October 22, 2005


Romney gets look at $200 coverage: Insurer's outline for affordable care relies on higher patient fees (Jeffrey Krasner, October 22, 2005, Boston Globe)

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts gave Governor Mitt Romney an outline of a possible health plan with the $200-a-month premium the governor wants to launch as part of his effort to provide affordable coverage for uninsured individuals.

The basic HMO plan from Blue Cross, the state's largest health insurer, would increase patients' out-of-pocket costs such as deductibles and co-pays; add costs to steer people away from costly emergency room visits and high-tech procedures such as MRIs; and eliminate some benefits currently required by the state to be covered in all health plans, such as chiropractic care and in vitro fertilization for infertile couples. The plan would probably include some coverage for preventive care, physician and hospital visits, and prescription drugs.

The Romney administration, facing a legislative deadline, has asked health insurers to design a health plan with a $200 monthly premium. Senate President Robert E. Travaglini and others have their own competing health coverage plans. [...]

At that price, buying coverage would be possible for many who make too much money to qualify for Medicaid, the federal-state program for the poor, and not enough to buy insurance at current prices. The state would subsidize the $200 program for people who don't qualify for Medicaid but whose income is below a certain level. Romney's program would be mandatory. To encourage enrollment, the plan would also impose tax penalties on consumers who could buy the low-cost insurance but choose not to.

Which is just another way of mandating universal coverage.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 22, 2005 8:07 AM

Best plan I've seen yet to get all those annoying college kids to leave after graduation.

Posted by: David Cohen at October 22, 2005 8:55 AM

Students of language may admire how deftly "coerce and destroy" is elided into "encourage."

Posted by: Lou Gots at October 22, 2005 9:18 AM

As we learned a couple of days ago, Walmart is on it and will be rolling out their plan any day now, so we can all go back to worrying about Miers and Plamegate.

Posted by: tefta at October 22, 2005 10:50 AM

The real problem starts when every variety of quack tried to get their universal cure included as part of the coverage. And what's worse is that people being covered will start complaining that favorite quackery isn't covered,and why should they have to pay for it?

The real problem is that medical "insurance" isn't. Who in their right might wants to use their home insurance, their auto insurance, etc.? As long as these "plans" don't include any element of risk, they are not "insurance". (Including the risk of not participating.) They are mostly subsidizies of hypocondriacs.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at October 22, 2005 3:07 PM

And the Mass. Supreme Court will rule that "free" health care is a 'right' and order the $200 tax cancelled. And Romney will lack the guts to stand up to them. Again.

Posted by: Noel at October 22, 2005 7:31 PM