WSJ: Plight of Massachusetts Reform is Bad Omen for 'ObamaCare'

A new survey by the Massachusetts Medical Society shows that the state's healthcare reforms, instituted by Republican Mitt Romney when he was governor, are malfunctioning, according to an editorial in the Wall Street Journal.


The plight of "RomneyCare" is a bad omen for "ObamaCare," the national healthcare reform law, which resembles the Massachusetts plan but has not yet expanded coverage.


As Massachusetts expanded coverage, the state saw significant shortages of physicians, the survey shows. Average wait time for a routine checkup with an internist taking 48 days. Only 43 percent of internists and 56 percent of family physicians accept Commonwealth Care, the subsidized middle-class insurance program, a rate not much higher than for Medicaid. "Government health insurance may be great, but not if it can't buy actual healthcare," the editorial noted.


The Massachusetts reforms were supposed to reduce use of the ED, but ED visits rose by 9 percent form 2004-2008, in part due to lack of access to physicians. "The Romney-Obama theory was that if everyone is insured by the government, costs would fall by squeezing out uncompensated care," the editorial stated. "Yet emergency medicine accounts for only 2 percent of all national health spending."


To make matters worse, the medical society also found "a continued deterioration of the practice environment for physicians in Massachusetts."


Read the Wall Street Journal opinion piece on healthcare reform.


Related articles on Massachusetts healthcare reform:

Massachusetts Seeing Longer Waits as Physicians Restrict Access

Massachusetts Inspector General Says Out-of-Staters Take Advantage of "Free Care"

Massachusetts Medical Bankruptcies Continue, Despite State Health Reform


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