Massachusetts health care experiment not working out

I’ve recently written about how the states – per the Constitution – can be great incubators of ideas. Instead of implementing programs like universal health care at the federal level where it could never be reversed, states can try stuff and other states can measure results. So, how is Massachusetts doing with its health care experiment?

AJStrata at Strata-Sphere and I are right on the same page, the federal government must be limited to Constitutionally mandated responsibilities. You may say the horse has left the barn. Do not tell me I’m right but we can’t get back, we must for this great country to survive.

[T]he core of this faux miracle is the idea government can run a better quality system. I am here to say, as a federal government contractor to DoD and NASA, that the role of the government is not to do something better than industry – which is why the government relies on industry to do just about everything it needs from computers systems to janitorial services to other specialized systems (like spacecraft and tanks), to its energy, transportation, food services, medical services, daycare services, etc. The government does not do things well, it takes on constitutionally mandated jobs that must be done.

The New York Times takes a look at the situation at Boston Medical Center, with my emphasis added.

A hospital that serves thousands of indigent Massachusetts residents sued the state on Wednesday, charging that its costly universal health care law is forcing the hospital to cover too much of the expense of caring for the poor.

The hospital, Boston Medical Center, faces a $38 million deficit for the fiscal year ending in September, its first loss in five years. The suit says the hospital will lose more than $100 million next year because the state has lowered Medicaid reimbursement rates and stopped paying Boston Medical “reasonable costs” for treating other poor patients.

“We filed this suit more in sorrow than in anger,” said Elaine Ullian, the hospital’s chief executive. “We believe in health care reform to the bottom of our toes, but it was never, ever supposed to be financed on the backs of the poor, and that’s what has happened in Massachusetts.”

Financing the program “on the back of the poor?” Wait, I thought everyone in Massachusetts had access to affordable health care insurance? The story reports only 2.6 percent of residents don’t have insurance compared to a national average of 15 percent so what’s the problem? Since 97.4 percent of residents have care, I kind of figure the problem would be completely solved!

Not so much.

Boston Medical Center simply needs to make a profit or break even to stay in business, and that’s not happening and the state is making it worse.

To help close a growing deficit, the Democratic-controlled Legislature eliminated coverage for some 30,000 legal immigrants in the new state budget. Gov. Deval Patrick, a Democrat, is seeking to restore about half of the $130 million cut, but lawmakers have expressed reluctance, saying that doing so would require cuts to other important programs.

Gee, does that mean Boston Medical Center can turn away legal immigrants if they do not have insurance? Heck no, per federal law they can’t even turn away illegal aliens!

Who pays for those medical expenses for patients at Boston Medical when the state won’t pay? Hospitals are rich don’tcha know? They can cover the tab on their own…

State officials expressed surprise at the lawsuit, saying that Boston Medical received $1.5 billion in state funds in the past year and should not be seeking more in the midst of a fiscal crisis. …

State officials have suggested that Boston Medical could reduce costs by operating more efficiently. The state has also pointed out that the hospital has reserves of about $190 million, but Tom Traylor, the hospital’s vice president of federal and state programs, said the reserves could only sustain the hospital for about a year.

That’s the state’s argument? We already gave you $1.5 billion to cover expenses – a huge number for sure – so shut up and take it like a man? The hospital is loosing money and this program is clearly unsustainable. Got that – it’s not working.

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Steve McGough

Steve's a part-time conservative blogger. Steve grew up in Connecticut and has lived in Washington, D.C. and the Bahamas. He resides in Connecticut, where he’s comfortable six months of the year.


  1. Dimsdale on July 16, 2009 at 3:30 pm

    Well, if it is an experiment, then I guess I am one of the guinea pigs.

    Sadly, Obama Jr. (Deval Patrick) probably really considers us to be lab rats…

  2. sammy22 on July 17, 2009 at 2:22 am

    It's not working. Is anything working? Took me 5 mos to get an appointment for orthopedics and another 6 mos to get to a spot on the operating table (better than Canada?).

  3. theignorantfisherman on July 21, 2009 at 6:55 pm

    No.. that can't be true! lol! Hello Mc-Mass (Mcfly)! a – dahh!

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