Most economically literate people understood from the beginning that the Massachusetts experiment with â€śuniversal coverageâ€? was doomed to inevitable failure. As Arnold Kling put it at the time:
The elected leaders of Massachusetts have come up with a novel solution for the vexing problem of having to pay for health care: abolish the laws of arithmetic.
The Massachusetts plan has now collided with â€śthe laws of arithmetic,â€? but â€śprogressiveâ€? policy wonks have refused to absorb the obvious lesson. Hereâ€™s the risible â€śanalysisâ€? of Maggie Mahar:
Healthcare expenditures in Massachusetts surpass spending in every other state.Â And this, I propose, is why Massachusetts is having such a hard time implementing its new healthcare reform law.
In other words, the problem is not the plan. Itâ€™s those pesky Massachusetts patients. They just want too darn much health care:
Insurance is expensive in Massachusetts because its citizens consume more healthcare than people in many other states.Â They undergo more tests and procedures than most of us, and they see more specialists.Â
But, if Massachusetts is failing because of excessive demand, universal coverage for the entire country will fail for the same reason. As she (rather awkwardly) puts it:
The U.S. spends more per person on healthcare than any other country in the world on healthcare.
The laws of arithmetic apply from sea to shining sea, and lame excuses wonâ€™t change that. Universal coverage is failing in Massachusetts because itâ€™s a dumb idea based on preposterous economic assumptions.