Like his buddy Barack Obama, Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts claims to have a policy of open, transparent government. That's true of course unless the open, transparent information would put the lie to everything you say to the public.
There is no better example than how Deval Patrick has delayed the release of and now totally hidden the key facts about RomneyCare from the public just as the 2012 presidential election approaches.
Since RomneyCare was enacted, there have been a series of quarterly reports put out by the Massachusetts Department of Healthcare Finance and Policy (DHCFP) called the Key Indicators Report. The reports always came out to the public a quarter after the politicians got to see them and cook the books. But at least there was consistency and meaningful data points from a time-series perspective.
The now former quarterly key indicators reports highlighted:
- Enrollment key indicators, illustrating that the increase in the number of insured in Massachusetts was simply a matter of the state giving free or almost free healthcare insurance to about 400,000 people out of 6,500,000 of us who live here
- Employer key indicators, putting the lie to the claim that more people were getting employer sponsored insurance (ESI) since the RomneyCare laws became effective (actually Deval Patrick carefully never made that claim; what he always says is 'more employers are offering insurance' while not mentioning that fewer and fewer people are taking ESI as 'crowdout theory' predicted)
- Access key indicators, illustrating that individual access to health care providers in Massachusetts had not changed under the RomneyCare laws
- Premium key indicators, putting the lie to the claims that the RomneyCare laws had reduced premiums (as if anyone but the Washington Post could get away with such a claim)
- "Free care pool" trends, putting the lie to claim that the RomneyCare laws worked to meet their main objective of giving poor people free insurance from Romney cronies using the money that used to go to pay for their free care at inner city hospitals and clinics
- Other key indicators on insurer, hospital, clinic and RomneyCare/MassHealth (Medicaid) performance, including a close tracking of Massachusetts insurers' excellent medical loss ratio statistic
But given the way every one of those yardsticks of "RomneyCare success" (NOT!) have gone south since the the RomneyCare laws became effective in 2008, the quarterly Key Indicators Report has gone south too. Here's the new DHCFP ode to transparency:
"Starting with the first quarter of 2011, the DHCFP has taken time to refocus the scope of the Key Indicators report to reflect two main objectives: 1) providing a quarterly report to provide consistent updates on health insurance enrollment in the Commonwealth; and 2) providing an annual Key Indicators report that evaluates a broader range of health care access, cost, and quality metrics. It has always been DHCFP’s aim to provide timely, relevant and accurate information and we believe structuring Key Indicators this way allows us to best accomplish these and related objectives."
Forgetting the fact that the new-look "quarterly" report was issued in March 2012 but dated February 2012 and supposedly covers the second calendar quarter of 2011 but only has data from the first calendar quarter of 2011, what do we need a quarterly update on enrollment for? The data has basically been the same since the beginning: the state gave away free or almost free insurance to 400,000 people. The real message behind this cover up is:
"We agree that RomneyCare totally failed. So you stupid citizens will not get any more information from the state of Massachusetts proving that point."
Ironically, both President Obama and the presumptive Republican nominee, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, benefit from Deval Patrick's cover up. The Mittster doesn't want to talk about the facts behind the failure of RomneyCare anymore than President Obama does.
-- Dennis Byron