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Sic Semper Tyrannis

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Massachusetts’ RomneyCare way, way overbudget

From the Wall Street Journal (emphasis added):

For 2009, Governor Deval Patrick requested $869 million but has already conceded that even that huge figure is too low. Over the coming decade, the expected overruns float in as much as $4 billion over budget. It's too early to tell how much is new coverage or if state programs are displacing private insurance.

The "new Big Dig" moniker refers to the legendary cost overruns when Boston rebuilt its traffic system. Now state legislators are pushing new schemes to offset RomneyCare's runaway expenses, including reductions in state payments to doctors and hospitals, enlarged business penalties, an increase in the state tobacco tax, and more restrictions on drug companies and insurers.
You’ve got two choices with “universal health care.” You can either increase taxes by vast – unsupportable, politically untenable – amounts; or you can limit access to care with cost-control methods. The former will chase wealth-creators right out of the state, leaving a shrinking tax base to pay the bill; the latter means waiting lists, bureaucratic paper-mazes, and cost-shifting onto private insurance.

And that means dying while on a waiting list; restricting care for smokers and the obese; traveling across a border to deliver your baby.

I exchanged op-eds with the Tomah Journal on this subject a while back. Among my more brilliant rhetorical ripostes:

Question: if you can’t get the treatment your doctor says you need -- not at any price -- is the health care really “universal?”

Is doing without somehow less egregious when it’s government health care?