The New York Times, that bastion of reactionary thought, has a lengthy article on the the impending collapse of Massachusetts “Universal Healthcare” system unless there are massive tax increases or draconian price controls.
BOSTON – Three years ago, Massachusetts enacted perhaps the boldest state health care experiment in American history, bringing near-universal coverage to the commonwealth with Paul Revere speed.
To make it happen, Democratic lawmakers and Gov. Mitt Romney, a Republican, made an expedient choice, deferring until another day any serious effort to control the state’s runaway health costs.
The day of reckoning has arrived. Threatened first by rapid early enrollment in its new subsidized insurance program and now by a withering economy, the state’s pioneering overhaul has entered a second, more challenging phase.
Thanks to new taxes and fees imposed last year, the health plan’s jittery finances have stabilized for the moment. But government and industry officials agree that the plan will not be sustainable over the next 5 to 10 years if they do not take significant steps to arrest the growth of health spending.
With the debate in DC over national healthcare coverage beginning, DC would be wise to heed the lessons learned in Massachusetts.
There is no free lunch, and everything has a price. Without free market checks and balances, cost spirals out of control.
Will Washington learn this lesson? Can the Massachusetts system be fixed by a dysfunctional Beacon Hill, or is it best to return to a purely free-market system?