Friday, May 05, 2006

The Romney Plan: Part II

I wrote a few weeks ago about the new health-care scheme in Massachusetts. It's worse than I thought. Arnold Kling, writing at Cato-at-liberty, quotes

Betsy McCaughey [who] digs into some of the details on the effects on business of Massachusetts’ brave, new health insurance experiment:

Say, for example, you open a restaurant and don’t provide health coverage. If the chef’s spouse or child is rushed to the hospital and can’t pay because they don’t have insurance, you — the employer — are responsible for up to 100% of the cost of that medical care. There is no cap on your obligation. Once the costs reach $50,000, the state will start billing you and fine you $5,000 a week for every week you are late in filling out the paperwork on your uncovered employees (Section 44). These provisions are onerous enough to motivate the owners of small businesses to limit their full-time workforce to 10 people, or even to lay employees off.

What else is surprising about this new law? Union shops are exempt (Section 32).

The next step should be the repeal of the Massachusetts plan because it is bad medicine for the people of Massachusetts. It will cut employment and wages, while driving up the cost of health care. Most of the intended beneficiaries of the plan will suffer as a result.

Given the perverse political climate of Massachusetts, the next step probably will be the State's seizure of health-care services. The State will disclaim responsibility for the failure of its plan. Instead, it will pin the blame on the private sector, and the gullible public will swallow the story. The State will then declare itself the single payer of health-care costs, effectively creating a State-run health-care system. Welcome to Canada.

Related posts:
Fear of the Free Market -- Part I
Fear of the Free Market -- Part II
Fear of the Free Market -- Part III
Free-Market Healthcare
Where's Substantive Due Process When You Need It?
The Romney Plan