Tag: "Massachusetts"

Hits and Misses

iStock_000008138385XSmallSobering facts about inequality.

The true story of Phineas Gage. HT: Jason Shafrin.

How many bills have been filibustered in the Senate during Obama’s presidency? Almost all of them.

“Reference pricing” for common procedures could save employers $9.4 billion.

Massachusetts was the first state to guarantee access to insurance. So why was it arguably the worst of any state in implementing ObamaCare?

Medicaid Expansion Means More ER Visits

A number of years ago, Governor Romney told me that under Massachusetts health reform people would go to physicians’ offices for care instead of going to the emergency room. He wasn’t saying that Massachusetts would deliver more care. He was saying that the care would be more appropriate and less expensive.

As it turns out he was wrong. Traffic to the ER in Massachusetts today is higher than it was before the state’s health reform was enacted.

er23The same argument has been used by President Obama and by supporters of the Affordable Care Act. And now it turns out they are wrong too. As The New York Times reports:

The study, published in the journal Science, compared thousands of low-income people in the Portland area who were randomly selected in a 2008 lottery to get Medicaid coverage with people who entered the lottery but remained uninsured. Those who gained coverage made 40 percent more visits to the emergency room than their uninsured counterparts during their first 18 months with insurance.

This is consistent with our own predictions in an NCPA study done soon after the ACA was passed. Ah, if only they had listened.

Headlines I Wish I Hadn’t Seen

521063-fish-oilModern day snake oil: Fish oil benefits oversold.

Massachusetts exchange having the same technical glitches as other states.

More than eight in ten U.S. cancer specialists have struggled to find the drugs they need to best treat their patients.

Britain’s NHS: Mothers were abandoned by their midwives during labour; serious hospital mistakes happen as often as five times a week.

More on the NHS: Over the last six months, there have been 37 cases of patients who received surgery on the wrong part of their body.

Headlines I Wish I Hadn’t Seen

Insuring the uninsured in Massachusetts is crowding out access for the Medicare population. HT: Jason Shafrin.

Park Service Ranger: “We’ve been told to make life as difficult for people as we can. It’s disgusting.”

Oops. ObamaCare’s first enrollee may be bogus.

Illegal drugs are cheaper than ever; they’re also purer.

How Similar is RomneyCare to ObamaCare?

Some features of the current Massachusetts law would be prohibited by the ACA. Massachusetts permits insurers to offer discounts to, for example, someone who works in a low-risk industry or participates in a wellness program. The federal law, on the other hand, requires premiums to be based on a single set of factors: family composition, the ages of covered members, tobacco usage, and geographical location. According to state officials, this will cause premiums to rollercoaster, resulting in “extreme premium increases” for many, and a decline for others.

A Pioneer Institute analysis found that 60 percent of small businesses in Massachusetts will experience a rate hike — for some the increase will be over 98 percent — due to this one regulatory change. These same employers are already bracing for the law’s 18 new taxes.

Source: National Review.

Headlines I Wish I Hadn’t Seen

The federal government makes a profit on student defaults.

The NSA is surveilling 75% of all Internet traffic.

Citing ObamaCare, UPS drops 15,000 spouses from its health plan.

The nation’s state medical boards allow thousands of physicians to keep practicing medicine after findings of serious misconduct that put patients at risk.

Massachusetts rate shock: 60% of small businesses to see premiums rise, up to 97%.

Headlines I Wish I Hadn’t Seen

NSA broke privacy rules thousands of times per year.

Getting less for more: The average health insurance premium paid by Massachusetts residents increased by 9.7% between 2009 and 2011, while the value of the coverage declined by 5.1%.

The average physician spends almost 11 percent of his or her career practicing in the shadow of an unresolved malpractice claim.

“Coverage Doesn’t Guarantee Access to Care”

That’s from Dr. Ronald Dunlap, president of the Massachusetts Medical Society. He’s commenting on a new survey showing:

The results are similar to last year’s survey that found 50 percent of family doctors and 51 percent of internists open to new patients in Massachusetts.

The average wait time for a non-emergency appointment with a primary care doctor in the latest survey is 39 days for family physicians, an improvement from 45 days last year. But the wait time to see an internist was 50 days, up from 44 days a year ago.

Who Will Bear the Cost of ObamaCare? The Employees

[T]he great bulk of the cost of newly offered coverage will come, not out of profits or hiring, but out of worker cash wages. That is what happened in Massachusetts when “RomneyCare” was implemented. While there was little impact on the overall labor market, there was a striking change for those workers who gained new insurance: they saw wage reductions (relative to the trend) of almost precisely the cost of health insurance to their employers. Adding further evidence for the power of the employer side of the labor market to adjust in the face of an individual as well as an employer mandate, the number of employers offering health insurance actually increased following reform.

By Mark Pauly, et al.

Massachusetts Update

The untold story of the Massachusetts reform is that the small business community has been paying more for health insurance since the commonwealth’s 2006 reform merged sicker individuals into the same risk pool. The legislature has only made matters worse by passing 12 additional mandated benefits since 2006, a cost borne completely by small companies and individuals.

Now the future looks even bleaker for small business. Not only will their highest-in-the-nation premiums go up because of these new [ACA] regulations, but they will be paying on average $8,000 per family, per plan more in taxes over the next ten years.

More from Josh Archambault.