The Spectacle Blog

Mass Mandates

By on 7.1.08 | 12:30PM

One of the most common arguments used in favor of universal health care, specifically government mandates requiring individuals to purchase of health insurance, is that we end up paying for the uninsured the expensive way -- when they show up to the emergency room sick or injured. Universal coverage, supporters argue, will reduce the cost of unpaid care.

A recent Belmont Citizen-Herald article included this bit about the Massachusetts universal health care program:

According to state records, Massachusetts spent $647 million on free care in FY 2006. That figure has shrunk to an estimated $453 million for FY 2009. But the decrease has been more than offset by the introduction of Commonwealth Care, subsidized insurance that the state says will cost at least $869 million next fiscal year -- probably much more. Architects of Massachusetts's health care reform law argued that the introduction of Commonwealth Care would significantly reduce dependence on free care.
Further down in the story, it says that the $869 million number is "a figure that the governor and legislative leaders acknowledge is too low, perhaps by as much as $200 million."

So, to save $194 million a year, the state will end up spending over $1 billion. Sounds like par for the course for a government program. And people wonder why, as a conservative, I have issues with Mitt "I like mandates" Romney.

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