Health Care Amid the Campaigns

By August 27, 2007Health Care

Sally C. Pipes, head of the Pacific Research Institute, examines the Massachusetts health-care plan, worth special note because it requires everyone to obtain health insurance — the so-called individual mandate — if only through a heavily subsidized government plan. (She’s a health policy advisor for Rudy Giuliani, and Gov. Romney is the originator of the Massachusetts plan, so this column can be viewed as political critique. On the other hand, she was making these criticisms before signing on with Giuiliani.)

The Massachusetts plan encourages increased consumption of health care by those who pay the least, a recipe for budgetary disaster.

Massachusetts may be able to limp its plan along for a few years with a combination of tax increases on employers, restrictions on enrollees, and price cuts to providers. It will not, however, achieve universal health insurance or a meaningful structure for cost control. Its most likely legacy will be to have created another government health bureaucracy, ratcheted up taxpayer health spending, and bolstered calls for a complete government takeover of health care.

Romney unveiled his national plan on Friday, based on the pre-eminence of states but without the individual mandate. From The Los Angeles Times:

The federal government would play a supporting role by offering tax breaks for individuals to purchase private insurance, granting governors more flexibility in using federal healthcare funds, overhauling the malpractice litigation system and making other changes.

“A one-size-fits-all national healthcare system is bound to fail,” Romney said. “It ignores the sharp difference between states, and it relies on Washington bureaucracy to manage.”

Romney’s campaign site has a Powerpoint presentation of his plan (the first campaign Powerpoint we’ve seen online).

Meanwhile, Pacific Research’s John Graham is puzzled by a Field Poll in California that shows rising support for government-run health care. Except, the polls questions are biased in single-payer, he argues.

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