Massachusetts shows what Obamacare will lead to

Victor Joecks

A great op-ed by Sally Pipes of the Pacific Research Institute:

The future of US medicine under ObamaCare is already on display in Massachusetts. The top four health insurers there just posted first-quarter losses of more than $150 million. Most of them blamed the state’s decision to keep premiums at last year’s levels for individual and small-business policies, when they’d proposed double-digit hikes to match the soaring costs they’ve seen under the state’s universal-coverage law.

The companies have gone to court to challenge the state’s action — it apparently had no basis for its ruling beyond the political needs of Gov. Deval Patrick. If they win, Bay State health premiums will continue their rapid rise; if they lose, they’ll eventually have to stop doing business in Massachusetts — and the state will be that much closer to a “single payer” system of socialized medicine.

The Massachusetts “health reform” disease means more than just bureaucrats setting prices. It also includes rising government spending and taxes; politicians demonizing doctors, hospitals and insurers — and patients getting lectured that the restrictions of managed care are good medicine.

It’s what’s in store for all of America. The Bay State’s structure provided the base for ObamaCare. “Basically, it’s the same thing,” says MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, who was a health adviser to GOP Gov. Mitt Romney and President Obama.

What’s going to happen in Massachusetts and its Romneycare sytem? Either insurance costs are going to explode or private insurers will be driven out of business. And what happens once Massachusetts moves closer to a single-payer system? Rationing.

[T]he inevitable next step is rationing at the point of consumption. Massachusetts state Senate President Therese Murray has proposed putting an end to “fee for service” medicine in the next five years and moving to a system of capitated managed care, where doctors receive a flat fee for each assigned patient.

This “HMOs for all” approach is designed to lead to soft rationing — which, in medical terms, means people will have a hard time finding doctors or seeing the ones they have. It’s already started. In Massachusetts, one doctor in two is not accepting new patients. Waits for treatment in Boston are the highest in the nation.

Read the whole thing.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to the rest of the country, though. Canada’s and Britain’s socialized medicine systems have been rationing for a long time.

If you’re interested in hearing more from Sally Pipes, check out her speech at an NPRI luncheon from earlier this year.