RomneyCare vs. ObamaCare

As expected, Obama dropped the fact that his Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is modeled  on Romney’s 2006 healthcare overhaul in Massachusetts during last night’s debate (see 56:45 onward). Traditionally, when challenged on this point by Republicans, Romney has responded with the single most most irritating phrase of this election cycle: “why didn’t he call me?”. Romney barely avoided those words this time around. He instead emphasized that his plan was passed with more bipartisan consensus, with only two members of the state legislature voting against it. Obama drove PPACA through without the support of a single Republican. He ignored the remarkable victory of Republican Scott Brown in the Massachusetts Senate race, which Romney claims was largely a protest against Obamacare.

I’m no fan of ObamaCare. I believe the program is not sustainable will cause massive economic turmoil. When I say this, people often ask why this chaos hasn’t occurred in Massachusetts with RomneyCare. Well, I’m no fan of RomneyCare either. Firstly, its a model that cannot be replicated nationwide, and secondly, it hasn’t done any good in Massachusetts in the first place.

Massachusetts is one of the wealthiest states in the Union, always ranking in the top five by median household income. Before RomneyCare was enacted, about 94% of the state’s population already possessed  health insurance. Massachusetts is also heavily Democratic: about 87% of the state legislature was such when Romney was Governor,  and both the legislature and general population were overwhelmingly in favor of expanding coverage. This is somewhat feasible in a state like Massachusetts. Its much less so in states like New Mexico or Texas, where the uninsured number over 25% of the population. That’s where the system will start to crack.

The uninsured population is a diverse one, including the poor, illegal immigrants, young working men and women who could afford insurance but feel they don’t need it for the moment, and even wealthy people who just choose not to get it. Federal and state laws ensure that all of the uninsured in America are able to receive emergency care when they require it. When some ignoramus like Ireland’s President Michael D. Higgins claims the tens of millions of uninsured in America have no healthcare, he is the w*nker whipping up fear.

Romney says in his 2010 book No Apology that realizing these facts about the uninsured in his own state persuaded him that universal health insurance was possible. Under his plan, the poor were moved into the state’s Medicaid program, and everyone else was required to purchase insurance or pay a fine, with some receiving subsidies to do so. While its virtually the same as ObamaCare, Romney’s signature legislation stood at 70 pages. The PPACA is  around 2700 pages.

But have the results been good? About 98% of the Massachusetts population now has health insurance. Its not an impressive leap. 80% of the newly covered are receiving subsidies from the state. Yet Romney insists that he built a system based on personal responsibility. There has been no decrease in the amount of people receiving free hospital treatment under the already existing laws. In fact, the cost of that has shot up 15% in a single year.

Predictably with government programs, the cost of RomneyCare is projected to run over the prior official forecasts: $2 billion more over the course of ten years. Suffolk University’s Beacon Hill Institute reports that over a five-year period:

  • State health care expenditure has risen by $414 million
  • The federal government has spent an additional $2.418 billion on Medicaid for Massachusetts
  • Private health insurance costs have risen by $4.311 billion

RomneyCare has failed. Gains in the number of insured have been absolutely minuscule  The costs have been enormous. Romney’s successor, Democrat Deval Patrick, is admitting that more taxes need to be introduced to cover the expenses. Experts say the survival of the program is in doubt. And this is in the most fertile ground for such a project.

America had been warned.

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About Cranky Notions
Reactionary. That fella from the Norris scandal.

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