Romneycare not end of the world

‘Millions of Americans have been watching, waiting, for the sky to fall on the commonwealth of Massachusetts.’

Guest Column: Joan Retsinas
Millions of Americans have been watching, waiting, for the sky to fall on the commonwealth of Massachusetts. More

To continue reading this article, please do one of the following.



OP-ED

Romneycare not end of the world

‘Millions of Americans have been watching, waiting, for the sky to fall on the commonwealth of Massachusetts.’

Guest Column: Joan Retsinas
Posted 2/20/12

Millions of Americans have been watching, waiting, for the sky to fall on the commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Two years ago the state passed a health-insurance bill that looked a bit like the federal bill Congress passed last year. Bay State Republicans predicted economic catastrophe when the bill, dubbed Romneycare, went into effect.

Chicken Little was wrong: the economic sky did not tumble. In fact, the state looks in better health, insurance-wise, than before the state Legislature acted, according to health-policy journal Health Affairs.

Consider the all-important statistic: the uninsured. In 2006, 86.6 percent of the state’s nonelderly residents were insured – higher than in many parts of the nation. By 2010, 94.2 percent were insured. The reason: Romneycare. Without it, Massachusetts would have seen its census of uninsured rise, as layoffs drove more people off their employers’ rolls (and bankruptcies eliminated some other employers’ rolls entirely). Coincidentally, emergency- room visits, as well as inpatient hospital stays, declined.

As for costs, they rose, but they’ve risen throughout the country. Romneycare, moreover, did not seek to curtail costs.

Of course, Massachusetts is not the nation. Will the Affordable Care Act, dubbed Obamacare, topple the economic sky? I think not.

As in Massachusetts, the census of the insured will rise. Citizens will still worry about jobs, the environment, foreign wars. But people who are ill, needing care, won’t be hysterical that they cannot pay.

As for the regulations that the federal law imposes on private insurers, we regulate the drugs we consume, the cars we drive and the toys we play with. Obamacare will nix some of the toxic insurance products.

Consider a few. No more exclusions for pre-existing conditions. From the vantage point of insurers, these exclusions are wonderful: they reduce the insurer’s risk from the outset. Only the patients have suffered.

Huge profits will also go into the ash heap, as regulators are given the power to roll back rate hikes that are considered unreasonable.

Policies will no longer drop young adults at age 21. Those recent college graduates searching for a job with insurance can stay on their parents’ policies until age 26.

Under the Affordable Care Act, policies will have to cover immunizations and preventive services. “Caps” and “lifetime ceilings” will also go. People who need major surgery or rehabilitation won’t hear, midway, that they have exhausted their benefits, hit their ceiling.

The sky won’t fall. Years from now, we’ll wonder why we feared it would. •


Joan Retsinas is the managing editor of Medicine & Health/Rhode Island, a monthly journal of the Rhode Island Medical Society.

Calendar
PBN Hosted
Events

Join PBN and two panels of successful female executives, business owners and entrepreneurs as we delve into what women should do to advance their careers, and become leaders in the corporate world and their own enterprises.
  • Book of Lists Party
    Save the date - January 15, 2015 for PBN's Book of Lists Party at the Providence ...
  • Best Places to Work
    Enrollment is now open for the 7th annual Best Places to Work program. Winners w ...
Advertisement
Purchase Data
Book of Lists
Lists
Book of Lists cover
PBN's annual Book of Lists has been an essential resource for the local business community for almost 30 years. The Book of Lists features a wealth of company rankings from a variety of fields and industries, including banking, health care, real estate, law, hospitality, education, not-for-profits, technology and many more.
Data icons
Data can be purchased as single lists, in either Excel or PDF format; the entire database of the published book, in Excel format; or a printed copy of the Book of Lists.
  • Purchase an e-File of a single list
  •  
  • Purchase an e-File of the entire Book of Lists database
  •  
  • Purchase a printed copy of the Book of Lists
  •  
    National
    Local
    Latest News
    Advertisement