Mitt Romney Touts Healthy 35 Year Old's Insurance Costs Being Cut In Half As Proof His MA Health Care Reform Act Worked

Mitt Romney, ever the proud champion of the private insurance companies did his best to spread some more fear on This Week about the United States eve
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Mitt Romney, ever the proud champion of the private insurance companies did his best to spread some more fear on This Week about the United States ever getting a single payer health care plan, or even, heaven forbid, that "Trojan Horse" public option. George Stephanopoulos actually hits Romney with a good question about just how well his MA plan has worked out and why.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Except, Governor, you bring up the Massachusetts plan. And you're exactly right. And most studies have shown that Massachusetts has done a very good job of expanding coverage with this plan but has not done as good a job of controlling costs.

And some say that's because of the absence of a public plan. Alan Sager, professor of health policy at Boston University has said that health spending per person in Massachusetts has increased faster than the national average in seven of the last eight years.

ROMNEY: Massachusetts is an expensive state to do a lot of things. But the key thing I can tell you is this. What's happened to the health insurance premium for people buying insurance in Massachusetts? It's been cut in half.

For an individual, a young male, let's say 35 years old, buying insurance in Massachusetts for themselves, the premium has been cut in half since our plan went in place.

So Mittens quotes one of the least expensive groups to insure's premiums going down as an example of just how swimmingly the Massachusetts plan is working out. How about this instead Mitt? From the report:

By mandating that uninsured residents purchase private health insurance, the law reinforced the economic and political power of health insurance firms. Thus, the reform augments the already high administrative costs of health care. Moreover, the agency that administers the new law (the “Connector”) adds an extra 4 to 5 percentage points to the already high overhead of private health insurance policies.

The reform failed to reduce overreliance on expensive, high-technology services. Indeed, some of its provisions such as changes in Medicaid rates and cuts to safety-net providers (who do more primary care) have further tilted health spending toward expensive, high-technology care.

A single-payer system of non-profit national health insurance could save about $8-$10 billion annually in the state through reduced administrative costs. This money could be used to cover all of the state’s uninsured residents and to improve coverage for those who now have insurance, without any increase in total health care costs.

The Massachusetts reform law is not providing universal access to care, even in a state with highly favorable circumstances, including previously high levels of spending on health care for the poor, high personal incomes, and low rates of uninsurance. It is not a model for the nation.

You can read the rest of the report here: Massachusetts’ Plan: A Failed Model for Health Care Reform

Romney also seemed to have a little bit of trouble telling the difference between Medicaid and Medicare. Leave it to someone who doesn't want to give an honest answer about anything to try to conflate the two. The country needs single payer, no matter how badly the Mitt Romney's of the world want to try to terrify everyone about it.

Full transcript below the fold.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me just start, right out there, Governor, with the public option. Is that a red line for Republicans? If there's a public option in this plan, should Republicans reject it?

ROMNEY: Yes, of course, they should. Let's -- let's start out from the very beginning, which is Republicans recognize and have said for a long time we've got problems in health care; we need health care reform.

And, you know, we took that on in Massachusetts. We decided we wanted to get everybody insured. We've done that. I understand that the president considers his plan, in some respects, following the model of Massachusetts.

Let's learn from our experience. And that is, we got everybody in our state insured. Some 98 percent now are covered by insurance. And we did not have to put in place a government plan.

We have competition in the health insurance market. There are hundreds of health insurance companies that all compete with each other. We don't need to have the government get in and create a health insurance company in order to have competition. We've already got

And let's be clear, here, George. This is not about getting competition in health coverage, which is already there. This is instead a Trojan horse. Barack Obama, when he ran for office, said he's in favor of a single-payer system. He's said it for years. This is a way of getting government in the insurance business so they can take over health care.

It's the wrong way to go. And every single Republican and every thinking Democrat who knows something about the private sector would realize the wrong thing for America is to get government into the health care business.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Except, Governor, you bring up the Massachusetts plan. And you're exactly right. And most studies have shown that Massachusetts has done a very good job of expanding coverage with this plan but has not done as good a job of controlling costs.

And some say that's because of the absence of a public plan. Alan Sager, professor of health policy at Boston University has said that health spending per person in Massachusetts has increased faster than the national average in seven of the last eight years.

ROMNEY: Massachusetts is an expensive state to do a lot of things. But the key thing I can tell you is this. What's happened to the health insurance premium for people buying insurance in Massachusetts? It's been cut in half.

For an individual, a young male, let's say 35 years old, buying insurance in Massachusetts for themselves, the premium has been cut in half since our plan went in place.

So the cost of buying insurance is down. And that's the course that you have to have for the nation. Look, the idea that you have to get government into an enterprise in order for that to become competitive makes no sense at all.

If it made sense, we'd have a government trucking company, a government automobile company, a government clothing company, a government farm company. That just is the wrong way to go.

We could get our private industry to create better products and better services. That's what's happened throughout our economy. That's what driven our economy to be the most powerful in the world. We do not need government in the health market.

STEPHANOPOULOS: It has worked for Medicare. It has worked for veterans' care, hasn't it?

ROMNEY: Oh, it's worked terribly. I mean, look at something like Medicaid. When Lyndon Johnson signed Medicaid, he said this is going to cost about $500 million a year. Now, it costs $500 billion a year, 1,000 times more.

Now, I realize there's been some inflation, but not that much. The wrong way to go is to get government into an entity in our economy as large as health care and expect anything to occur besides a Trojan horse effect of a single-payer system crowding out the private markets. It would be terrible for hospitals, awful for doctors, and ultimately it would be a disaster for the people in America, because they wouldn't be able to choose private plan.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I actually said Medicare, not Medicaid, and a lot of experts believe that Medicare has helped eliminate poverty among the elderly. But I want to move on to national security. You saw those Iranian elections yesterday. A great deal of protests in the streets. Some suggesting that this election was stolen from the opposition. I want to show you what Secretary Clinton had to say about the elections yesterday.

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