The Corner

Romneycare’s Failure to Reduce Costs

While the individual mandate in Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts health-care program has gained plenty of attention, there has been less scrutiny paid to another component of the program: how it failed to curb health-care costs. From Politico

 

Massachusetts still has the highest health costs in the country — even after the reforms Romney signed into law as governor. …

Romney never touted containing costs as the main objective of his Massachusetts health reform. Rather, he wanted all residents to have insurance.

But on the day he signed the reform plan into law in 2006, Romney did claim that cost containment was one of the goals.

“Lastly, but perhaps most critically, this bill takes bold steps to contain health care costs,” Romney wrote in a letter to the state Legislature. “By putting an end to cost-shifting from the uninsured and from the Medicaid program, businesses and individuals will no longer bear the cost of others’ health care.”

“This bill places critical health care cost and quality information in the hands of businesses and consumers. By creating cost and quality transparency, individuals will make more informed decisions about where and how to seek care,” Romney wrote.

In reality, though, Romney’s advisers say reducing costs was an elusive goal that wasn’t at the forefront of the Massachusetts plan.

Full piece here. For those who are concerned that Romney will potentially be at a disadvantage in debating President Obama about Obamacare because he will have to stress the difference between a state-level mandate and one at the federal level, this is another possible weakness: If he argues about how Obamacare failed to bend the cost curve on spending, Obama will be able to point out the Massachusetts program has the same flaw.

Katrina Trinko — Katrina Trinko is a political reporter for National Review. Trinko is also a member of USA TODAY’S Board of Contributors, and her work has been published in various media outlets ...

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