Obamacare Coming to Massachusetts

If you thought the Commonwealth is safe from Obamacare due to Romneycare, you would be wrong.

During formal House session Wednesday, Democrats bullied through H.3452 (“An act implementing the Affordable Care Act and providing further access to affordable healthcare”).  It brings Obamacare to Massachusetts.  

After seven years of working to improve the Romneycare law and after spending millions to perfect the “connector,” to improve access and to implement cost-containment measures, the Chairman of the Joint Committee on Healthcare Financing let all members know that it was time to turn over the “model” to the federal government.  Last time I checked the federal government cannot seem to run many agencies without a scandal nowadays.

So, despite a success rate of 98.2% insurance enrollment (100% for children), and despite the fact that the Governor could have asked for a waiver for Massachusetts from the law that Speaker Pelosi infamously declared we had to pass in order to find out what was in it, a party-line vote has put our state on the path to yet ANOTHER major tax hike.  

Tax hike? Oh, yes – hadn’t you heard that the SCOTUS determined the law to be a tax? The Healthcare Chairman tried to convince my colleagues that we would be getting back from $1.8B from Washington.  But the truth of the matter is that we’ll be paying OUT $3.6B.  That’s just the beginning of the costs for Obamacare.

I took the opportunity during the debate to ask the Chairman if, as the President said during passage, would Massachusetts citizens be able to keep our current healthcare plan if we like it? The semantic answer was that we would get to keep the plan, just the “provider” would be different. That’s like saying, you’ll have to change the make and model of your car, but it will run just the same as what you’re used to driving. Yeah, right.

And the impact to our small businesses, which are required to cover employees, else face a penalty? Well, 60% of companies in the Commonwealth, which are small to mid-size, can expect to see double-digit rate increases, up to 17%. That’s because the Governor has opted for the most generous and expensive plans available, including a “state wrap” option that will cost us $119M annually.

How about implementation? Did you know that the Obamacare creates “Navigators” to steer you to the coverage you need? These unlicensed and uninsured agents will be asking for personal data such as;

Name, Address, Social Security #, Birth Date, EMail, Telephone #, Income, Other assets, Information about your children, Citizenship status, Disability status, Medical status, Education, Race and Foster Care information. With the transgressions and targeting at the IRS and NSA, does this get you a little worried?

We have no idea how much of this information will be shared with the Department of Revenue, the Exec. Office of Health & Human Services, the Dept. Of Public Health, the Exec. Office of Labor & Workforce Development, the RMV, the Dept. of Corrections, or any other state agency, commission or office.

The new law will take people out of the state connector and move them to Mass. Health (our name for Medicaid), creating about a 10% increase in enrolees. This is the same Mass. Health that has proven to have problems with verification of eligibility for programs that are meant for legal residents of our state.

If this passes the Senate and is signed into law by the Governor, I suppose my colleagues across the aisle will finally get what they want – government run healthcare. We’ll send billions to DC and they, in their infinite wisdom, will determine what we get back based on the coverage they feel we are entitled to.

Anybody wishing we had Charlie Baker, an expert in health care, in the corner office right about now? I sure do.

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