Mass is Ahead of the Rest of Us

I just gotta ask. Is Barney Frank even remotely aware of what is happening to health insurance in his home state of Massachusetts?

Apparently not.

Three years ago, Massachusetts, under Gov. Mitt Romney implemented a program designed to make health insurance more affordable while covering everyone.

Sound familiar?

Today 97% of Massachusetts residents have health insurance.

But at what price?

“Anything that is on the track that we’re on today will not only derail health care reform but could literally derail the economy,” said Lynn Nicholas, president of the Massachusetts Hospital Association.

That can’t be good.

President Obama and many Democrats in Congress say bringing down costs is a key element of current proposals.

But a congressional budget chief recently said that current proposals would not do enough to rein in costs.

Truth be known, the proposals don’t do anything to rein in costs other than shifting to providers in the form of lower reimbursements and cutting or refusing benefits.

That’s like trying to make the Titanic lighter, so it won’t sink as fast, by throwing the passengers and crew over the side.

President Obama has talked about creating savings by reimbursing more for preventative care. In a recent town hall, he explained that treating diabetes through weight loss and diet is cheaper than letting it progress to where circulation problems develop and a leg has to be amputated.

That was his infamous $50,000 leg amputation meeting.

Beyond that, preventive CARE does almost nothing to lower costs.

Healthy lifestyle through diet, exercise, refrain from tobacco use and alcohol in moderation do more for lowering the cost of health care than any preventive care program. The idea is to keep you OUT of the doctors office, not running up the bill with diagnostic testing.

“So why not make sure that we are also reimbursing the care that prevents the amputation? Right? That will save us money,” Obama said.

The Congressional Budget Office doesn’t agree it will save money. In an analysis of the House bill, the agency shows no cost savings from eliminating copayments and deductibles for preventive care. It also says that covering preventative services in Medicaid could cost an extra $7 billion over the next 10 years.

Well, that’s what happens when he goes off script.  It is really frustrating to TOTUS.

One much-touted way to cut rising health care costs, that President Obama talked about on the campaign trail, involves investing in information technology. Paying to install databases that keep track of medical records can help health care become more efficient.

Better electronic record keeping could ensure that costly tests aren’t duplicated or that drugs aren’t prescribed that react with other kinds of drugs. But nobody’s quite sure how much such an investment can save.

Not sure how much it will save has never stopped them before.

Just like Thelma & Louise, health care reform is headed for the cliff except the car isn’t as spiffy.

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