It's telling that the Boston Globe is getting more and more desperate to put out meaningless damaging (it thinks) information about Governor Romney as he rises in the polls against President Obama. My proofpoint is the rambling what-if article described here about how RomneyCare goo goos are afraid changing Medicaid to a block grant program on a national basis "may" gut RomneyCare.
As for the totally bogus article itself, there seems to be factual errors behind the goo goos' or the Globe reporter's reasoning. I described all the inaccurate reporting about the Medicaid waiver at this link. I don't know where the left-wing Kaiser group or the Globe got its data about the net newly insured in Massachusetts but the state's own official data source says all of the net newly insured in Massachusetts post the passage of RomneyCare received free (or for a relative few, highly subsidized) insurance. It was not 56%.
- Possibly what Kaiser (or the Globe reporter) means is that about half were previously entitled to MassHealth (under Massachusetts' rules for Medicaid eligibility) but had not signed up. The other half were "the working poor," or otherwise making just a little bit too much (or having just too many assets) to qualify for MassHealth even under Massachusetts' liberal Medicaid rules. It is this second half of the 200,000 net newly insured, about 3% of the population, that needed help.
- Or maybe Kaiser and the Globe just means that the Feds pay half the cost of Medicaid, which has nothing to do with RomneyCare or a waiver. It really doesn't matter to the Globe, which simply wants to string words together to misinform you. For example, the Globe reporter throws in the words "safety net" knowing full well that that is the name of a separate state program having nothing to do with Medicaid. It used to be called the free care pool--see below. The free care pool was supposed to be down near zero by now under the RomneyCare concept but it is instead running about a half-billion dollars a year and rising.
But it's all goo goo baloney. What "undermines" Romney's "key achievement" is that RomneyCare was a bad idea on his part made worse by all these arrogant do gooders.
- All Romney wanted as described in his waiver application was to take the money in the free care pool used to cover uncompensated care at state charity hospitals and community health centers and give it instead to politically connected insurance companies who would give it to politically connected teaching hospitals. That idea failed because no one told the 200,000 working poor to leave their neighborhoods and go across town to the teaching hospitals.
- Goo goos like Ms. Slemmer made the idea worse by adding rules such as the one that forces a 64-year-old male to ensure himself for IVF while prohibiting meaningful catastrophic insurance.
The result has been the total distortion of the Massachusetts healthcare market. That in turn has driven up provider and insurance costs that we all pay directly, in our pay checks, through our property and state taxes, and in our federal income taxes.
-- Dennis Byron