Critical Condition

Look to the States

From Investor’s Business Daily:

Hawaii, Oregon, Massachusetts, Tennessee and Maine have all created some version of government takeover or administration of health care, and all are a mess.

Hawaii’s Prepaid Healthcare Act and its coverage mandates have left Hawaiians with fewer coverage choices, higher costs and nearly double the number of uninsured. Recent budget cuts resulted in discontinuation of its coverage for children.

Oregon’s state-controlled care includes an official list that dictates what treatments will be covered based on annual budget constraints. If your disease is above the treatment line, you are covered. Below the line — you’re not.

However, patients being denied treatment often receive an additional note in their denial letters — the system telling them it will pay for “physician aid in dying.” Oregon won’t help you live, but it will help you die.

In the three years since the Massachusetts “universal” coverage plan was launched, the state still has thousands of uninsured, costs have exploded to unsustainable levels, and waiting lists for treatments have appeared.

Tennessee’s “TennCare” program, an attempt to expand coverage to low-income uninsured, included dead people, escaped felons and NBA stars. It drove doctors and insurers out of the state, and has been on the brink of insolvency several times.

Tennessee’s Democrat governor, Phil Bredesen, recently went to Washington, D.C., to explain to Congress that government health care does not lower cost.

But perhaps the worst — and closest — example of why a federal takeover of health care won’t work comes from Maine. . . .

Six years after it was passed, it has insured only 3% — roughly 3,400 — of the 128,000 promised.

By 2007, the system was so broke that it closed to new enrollees. It still has not reopened and has also cut and capped benefits. The “streamlined” bureaucracy has cost the state’s taxpayers $17 million in administrative costs to cover 9,600 people, leading one to wonder if there are more bureaucrats in the system than enrollees.

NRO Staff — Members of the National Review Online editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

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