Thursday, July 23, 2009

Universal Coverage Does Not Mean Universal Care

Universal coverage does not mean universal care.

What good is health insurance if you can't get medical attention? This is the question that arises when politicians ration health care. Residents of Massachusetts are learning about all this the hard way. Will we learn from their mistakes? Let's break down Massachusetts' sad story:
  • Chapter 58, Massachusetts' universal health care plan, was signed into law by Mitt Romney in April 2006. It is seen as a model for nationwide healthcare reform.
  • Under Massachusetts law, any individual earning at least $32,508 a year must purchase health insurance. Those who earn less are eligible for subsidized coverage.
  • Residents who obtain no coverage incur a state-imposed fine of approximately $1000/year.
  • Physicians who care for patients on state-subsidized plans lose money. "In effect," one physician says, "I hand them $20 when they walk out the door."
  • Chapter 58 created an estimated 400,000 newly insured residents in less than two years and Massachusetts' glut of doctors quickly became a critical shortage.
  • More than 41% of primary care practices in the state did not accept new patients in 2008, up from 28% in 2006
  • Wait times for new-patient appointments rose from four weeks in 2006 to nearly eight weeks in 2008 for general internal medicine doctors. (Nationally, average wait time is slightly under three weeks.)
  • Universal coverage has resulted in universal price hikes. By some estimates, costs of covering the state's newly insured are rising by almost 10% each year
  • Overall healthcare spending on state-sponsored insurance has risen 23% since 2006.
  • "If the problem is cost, reform has failed. Costs have gone up, not down. Since Massachusetts reformed their system, health costs have followed the same path as the U.S. as a whole: a steady upward climb, faster than inflation or wages."
  • Doctors are miserable. "Anyone who can is leaving the state"

"If universal care in Massachusetts cannot stem the tide of rising costs [or deliver the care people need] is there hope for similar plans on the national stage?" We will soon know the painful answer to that question if the Democrats manage to pass a health care bill.


O's latest healthcare press conference: same old lies, same tired talking points

It is hard to think of a more obvious sign of weakness than attacking members of your own party.

Jim DeMint is under attack from Obama. Lend DeMint your support!

Set the record straight: Obama & Democrats voted AGAINST healthcare reform

37% strongly oppose Obamacare; 24% strongly favor Obamacare.

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DaBlade said...

But Obama cares more! Certainly his plan that he hasn't read will have more positive results because he wills it.

Z said...

Coulter says this "Give the poor and tough cases health stamps and let the rest of us buy health care -- and health insurance -- on the free market."

She's SO right.

WomanHonorThyself said...

Universal coverage does not mean universal care...exactly!!

RightKlik said...

DaBlade: Obama said "let there be light"

Z: That might not be a bad idea. "Health Stamps" could be one of the GOP concessions in package of REAL healthcare reforms.

I think that the "poor" who can afford cigarettes and alcohol and cell phones and cable tv can afford to help pay for their own healthcare.

WHT: As I see it, we now have 99% care with maybe 85-90% coverage...with ObamaCare you'd have 99% coverage with maybe 70% of the care.

Left Coast Rebel said...

Great post, would you mind if I cross post this over at the Left Coast Rebel?

Left Coast Rebel said...

I just put it up verbatim. Hope that's ok.

RightKlik said...

LCR: Yep that's fine. Always glad to share the info.