“Let all men know how empty and worthless is the power of kings,” Canute said, “for there is none worthy of the name, but He whom heaven, earth and sea obey by eternal laws.Over the weekend I found two articles about the problems with the Massachusetts health care system.Because Obamacare was modeled after the Massachusetts plan, the failures in Massachusetts are a harbinger of things to come. I particularly like the second article, partly because I like Samuelson, and partly because he agrees with me (I think he reads my blog).If you have read my prior posts, there is nothing new in these reports. The Massachusetts plan, which includes an Obama-like insurance mandate, has increased the number of insured, mainly among healthy young adults. However, it has also resulted in crowded emergency rooms, increased waits, and higher costs. Strong lobbying efforts have blocked politicians from cutting fees paid to doctors and hospitals. Increasing costs have resulted in higher insurance premiums which small companies can no longer afford, leading to patients being dumped into the state system. The state, already in the throes of a recession, must cope with these increased costs.
The government is attempting to limit insurance premiums by fiat, but in the end can only prevail in the short term, and will ultimately be unsuccessful. Eventually single-payer/government takeover will be the only alternative, which I will discuss later. The outline of events is very similar to the scenario I have previously outlined for Obamacare.No matter how noble the underlying intention, reality usually prevails. This will also be the theme of topics I will be taking up in the next few weeks. I will be examining in depth the impact of Obesity, drugs, alcohol, violence and smoking on healthcare outcomes and costs, and try to initiate a dialogue about what role personal responsibility should play in healthcare. I will also be examining an important and rarely discussed aspect of American healthcare the amazing amount of money, time and emotional effort Americans devote to worthless or even harmful practices, what I will call the role of magic in healthcare. More to come.