Last Tuesday, the Boston Globe published an editorial in which it reneged on its full support for President Obama’s signature health care legislation’s implementation in Massachusetts.
The editorial, entitled, “Mass. Needs An Obamacare Waiver for Small-Business Health Plans,” argues that while the state has “made a concerted effort in the last few years to rein in health care costs for small businesses,” the fact is that “new federal regulations written to implement the Affordable Care Act threaten to undercut those efforts — and saddle thousands of Bay State businesses with big increases in premiums.”
Last December, Massachusetts officials wrote to federal regulators, suggesting the possibility of a waiver from the new rating factors for small businesses that are required under Obamacare. The letter indicated that the regulations would result in a substantial number of citizens experiencing, “extreme premium increases.”
While the commonwealth previously allowed insurers to rate on factors such as age (2-to-1 rate band), industry type, participation rates, and group size, the new Obamacare regulations only permit health plans to adjust premiums based on individual vs. family enrollment, geographic area, tobacco use, and age (3-to-1 rate band). Hence, the new federal rules are much more restrictive.
Up until this point, Massachusetts state leaders have had nearly nothing negative to say about Obamacare. Below is Gov. Deval Patrick (D), congratulating the nation on the Supreme Court’s decision, last June, to uphold Obamacare’s individual mandate:
The Globe‘s editorial argues that, somehow, redistribution of wealth is not all it was cracked up to be:
The overall result of those federal regulations is that small businesses with fewer industry risks, a proactive wellness approach, and (relatively) more employees will end up subsidizing companies that would otherwise be more expensive to insure. Because small businesses and individuals are merged into one pool as far as assessing risk, firms will also end up subsidizing the costs of coverage for people buying individual plans…
Failing to give credit to small firms that take meaningful steps to help their employees stay healthy is counterproductive…
The end of the Globe‘s editorial reveals an attitude that is narrow-minded and, perhaps, even arrogant:
The Obama administration needs to pay special attention here. Imposing one-size-fits-all regulations on a state that already has universal health care and is leading the way on cost containment is counterproductive to say the least.
As Archambault states, the Globe still doesn’t really “get it.” The implication in the editorial is that Massachusetts deserves or, perhaps, is entitled to a special waiver because it has already addressed the issue of health care coverage for all.
However, claiming that everyone has coverage says nothing about cost or quality of health care. In addition, the fact that the state is now the final authority over health care in Massachusetts, rather than the doctor-patient relationship, suggests further that the quality of health care is compromised.
As Breitbart News reported last August, Gov. Patrick, who had just signed into law the “second phase” of RomneyCare, credited former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (R) for launching the state on the path to universal health care coverage. But, at what cost to freedom?
Under the new law, all Massachusetts doctors, hospitals, and health care providers–both public and private–must register with a new state bureaucracy as a condition of licensure. The Health Policy Commission tracks and reports on health providers’ financial performance, price and cost patterns, state-sanctioned quality measures, market share, and other statistics.
Providers who are found to be spending too much on patient care must submit to “performance improvement plans” or, for serious offenders, be fined up to $500,000 for disobeying the rules of the commission.
From Breitbart News:
The new law, with its stringent rules for providers, is an end that most conservatives would have predicted for legislation that promised to cover “everyone.” The state has experienced out-of-control costs, price controls, physician shortages, etc. as a result of the mandate that all citizens have health insurance coverage. As is the case with Obamacare, mandatory health insurance coverage does not guarantee health insurance access to care.
The Globe may think this is “news,” but the “cookie cutter” approach to health care isn’t going to work for any of us.