Uh oh: RomneyCare’s rising health care costs unsustainable

Romney has continued to defend RomneyCare during this campaign, saying it was right for Massachusetts. But a new study says otherwise, most notably that the rising health care costs in Massachusetts are not sustainable.

This should pose major problems for Romney as it is clear this is posing major problems for Massachusetts:

WASHINGTON TIMES – Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick just exhorted legislators to overhaul the way the state pays for health care. He’s pushing for an end to the traditional arrangement of compensating doctors and hospitals for each service they provide.

It’s not yet clear what will replace this “fee-for-service” payment system. But there’s growing support for a “global budget” model, under which primary care physicians would receive annual lump sums for each of their patients – regardless of how little or how much care they needed.

The move toward global budgets highlights the failure of Massachusetts’s 2006 health reform plan to make health care more affordable. Because the Bay State’s plan served as the template for President Obama’s health reform package, the consequences of that failure could soon be felt nationwide.


A new report from researchers at the University of Minnesota details the magnitude of Massachusetts’ health reform catastrophe. They interviewed more than 3,000 state residents in 2010 and found that “Massachusetts continues to struggle with escalating health care costs, reflecting the decision to defer addressing costs in the 2006 legislation.”

The study revealed that the share of insurance premiums for family coverage paid by the average worker jumped more than 10 percent since 2006. Half of respondents said that they were spending more on health coverage in 2010 than 2009. And a quarter weren’t confident that they could afford care the following year. …

The researchers concluded by stating that the “pre-2010 status quo is not a sustainable option for Massachusetts or the nation.”


Some policymakers believe that global budgets are the answer to this problem. Because doctors would receive a flat annual fee for each patient, they’d have a direct financial incentive to keep their patients healthy – or more cynically – to limit the care they provide.

That’s exactly what has happened in Canada, which implemented such budgets in the 1970s. Last year, Canadians were waiting to receive more than 941,000 procedures. The average total wait time between referral from a primary care physician and treatment by a specialist reached 19 weeks in 2011. That’s more than double the wait time in 1993.

If global budgets take root in Massachusetts, residents can look forward to similar waits for necessary care.

In 2006, then-Gov. Mitt Romney assured his constituents that “the costs of health care will be reduced” if his health reform package passed. President Obama made essentially the same assurances prior to the passage of his reform package, pledging that it would “bring down premiums by $2,500 for the typical family.”

Mr. Romney’s promise has proven false. And there’s little doubt that Mr. Obama’s will end up similarly untrue.

Half a decade into its health reform experiment, Massachusetts is flailing under unsustainable health costs. Absent change, the Bay State offers a preview of what the rest of the country has to look forward to.

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  • Sober_Thinking

    All he had to do was admit what a train wreck and a mistake his wretched healthcare program was… then avoid the demoncratic-style campaign and he would have been a shoo-in for the nomination. I’m not bitter, I despise him. He’s bairly better than maobama. But for a bright guy (so they tell us), this whole boondoggle was a mess from the start.

    Only honest men admit when they were wrong.

    • Trust1TG

      As Newt said, Romney is severely non-factual.

      Romney has lied in public on the air…in front of millions of people and even at CPAC:

      The First Seven lies listed here were in CNN/FL debate, the eighth lie in Arizona Debate:
      1. He denied accusing Newt of exaggerating/lying about his part in Reagan’s administration only three days before on Monday night in Tampa.
      2. He lied about his own ‘ghetto language’ ad that bore his voice – Wolf Blitzer checked and confronted him on the air during the debate.
      3. He claimed all his business was run by a blind trust, a tactic that Mitt himself called ‘the oldest ruse in the book’ in a previous campaign.
      4. He said he voted for republicans in the past when there was a republican to vote for, but if you look back at the Gingrich ad exposing his lies, it turns out when George H.w. Bush and Buchanan were running, he voted for a liberal democrat.
      5. He denied the cost of Romneycare to taxpayers in Massachusetts. “Half of those people got insurance on their own. Others got help in buying the insurance.”
      False. In fact, 98% of the additional people insured after Romneycare was passed have it paid for or subsidized by the federal government or Massachusetts government. Of the 412,000 additional people who had health insurance in 2010 who did not have it in June 2006 (pre-reform), only 7K of the 412K (1.7%) had unsubsidized health insurance. The rest were covered through Medicaid, Commonwealth Care, or a program of subsidized care for the unemployed.
      6. He denied the impact of Romney care on citizens of Massachusetts. Romneycare has increased the price of healthcare premiums for every citizen of Massachusetts. Premiums have increased by 55 percent since Mitt Romney became Governor, a rate 13 points higher than the national average and the third highest growth rate among the states.
      7. He said he lowered taxes in Massachusetts 19 times. Yet he raised fees and corporate taxes twice. No wonder Massachusetts was rated at the bottom of all the states (47-49th) in job and business growth.
      8. Romney lied in the Arizona Debate about forcing Catholic hospitals to give abortifacients http://www.therightscoop.com/romney-lied-in-the-debate-he-did-force-catholics-to-violate-their-conscience/

      There were even numerous lies in Romney’s CPAC speech: http://www.amycontrada.com/Romney_s_CPAC_Speech.htmlhttp://www.amycontrada.com/Romney_s_CPAC_Speech.html

      This is serious.

      A person can lie so much that they actually believe their own lies. This is sign of psychopathology. This kind of departure from truth, reality, facts and evidence is characteristic of liberalism.

      We have seen the same thing in Obama’s speeches time after time.

      Can you imagine a debate between two such liars in the general campaign?

      It would be more disorienting and dizzying than a house of mirrors or flying at night without instruments.

      The complete absence of truth could prove very dangerous indeed – the vanity, verbal vacuity, velocity and volume of vagaries and vacillations, would create virtual verity vertigo.

      • edwardlee

        Amen. Romney and Showbama are two sides of the same coin.

      • Sober_Thinking

        A VERY long post… but you supplied some great info. Thanks for taking the time!

    • edwardlee

      Well, politically, that’s a tough stance to take, especially since I’ve heard that Romney repeatedly expressed desires for Showbama to “Look at what I did in Massachusetts, and let us take the lead in healthcare legislation.” How do you back away from saying, “My kungfu is better” when all evidence shows it to the contrary?

      Last I heard, Romney wants (minimally) kudos for trying to fix something. Really? Kudos from trying to fix something? Do you pay a mechanic to try to fix your car, or do you pay him to fix your car? Do you pay your doctor to try to make you feel better, or do you pay him to make you feel better? Once I heard he wanted credit for trying something, I knew he was a Liberal, thru and thru.

  • for the hundredth time…… WHY IS ROMNEY SO HIGH IN THE #$% POLLS!?!?!?!

    • kim

      That’s what I want to know. Why did he do so well in MA? What is wrong with those people? You know what the definition of insanity is, right?

      • Ariadnea

        Either that or the results were cooked. His campaign seem to follow that of Obama’s.

    • Cindy09

      The price of stripping too much….!!! He promised a lot! But somehow, somewhere the attention is gonna wane out after they realize that he’s got too many layers on. Let’s get ready to shout out “timber!!!!!” when he falls down the poles…. I mean the polls!!!

    • kim

      This also explains it.

      Why is it the more densely people live, the more dense they become in the brain?

      Municipalities and states are working as hard as they can to build high-density pods for us to all live in. You know who that benefits, don’t you?

    • tshtsh

      The problem is New England Republicans have a hairbreath difference from the liberals. The rest of the non conservative republicans difference is a little wider but not much that is why they want Romney he will attract liberals/independents. While some of us prefer the “orange juice can” (including Romney) to Obama. The Republicans prefer anyone to a Conservative including Obama. Most NE Republicans run as Republican because there is less competition.

      • edwardlee

        I think you meant to say that Republicans would prefer Obama EVEN over a Conservative.

    • edwardlee

      What polls? The same ones that show Obama’s approval on the rise? Stop believing polls.

  • chuck jenski

    The consequences for 2012 are far to great. We can’t affort a DISHONEST Romney flip/flopper

  • Trust1TG

    From Newt on Romneycare:

    Romney claims: “Half of those people got insurance on their own. Others got help in buying the insurance.” That is False. In fact, 98% of the additional people insured after Romneycare was passed have it paid for or subsidized by the federal government or Massachusetts government. Of the 412,000 additional people who had health insurance in 2010 who did not have it in June 2006 (pre-reform), only 7K of the 412K (1.7%) had unsubsidized health insurance. The rest were covered through Medicaid, Commonwealth Care, or a program of subsidized care for the unemployed.

    Romneycare has increased the price of healthcare premiums for every citizen of Massachusetts. Premiums have increased by 55 percent since Mitt Romney became Governor, a rate 13 points higher than the national average and the third highest growth rate among the states. http://www.newt.org

    From Rick on Romneycare:

    As a direct consequence of RomneyCare’s meddling in the private health-insurance market, health-care costs in Massachusetts have risen more sharply than anywhere else in the country. Per capita health-care spending in Massachusetts is 27 percent higher than the national average and the highest in the nation. Overall health-care costs in the state continue to rise at an average rate of 8 percent annually. http://www.redstate.com/rjsantorum/2012/03/04/on-health-care-obamacare-and-romneycare-will-hurt-ohio-families/

    Political Arena on Romneycare:

    The individual mandate doesn’t bring costs down. Romneycare is not working in Massachusetts.

    From the Beacon Hill Study regarding the real costs of Romneycare:

    “The law requires that individuals with sufficient means purchase health insurance and that businesses with more than ten employees make a “fair and reasonable” contribution toward their employees’ health insurance. Under the law, health insurance companies cannot refuse to cover individuals with preexisting conditions. Individuals and businesses face fines if they fail to comply with the mandates.

    Because the fines imposed by the law cost are often less than the cost of insurance, the law is vulnerable to the problem of moral hazard.

    Individuals can game the mandate by buying insurance only upon being diagnosed as needing a non‐emergency procedure such as a hip replacement and then canceling their insurance after receiving the treatment or procedure. Businesses can likewise game the mandate by canceling their health insurance plans and shifting their employees to newly subsidized state plans. Massachusetts taxpayers and health insurance policyholders pick up the tab for these “jumpers and dumpers.”
    The Beacon Hill Institute (BHI) has estimated the prevalence and cost of gaming the mandates. We find that:

    • In tax year 2008 (the latest data available) 26,000 individuals paid a total of $16 million in fines, while 758 businesses paid $7.1 million.

    • In 2009, between 2,089 and 2,659 individuals gamed the individual mandate at an estimated cost to insurance carriers of between $29.3 million and $37.3 million.

    • Between June 2006 and June 2010 enrollment in state subsidized insurance plans increased by 319,000, while the private group (employer) market was flat and the individual market increased by 83,000.

    In essence, the incentives in RomneyCare, just as in ObamaCare, are backwards. They encourage people to behave in ways that maximize costs and inefficiency. This is what economists refer to as an “Adverse Selection Spiral”. Eventually the system collapses under the weight of its own costs and inefficiency.”


  • ApplePie101

    There will be an exodus of physicians from Massachusetts. RomneyCare only works if they can force physicians to practice there under these conditions, and they can’t.

    • kim

      I feel for the kids in med school right now racking up huge debt.

      • edwardlee

        Meh. It was their choice. We’ll just bail ’em out later.

      • sDee

        One of our kids is. Med school can easily run up $400 – $500K debt. Our next generation of physicians will have no way to pay that money back because HusseinCare will control fees. The government (though funding/grants/regulations) is actively interfering and mandating rules which reduce the number of specialists, to in turn, reduce costly special procedures They call this “inverting the pyramid and it forces incredibly brilliant medical minds and skills to become fixed-fee GPs or to not enter at medicine all.

        Who in thier right mind would place the most advanced medical system in the entire world into hands of a completely pathetic and corrupt Central Government? This is suicidal America. Stupid and suicidal.

        • Karl Rogue

          Therefore, lets nominate Jim Jones to lead us to Suicide Paradise.

    • edwardlee

      I thought that there’s been some record of physicians leaving the state. I’ll Google it and see if I can find anything.

  • sDee

    We work with a call center in Mass. Romenycare is unraveling and customers are not happy at all. Insurance companies are in a bind, cost pressures are high. Older patients on fixed income are getting hit the worst. They cannot afford the increasing copay’s and medications.

    It will get worse – fast. Think about this” per-patient” fee from a physician’s perspective, or from the perspective of any of us providing any kind of service. Imagine if you are an auto mechanic and government has mandated that you must charge a fixed amount, the same for each car, each customer, regardless of the repair or maintenance needed. What are you going to do? How long will that last?

    What have we done to ourselves? What have we done?

    • edwardlee

      Keep speaking and posting the truth. Eventually, the word’s gonna get out.

  • lugita15

    Heatlhcare costs in general are unsustainable, although they’re right Massachusetts has higher cost growth than other states.

    • edwardlee

      See, that’s where I disagree, and I do so from having worked in healthcare billing for over a decade. There are ways to fight the rise in healthcare costs, but, to be perfectly honest, an awful lot of them are going to involve getting the government OUT of healthcare entirely. The method in which the government sets applicable rates is precisely what drives costs up, and THAT’s a recipe for failure.

    • sDee

      The costs of regulations, insurance, liability, mandates, Medicare losses, and compliance have grown astronomically. That is all non-essential cost, directly attributable to governmental interference and control, well before HusseinCare.

      The cost of providing the actual health care services remains reasonable while seeing the quality increase by orders of magnitude.

  • Ted

    What is not being discussed and needs to be understood is that if Romney is the Repub candidate then obamacare will be off the table for all federal repub candidates this fall.

    • edwardlee

      That’s a great argument.

    • Karl Rogue

      Exactly right Ted. Post it everywhere and often.

    • carolt2

      I know that Romney being the nominee will take Obamacare off the list. How can we trust the man who signed Romneycare into law to repeal Obamacare?
      I am at home but one year the company I work for health insurance premiums went up over 30%. A friend told me another small company had a premium increase of 55%.
      Romney signed that law in 2006, but made it effective in the fiscal year starting July 1, 2007, so that he would be out of the governor’s office because he couldn’t win a second term.
      I have said this before but it bears repeating, no good ever comes when republican works with Ted Kennedy. No Child Left Behind, McCain, Kennedy, Bush amnesty that we managed to halt.
      At least GWB listened to complaints. I called every congressman, including my own in the summer of 2009 to fight against Obamacare. I live in MA and my rep is the former ice cream truck driver liberal loon Ed Markey. The congressmen in other states were nicer to me than my own. Eric Cantor’s office was the most helpful.

  • marketcomp

    Romney’s chickens coming home to roost!

    • edwardlee

      Ya gotta say it right … “Romney’s CHICKENS … are comin’ home … to ROOST!”

      • marketcomp

        You Betcha! Thank you for the correction!

  • I always thought Obama signed his healthcare bill so it would collapse the system and it would usher in something much worse.

    are global budgets a form of rationing healthcare?

    • edwardlee

      Global budgets have no choices — if they want to serve a surviving nation — BUT to ration healthcare services.

    • sDee

      Doctors will get $15 or $20 a per patient/per visit regardless of the problem. Where is that going? Doctors will let people go home to die. The elites will have the money to pay for specialized care at specialized clinics with top tier doctors. The rest of us, and the rest of the doctors will eat cake.

      One medical system for the party and one system for the people.

  • edwardlee

    See, the mainstream media is finally starting to latch more openly on to this reality — that Romneycare is essentially bankrupting the state of MA — and I’d look for this to start to come front & center the closer we get to the Republican convention. This is PRECISELY why I have so much trouble supporting Romney (despite the fact that he’s constantly caught in really bad serial lying); he refuses to denounce Romneycare as a “failed experiment,” which it clearly is.

    • sDee

      A failed socialist experiment. (closer to a coerced fascist experiment actually).

  • He has been deceiving the American people just like Obama has.

    Yet this is the guy the GOP said was so “electable.”

    We are Doomed!

    • Karl Rogue

      The GOP lies. Details at 11.

  • This is one of the things I don’t like about Sean Hannity. He claims he’s questioned Romney, constantly, about his socialist RomneyCare, and yet his idea of ‘questioning’ is just to ask a question with no rebuttal requiring real exposition. He let Romney spin his lie, and really did nothing to challenge it, such as offering up such data as this, which shows the state of Massachusetts, after his leftist policies had been wrongfully imposed on them.

    • sDee

      Hannity likes to go far enough to get people foaming at the mouth. He never gets to the real truth. That he calls Bob Beckel a great friend, should tell us all we need to know about him, I would say.

      • Precisely why I stopped listening to him.

        • Karl Rogue

          he reads talking points.
          thats it

  • 911Infidel

    And this guy is in the lead? How pathetic can a party be?

  • Karl Rogue

    Why is the headline “Uh Oh?”

    “Duh” would be a lot closer to true, eh?

  • The hard part of getting a new entitlement adopted is at its introduction. Once it is law, then the career pols are free to add costly mandates that fall under the radar. Romney invited the radical MA legislature to poke their camel’s nose under the tent flap. His not being able to predict where it would end is a stain on his judgement.

  • BigHurt29

    I’m curious as to whether Mitt Romney actually believes what comes out of his own mouth. Ever.

  • davidrugenstein

    Don’t know why this was so hard to see coming, now that it is here, it is all so obvious!!!! Guess, I’ll always be considered an idiot!!!!

  • sjmom

    I really don’t know who would be worse; Romney or Obama and we will rue the day either is inaugurated as our president for the next four years. They are big government liberals and I dont’ trust either to lead us back to prosperity. I hope this Romneycare news is the iceberg that sinks SS Mitt.

  • Always happen when government touches anything. A big “No duh” to those who are shocked to find out this truth.

  • NCHokie02

    Isn’t there one more debate? Maybe Santorum should bring this up to Romney.

    “Hey Mittens, if Romneycare was such a great plan why is it failing now? If it was supposed to keep healthcare costs down, why are they going up? Can you explain how this article and the studies cited in it are wrong (which I’m sure you’ll do) with a straight face? Maybe you should just own up and say ‘we tried it at the state level and it’s not working. If I was still gov I would repeal Romneycare and look to the free market. We tried something and it didn’t work. Back to the drawing board.'”

    At least if he admitted he was wrong in it or that it didn’t work I would be a little less inclined to not like him (his tax plan still blows and is weak though). He always says from Bain Capital that sometimes their investments failed. Why can’t he say this with Romneycare. Sometimes things states and gov’s do fail. No one is perfect. No one has all the answers. But to continue to support and hail Romneycare as this great thing as it is burning a hole in the state budget of massachucetts is ridiculous. Man up and admit your mistakes. At least Rick has explained why he did some of the things that he wasn’t proud of or truly supported in his heart.