Site for Free Markets and Free People

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Effects of Government-run Health Evident in Mass.

If Romney wants any chance at dethroning Obama in 2012, he needs to run away from RomneyCare - and fast. While he is right in saying that the Democratic legislature changed many provisions and left him with a much-worse bill, he still seems to endorse it. As the WSJ notes, the results are pouring in - and they are awful.

A new survey released yesterday by the Massachusetts Medical Society reveals that fewer than half of the state's primary care practices are accepting new patients, down from 70% in 2007, before former Governor Mitt Romney's health-care plan came online. The average wait time for a routine checkup with an internist is 48 days. It takes 43 days to secure an appointment with a gastroenterologist for chronic heartburn, up from 36 last year, and 41 days to see an OB/GYN, up from 34 last year.

None of this is surprising, though it does dismantle the liberal nostrum that a new entitlement will somehow reduce health spending. When government subsidizes something, you get more of it, which means higher demand for insurance and health-care services. Combined with insurance regulations that suppress innovation and competition, this reality helps explain why Massachusetts premiums are among the highest in the U.S. The current physician shortage was inevitable without new doctors.