Contact FreedomWorks

400 North Capitol Street, NW
Suite 765
Washington, DC 20001

  • Toll Free 1.888.564.6273
  • Local 202.783.3870

Blog

A Sign of Things to Come?

07/16/2009

Remember when Massachusetts overhauled its health care system?

It wasn't too long ago. Two thousand and six (AD) to be precise.

Well, the utopian project is now forcing its passengers to brace for impact as it experiences potentially terminal turbulence due to out of control costs associated with the massive entitlement program.

The Commonwealth's Medicaid program, called MassHealth, is what America's government-run health care could look like if the administration gets its wish and the new America's Affordable Health Choices Act, introduced yesterday by Speaker Pelosi and other top House Democrats, passes Congress.

We'll know sometime this fall--most likely October if things go according to Mr. Obama's plans--whether or not the trail of red ink leading out of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue becomes a fully-paved road. In the meantime there are some staggering vitals you should know about the pending legislation's microcosm.

The Bay State's landmark health care bill enactment has caused more headaches than breakthroughs. At the root of the plan are tax hikes, employee and employer mandates, a council that makes decisions on benefits, community rating mechanisms to determine care and a full-fledged Trojan Horse public-option.

The result: MassHealth is adding sharply to the Commonwealth's budget shortfall. As Alexander Green of the Examiner points out,

"While the commonwealth brags about 'closing the $5 billion budget gap,' doing so involved $305 million in Medicaid cuts. Even worse, the vast majority of that money came in federal reimbursements, so the Commonwealth's net savings are only $119 million, or 39% of the lost benefits."

And that's only for starters. Green adds,

"Even less impressive is the fact that $1.657 billion needed to “close the gap” came from the federal government’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act."

Now, as reported by the New York Times, Boston Medical Center, a hospital that patients thousands of Massachusetts' poverty-stricken residents, sued its employer yesterday, charging that

"[i]t's costly universal health care law is forcing the hospital to cover too much of the expense of caring for the poor."

But rapidly rising costs have caused centers such as the BMC problems beyond repair.

For instance, as the report indicates, the state employer only reimburses BMC 64 cents for every dollar it spends on treating the poor. Although the number of uninsured patients is now down to 10% (levels were at 20% pre-enactment), many more of the hospitals patients are insured through Medicaid or Commonwealth Care, the state-subsidized insurance program for low-income residents.

BMC has accumulated a $38 million deficit for the 2009 fiscal year, its first loss in five years. And,

"The suit says the hospital will lose more than $100 million next year because the state has lowered Medicaid reimbursement rates and stopped paying Boston Medical 'reasonable costs' for treating other poor patients."

The report makes no mention of the rationing of care--no doubt precursive to the losses--that has since taken place, but one can grimly imagine.

But some, like Elaine Ullian, the hospital's CEO, still hold out hope.

"We filed this suit more in sorrow than in anger. We believe in health care reform to the bottom of our toes, but it was never, ever supposed to be financed on the backs of the poor, and that's what has happened in Massachusetts."

Reading between the lines it is rather clear what Ms. Ullian is trying to say: that the deal was suppose to put the burden on the rich folk. But Ms. Ullian misses the boat completely. Mounting deficits go hand in hand with such a system. One needs to look no further than the whalesharks of the Great Society, Medicare and Medicaid.

Thus, it might not be long before the Massachusetts' experiment crashes:

"MassHealth

2006-2011

R.I.P."

If so, don't say we didn't warn advocates of ObamaCare.