I never thought I’d say it … I mean, it hurts ussss, really, but mixed in with the non-news that Our Guv is testing the muddy waters for a Presidential run, Mitt did something — not enough, but something — right today. He called for universal –therefore compulsory — health insurance:
… Everyone has a responsibility to have healthinsurance; for those who cannot afford it, government will help, butonly to the extent needed – not as an entitlement.
Not bad, insofar as it goes — EconBlog (Jay Fitzgerald of the Herald) compares it to car insurance — everyone who’s got a car has to have it by law. And you’ve simply got to pool risk (i.e. include everyone, the sick and the healthy, old and young) in order to make insurance work properly.
Now, the Misanthropy Institute, er… the Hands-Off-My-Stuff Institute, er, I mean… the Am-I-My-Brother’s-Keeper Institute, um, I mean … the libertarian CATO Institute folks almost had a coronary. Hope they’re covered for that:
"He said what?” remarked an astonishedMichael Cannon, director of healthcare policy at the free-market CatoInstitute in Washington, D.C. "It sounds like he’s running for the(liberal) wing of the Democratic Party.”
Unfortunately, Mitt seems to think he’s going to do it without raising new revenues, not even from smokes. Bless his heart, but he’s dreaming. John McDonough of Health Care for All has the proper response to that:
Ifthe plan does not contain significant subsidies for low and moderateincome persons, the individual mandate will be completely unworkable;
If the plan contains unaffordable cost sharing [hello Commonwealth Care?!]– copays, deductibles, premiums — it will also be unworkable;
Anindividual mandate could become a major incentive for employersnow providing coverage to workers to stop doing so — a huge cost shiftfrom businesses to individuals and to taxpayers.
So …. we’re not quite there yet. But keep in mind that the Governor is only one center of power in this discussion, and especially since he has eyes on higher office, he actually becomes less relevant to us in MA. Us? We’re sticking around, and sticking it out.