When former Governor Mitt Romney presented his universal health plan to the people of Massachusetts about four years ago, there were many who predicted it would fail because it had many of the features of the much reviled plan put forward by former First Lady Hillary Clinton, as seen in this cartoon from those times:
Today the Massachusetts plan is often pointed to as the model for the national healthcare plan currently being pushed by President Obama and the Democrats in congress. But before we adopt it for the nation as a whole, shouldn't we consider how it is faring in Massachusetts first? Unfortunately, the early returns on the Massachusetts plan are far from encouraging, as reported by Michael Graham in the Boston Herald:
It’s exploding the budget: Our “universal” health insurance scheme is already $47 million over budget for 2010. Romneycare will cost taxpayers more than $900 million next year alone.
It’s killing us on costs: Average Massachusetts premiums are the highest in the nation and rising. We also spend 27 percent more on health care services, per capita, than the national average. Those costs, contrary to what we were promised, have been going up faster here than nearly everywhere else.
It’s creating bizarre marketplace mutations: In Massachusetts, ObamaCare 1.0 is such a mess our governor is talking about imposing draconian price controls. He’s even suggested going to “capitation,” a system where doctors get a fixed amount of money per patient - and then that’s it. Which means it would become in your doctor’s financial interest never to see you again.
All this damage to the taxpayers, the insured and the responsible business owners . . . and for what?
The percentage of uninsured Bay State residents has gone from around 6 percent to around 3 percent.
In other words, it’s a dud.
And now Obama is preparing to drop the Big One on bipartisanship and turn Congress into a political hot zone for the remainder of his presidency, in order to pass a similar plan.
After the election of Scott Brown, we sometimes heard critics complaining that while Massachusetts already has a universal care plan like Obama wants, through electing Brown we voted to deny it to the rest of the nation. Now we know that our plan is not only not universal, but that costs are going through the roof. Therefore the rest of country should thank Massachusetts for electing Brown and thereby stopping the imposition of our failing system on everybody else.
At least for the time being.
Valley Freedom Fighter
Northampton Attorney Richard Evans was among those testifying in Boston this week for the legalization of marijuana. Of course the bill won't pass, but that doesn't take anything away from the cogent arguments of this tireless advocate, who first spoke before the legislature on this issue in 1981. Here is a video of his appearance the other day.
I'm pleased to hear that Tom McCarthy (above) of Pine Point's Gateway Hardware is gathering signatures to run against entrenched incumbent State Senator Gale Candaras. McCarthy ran unsuccessfully for the state legislature in 1996, and I'm happy to see him returning to the arena.
Ace photographer Tony Mateus took a couple of shots recently of bars I once had more than a casual relationship with. (Actually there were quite a number of such places!) The Regal Beagle in Indian Orchard was one such hangout, which I never seemed capable of visiting without leaving shitfaced. I went there alot in the 1980's because Jay Libardi loved the joint.
Another place we used to visit was this dive down by the arch in downtown Springfield. Despite the bad neighborhood it was a surprisingly friendly place, and drew a wonderfully weird crowd of street eccentrics.
But my drinking days are behind me now, thank God, and I stick to the coffeeshops. Here's a picture I took at the Haymarket Cafe about seven this morning, an hour I could never wake up for in my alcoholic past.
The Music Section
Azwan of Amherst.
Drunk girls in Northampton last week.