Monday, July 2, 2007

Massachusetts: More Stick Than Carrot

The July 1, 2007 New York Times has an update on the attempt of Massachusetts to guarantee universal health care for all residents, "Massachusetts Universal Care Plan Faces Hurdles". One of the most chilling lines in the piece comes from Governor Deval Patrick who said:
"Ultimately we are going to have to explain to people that this is an obligation, that it is not optional."
One small business owner said about the employer mandates:
"This is going to bring me to my knees," said Deb Maguire, who runs Liam Maguire’s Irish Pub and Restaurant in Falmouth.
Another resident spoke about the individual mandate:
Linda Impemba, 58, a marketing company employee in Wakefield, said she would remain uninsured, pay penalties, and, as soon as her ailing mother dies, will leave Massachusetts. "There's no way in heaven I can possibly survive in this state," Ms. Impemba said. "Now not only is my cost going to go up, everything's going to be raised so I can pay for the other people" to be insured.
Nor will the plan improve access to care. Instead, the article notes that the plan "will strain what is already a shortage of primary care physicians", according to Dr. David Torchiana, chief executive of the Massachusetts General Physicians Organization.

By relying on the harsh stick of government mandates rather than proven free market reforms, the Massachusetts plan will hurt both patients and doctors.

(Via Dr. David Solsberg.)