The definition of health care insanity (see MA, ME, TN, HI)

Someone, far smarter than I, once defined insanity as repeating the same behavior over and over again, and expecting a different result.  Were that same person looking at the current proposals for health care reform, I suppose that person would conclude that both Congress and the President are insane.

All of the health care proposals floating around Washington are simply carbon copies of health care policies established elsewhere.  Given that, one would think that Congress would have learned by now (perhaps on one of their many “fact finding” trips at taxpayer expense) that none of those policies, not a one, has ever lived up to the grandiose promises.  In fact, they have failed miserably.

We all have heard of the horror stories of rationed care and backbreaking taxes in the United Kingdom, or the endless waits for specialists and surgery in Canada that have driven many Canadians across the border to receive health care in the United States.

But, Congress doesn’t even have to look beyond our borders to see what will happen.  Obamacare exists in Hawaii, Tennessee, Massachusetts, and Maine, and it hasn’t worked in any state.  Incredibly, however, Congress has chosen not only to overlook what has happened in those states, but also to draft legislation that is virtually identical to those failed models.

In Massachusetts, the overall cost of health care has risen 42% since the program started in 2006, and it now “boasts” the highest insurance premiums in the nation.  Premiums there have risen 7.4% in 2007, 8 -12% in 2008, and are expected to rise 9% in 2009, compared with the national average of 6.1%, 4.7% and 6.4% respectively.  It is thus little wonder that there are still 200,000 uninsureds in the state…Massachusetts has made health insurance unaffordable.

The same tragedy has also played out in Maine.  It has seen a 74% increase in insurance premiums in 5 years, and today, the number of uninsureds in Maine is only slightly lower than it was when the program started.  At the same time Maine spent over $2 million to accomplish this feat.

Now that I think about it, the above definition of insanity seems accurate.  Why would anyone in their right mind suggest a program that the overwhelming weight of the evidence graphically demonstrates doesn’t drive down the cost of health care, doesn’t reduce the cost of insurance, and doesn’t materially affect the number of uninsureds, while at the same time spending $1 trillion to do so?

I’m beginning to wonder whether anyone “inside the Beltway” is capable of rational thought.

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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. Dimsdale on October 3, 2009 at 11:00 am

    I think the definition of liberalism is grandiose insanity, hiding under the cloak of those most frightful words (to thinking folks anyway): "We're from the government, and we are here to help you."


    Maybe they could learn from another socialist, George Bernard Shaw: "If history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must Man be of learning from experience."


    Or George Santayana: "Those who speak most of progress measure it by quantity and not by quality",  and "Skepticism, like chastity, should not be relinquished too readily."

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