Tag: Universal healthcare

Montana Goes Canadian

Really, Montana?

Gov. Brian Schweitzer said Wednesday he will ask the U.S. government to let Montana set up its own universal health care program, taking his rhetorical fight over health care to another level.

Like Republicans who object to the federal health care law, the Democratic governor also argues it doesn’t do enough to control costs and says his state should have more flexibility than the law allows. But Schweitzer has completely different plans for the Medicare and Medicaid money the federal government gives the state to administer those programs.

The popular second-term Democrat would like to create a state-run system that borrows from the program used in Saskatchewan. He said the Canadian province controls cost by negotiating drug prices and limiting nonemergency procedures such as MRIs.

Schweitzer said the province’s demographics and economy are similar to Montana in several ways – yet its residents live longer while spending far less on health care.

It sounds to me like he wants a single-payer system: Medicare for all. Peter Suderman breaks down the lies that surrounded Medicare — that drug prices can be negotiated without harm, that physician fees can be cut without harm, that Medicare is more efficient than the private sector. I’ve tackled many of these myself. It’s telling that Schweitzer is already talking about rationing MRIs.

But you know what? Go ahead, Montana. My response to the healthcare bill has been that states should be given the freedom to try out different policies. If Romneycare works for Massachusetts, if socialized works for Vermont and Montana, great. But only a crazy person would think that the best healthcare reform for Vermont is also the best for Texas. You have to drink deep of the kool-aid to think that Massachusetts’ solution — assuming it is that — should be the same as Alabama’s.

So let Montana socialize medicine if they want to. So long as they’re not allowed to fund it through taxes from other states (i.e., federal subsidies), that’s fine. People can then vote with their feet and move to whatever state has the best healthcare system. I can tell from experience that I would much prefer getting healthcare in Texas than in Pennsylvania.

Let the states figure it out. Let them enact 50 different systems and let people, doctors and insurers go to whichever system they prefer.

And also: would the last doctor to leave Montana please turn off the machine that goes “bing”.

More good news about Obamacare

What’s that you ask? Well, a recent survey by McKinsey Quarterly has found out that fully 1/3 of employers plan to stop offering healthcare come 2014, once provisions of the Affordable Care Act start to kick in, and that’s on top of the 7% employees forced to switch to subsidized-exchange programs we already know about.

While only 7% of employees will be forced to switch to subsidized-exchange programs, at least 30% of companies say they will “definitely or probably” stop offering employer-sponsored coverage, according to the study published in McKinsey Quarterly.

The survey of 1,300 employers says those who are keenly aware of the health-reform measure probably are more likely to consider an alternative to employer-sponsored plans, with 50% to 60% in this group expected to make a change. It also found that for some, it makes more sense to switch.

“At least 30% of employers would gain economically from dropping coverage, even if they completely compensated employees for the change through other benefit offerings or higher salaries,” the study says.

Those of us that warned this was the plan from the start and that the ludicrous claim that people would get to keep their coverage was a huge slight of hand, are yet again vindicated. And this will have a snowball effect. As employers drop their coverage government will have to jack up both the penalties on them and the costs on those that keep them to cover for the shortfall. In the long run everyone will figure dropping coverage is cheaper anyway. And then the left gets what they wanted: government in charge of healthcare. Then the fun can begin!

The response from the WH?

Late Monday, an Obama administration official took issue with the study, saying that it is at odds with findings from the Congressional Budget Office, think-tank Rand Corp. and the Urban Institute. In an email response, the official wrote that when Massachusetts initiated its own reform, the number of individuals with employer-sponsored insurance increased.

Indeed, the Rand study released in April noted: “The percentage of employees offered insurance will not change substantially, but a small number of employees in small firms (defined as those with under 100 employees in 2016) will obtain employer-sponsored insurance through the state insurance exchanges.”

Employers with less than 100 employees are the biggest employers in the US. BTW, one of the major reason most of them are not hiring, no matter how booming their business may be, is precisely the risks and unknowns tied to Obamacare. My bet? Employers, especially small business owners, will start dropping heaqlthcare like it’s radioactive as more of this disastrous government takeover of healthcare goes live.