Wednesday, April 05, 2006

MA uses smoke and mirrors to provide ‘universal’ health care coverage
The NY Times tells us that Massachusetts Sets Health Plan for Nearly All

BOSTON, April 4 — Massachusetts is poised to become the first state to provide nearly universal health care coverage with a bill passed overwhelmingly by the legislature Tuesday that Gov. Mitt Romney says he will sign…

Mr. Romney pushed the idea of the "individual mandate," requiring people who can afford insurance to buy it. The bill makes it possible for employers to enable many of those people to use pretax dollars, saving them 25 percent or more. Individuals who fail to get health insurance by July 2007 will first lose their personal exemption on their state taxes. In subsequent years, they would have to pay a penalty that could be as high as half of what an affordable health care premium would cost…[Ed. – A tax by any other name is still a tax]
Think about that. The state is mandating that you buy health insurance if you can afford it and it is the state that determines what you can afford (I’m sure a state representative will be sitting right there at the kitchen table as each household creates their family budget). If you can’t afford insurance then the state picks up bill for the insurance. In other words they'll tax someone else - guess who that will be.
All told, the plan is expected to cover 515,000 uninsured people within three years, about 95 percent of the state's uninsured population, legislators said, leaving less than 1 percent of the population unprotected…

The program, which was approved 154 to 2 in the House and 37 to 0 in the Senate, will cost $1.2 billion over three years, but only $125 million of that will be new state money. The rest will come from federal money and existing state money. After three years, lawmakers say, no new state money will be required. A new agency will administer the system [Ed – No announcement of the operating cost for the new agency, maybe that’s the additional $125 million].
So, essentially, one half million poor people – the ones that, historically, are chronically sick and the least healthy in a population – will have their health care needs met at a cost of $400 million per year or $780 per person. Yeah, that's if the doctor is Vinnie Boombah working out of the Suffolk County Perpetual Staph Infections Clinic. Come on!

Republican Mitt Romney is thinking about running for president in 2008 and this health care bill is "95 percent of what [he] proposed." By 2008 this ‘universal’ health care coverage will have been in place for two years, there will be a record of its ‘success’. And Romney can forget about getting the Republican nomination.

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