- May 29, 2009
- Reaction score
- Political Leaning
Massachusetts Offers Preview of Obamacare - Newsweek
But we were promised by Obama, the dems and most of the media that once the bill was passed we would find out just how great it was. We were all just uneducated fools that were easily tricked by our republicans overlords. How could it be that this wonderful bill is not the panacea that we were promised?But much didn't change. Emergency rooms remain as crowded as ever; about a third of the non-elderly go at least once a year, and half their visits involve "non-emergency conditions." As for improvements in health, most probably lie in the future. "Many of the uninsured were young and healthy," writes Long. Their "expected gains in health status" would be mostly long-term. Finally -- and most important -- health costs continue to soar.
Aside from squeezing take-home pay (employers provide almost 70 percent of insurance), higher costs have automatically shifted government priorities toward health care and away from everything else -- schools, police, roads, prisons, lower taxes. In 1990, health spending represented about 16 percent of the state budget, says the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. By 2000, health's share was 22 percent. In 2010, it's 35 percent. About 90 percent of the health spending is Medicaid.
State leaders have proved powerless to control these costs. Facing a tough reelection campaign, Gov. Deval Patrick effectively ordered his insurance commissioner to reject premium increases for small employers (50 workers or fewer) and individuals -- an unprecedented step. Commissioner Joseph Murphy then disallowed premium increases ranging from 7 percent to 34 percent. The insurers appealed; hearing examiners ruled Murphy's action illegal. Murphy has now settled with one insurer allowing premium increases, he says, of 7 to 11 percent. More settlements are expected.