State Health Reform Plans Hitting Snags in Roll Out
Democratic presidential candidate and former Sen. John Edwards (N.C.) recently released a universal health care proposal that incorporates "the bad idea of raising taxes on employers and forcing individuals to purchase insurance," but before "others get carried away with this model, they should take a look at its most recent manifestation in Massachusetts," Sally Pipes, president and CEO of the Pacific Research Institute, writes in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece.
The Massachusetts plan was "widely acclaimed" when it was introduced by then-Gov. Mitt Romney (R) -- now a presidential candidate -- but "less than a year after passage, RomneyCare is in the intensive care unit, soon to be wheeled into hospice," Pipes writes. She writes that state officials in August 2006 "projected that the new plan would increase state government health care spending by $276.4 million in 2007," which is "$151 million more than what the public had been told the plan would cost."
Meanwhile, the "state's new bureaucracy, busily signing up people for free care, has run into trouble finding affordable plans for those who have to pay," she writes. In addition, the "average premium for the unsubsidized plans was not $200 per month -- as Mr. Romney promised from the stump -- but rather $380," according to Pipes.
Pipes adds that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) has introduced "an even more comprehensive plan" in his state that includes "individual and employer mandates, expansion of Medi-Cal and Healthy Families, and a tax on doctors and hospitals." Pipes concludes, "If enacted, Californians will face higher taxes, a much larger bureaucracy and increased spending. And I predict the problem of the uninsured will not be solved" (Pipes, Wall Street Journal, 2/26).