You know things aren’t going well in Massachusetts when supporters of RomneyCare write “there’s some evidence that the reforms signed into law by Mitt Romney in 2006 are struggling.” That’s how The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein puts it in a post defending RomneyCare. The New Republic’s Jonathan Cohn offers a similar defense.
Klein mentions only a few of the difficulties confronting Massachusetts. Here are a few more:
- The Commonwealth Fund reports that even though Massachusetts already had the highest health insurance premiums in the nation, premiums rose faster post-RomneyCare than anywhere else; 21-46 percent faster than the national average.
- A recent study estimates that RomneyCare has so far increased employer-sponsored health-insurance premiums by an average of 6 percent.
- The success that Klein sees in Massachusetts’ individual market — which accounts for just 4 percent of the private market — is merely the product of shifting costs to workers with job-based coverage.
- Contrary to Klein’s post hoc spin that RomneyCare “was never an attempt to control costs,” Romney himself promised that “the costs of health care will be reduced.”
- Aaron Yelowitz and I find evidence suggesting that uninsured Massachusetts residents are responding to the individual mandate not by obtaining coverage but by concealing their insurance status. Coverage gains may therefore be less than official estimates suggest.
- Evidence is mounting that, despite stiffer penalties than ObamaCare will impose, increasing numbers of people are gaming the individual mandate by only purchasing health insurance when they need medical care. Such behavior could ultimately cause the “private” insurance market to collapse.
So. Let’s recap: Massachusetts’s universal healthcare system is making healthcare more expensive, isn’t saving anyone money and people are trying to figure out ways around it because they either don’t want it or can’t afford it. And, ObamaCare was “modeled after RomneyCare”.
Obama wasn’t wrong to bring the healthcare debate to the front of the nation’s attention, but the resulting bill sure does smell like crap.