Hit & Run

Under RomneyCare, 14 Percent of Sick Adults Still Report Being Unable to Access Health Care


Health coverage isn't health care: The Boston Globe reports that in Massachusetts, where RomneyCare's mandate to carry insurance has led to the highest coverage levels in the nation, 14 percent of sick adults still report being unable to access health care over the last year. The reasons were mostly financial: 70 percent cited financial reasons, including high out of pocket expenses and insurer coverage issues. The Harvard School of Public Health poll of 500 people who had been sick or hospitalized during the previous 12 months  made clear that despite the 2006 health care overhaul, which increased health coverage levels to about 98 percent of the population:

Seventy-eight percent of participants said health costs were at least a somewhat serious problem for the state, and 63 percent said the problem has gotten worse over the past five years. Forty percent said they have struggled to pay out-of-pocket costs themselves.

Reports like this are challenge for Romney, who as the state's governor worked to pass the Massachusetts health care plan and signed it into law, as well as for President Obama, whose administration has on multiple occasions noted that it modeled the federal health care law on the Bay State's plan. 

NEXT: Ask a Libertarian 2012 with Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch: Is it possible for a libertarian to support things like a safety net?

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  1. Do you think there might be an election-related incentive for the Obama administration to claim that Obamacare is modeled on Masscare, even if it's not true?

    I'm JustAskingQuestions?.

  2. Romney could actually make some use of the federalism argument, if he were willing to say the forbidden words; "I was wrong".

    "The states are supposed to be the laboratories of democracy. I could see that the good people of Massachusetts really wanted some form of universal coverage, and tried to come up with a good way to give them what they wanted.

    "It was an experiment. You're supposed to learn from experiments. This one didn't work. I thought a public/private partnership like MassCare was the best way to achieve universal coverage. Well, we tried it, and it didn't work very well.

    "If I knew then what I know now, I wouldn't have done it. The sad thing is, Congress knew when it passed ObamaCare that MassCare wasn't working very will, and passed it anyway. We don't need leaders who won't learn from experience. I have learned from my mistake."

    1. He needs to hire you (and me, since I've made similar noises in the past) as an advisor.

    2. "Romney made a mistake. Do you want to vote for someone who made a mistake?

      "What mistakes will he make as president? I, the Chosen One, have never made a mistake.


      "So this November, vote for me. The candidate who has never made a mistake."

      1. Laser guided drone missiles don't make mistakes. Didn't you see my accomplishments list?

      2. Except for all the weed he smoked. I must have been a mistake, otherwise he wouldn't be raiding and/or shutting down legal pot stores, now would he??

        1. "There is a time and a place for everything, and that time and place is college."

      3. That has the makings of a great debate question:

        "Have you ever made a mistake as Governor/President? If so, what was your biggest mistake, and why?"

        The bobbing and weaving would be epic, and utterly discrediting.

        "My only mistake is that I just care too much about minorities. And children. And women. And the unemployed. And the sick."

        1. Yeah, that's kind of like that famous job interview question about your biggest weakness. "I work too hard!!"

      4. Another awesome debate question:

        "President Obama, do you think you, personally, and the country as a whole, would be better off if you had been arrested and jailed for smoking marijuana?"

        "Mr. Romney, a similar question for you: would you, personally, and the country as a whole, be better off if you had been arrested and jailed for assault when you and your friends attacked that boy in high school to cut his hair?"

        1. "And for you both: Do you think that lying to one's constituents should warrant the same penalties as perjury?"

      5. And you can believe me, because I never lie and I'm always right. So wake up! (slap and baby crying) And take a look at your only logical choice. Me. George Tirebiter.

    3. ^This.^

  3. It's important to note that in order to control balooning costs, the MassCare people (Massachusetts' instantiation of Medicare) ration by queues and by bureaucratic obstacles.

    Applying for the program is hard. Calling the help line will get one bad advice very often, leading to incorrectly filed out application forms that get one denied coverage.

    People get booted out of the system because the DOR erroneously reports them as being employed, or because they change jobs and the system adds both salaries together and assumes they are making more money than they are, etc.

    The health care system is over regulated and quite expensive with ever lengthening wait times for treatment. The medical licensing organizations keep a shortage of people and facilites.

    Insurers have to comply with a fascist system of price controls, mandates and regulations that make it almost impossible for new companies to enter the field, and make it very expensive to do business. The end result as people are forced to buy products, and insurance companies are required to sell to them, the prices shoot through the roof.

    What makes Romney such an unqualified candidate for President is that he knew the law would fail in its objectives and cause costs to baloon. And he lacked the cojones to say no. Should he be elected, he will prove as unable to stand up to the Federal civil service and the Congress as he was unable to stand up for any principle in MA.

    1. Obama is still worse, though....

    2. MassCare was going to pass regardless of who was governor and regardless of whether the governor went along with it. The timing was such that after years and years of talking about health care legislation, MA had enough Dems willing to vote for damn near anything. Romney could, as some others have suggested, just say that while the intentions may have been honorable, the outcomes are less than optimum.

      Business try things that don't work all the time, but they have the integrity to admit that a tactic did not work and they figure out what went wrong in order to learn from it and not repeat the mistake. Politicians are the only species immune to this quality; probably has something to do with "integrity."

  4. Health coverage isn't health care

    NO. SHIT.

    HEALTH care, meaning the patient's responsibility how they manage their day to day lives, whereas MEDICAL care, meaning the tangible, physical means of DX'ing, TX'ing, and RX'ing diseases and the therapy related via the skills of a trained professional.

    Health Care =/= Medical Care. The patient has the right to manage their health as they see fit. Patients do not have the right to demand medical care at the point of a gun.

    1. this part jumped out at me:

      14 percent of sick adults still report being unable to access health care over the last year.

      We always here about ERs being overrun and most places have doc-in-a-box clinics. "Unable to access care" sounds good but what does it really mean? Hospitals do not routinely turn away those in serious need and payment arrangements can be made. That statement does not entirely wash with me, but I am not a doctor, so if you have a better explanation, love to hear it.

      1. When my mom broke her nose, it took 6 hours and two different hospitals before she got treated. She was at Mass General the massive hospital on the Charles River, then was encouraged to go to Mass Eye Ear.

        It's rationing by queue, pure and simple.

  5. Forty percent said they have struggled to pay out-of-pocket costs themselves.

    I have no doubt that my ex-wife would respond on her brand new iPhone, while trying on one of her 247 pairs of shoes, that she struggled to pay the out-of-pocket costs herself.

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