Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE
Massachusetts will receive $10.6 billion dollars over three years from the federal government to help fund its mandated universal healthcare insurance debacle. President Bush’s goal is to move government entitlement programs to the private sector. Medicare and Medicaid would be moved to the domain of the private healthcare insurance industry if he gets his way.
From the onset Mitt Romney’s ill conceived bipartisan universal healthcare legislation in Massachusetts was destined to fail. It was destined to fail because it would be financed by the state but run by the private sector without changing the structure of the healthcare system. It was clear to me the universal healthcare plan would go through a series of modifications at taxpayers’ expense while the healthcare insurance industry profited and access to and coverage for healthcare decreased. The Massachusetts’s universal healthcare plan is failing despite the disinformation and misinformation of Massachusetts officials.
“At a time when many states are facing substantial cuts in federal financing, Massachusetts will be able to expand its first-in-the-nation healthcare law because of a federal promise of $10.6 billion dollars over the next three years, Governor Deval Patrick said yesterday.”
Making things worse is new state legislation raising taxes on employers not offering enough employees healthcare insurance.
“Under Massachusetts’ landmark health care law, employers who did not enroll at least a quarter of their workers in an insurance plan or contribute a third of the premium costs faced a $295 annual fee per worker.”
The reasoning is faulty after the state’s promise to guarantee universal care at no penalty to employers. The error made by the state was to provide universal care with the healthcare insurance industry being in control of the healthcare dollars rather than the consumers being in control of their healthcare dollars.
If patients were in control of their healthcare dollars and had the right to save for retirement the healthcare insurance dollars not spent for retirement two things would happen. Consumers would be motivated to carefully spend their own healthcare dollars and the administrative costs in first dollar coverage would be eliminated.
“Sarah Iselin, commissioner of the Massachusetts Division of Health Care Finance and Policy, said the new regulations would help ensure that all businesses are making a fair contribution to support the new insurance law.”
In addition to the $10.6 billion dollar bailout the division of healthcare finance is taxing employers. Employers are first, consumers are next and then providers. The state and federal government are presumably finished contributing.
“The long-term success of health care reform requires the continued shared commitment of consumers, employers, providers and government to achieve near-universal coverage in Massachusetts,” Iselin said.
Businesses said the changes run counter to the original intent of the so-called “fair share contribution” portion of the original law, which was designed to encourage employers to offer insurance to workers — but stop short of a mandate.
Businesses should not be surprised at this turn of events. Romney’s universal healthcare plan used the wrong formula in the wrong state.
“The deal, struck after months of delicate negotiations, gives Massachusetts about $2.1 billion more than it received from the government in its last round of negotiations three years ago for its Medicaid waiver package. The waiver allows Massachusetts to provide subsidized health insurance to some residents with incomes higher than would typically be allowed under traditional Medicaid rules.”
People who cannot afford healthcare insurance should be subsided. However, they have to be motivated to take care of their health and be concerned about spending their healthcare dollars. This connection is not made by anyone in government.
“Several state leaders characterized the agreement as a federal stamp of approval for Massachusetts’ historic healthcare law, which was enacted in 2006 and requires nearly every resident to have coverage.”
State leaders are living in a fantasy world. Citizen of the state will pay the price for state leaders inability to think clearly about this issue.