Thursday, May 12, 2011

Hsieh PJM OpEd: Massachusetts is the Canary in the Coal Mine

PajamasMedia has just published my latest OpEd, Massachusetts: The Canary in the Coal Mine for ObamaCare.

My theme is that the ongoing failure of the "universal health care" plan in Massachusetts serves as a clear warning to the rest of America.

Here is the opening:
Five years ago, Massachusetts adopted its "universal health care" plan, which served as the template for President Obama's subsequent national health care legislation. However, Massachusetts' problems of rising health costs and worsening access foreshadow similar problems for the rest of America — as well as how to avoid them.

The Massachusetts Medical Society recently reported that the state law has resulted in "longer patient wait times [and] continued difficult access to primary care physicians." The average wait time in Massachusetts to see an internal medicine physician is now 48 days — double the national average. Over half of primary care practices are no longer accepting new patients. Fewer physicians are accepting the state-run Commonwealth Care and Commonwealth Choice insurance plans. So although Massachusetts politicians frequently boast that they have increased "coverage," many patients cannot find doctors to provide them with actual medical care.

Meanwhile health costs continue to skyrocket out of control, both for the state government and for privately insured patients...
(Read the full text of Massachusetts: The Canary in the Coal Mine for ObamaCare.)

Mitt Romney is expected to give a major speech later today in which he attempts proclaim his supposed opposition to ObamaCare while still defending his health care policy record as governor of Massachusetts.

I'm glad PajamasMedia has given me this opportunity to highlight the ongoing problems in that state. Romney appears to be trying to have it both ways here -- claiming that it might be ok for states to impose mandatory insurance, but not the federal government. For more, see his own recent OpEd in USA Today.

It would be one thing if he repudiated the principles of his failed state plan and acknowledged that it was a mistake. But the fact that he can't (or won't) do so is an ominous sign.

As the Wall Street Journal recently noted, he may as well be "Obama's Running Mate".

I'm also glad I could highlight Jared Rhoads' recent post, "How long until the Physician Mandate?", Diana's video on "Cookie Cutter Medicine", and Milton Wolf's OpEd, "My Cousin Barack Obama and Our ObamaCare Family Feud".