It has often been said in Massachusetts that the Democratic-Party supporters of the late great Boston Mayor1 James Michael Curley -- even dead ones -- voted "early and often" for "His Honor." Apparently the same can be said of Massachusetts Democrats when it comes to Medicaid.
The state of Massachusetts has claimed for years that all but 120,000 of its residents had health insurance. (The state considers Medicaid to be health insurance.) If so, it's strange that the state's far-left propagandists are now wetting their pants over the fact that early in 2014 the government gave Medicaid to 300,000 people who supposedly previously did not have insurance.
Do the math, lefties. If your earlier claim is true, your new claim can only be true if the state of Massachusetts gave Medicaid to a large group of dead Democrats... or if you have been lying all along.
1Curley was also a Massachusetts governor for one term and Congressman for one and a half terms each but preferred to be called "His Honor." That's unlike Scott Brown who was a United States Senator for well less than one term after spending time as a local Selectman and State Rep but who apparently prefers to be called Senator Brown... in New Hampshire.
I agree with Froma Harrop; I never thought I'd write those words. He or she claims that Obamacare should not be compared with the VA, it should be compared with Romneycare. I agree that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) will follow the lead of RomneyCare, not the VA system, because both ill-fated RomneyCare and PPACA were supposedly market oriented insurance schemes, not a "system" like the VA.
The similarity will go like this: RomneyCare was effectively repealed in Massachusetts in 2012, six years after it was passed (the migration of the people formerly on RomneyCare to worse Obamacare1 insurance is shown in image). In 2012 RomneyCare's market orientation was replaced with Soviet-era-like price controls. Something similar will likely happen to Obamacare. It will just take seven years instead of six. There are some other misconceptions about RomneyCare in this article.
As an aside, RomneyCare had nothing to do with outlawing pre-existing-condition determinations in Massachusetts. Insurance companies were forbidden from doing that in Massachusetts 10 years before RomneyCare, in 1996. And we were not even the first state to do it.
The statistics in the article about actual health are exactly the opposite of what is happening here on the ground in Massachusetts. ER usage is up. Wait times are up and the number of doctors accepting new patients is down, And what's happening to Medicare patients is irrelevant since we on Medicare were not at all affected by the now long-gone but not missed RomneyCare. This is exactly the opposite of the what the Mass Medical Society surveys said; the author could be misreading the Mass Medical statistics but my guess is that he or she is not reading them at all.
1I use the term PPACA for the law and Obamacare for the insurance enabled by the law
Boston College's Retirement Center has wasted tens of thousands of BC students' tuition dollars on a useless report about RomneyCare, which has nothing to do with retirement. The report's title asks the question "What (Do) We Know About Health Reform in Massachusetts?" Leaving out the fact that the report does not explain that RomneyCare was effectively repealed in 2012 and that Massachusetts had the worst roll out of Obamacare in the United States, a major problem with the BC report's findings is that much of its data does not seem to agree with the official State of Massachusetts information on these subjects. The data is freely available here on the mass.gov website.
(Example of mass.gov detail concerning RomneyCare; see point 4 below regarding employer sponsored insurance)
Looking at the reports four major categories of inquiry point by point.
1. Insurance coverage.
No one disagrees that between mid 2006 and late 2007 the state of Massachusetts gave free or almost free insurance to about 200,000 people and gave Medicaid to another roughly 200,000 people under terms more generous than the terms available in the rest of the United States. The total was about 6% of the population so it was probably 10% of the 19-64 age group. (We can't tell for sure because the state conveniently changed methodologies right in the middle of the process so that numbers cannot be accurately compared; the Obama administration has played this same trick.)
The big issue in Massachusetts giving away free insurance and more generous Medicaid was why another 200,000 who qualified for one or the other did not sign up. The apparent reason: Medicaid is not accepted by many doctors and the free insurance (which no longer exists so the numbers in the BC report are now totally meaningless in addition to being misleading) was accepted by even fewer doctors.
In addition, Massachusetts did not keep track of who among the 400,000 had previously had insurance. It was likely a large number because the uninsured rate in the 19-64 age group had only been 8% in 2002, in the last survey before Governor Romney proposed the now effectively repealed law that bears his name in 2004. The uninsured rate went up between when the proposal for free handouts was made because tens of thousands of people gamed the system that they assumed (correctly) would be passed.
2. Provision of health services.
The report says a "comprehensive study of all ER admissions found an increase in volume, but the number of low-severity visits declined slightly." Does it contend that real emergencies increased because of the law? In fact there is no good data on this subject but Massachusetts had and still has excellent health care (not to be confused with insurance or Medicaid).
3. Health outcomes.
The amenable death rate in Massachusetts decreased more slowly (at half the rate) after the now effectively repealed 2006 reform law than it had decreased prior to 2006. In other words, the rate has nothing to do with insurance or Medicaid either. In fact, the amenable death rate actually went up in 2008, they first effective year of RomneyCare, for the first time in decades. I do not believe that health outcomes have anything to do with insurance or Medicaid (at least for a generation) but if you subscribe to BC's logic, RomneyCare killed people in Massachusetts.
4. Labor-market effects.
The take-up rate in Massachusetts for employer sponsored insurance dropped dramatically post the now effectively repealed 2006 reform law. It doesn't matter that more employers sponsored insurance to avoid the tax penalty -- the "major finding of the BC report -- if fewer residents signed up for it.