Elvis is Dead and Commonwealth Care Doesn't Look Good Either

The Massachusetts experiment in mandating health insurance for everyone is running into problems.

Commonwealth Care is not even three years old and if it were a person, would suffer from morbid obesity. Originally pegged to cost taxpayers $245 million it has grown like Kudzu to $1.3 billion.

Time to put CC on a diet.

In fact, according to Boston.com a proposed $115 million in cuts are under consideration right now.

Wait!

The proposed cuts are 12% of the current years budget but almost HALF of the projected first year budget when CC was conceived.

How can that be?

It seems the housing inspired recession has hit Massachusetts in the wallet. So how do they propose dealing with this shortfall?

The largest share of the savings will come from slowing enrollment.

Slowing enrollment.

Sounds like rationing to me.

Savings will also come from eliminating dental coverage for the poorest residents enrolled in Commonwealth Care,

Cutting benefits. Yep, that’s one way to save money.

Also hanging in the balance is the health insurance status of 28,000 legal immigrants whose Commonwealth Care coverage was dropped in the budget lawmakers approved for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Cutting access to LEGAL immigrants. That’s an interesting twist.

The progress of the Massachusetts healthcare initiative is being closely watched in Washington, where Congress is crafting national legislation to extend coverage to more Americans. The Massachusetts law, cited as one model in the national debate, requires nearly everyone to have health insurance or pay a tax penalty.

It doesn’t seem to me like the folks in DC are paying much attention. Rather, they are going full steam ahead with a model that has already hit an iceberg and is taking on water.

Leaders of Health Care for All, one of the state’s largest consumer groups, said the changes will be especially hard on residents whose first language is not English and who have difficulty understanding the complex enrollment paperwork.

Complex government red tape? No way.

While the group’s leaders are resigned to that cut, they said they will continue to lobby the governor to restore coverage for legal immigrants. Lawmakers said they cut this class of legal immigrants because they do not qualify for matching federal subsidies.

Mass can’t pay for the plan by themselves. They need Washington to pick funds from the national money tree to pay for this program.

Much of the rest of the $115 million in savings, $32 million, comes from slowing payments to the managed-care health insurance companies that won bids to offer insurance through the Commonwealth Care program. Regulators said that by slowing enrollment growth, the companies would receive less money than they had banked on when they submitted their bids earlier this year.

Slow pay to the carriers providing coverage. Yeah, that’s a good way to make sure the carriers stay in the game.

Wonder what would happen if the carriers decide to pick up their ball & bat and go home?

Change you can believe in.

Yes you can.

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