POLICY: Is Romney the next ‘liberal’ governor of Massachusetts?

Here’s my editorial in today’s FierceHealthcare:

The passage of a universal health initiative in Massachusetts is big news. Of
course it was also big news when a certain Michael Dukakis rode that headline to
the Democratic nomination in 1988. This week a Republican governor with strong
social conservative credentials, albeit one from liberal blue state, is hoping
that the same headline will propel him to his party’s nomination twenty years
later. Naysayers on the left and the right point out that there are plenty of
holes in Romney’s plan. It depends on Federal dollars to fund Medicaid
expansion. It demands that individuals buy affordable insurance while it may
just be cheaper for them to pay the $1,000 fine. The same problem is doubly true
for employers not offering insurance who only have to pay the equivalent of one
month’s regular insurance premium–an assessment not a tax, you understand. And
of course it does nothing to rein in the underlying increases in care costs,
which are as high in Massachusetts as anywhere.

But the politics and the symbolism of this news are well worth watching. Most
observers of the health care system are agreed that we are in a crisis and
things are getting worse. Costs are going up, insurance is becoming less
affordable, employers are dropping coverage, and the population is getting
older, albeit only one year at a time. At some point we have to have the big
conversation that hasn’t happened since 1993-4. If a leading Republican feels
that he needs to support universal health insurance–a traditionally Democratic
issue–then we may just be seeing the ground symbolically prepared for the
coming debate. On the other hand, we might just remember what happened to
Dukakis and his universal health insurance legislation.

Livongo’s Post Ad Banner 728*90

Categories: Uncategorized

Tagged as: ,

Leave a Reply

8 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
3 Comment authors
Eye DocDABPeter Recent comment authors
newest oldest most voted

“Is Romney the next ‘liberal’ governor of Massachusetts?”
Hardly, it was just announced that Romney had vetoed the part of the bill that imposed a fine for businesses that don’t contribute the $300/mth/employee. I guess he’s going to keep the fine on individuals. So much for the, “We’re all in the same boat and need to share the load” approach to policy.
This thing is shaping up like Bush’s drug benefit plan – tax dollars funneled to private business at a rate that keeps profits and revenues in place, as well as campaign contributions.


For sure restrictive malpractise lawsuit legislation helps docs and insurance companies. What does it do for patients hurt by doctors? Just because there are less lawsuits due to provider friendly laws doesn’t mean there is less malpractise, just less access to compensation. So if Texas saw a 60% drop how did that impact insurance premiums for healthcare and docs billings and docs defensive medicine? Any change or just better profits? Seems to me docs and for profit hospitals are getting rich from “over utilization”, insurance companies seem to be doing ok to. Why are you complaining? As for employers providing… Read more »

Eye Doc

When you start talking nonsense about how medical malpractice reform isn’t necessary then I know you know very little about this subject. My malpractice premiums have more than doubled in the past few years, all with no claims against me. Every state I can think of that’s enacted reforms has seen premiums down or stable, and a big drop in malpractice lawsuits. For example, Texas saw almost a 60% decline in cases. That tells you how many bogus lawsuits are being filed in this country, costing everybody money. There are places in this country where you’d have to travel hundreds… Read more »


Didn’t free enterprise in healthcare get us to this point? Free enterprise works great in most everything else except heathcare. In all other sectors people of all different incomes get to choose how they want to participate in the economy. Can’t afford to buy – rent, can’t afford a new car – buy used, etc. Healthcare does not give anyone these kind of choices, everyone has to pay “the rate”. But the rate is driving many people to bankruptcy and leaving many providers with nothing but bad debt write-offs. The real advantage of a government run single pay system is… Read more »

Eye Doc

No Peter, the “old time religion” is socialism.And, socialism has been proven so many times to not work. There’s no reason tho think it’ll work here, when it doesn’t work anywhere else. There’s no way Americans will tolerate being told they can’t have an MRI, they can’t have surgery for this or that, they can’t have the newest best medication, they can’t see a specialist for nine months, etc. etc. Will the pols in D.C. be stupid and lazy enough to bring us to a nationalized health care system, or will they have the balls to work on free market… Read more »


TennCare North.


Just another thought, how will this country’s reliance on low paid undocumented workers/turned citizens(or not)affect the Mass. plan? As we prepare to welcome all these illegals into the citizenship home, with most not able to afford any “premium”, where will the premiums go for those who meet the income level to pay the $300? I just love the benefits of low income workers, trouble is these workers are not offshore and so we will bear that cost.


Industry will drive the push for a universal system as they try to compete with other countries providing universal care, costs will then drive a government run system. The problem now is the religion of free enterprise capitalism/competition ideology that prevents people from seeing any alternatives. Hang on to that old time religion. But the increasing number of healthcare cost bankruptcys will turn the most faithful into a reformer pretty quick.