Massachusetts has a new health-care panacea, which the Commonwealth's governor, Mitt Romney, outlines and defends in a recent OpinionJournal op-ed. Cutting through all the bleeding-heart rhetoric and pseudo-economics, here's the bottom line:
- The already over-burdened taxpayers of Massachusetts now face a heavier burden, in the form of subsidies to persons who don't need health insurance.
- Persons who don't need health insurance will be forced to carry it. And having it, they will probably try to get their "money's worth" out of it -- thus driving up the cost of health care.
- Businesses will be taxed if they don't contribute to employees' health-insurance premiums. That tax will be paid by workers in the form of lower wages, and by consumers in the form of higher prices.
It is possible that the Massachusetts plan will enable insurers to offer coverage with high deductibles and low premiums. But such a reform is unlikely to last very long in Massachusetts, where politicians thrive on big-brotherhood. The Massachusetts plan is otherwise a decided step backward because:
- It adds a heavy burden of government bureaucracy to the Commonwealth's already burdened health-care providers.
- It reduces individual responsibility for health care, thus making it even less likely that health-care resources will be used sensibly.
What's the difference between Democrats and Republicans in Massachusetts? Not a dime's worth, as someone used to say.
What's wrong with RomneyCare (an OpinionJournal article by Brendan Minter)
The Massachusetts Delusion (a TCS Daily article by Arnold Kling)
Romney and Kling on Massachusetts Health Care (an EconLog post by Arnold Kling)