Saturday, April 29, 2006

MA Revisited

In 1988, Gov. Michael Dukakis claimed the Democratic presidential nomination by also claiming credit for the "Massachusetts Miracle."

High-tech and financial service industries blossomed in the Boston area during the 1980s after the state had been decimated by a massive exodus of manufacturing.

Two decades later, another Massachusetts governor apparently hopes to ride another miracle to a presidential nomination. Gov. Mitt Romney, barely concealing his desire to be the Republican standard bearer in 2008, recently pulled off a remarkable political feat: orchestrating bipartisan support for enacting compulsory health coverage for all Bay State residents.

So far, nothing you didn’t already know.

They found a way to get to a major expansion of coverage that people could agree on.

But for some, universal coverage does not go far enough. They advocate government-funded health coverage for everyone

Government funded. Don’t you just love that term. Makes it sound like the government pays for things with their money. Of course the only problem is, the government doesn’t have their own money.

It is really OUR money.

There really is no such thing as government funded. The correct term is TAXPAYER funded.

We now return you to your regular reading.

This is particularly favored by healthcare providers weary of dealing with the middlemen that get between them and the patient

Didn’t we just establish that the government IS a middleman? And I have to wonder who these providers are. Is it the same ones who complain about the low reimbursement from taxpayer funded programs like Medicare & Medicaid? The same providers who have to see twice as many patients to make up for every one Medicare/Medicaid patient just to break even?

With or without the government, the nation's haves subsidize the healthcare of the have-nots. They do so with a combination of taxes, higher insurance payments and higher medical bills.

WOW! Someone actually “gets” it.

Healthcare providers absorbed about $35 billion in uncompensated care in 2003. But those costs are shifted to taxpayers who subsidize public hospitals, higher charges for those who pay their bills, and higher insurance premiums for businesses and their employees. Texas family health insurance premiums were $1,551 higher in 2005 because of uncompensated medical care, according to a 2005 Families USA study.
Someone is finally putting a face on the cost of the uninsured. But wait, there’s more!

Most of the uninsured in Massachusetts fell into three groups, the proportions of which are fairly typical nationwide:

About 20 percent were poor people who qualify for Medicaid but haven't bothered to sign up. This represents new spending for the state, but this group is entitled to a program.

About 40 percent are low-income households that don't qualify for Medicaid but cannot afford health insurance. The state will subsidize their premiums.

The remaining 40 percent were the primary target of the mandate. They can afford health insurance but simply choose not to buy it. When they are hit by catastrophic medical bills, they can't pay, so the rest of us have to pick up the tab.


About 20% of the uninsured QUALIFY for taxpayer assisted care but fail to take advantage of an existing system that cost them little or NOTHING.

Another 40% of the uninsured CAN AFFORD coverage, but choose to shirk their responsibility as an adult and expect the rest of us to take care of them.

Something is terribly wrong with this picture.
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