When Massachusetts’ universal health care plan was being set up, a lot of us critics made many dire predictions. The plan would drive insurance companies out of business or out of state, employers would run the numbers and simply drop their coverage, doctors would retire or leave the state, and so on. At the time, we were dismissed as cynics and partisan hacks; the plan might have some flaws, but it would be a vast tremendous improvement. Those predictions of doom and gloom? Lies, all lies.
Then, the absolutely unexpected happened. Things that no one could have seen coming. First up, doctors started getting scarce in the Bay State. Turns out that the retirement rate spiked, coinciding with a sharp increase of doctors moving their practice out of state.
Next, insurance companies started filing for increased premiums. It seems that quite a few of them were losing money under the state’s policies and payment rates. The state turned down most of those increases, and several insurance companies started making noises about leaving the state altogether. Again, absolutely unexpected and utterly unforeseeable.
And today, there’s news that almost a hundred Massachusetts employers have run the numbers and, gosh, it would be a lot cheaper for them to drop their employees’ health insurance and just pay the fine.
Let’s say that Company X currently pays $10,000 a year for employee health insurance. Their accountant is doing their taxes, and finds a line that says “prove you offer your employees health insurance, or pay a $5,000 fine.” How tough a choice is that to make?
In the end, businesses exist to make their owners money. Period. To do so, they offer goods and services to people and do what they can to win business, but it’s almost never done out of altruism. It’s self-interest. And the best self-interest is enlightened self-interest; it’s what keeps most businesses relatively honest. The decision-makers are usually smart enough to realize that pulling scams and frauds get you short-term gain, but cost far more in the long run.
When a company does something that seems fiscally stupid, there is almost always another factor that outweighs profit. Factors such as government intervention or an overemphasis on ideology, just to name two.
“Do this simply because it’s the nice thing to do, even though it will cost you a hell of a lot more money” almost doesn’t cut it. That’s because those pushing the altruistic move are typical liberals; they’re exceptionally generous with other people’s money. They can give you all kinds of reasons why you should spend YOUR money for THEIR pet causes.
So, what will be the next disaster to befall the Bay State thanks to their universal health coverage? I’m gonna go out on a limb and say the state will start piling up record budget deficits as they shovel more and more money down the rathole, and the billions in state subsidies that have been shoring up the program start to run dry.
Just remember: the Massachusetts plan was one of the key influences on ObamaCare, people…