Robert Samuelson on the ACA and Massachusetts Health Care Law

The Washington Post’s Robert Samuelson writes:

“If you want a preview of President Obama’s health-care ‘reform,’ take a look at Massachusetts. In 2006, it enacted a ‘reform’ that became a model for Obama. What’s happened since isn’t encouraging. The state did the easy part: expanding state-subsidized insurance coverage. It evaded the hard part: controlling costs and ensuring that spending improves people’s health. Unfortunately, Obama has done the same.

Samuelson spends the piece pointing out many of the provisions of the law that expand access, but misses any opportunity to address costs.  He also has these great little nuggets:

  • Attacking unpopular insurance companies is easy — and ultimately ineffectual.
  • Limiting premiums without controlling the costs of providers will ultimately cause insurer bankruptcies, which would then threaten providers because they won’t be fully reimbursed.
  • The lesson from Massachusetts is that genuine cost control is avoided because it’s so politically difficult. It means curbing the incomes of doctors, hospitals and other providers. They object.


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