For whatever reason, the author of the blog "A Certain Enthusiasm" has spent a lot of time trying to prove RomneyCare a success. I can't figure out whether he's a MittManiac or a lefty but he keeps trying to squeeze the old five pounds of you know what into the one pound bag. His current premise -- like others trying to rationalize the failure that is RomneyCare -- is that it is a success because 'private healthcare premiums' in Massachusetts are growing more slowly than elsewhere in the country. It's the we're not as bad as them version of good.
Given its length and apparent independent thinking, his theory deserves a thorough review. I have reviewed it. He's wrong. See below. But I applaud his effort although it illustrates the overuse of statistical devices and overthinking of the derived "estimated results" by academics. (There is no "about us" link on the blog that I can see so I don't know if the author is an academic. But he makes my point about the academy nevertheless.)
- Why use statistical projections as derived estimated results when you have almost 100% complete census data available?
- Why regress the flimsy data points the academics tend to depend upon when you can look back at complete data, and regression is basically for looking forward?
And the survey -- if that's what he is still using -- counts nursing home spending. RomneyCare had nothing to do with nursing home spending. He told me when I asked him about that he just meant to give a feel for what is going on in Massachusetts, not to specifically review RomneyCare. But he seems to have changed his tune in the last month.
A better source of information on private premiums would be the Massachusetts Department of Healthcare Finance and Policy (DHCFP) web site which essentially depends on a census of policies rather than a survey of them. In particular, the author should have looked at the May 2011 Premium Trends report for better analytical premises related to
- Massachusetts' "merged market" ratings system, particularly relative to age
- Very important adjustments for the reduced benefits we have suffered here in Massachusetts since 2006
- The effect of the introduction of the Young Adult Plan if any
- The introduction of exchanges as a means by which small employers can facilitate insuring their employees
- The effects of the "merged market" itself (which happened coincidentally with RomneyCare)
-- Dennis Byron