Scott Brown’s quip that the open Massachusetts’ Senate seat was, in fact, the “people’s seat“, rather than a Kennedy sinecure to be conferred upon the annointed, raises an interesting question about Obamacare in the Bay State. Why would the regular working folks in Massachusetts want it?
1. Massachusetts already has “reform in place. In 2006, Massachusetts enacted ”An Act Providing Access to Affordable, Quality, Accountable Health Care”. Obamacare adds no net benefit for the residents of Massachusetts. All residents are required by law to have coverage. A series of individual and employer taxes and fines together with state health insurance options, including an exchange (”Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Authority”) are in place to facilitate this mandate.
2. Health care reform as proposed will increase premium costs for Massachusetts’ residents. An estimated 45% or more residents are enrolled in HMO’s. These and other “fully insured” plans will be subject to taxes under the Senate health care reform bill – and these taxes will be passed on to consumers.
3. Massachusetts will be paying for reform – even though it has already had “reform” (and the deficits to show for it). Worse, under the proposed legislation, Massachusetts residents will effectively be paying for reform in other states – like Nebraska that got a free pass on Medicaid funding.
With the addition of significant new costs, with nonprofit health plans dominating a highly competitive health insurance Massachusetts market, and with 97% of the state’s population already covered, Massachusetts will be essentially subsidizing health reform and coverage expansions in other states.
4. From the standpoint of extending coverage, the proposed national reform legislation (which largely resembles the Massachusetts plan) will work no better than the struggling state plan. In terms of consumer protection, those protections are already provided in the state plan.
5. The proposed plan will tax the benefits of those who presently have “Cadillac” plans (which have been assessed at values more on par with a Ford).
From the “people’s” point of view, Obamacare makes no sense for Massachusetts.