POLICY: Massachusetts Set to Offer Universal Health Insurance

Today’s hot news is that Massachusetts is set to move to Universal Health Insurance via a universal individual mandate and subsidies for the poor. This is a good start.

Then when everyone’s paying into the system the next step is to mandate community rating and get a proper set of cross-subsidies in place. Finally, once the plans have got everyone in the system, and can’t play them off against each other, they’ll have to turn to seeing what they can do about the provider costs.

If the national system did it that way, it wouldn’t be so bad. After all, it worked in Japan and Germany.

Of course like most politicians Romney doesn’t quite understand what’s coming next.

Governor Romney, who is considering running for president in 2008, said in an interview today that the bill, passed by a legislature that is 85 percent Democratic, was "95 percent of what I proposed." He said, "This is really a landmark for our state because this proves at this stage that we can get health insurance for all our citizens without raising taxes and without a government takeover. The old single-payer canard is gone."

Either the insurers will not be regulated, and the market will implode with under-insured replacing the uninsured, and consumers and providers will be equally grumpy as it’ll all have been a head-fake. Or the insurers will be properly regulated in time, and the approach I suggest will be inevitable. And frankly that’s close enough to single payer for me to be happy so long as Mitt is….

Do any of my Mass readers have a comment or two?

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