Shocker: universal health care broken before it begins

Shocker: universal health care broken before it begins

“Proposed state care plan comes with sticker shock: $380 a month”

A state panel says a package filling the minimum requirements for coverage under the state’s new health insurance will cost $380 a month on average for an individual, almost twice what former Gov. Mitt Romney projected when he proposed universal coverage.

... The minimum plan would limit annual out-of-pocket expenses to $5,000 for an individual and $7,500 for a family and include prescription drug coverage, according to the panel’s proposal.

As proposed, the maximum deductibles would be $2,000 per individual and $4,000 per family. Before the deductible kicks in, the plan would have to cover some medical visits and generic drugs to encourage preventive care.

Perhaps you’ve heard of the “miracle” of Massachusetts’ universal health care coverage law, which is apparently so impressive that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger wants to copy it for California. The gist of it is that everyone is required to have insurance—-everyone—and the state will ensure that there are “low cost” plans for those who can’t afford regular insurance or don’t have it provided by employers. Now—surprise, surprise—we’re hearing that it’s going to be more expensive than previously believe, twice as expensive.

Of course, they’re trying to lay this all on former Gov. Mitt Romney because it was his proposal, but from what I recall the Democrats have a veto-proof monopoly on the Legislature and had made it clear that universal coverage was going to be passed. Romney tried to mitigate it. Evidently not enough.

The fact is that the health care system is broken in myriad ways. (Just read the comments on my recent blog entry.) Universal health care may test well in focus groups, but it does nothing to fix what’s broken.

So the least expensive health care plan will cost $4560 plus a $2000 or $4000 deductible. Let’s go with the high end. That $8500 per year is still less than the $12000 per year I pay for family coverage through a small business co-operative. But imagine someone making just $20000 per year. Combine the high cost of living in Massachusetts with the ridiculous taxes we already pay and that $380 per month becomes significant and unless something very bad happens, you’re still paying more out of your pocket when you get sick.

Once again, the Emperor has no clothes. And the usual howls have gone up from those whose response to finding themselves in a hole is to keep digging. They want even more government subsidies and more burdens on businesses. Drive up taxes and send more jobs out of state: That will surely solve folks’ problem of having enough money.

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  • The problem begins because the term health care is used with no one defining what is encompassed by health care. As a society we need to make some hard choices. If universal health care means uniform health care with everyone getting exactly the same then we will move to mediocrity for all and excellence for none. We need to define the floor—the health care that no American should be without. This is the bare minimum that the government has the responsibility to provide for the common good of our society. Above that, those with more resources may choose to buy more health care. The Oregon Health Plan tried to do that many years ago. However, special interests kept tacking on one more “necessity” until the program has crumbled under the weight of mandated coverage.

  • Part of the problem is that the Constitution doesn’t make any provisions for health care or education or many other things that we now accept.

    Before the Federal government gets involved the Constitution needs to be amended or we need to leave this to each state to fix.

  • I have an internet friend who’s a Canadian attorney.  It’s been a while since we chatted, but he always described himself as a conservative on most issues except socialized medicine.
    So, a couple years ago, I was chatting with him while doing my taxes.  He was astonished at how much I get in tax breaks—since Canada has none.

    We tossed a bunch of numbers back and forth—cost of living, Canadian-US dollar conversions, figuring what the equivalent salaries we’d be making *if* we lived in Canada, etc.

    Then he calculated out what my family’s taxes would be in Canada.
    I totalled my family’s spending in taxes, health insurance premiums *and* health costs.

    The experiment proved that, between local, province and federal Canadian taxes—most of which go to fund socialized medicine—we would spend far more in taxes in Canada than we do in health costs here in the US.  And that’s for a lower-middle class income family where I have a serious chronic health condition and my wife has a baby every 2 years.

  • Why do people assume that just because you have a complaint, you want to throw in the towel? It’s not like the rest of the country is doing that much better.

    Maybe people complain because they want to make things better.

  • I most certainly did not mean you were throwing in the towel.  It’s just that you may find better opportunities elsewhere to serve the Church.

  • Sorry, yours was not the only comment I’ve received today that seemed to be in that vein, but from a lot less charitable motivation. I can see now that you didn’t mean it that way.