The fact that Romneycare is the progenitor of Obamacare and that the state-run health insurance program has led to citizens experiencing the highest per capita cost for health care in the nation, should make even President Obama hesitate to use the program when touting his own legislation.
We’re probably not going to be hearing anymore about Romneycare as a template for Obamacare.
On Oct. 30, as President Obama was under fire for the botched rollout of his signature health care law, he visited Boston’s Faneuil Hall. It was in that hall in 2006 that then-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, with a smiling Ted Kennedy by his side, signed a sweeping health care overhaul into law that would eventually become the model for Obamacare.
As with Obamacare, the Massachusetts program (also known as Romneycare), expanded Medicaid, mandated that individuals purchase government-approved coverage, and provided subsidies to individuals to purchase government-designed insurance plans on a government-run exchange.
In his October remarks, Obama used the Massachusetts experience to argue that Obamacare could work, despite what the naysayers claimed.
“All the parade of horribles, the worst predictions about health care reform in Massachusetts never came true,” Obama said. “They’re the same arguments that you’re hearing now … Care didn’t become unaffordable; costs tracked what was happening in other places that wasn’t covering everybody.”
Yet a new report from the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission reached a different conclusion.
As Modern Healthcare reports:
Massachusetts, whose health care reform program was used as a template for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, had the highest per capita health spending in the U.S. in 2009. According to the commission’s report, the state spent $9,278 per person on health care in 2009, which was 36 percent higher than the national average of $6,815, and 11.2 percent more than the next-highest state, New York, which spent $8,341.
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If I were an enterprising news producer at a local TV station, I would stake out local hospital emergency rooms on January 1. My guess is that al lot of those new Medicaid patients and many of those who purchased insurannce under the subsidy program are going to present themselves for treatment. Already scarce health care resources will be stretched even further by this influx of millions of new patients. That is apparently what is driving up costs in Massachusetts and is bound to do so nationwide once Obamacare starts taking hold.