The “de ja vu” Health Care Plan

Any debate about universal health care invariably turns to a discussion of medical care in Great Britain or Canada – overburdening taxes, long waits for testing, and even longer waits for treatment. In an attempt to contain costs, health care is essentially rationed. Think that can’t happen here? Well, think again.  It’s already happening.

And, you need look no further than the state of Massachusetts as the Wall Street Journal points out in a March 27, 2009 editorial.  In 2006, Massachusetts launched its version of universal health care that was touted as the prototype for America.  Less than three years later, the system is in shambles.  The state has raised premiums as much as it can, and, has wrung every conceivable concession from health care providers, insurers and employers.  And, it is still not enough.  The state’s overall cost for health programs has increased a staggering 42% since 2006.

So, what is the state considering?  If you guessed limiting health care, you are correct.  The governor is looking at measures to “exclude coverage of services of low priority/low value”, and  to “limit coverage to services that produce the highest value when considering both clinical effectiveness and cost”.  That’s “government speak” for rationing.  Translation, we, the government, not you and your doctor, will decide who gets treatment and for what.

The Wall Street Journal editorial is well worth reading in its entirety.  But, let me quote it’s punch line:

Which brings us to Washington where Mr. Obama and Congressional Democrats are about to try their own Bay State bait and switch: First create vast new entitlements that can never be repealed, then later take the less popular step of rationing care when it’s their last hope to save the federal fisc. …The real lesson of Massachusetts is the truth about what ‘universal’ coverage really means: Runaway costs followed by price controls and bureaucratic rationing.

Bottom line, this grand experiment still doesn’t work, no matter who tries it, or where it is tried.  Subjecting hundreds of millions of Americans to this shabby treatment for the sake of ten million or so is not only unconscionable, it’s criminal.

This, Yogi, is a “de ja vu all over again” health care plan that I want no part of.

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The Sound Off Sister was an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and special trial attorney for the Department of Justice, Criminal Division; a partner in the Florida law firm of Shutts & Bowen, and an adjunct professor at the University of Miami, School of Law. The Sound Off Sister offers frequent commentary concerning legislation making its way through Congress, including the health reform legislation passed in early 2010.

1 Comment

  1. SoundOffSister on March 29, 2009 at 10:17 am

    And, this just in…when commenting on Obama's plan for universal health care, Bruce Josten, executive vice president for governmental affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said, "there are tremendous savings to be accrued" by changing our system of health care.  Can someone put Mr. Josten in touch with Governor Deval Partick of Massachusetts?

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