WSJ has the details (my bold):
So Boston’s latest adventure deserves particular scrutiny, since odds are its methods are coming soon to a hospital near you. After more than a year and a half of debate, last week the legislature passed a far-reaching “cost containment” bill that Democratic Governor Deval Patrick is about to sign. It is the inevitable postscript to the model that Mitt Romney introduced in 2006.
The claim then, as with the Affordable Care Act, was that health care would be less expensive if everyone had insurance. Soon Massachusetts Democrats leaked that their political strategy all along was to expand coverage only, because had RomneyCare seriously squeezed providers it never would have overcome industry opposition. “Bending the curve” on costs could be saved for another day, once a vast new government liability was locked in.
Sure enough, 79% of the newly insured are on public programs. Health costs—Medicaid, RomneyCare’s subsidies, public-employee compensation—will consume some 54% of the state budget in 2012, up from about 24% in 2001. Over the same period state health spending in real terms has jumped by 59%, while education has fallen 15%, police and firemen by 11% and roads and bridges by 23%.
Meanwhile, Massachusetts spends more per capita on health care than any other state and therefore more than anywhere else in the industrialized world. Costs are 27% higher than the U.S. average, 15% higher when adjusted for the state’s higher wages and its concentration of academic medical centers and specialists…
The health-care postman always rings twice, and now medicine itself is the target, instead of unsympathetic insurance companies. Under the plan, all Massachusetts doctors, hospitals and other providers must register with a new state bureaucracy as a condition of licensure—that is, permission to practice. They’ll be required to track and report their financial performance, price and cost trends, state-sanctioned quality measures, market share and other metrics…
An 11-member board known as the Health Policy Commission will use the data to set and enforce rules to ensure that total Massachusetts health spending, public and private, grows no more than projected gross state product through 2017, and 0.5 percentage points lower thereafter. (And Paul Ryan’s Medicare projections are unrealistic?)
No registered provider is allowed to make “any material change to its operations or governance structure,” the bill says, without the commission’s approval. The commission can also rewrite the terms of provider contracts with insurers and payment levels and methods if they are “deemed to be excessive.”
As the commission polices the market, it can decide to supervise the behavior of any provider that exceeds some to-be-specified individual benchmark—that is, doctors and hospitals that are spending too much on patient care. These delinquents must submit a “performance improvement plan” that the commission must endorse.
In other words, the commission is empowered to control the practice and organization of medicine.
Bottom line, healthcare in Massachusetts, i.e. Romneycare, is becoming a centrally planned sewer pit. And Obamacare is Romneycare on steroids. Stay healthy my friends, the quality of healthcare is about to nosedive in America. It won’t happen over night, but it will creep up on us with centrally planned micro-regulation after micro-regulation. If you think TSA treatment of passengers is bureaucratic madness, mixed with crony radiation machines, way for the absurdity of medical treatment that is a combination of Obamacare and crony pharma.
Romneycare is only the teaser.
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