Romneycare in Massachusetts is frequently citied in national policy debates for the influence it has had on the national health care reform package pushed and passed by President Obama in 2010. Considering the implications that the progress of health care in Bay State could have on national debates regarding the future of Obamacare, two bills currently working their way through the Massachusetts legislature have come under the microscope.
Both bills aim at cutting over 10 years as much as $150 billion in health care costs, which are higher than any other state in the country. The reforms would implement the toughest cost containment laws in the country. The House bill includes penalties for excessive “luxury charges” by hospitals which would then be redistributed to financially struggling facilities, and both bills include commissions that would review health costs. The author of the proposed House bill (the stricter of the two) referred to it as the “gentle push of government."
"Real News" opened Friday discussing the legislative debate in Massachusetts now aimed at cutting the costs of health care, and a broader examination of the successes and failures of Romneycare in Massachusetts. Will Cain made the point that in terms of extending health coverage to those who had none, Mitt Romney and his successor Deval Patrick have been successful in lowering the percent of residents without coverage from 6.4 to 1.9 percent over the last five years. But has the system been able to lowered costs? No, quite the contrary.
"Massachusetts has right now the nation's highest health-care costs," said Cain. "It is significantly out-paced all the other metrics for the economy in Massachusetts. Whether or not you're talking about wages, GDP on the state level, or the consumer price index."
Dr. Scott Atlas of Stanford University joined the panel Friday to discuss the proposals in Massachusetts and why the cost of the state’s health care continues to rise. Here's a clip from the segment: