CO to Adopt MA Health Disaster?

Welcome to Colorful… Massachusetts?

The Massachusetts health mandates have been a disaster. As Paul Hsieh, MD, summarizes:

The state of Massachusetts has already imposed a similar plan of mandatory health insurance on its residents for over a year now, and it is failing badly. Like Senator Hagedorn’s proposal, the Massachusetts plan requires all residents to purchase health insurance, with state subsidies for lower income residents.

But rather than creating a utopia of high-quality affordable health care, the result has been the exact opposite — skyrocketing costs, worsened access, and lower quality health care.

Hsieh has compiled additional news and comments about Massachusetts.

Ah, but this time, socialized medicine will work, even though it has failed in every other state and nation that has tried it.

Naturally, Colorado’s big newspapers are falling all over themselves to praise our political masters. I already mentioned the Rocky Mountain News’s support for Hagedorn’s scheme. And The Denver Post editorializes:

The bill by Sen. Bob Hagedorn, D-Aurora, and Reps. Ann McGihon, D-Denver and Tom Massey, R-Poncha Springs… [is] aimed at providing the foundation for universal health care coverage in 2010. It’s patterned after the path blazed by Massachusetts under Gov. Mitt Romney by mandating health insurance for citizens who now lack it, just as motorists are required to have automobile liability insurance.

Failure to purchase such insurance could subject residents to a penalty on their state income tax. The state would subsidize poor people.

Even though the Rocky pretends that Hagedorn is offering an alternative to the “208” Healthcare Commission, Hagedorn’s plan is essentially the same plan my dad and I criticized a year ago. (In the same article, we pointed out why mandated health insurance is not comparable to mandated auto insurance.)

But do not think that this socialistic scheme is the work of Democrats alone; as the Post points out, Hagedorn’s bill includes a Republican sponsor. And, as the following voting tally indicates, Republican Shawn Mitchell helped pass the bill out of committee:

Mitchell is the same Republican who claimed just last month:

A bad market vote doesn’t make it a lie for many Republicans, including this one, to claim the mantle of market supporter. We may be imperfect. It would be a lie to claim otherwise. But for willingness to embrace, defend, and advocate the functioning of free markets, Republicans are the only team in town.

But if a Republican will vote for a bill to force every Coloradan to purchase politically-approved health insurance, then no political control is out of bounds. Such Republicans support free markets in roughly the same way that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad supports Israel or cancer supports human health.

[June 23, 2008 Update: I understand that Mitchell passed the bill out of committee on condition that it was amended to remove some of the more objectionable parts, and then he voted against the bill on the floor. Mitchell has not responded to my further inquiries on the matter.]

Here’s the upshot to Hagedorn’s scheme. It’s payola time for politically-connected insurance companies. What better than for politicians to force every person in the state to buy your product? This means that young, healthy workers will get screwed twice: once with higher taxes and again through higher insurance premiums.

The entire reason that health insurance is too expensive for many to afford is that politicians have systematically undermined the insurance market through tax distortions and a host of direct controls. But, rather than repeal the controls that created the problems, these politicians are intent on imposing yet more controls.

The only good news about the proposal is that it would not take effect until 2010, giving young people who don’t think it’s their duty to fund everybody else’s health care, and doctors who don’t want to work under the thumb of idiot bureaucrats, a chance to look for work in other states.

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