Massachusetts Treasurer Tim Cahill, who is running for governor as an independent this year, has come out swinging against the Democratic health care bill based on a similar experiment in Massachusetts. Yesterday Obama adviser David Axelrod cited "Masscare" as a model for Obamacare.
That's exactly the problem, says Cahill. He told CNBC that such a plan would "wipe out the American economy within four years." He was quoted by the Boston Globe as saying, "It is time for the president, the Democratic leadership, to go back to the drawing board and come up with a new plan that does not threaten to bankrupt this country."
Cahill kept up the pressure in a conference call this afternoon. He said the problem with the Massachusetts/Obama approach was that it increased access without addressing costs. "We haven't changed the way we deliver health care. We haven't changed the way we pay for health care," Cahill said. "Nothing's changed about the cost structure but we've blown a huge hole in the budget to increase coverage by 400,000." Massachusetts already had one of the highest coverage rates in the country. Implement a similar plan in states with higher percentages of uninsured and the costs will become even more staggering.
I asked Cahill why he was coming out now. "Last week Governor Deval Patrick basically called me out," he replied. He also noted that the bill was moving closer to passage. Cahill wanted to speak out against Patrick's "mismanagement of the program" while also warning against the conceptual flaws that the Democrats want to replicate nationally.
Politically, this not only lets Cahill tap into the anti-health care bill sentiment that helped elect Scott Brown to the Senate. It actually puts him to the right of Brown -- and Mitt Romney -- by marking him as an opponent of the Massachusetts health care reform. Asked about Romney's argument that it was all about the implementation of the plan, Cahill replied, "I could probably agree with that partially. I certainly have some concerns about how Governor Patrick has implemented it." But he also maintained the bill was "fatally flawed from the beginning."
This move will also help Cahill, who was twice elected state treasurer as a Democrat, gain a hearing among conservatives nationally. I've written about Cahill's gubernatorial aspirations before for the main site. I'll have more to say later.
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