Nathan R. Jessup

What Do Romney And Obama Have In Common?

In America, Congress, Health Care, Mitt Romney, Obama, Socialism on April 1, 2010 at 12:21 am

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(By Joanne Galloway)

“Romneycare” is the microcosm of Obamacare – the following is a disturbing, and factual look into the future of our new health care plan and what it means to you, despite what Congress is attempting to sell you.

What is Romneycare? In case you don’t know, former governor of Massachusetts (and a possible republican presidential candidate for 2012) Mitt Romney instituted a plan for the state of Massachusetts which would cover every man, woman and child – state government-run healthcare. Basically, Romneycare is a genetic blueprint for Obamacare.

First the basics. Romneycare promised to do just what Obamacare is promising to do: Reduce costs for insurance premiums, make health coverage affordable for all citizens, and promises that costs will be manageable on our budget (i.e. deficit neutral).

Here are some quick facts on Romneycare (per Wiki):

• The plan was enacted in 2006
• Requires nearly every resident of Massachusetts to get health insurance coverage
• Provides free health care for residents earning less than 150% of the federal poverty level and partially-subsidized health care for those earning up to 300% of the FPL, depending on an income-based sliding scale.
• Citizens who fail to enroll in the mandated coverage are penalized with loss of personal tax exemptions, and as of 2008 fines will increase monthly as they fail to enroll.
• Employers must offer a “reasonable plan” to employees or pay a fine per employee
• Children aged up to 25 must be covered by parents insurance, and reduced coverage for young adults up to age 26 if their employer offers no plan.

So as I stated earlier, Romneycare = Obamacare.

Now, for some real consequences of the Romneycare implementation:
Per the NYT:

While “[Massachusetts] ranks well above the national average in the per capita supply of all doctors and of primary care physicians.” There don’t seem to be enough primary care physicians (family practice doctors)  to cover the sudden need of all the newly insured.  My second grade math skills still intact – I already knew this would be a fact.

In fact, “The share who accept new patients has dropped, to barely half in the case of internists, and the average wait by a new patient for an appointment with an internist rose to 52 days in 2007 from 33 days in 2006.” So, the healthcare mandate was made law in 2006, and by 2007 the citizens of Massachusetts already saw significant increase on their wait time to see a doctor.

Dr. Katherine J. Atkinson of Amherst, Mass., has a waiting list for her family practice; she added 50 patients from  November 2007 – April 2008.   Dr. Atkinson noted that, as well as doubling her workload, the costs to run her practice have gone up, while her income has not (arguably it’s been cut in half since she’s doubled her workload). She says, “…every time I have a Medicaid patient, it’s like handing them a $20 bill when they leave.  I never went into medicine to get rich, but I never expected to feel as disrespected as I feel. Where is the incentive for a practice like ours?”

At the time of publication, (DATELINE – April 5, 2008), Dr. Atkinson’s next opening for a physical is not until early May — of 2009.  There’s some of that change we were promised.  So much for preventative care reducing costs for major and chronic medical issues – if it takes more than a year in Massachusetts to see a doctor to get routing preventative care, I sure hope you aren’t genuinely ill.

The NYT article also attributes the costs of medical school vs. the ultimate expectation of salary as a major deterrent to those choosing family practice compared to a specialty. “The need to pay off medical school debt, which averages $120,000 at public schools and $160,000 at private schools, is cited as a major reason that graduates gravitate to higher-paying specialties and hospitalist jobs.”

“Primary care doctors typically fall at the bottom of the medical income scale, with average salaries in the range of $160,000 to $175,000 (compared with $410,000 for orthopedic surgeons and $380,000 for radiologists). In rural Massachusetts, where reimbursement rates are relatively low, some physicians are earning as little as $70,000 after 20 years of practice.”

For those doctors, that’s around 35$ per hour gross pay.  By contrast, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers, the average compensation for manufacturing workers is around $31.50.  So in the most extreme cases in Massachusetts, doctors are making roughly the same as mill workers – but the doctors are subject to malpractice suits, double the workload, malpractice insurance premiums and exceedingly high student loan repayments the manufacturing employees do not shoulder.  It should also be noted here that at “big 3 car manufacturers” the average labor cost for UAW-represented workers was around 73$/hour.  Now this was not actual take home pay, but includes pension, furloughed workers, and medical insurance costs to the car companies.  Why is this important?  Because in a sweetheart deal president Obama made with the unions, they are exempt from national healthcare (much like congress) and they get to keep their “Cadillac Plans”. By the way –  using Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers, the average hourly compensation, including benefits, for the average worker in the U.S. economy is around $28.50.  Head explosion!

Now, per the Boston Globe (the scene of the crime)- The state’s major health insurers plan to raise premiums by about 10 percent [in 2010], prompting many employers to reduce benefits and shift additional costs to workers.” – wait a minute, isn’t that exactly what Obama said healthcare WOULDN’T do?

“Despite being dominated by not-for-profit health plans, Massachusetts had the highest family coverage premiums in the nation – an average of $13,788 – in 2008, the most recent year for which figures were available, according to the Kaiser foundation. That included employer contributions of $10,425 and $3,363 from employees.”

“State health care reform has had some unexpected results,’’ suggested Tim O’Brien, senior vice president at Blue Cross Blue Shield’s headquarters in Boston. “The actual costs have been much higher than what were anticipated when health care reform went into effect in 2007.’’

Imagine that – who’d a thunk?

One blogger (Rightcondition.com) from “Taxachusetts” (giggles- what a great name) says,

“Romney promised the cost of this life saving experiment would not exceed 1.5 Billion and Common Wealth Care(CWC) would cost just north of 700 million. This may be hard to believe, but these projections missed their mark, just a little bit. For starters CWC clocked in at 870 million, more than 20% increase just this year alone. According to our governor, within the next three years CWC will DOUBLE in cost!”

DOUBLE in cost.  Obamacare (before the reconciliation) was 940 BILLION.  So we’ll see if that number goes up (I’m willing to be my next paycheck it will).  President Obama has said repeatedly that we will not see our coverage change.  We will not have to change doctors.  There will be no rationing of care.  He would not sign any bill that would add even a dime to our deficit.   If Romneycare is any litmus test, many if not all, will soon be proven for the lies that they are.

My prediction?

Romneycare = Obamacare = Rationed, deficit-adding, job killing healthcare

As a side not to all this debate:  Those in favor of  Obamacare often liken the mandate for car insurance to the mandate for health insurance. The argument being,  “well, you have to buy car insurance, this is the same kind of thing, only don’t  you think your health is more important?”

Folks, your car insurance is there if you get into an accident, or have some major issues with your car, but your car insurance doesn’t cover “preventative care” – when was the last time you heard a little gecko advertising oil changes, brake pads or tire rotation in your premium?  The mandate for carrying car insurance is to protect your potential unsuspecting victim from having to pay for your mistakes!  Hence why you can carry liability only.  Car insurance is tantamount to carrying health insurance in case you sneeze on your coworker.  Further to that point – your fellow-man is not expected to fund your car premiums for you if you are poor or just a bad driver.  You don’t have insurance, you don’t drive.  If you don’t have health insurance, it doesn’t follow that you don’t live.  The two are just not the same – that argument is faulty at its core.

Further, the US already had “free healthcare” enacted in 1986 under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA). EMTALA requires hospitals and ambulance services to provide care to anyone needing emergency treatment regardless of citizenship, legal status or ability to pay. EMTALA applies to virtually all hospitals in the U.S.

So we had “free” healthcare”, and private insurance – and while flawed (thanks to government regulations) it was still the best there was on the planet. But now we have Obamacare.  It’s law.

We could see it in Canada, Great Britain – Romneycare.  But despite the warnings, we now have Obamacare.

Hope that change works out for you.

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  1. The car insurance argument always kills me. So NOT even on the same playing field, but I’m glad you brought up the “preventative” part. That is exactly what makes the gigantic monetary different. People–we have a right to exist, we don’t have a “right” to healthcare coverage. If you cannot pay for auto insurance than you cannot drive a car. If you cannot pay for health insurance, the trusty American taxes will take care of you because you do in fact have a right to live. Can we say flawed system?!

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