Health Law Costs Are Not The Problem in Massachusetts

For those critics of the Health plan in MA, put together by former Governor Mitt Romney and the state legislature, you may want to read this article.  One of the most important statements made in this article is this: “These are extraordinarily difficult times for all of state government, and it is not helpful to advance unfounded allegations about the unaffordability of health reform.”

Too many talking heads, including Glenn Beck, have been speculating on what the MA health plan really consists of.  Get your facts strait before reporting on these highly important issues! Glenn Beck on his radio address stated to a woman, in a very mean tone while mocking her, some of these unfounded claims.  He began with a mockery of the plan which was founded by “Mitt Romney, a Republican!”

The last thing the GOP needs is another Dan Rather spouting off false and inaccurate information about the man who has the best plan for the economy and health reform.

Let’s take a look at the facts.


By Michael J. Widmer

WE’VE HEARD the claims repeated from the moment the bill was signed three years ago – Massachusetts’ health reform law is unaffordable. Those claims have come from a wide variety of ideological and political quarters, but what they have in common is a failure to understand how the law works.

The Taxpayers Foundation recently released an analysis of the costs to taxpayers of achieving near-universal access to healthcare in Massachusetts. The “surprising’’ conclusion: Between fiscal 2006 and 2010, the annual incremental cost from the state budget is less than $100 million, a modest sum for this historic achievement. This cost is very much in line with estimates that were made when the bill was passed.

From a base of $1.04 billion in fiscal 2006, the state is projected to spend $1.75 billion on healthcare reform in fiscal 2010, an increase of about $700 miillion, half of which is supported by federal reimbursements. The $350 million state share translates into an average yearly increase of only $88 million.

Compare this with the sweeping education reform law of 1993, that decade’s rough equivalent to the 2006 health reform law in terms of scope and scale. Implementing education reform cost an additional $250 million each year between 1993 and 2000, with an average annual increment of approximately $150 million in the decade since. In recent years there has been much debate about whether that investment has paid dividends, but few claim we should back off the commitment.

The Legislature’s recent decision to cut the fiscal 2010 budget for Commonwealth Care as part of the state’s enormous fiscal crisis has led to renewed claims that health reform is unaffordable. In particular, the issue of Commonwealth Care funding for legal immigrants, while important in its own right, has led many observers and critics to conclude mistakenly that health reform is unraveling.


These critics ignore the fact that the fundamental problem is not the costs of Commonwealth Care, but rather the unprecedented collapse of state tax revenues. With the state facing a structural budget gap of $5 billion in fiscal 2010, virtually every state program has hit the cutting board. And as is always the case during economic downturns, caseload-driven programs like Commonwealth Care experience a temporary increase in enrollment.

Critics also confuse the costs of health reform with spending on Medicaid, which at $8.5 billion accounts for about 30 percent of the state budget. The relentless increase in Medicaid costs has bedeviled state policy makers for the past quarter century as that program consumes an ever larger share of the state budget.

How has Massachusetts been able to reduce the number of uninsured to less than 3 percent of its population while spending so few new public dollars? To a large degree, the answer can be found in the unique way the law’s programs and incentives act in concert to expand access to subsidized coverage for low-income families largely through a reallocation of funds from uncompensated care, while also encouraging enrollment in employer-sponsored and individual health insurance plans.

With individuals required to have health insurance, many have enrolled for the first time in their employer’s plan or purchased private coverage on their own. Employer-sponsored enrollment has grown by 150,000 and individuals’ private coverage by 40,000 since health reform was adopted. The Foundation estimates that the added cost to Massachusetts employers for newly insured employees and dependents is at least $750 million – more than double the $350 million increase in state spending under health reform.

To be sure, Massachusetts, like the nation, must address the escalating costs of healthcare – for government, employers, and individuals alike – and Massachusetts has launched a variety of efforts to deal with this intractable problem. But this persistent problem has little to do with the health reform law. These are extraordinarily difficult times for all of state government, and it is not helpful to advance unfounded allegations about the unaffordability of health reform. We need to stay the course on one of the most important state initiatives of recent times, which has become a beacon for the rest of the nation.

Michael J. Widmer is president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation.

Article was found at Boston.com


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

7 Responses to “Health Law Costs Are Not The Problem in Massachusetts”

  1. Crystalf
    July 24, 2009 at 10:41 pm #

    Thanks for posting the article!! When I heard Beck make those statements, I wanted to reach through the radio & throttle him!! But it wasn’t just Beck .. Rush, Hedgecock, et al. And the ones that didn’t berate Romney for “Romney-care” were conspicuously quiet. Like I said before .. get your facts right & if you don’t get it .. get the man on your show to explain it to you. What a bunch of idiots!

  2. July 24, 2009 at 11:11 pm #

    Thank you Crystal! I have lost a ton of respect for Beck, Limbaugh and Hannity. These are the guys that are the true “neo-cons” who are becoming right wing nut jobs. It is painful to listen to Rush defend Palin. It is embarrassing to watch Limbaugh defend her in an attempt to elevate her to a level that she clearly is not on. I like Sarah Palin. I think she is a great mother, servant, and has great values. But Rush gives her way too much.

    All these guys are doing is attacking. It seems that that is all they know how to do. If you don’t understand Romney’s plan, get him on the program and ask him about it…like you said Crystal.

  3. Paulee
    July 25, 2009 at 4:49 am #

    Crystal, what a Great find…You are awesome and thx Spencer for posting this..Now, we need to post this at all the sites that have spoken from lack of knowledge AND SHAME ON THEM FOR NOT RESPECTING GOV. ROMNEY ENOUGH TO GET “HIS” THEORIES AND REASONING, AFTER ALL WHO KNOWS BETTER THAN HE..DON’T FORGET HUCK, AS USUAL HE HAS BEEN HAVING A HAY DAY AND HITTING BELOW THE BELT…even mentioned the failure on O’Reilly last evening July 25th..Makes me sick, these people are so misguided..Thought it very interesting that a study out here finds Mormon religion most Conservative and I might add the most pure..Never heard a mean spirited or hateful remark from the mouth of Mitt Romney..He has more character in his little finger than the rest have in their whole bodies..I watch the walk….Check out Mitt’s early younger years, get informed as to what makes this MAN…Open your eyes, before you blow it again…He is right for 2012…!!!!

  4. July 25, 2009 at 11:38 am #

    Paulee,

    Thank you for your passionate comments about Mitt. I have read many of your comments and they are all filled with passion, and are accurate. Thank you!

    Spencer

  5. payityourself
    July 25, 2009 at 1:51 pm #

    “These critics ignore the fact that the fundamental problem is not the costs of Commonwealth Care, but rather the unprecedented collapse of state tax revenues. With the state facing a structural budget gap of $5 billion in fiscal 2010, virtually every state program has hit the cutting board. And as is always the case during economic downturns, caseload-driven programs like Commonwealth Care experience a temporary increase in enrollment”

    Translation: it’s not the health care cost fault, but rather it’s the people fault for not giving us their money, because we aren’t taxing them enough, as we didn’t expect the state getting lower tax revenue this decade, let alone the next one.

    Every socialize service always gets overused and abused, why? Because socialism does not work! It does not matter if in the short term it does some good, it always ends up making the problem worse in the long run, a little socialism here and a little socialism there will end up giving you socialism!

  6. Paulee
    July 25, 2009 at 3:42 pm #

    Spencer, I belong to a group Paint Maine Red, they follow Becks 9-12 principals…but I will link the link you wish to share….at the site..Many like Palin??? but also said if Mitt were the candidate they would vote for him..They all think he has that silver spoon …did not make too much of his religion…I was at both Maine Tea Parties…and had my campaign shoes for Mitt on…LOL and did much debating…but I always win…except for one..she said Mitt was a socialist….and a Ron Paul fan….enough said….

  7. E.Williamson
    July 25, 2009 at 7:44 pm #

    I’m disappointed in the Fox guys as well. Mitt needs a platform to explain the system as well as the results. Neil Cavuto and Greta are reasonable people. Hopefully they will get him on their show.

Leave a Reply