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August 20th, 2009
08:43 AM ET

Mass. could be model for national health care reform

With so many town halls descending into Jerry Springer Shows on whether "Obama Care" means "death panels" for seniors (it won't), Massachusetts enjoys near-universal health care and it isn't breaking the bank.

Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney pushed through health care reform as governor of democratic Massachusetts three-years-ago. The result? 97 percent of the citizens in this state have health care. The program has a 69 percent approval rating and taxpayer watchdogs say it hasn't wasted public funds.

So what's the difference between "Romney Care" and "Obama Care"? In Massachusetts there's no public option. Citizens here are mandated to buy insurance or pay fines.

Romney says Democrats have only themselves to blame for the rowdy town halls on health care. But when asked whether Sarah Palin was wrong to say the president's plan would usher in "death panels," Romney would only say, "I don't read that in the bill."

Filed under: Health • Politics
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Nate

    Correction for jay : You are correct that high costs are an enormous problem in the health-care industry, but you are attacking the wrong monster. Do realize that the profit margin for insurance industries is only 3%. That's almost as low as grocery stores. The reason that they try to cut benefits, charge high deductibles is not because they are greedy. They need to earn money the same way you do. Are you greedy because you get up and go to work everyday (assuming you do)?

    No, the real problem here is the cost of health care. Costs are soaring due to several factors: skyrocketing malpractice insurance, the extreme inefficiency of the entitlements medicaid and medicare They are honorable programs, but backed by the "unfailable" government there is no need to try to improve, because no one is going to lose their job with uncle Sam backing them up. True healthcare reform comes from dealing with the true problem: high cost and lack of portability between jobs and across state lines. Tort reform and medicaid and medicare reform, and opening up the markets across state lines would do more to help health care than anything else.

    August 21, 2009 at 1:24 am |
  2. jr

    Yes, Mr. Acosta, the Romney plan IS a model - it is a model of what not to do in health care reform, precisely because it does not offer any mechanism to control health costs. As a resident of Massachusetts, I have seen our health care costs increase 10-20% per year. Yes, we get more guarantees of health care, but we are definitely paying for it! Your article, conveniently buries the this reality "below the crease" as it were: The Massachusetts model, however, does have its problems. Experts say it doesn't control rising health care costs - something Romney insisted must be tackled on a national level." So, in essence, even Romney is agreeing that we need a national solution to control health costs - something such as a public option (although I'm sure he would not go so far as to state that publicly!). Only with some cost control will a universal care plan, such as used in Massachusetts, be affordable.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:17 pm |
  3. stewartiii

    CNN Pushes Massachusetts 'Model' for Health Reform But Admits 'Rising Costs'

    August 20, 2009 at 8:13 pm |
  4. joe

    In my opinion, if a bill has such vague language that it could be left up to so much interpretation then it was not well crafted and should not pass. No matter what is promised the administration could always go back on their word because of the ambiguity of the bill itself. This is another example of him trying to rush things to approval because of the Dem's super majority, but we see how that strategy failed America in the Stimulus.

    In addition; I think its about time we talk about the reality behind the bleeding heart argument of how horrible it is that the health profession makes a profit off "the suffering of others". Those that make that argument and stand with Obama must not understand the true dynamics of profit motivation. The incentive of profit breeds innovation, it leads companies to provide top quality of care, innovative products, remarkable drugs. Without that we will fall into a sub standard medical system where we don't have blockbuster AIDs or cancer drugs. I beg America to not be naive, we can't have top quality care with profit potential.

    That said, the two main culprits to the excessive cost of health care are malpractice lawsuits and the burden the smoking population puts on the system. If Obama is serious about improving care; he should start there – then there will be enough of money for a broader system (which by the way already subsidizes the non insured).

    If Obama does not do something about malpractice costs and the smoker burden, costs will only increase, regardless of his overhaul.

    August 20, 2009 at 3:56 pm |
  5. JMZ

    Jaym- the "greed and selfishness" is caused by Americans who dont eat right, dont exercise, medicate everything they can and have credit debt up to their eyeballs! The govt forcing me to buy something "for my own good" is absoluley ridiculous. Im no more infavor of paying for your health as I would be fr the govt telling me wht i can and canot eat(which they will)This continued govt intrusion into private lives is what needs to stop.

    August 20, 2009 at 2:00 pm |
  6. JohnWinNC

    Oh, sure! Universal Health Care is great when a Republican champions it; it's anathema when Obama does the same thing. Does anyone else see a hint of tribalism here? I have yet to hear the GOP politicians say, "Hey, let's do what they did in Massachusetts!" all I seem to hear is NO, NO, NO!!!

    August 20, 2009 at 1:49 pm |
  7. JMZ

    and this is better? why should i forced to buy insurance if i do not want it? This facist has no right to force me to buy anything. I love how obamaphiles and cnn rabidly defend their king and say i am a fool for thinking that the govt is gonna control control my life and health by force if needed. News flash a corrupt insurance company running hc is easier to change and better than the corrupt govt! Looks like CNN proved me and all of us other "evil racist "people who dare challenge their god RIGHT!!!

    August 20, 2009 at 1:49 pm |
  8. jay m

    Some people want the insurance companies to continue to rob us with outrageous premiums, high deductibles, and denying coverage to people who has been sick in the past. One way or another the greed and selfishness of the insurance industry will be stopped.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:20 am |
  9. markp

    Obama plans to pay for 2/3rds of this 1.3 trillion dollar entitlement with 500 billion re-allocated from medicare than "prevention" counselling. In his mind he believes that if he can convince people to stop eating m and m's that will save people from getting there foot amputated from diabetes, seriously this is how he plans to save 400 billion dollars. To not listen to more of a reallity based solution would be ignorance at best..
    Now even though he has not affilliated with a church since the "REV." Wright's rooster pen, he is turning to GOD to spread this awfull plan.. Well MR. PRESIDENT, GOD himself couldn't make your numbers add up to anything but a bankruptcy of our nation...

    August 20, 2009 at 9:01 am |