More Massachusetts Medical Controls

 Posted by on 7 August 2012 at 8:00 am  Health Care, Politics
Aug 072012

The 8/6/2012 Wall Street Journal has published an update on health care in Massachusetts, “RomneyCare 2.0“.

They make two key take home points:

* Costs keep spiralling out of control

Health costs — Medicaid, RomneyCare’s subsidies, public-employee compensation — will consume some 54% of the state budget in 2012, up from about 24% in 2001. Over the same period state health spending in real terms has jumped by 59%, while education has fallen 15%, police and firemen by 11% and roads and bridges by 23%.

* In response, the state will impose more overt controls over how doctors can practice medicine

[A]ll Massachusetts doctors, hospitals and other providers must register with a new state bureaucracy as a condition of licensure — that is, permission to practice. They’ll be required to track and report their financial performance, price and cost trends, state-sanctioned quality measures, market share and other metrics.

As the WSJ notes, this new “Health Policy Commission” will have the power to “to ensure that total Massachusetts health spending, public and private, grows no more than projected gross state product through 2017″.  (Emphasis theirs)

Basically, if a doctor or hospital spends too much on a patient’s care, they could be punished.

How hard will your doctor fight for your medical interests, if his medical license and his very livelihood are endangered whenever he spends more money than the government considers appropriate? Will he still be willing to order the MRI you need or prescribes the stronger (but more expensive) antibiotic to stop your life-threatening infection?

Of course the government will claim: “‘We’re not telling the doctors how to practice medicine — that’s still the physician’s job. We’re only establishing global economic guidelines. The doctor still makes the day-to-day medical decisions on his or her patients”.

But in reality, the government will be using the power of the purse and the power of licensure to co-opt doctors into becoming its proxy agents of rationing.

As always, trends in Massachusetts under RomneyCare will foreshadow what will happen to the rest of the country under ObamaCare.  In particular, get used to hearing the term, “Accountable Care Organization“.

(Read the full text of “RomneyCare 2.0“.)

Crossposted from the FIRM blog.

  • James Hancock

    Welcome to Canadian healthcare folks, where 80% of all taxes from all levels of government got to healthcare and related fields. Where a hip replacement takes more than a year. Where Chemo Therapy takes 1 1/2 months of your 6 months to live. Where they’re considering death panels like the father of socialized medicine the UK.

    By 2020 Canada’s healthcare system will consume 120% of GDP. There are virtually no family doctors left because the pay is horrible and if you go to emerge and you’re not dying on the gurney, it will take you at least 3 hours to see a doctor.

    I sprained my ankle once. It took 4 hours to see the doctor to have him send me to x-ray. It took 2 hours in radiology to get the x-rays and then another 4 hours to see the doctor to look at the x-ray and tell me it wasn’t broken (very bad sprain that might have been more). Cut in my hand that got infected, 3 hours to see a doctor for a prescription for antibiotics. 2nd degree burns to my foot because of a corn pot tipping over, 3 hours to see a doctor for which the doctor prescribed pain killers that I’m allergic too, for which I told him directly I was allergic and my file also said so. Another 3 hours to get a different prescription because I refused to leave until he fixed it. In the mean time, I’m just about passing out in pain.

    The only people that get good medical coverage in Canada are celebrities. Even rich people have to come to the US for good healthcare because it’s illegal to buy private healthcare in Canada. (soon to be overturned by the supreme court as a violation of our freedom of association, so Canada is about to get more free healthcare while the US gets less!) Everyone else waits, and waits and waits.

    Get your passports ready folks! You’re going to be going to Singapore and India for healthcare in the US soon.

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