoria and hope. And that’s not enough.

”If Massachusetts is the national leader in setting up a new healthcare model, we have an extra-special responsibility to be sure that what we legislate will stand the test of financial scrutiny,” said Ellen Lutch Bender, a longtime healthcare analyst.

Even some unabashed supporters of the package have their doubts:

”This is cutting-edge conceptual healthcare policy,” said Democratic state Representative Harriett L. Stanley of West Newbury, a member of the legislative healthcare financing committee who voted for the measure. ”But we don’t yet know what it’s really going to cost us or where we’re going to get the money from. To some extent you might call it a Hail Mary pass.”

Romney, who considers the healthcare initiative one of his major accomplishments as governor, is sensitive to such criticism and has been careful to couch the bill in Republican-friendly terms. He made sure at a Monday press conference to say the plan was ”market-based” and endorsed ”personal responsibility.” […]

Julie Teer, political director for Romney’s political action committee, said in an e-mail: ”The governor took a Democrat ideal — getting everyone health insurance — and applied conservative Republican free-market principles to achieving it.”

On his blog, which provides daily, informative analysis of the ups and downs of the healthcare bill, McDonough lists these concerns:

”The level of employer responsibility is minimal and does not come close to the cost borne by employers who do cover their workers; the bill leaves in place the unfair $160 million assessment on employers who do cover their workers; the individual mandate does not define clear affordability for when workers would be penalized. This will be a vitally important standard moving forward.”

As Judith Meredith, another healthcare advocate who celebrated passage of the legislation, said: ”The funding part worries us all.”

The cost of extending health insurance coverage to an additional 515,000 people will be shared by business, individuals, and the government.

Whatever happened to the simple concept of true free market healthcare, where the consumer voluntarily pays the heathcare provider simple cash for the services or products received?

Stephen Gordon

I like tasteful cigars, private property, American whiskey, fast cars, hot women, pre-bailout Jeeps, fine dining, worthwhile literature, low taxes, original music, personal privacy and self-defense rights -- but not necessarily in this order.

  1. “When [Massachusetts] Governor Mitt Romney dramatically proposed a universal health insurance plan a year ago, a key element was providing low-cost, pared-down coverage for about $200 a month.

    “But in the end, legislators were unwilling to adopt some of the measures that the governor and insurers had counted on to lower premiums, and lawmakers and an insurance executive said in interviews yesterday that they expect average premiums under the bill passed this week will be about $325 a month for individuals and as much as twice that for families.”–Boston Globe

    I am not sure that the Massachusetts legislature knows what it is doing with the proposed legislation that would require that everyone in Massachusetts buy health insurance or find themselves unable to renew their driver’s license. If a family does not have health insurance now because they feel that they cannot afford it, they may find that $600 a month for the insurance is too much to pay. People generally can’t do without

  2. Good thing us friendly folks in NH are only a few miles away! Join us, but only if you can cope with and encourage freedoms.

    I don’t want any massholes moving up here to try and force seatbelt laws and smoking bans on us peaceful NH liberty lovers.

  3. Posted by Norman Singleton at 09:30 PM Apr 4
    LRC blog

    Donald Devine exposes how the federal government discourages doctors from providing charity care. If a doctor bills a patient less than the doctor would bill Medicare/Medicaid for the same treatment, the government will accuse the doctor of fraud. Thus, doctors are
    understandably reluctant to reduce their fees for lower-income patients.

    Rubbing salt in the wound, doctors are forced to hire additional staff (and thus increase the amount they charge patients) solely to ensure they are in compliance with federal rules and regulations.

  4. So let me get this straight… they’re planning collecting $295 per uninsured head per year, and estimating paying out $3900 ($325 a month) per uninsured head per year?

    Something certainly stinks.

  5. “Whatever happened to the simple concept of true free market healthcare”

    That went away when we had to pay for uninsured using ERs as their primary care and pushing up the costs for everone else. Those liberty lovers in NH are extolling the choice of no insurance when really they are burdening everyone else with their bad decisions – very similar to the smokers who feel it is their “right” to burden others with the cancerous effects of second hand smoke.

    Whatever happened to pursuing freedoms yet not impinging on the freedoms of others?

    As much as I don’t want to be told what to do, I also don’t want to pay for the bad decisions made by someone else. The plan isn’t perfect, but at least it acknowledges that in some way, we’re already paying for these people.

  6. Fizzix, how will that work when the federal government controls and dictates a majority of the total healthcare expenditures?

  7. Fizzix a recent study suggest that many of those people, maybe 80% as I recall, going to the ER actually had insurance and the idea that they did not was just not true.

    Maybe if the legislature looked at the mandates they require that insurance companies cover and reduce those then more businesses would be able to cover their employees. This seems to be a problem in most states, but gets little coverage that I can find in what little Time I have.

  8. Personally, I am truly ecstatic! The people of Massachusetts DESERVE this! I can’t wait to watch and see what a disaster it will be. As for NH, the “Massholes” are going to migrate to NH, turn it into a clone of Massachusetts and then complain about the same problems! It will be fantastic. I have no pity for people that bring these things upon themselves.

    Best of all it will act as a model for the nation.

  9. Hey Guys,

    thanks for posting this. I was afraid it was going to slip under the radar. How can we as a nation continue to way we are so different from other countries as the entire world slips down the hole of socialism and we seem hell bent to follow.

    With greater urgency than ever we must begin winning elections to stop this trend immidiatly.


  10. Frank,

    The libertarian party just started to sink down that socialist hole as well, electing a candidate in Maryland for the Senate that is pushing a one-payer (gov’t) socialized health care that he calls nationalized health care.

    You may have to eat your words about winning elections because even if we do start winning some elections, in some cases it is even more likely that we will get socialism.

    What a sad day for the libertarian party. If we have gotten to the point that now our best candidate is a socialist then truly the party has lost its way.

  11. How about the impact on small business. I read that small businesses who can’t afford or don’t provice health insurance for their employees would be required to pay $300 a year per employee. Sad.

  12. I find it amazing if true that an LPer is supporting socialized medicine but hey, we are free to think as we choose even as libertarians.

    I guess I’m a little astonished that in some circles some of my “moderate” ideas haven’t been well received, yet we now have an LPer on the completly opposite side of the fence.

    Interesting to say the least.


  13. He’s not an LPer. He was Nader’s communications director and started NORML. He’s cross-endorsed by the LP, Greens, and Nader’s Populist Party. Steve estimates he is 80% libertarian, and I would concur….but I would not call his position on this issue libertarian.

  14. PC — I think we all must concede that a single position does not a party-member make.

    If this is the *single* point that sticks in our craw, then there’s no reason to be extremely upset with the man calling himself libertarian if in all other ways he seems to fit the bill.

    Not that I’m saying *I* know anything of him. There are two continental divides between him and me.