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Thursday, April 05, 2012 3:56 PM

Massachusetts Health Care System: A Model for Failure

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Here is an interesting email from reader "George" on his experiences with Romneycare.

Hello Mish

Here is my personal experience with socialized medical care in Massachusetts.

I've spent the last three years traveling the globe. Prior, I worked at State Street. I was working on an overly complex billion dollar swap fund which contained every paper asset known to mankind. Thus, it lost money. I hated the office, the office politics, and the sheer stupidity of mega corporate America.

I quit and decided to travel the globe for three years or until I found something I was passionate about. It was also a period for self-actualization, and personal growth.

I would have no income for the foreseeable future. I had 70K saved up. As a Massachusetts resident I am required to be insured meeting criteria X,Y and Z, or you face tax penalties.

However, I didn't need, or want the one size fits all insurance schemes in Massachusetts. I needed a high deductible, low premium "disaster," plan in case I had cancer or other life altering sicknesses.

I wanted to couple that with my travel insurance plan (Medex Assist). For minor things, broken legs, swimmer's ear etc, my travel insurance would cover it all.

Health care, in other parts of the world is much, much cheaper. You can pay cash for everything and it doesn't affect your bottom line. For example, a brain MRI at a luxurious five star hospital in Bangkok (think Hilton or Ritz Carleton) is only $50.00. Moreover, many of the doctors are trained in the West. To top it off, Eastern medical schools are catching up very quickly.

My lifestyle was not very synergistic with the one size fits all mandated health insurance schemes in Massachusetts. The light bulb went off and I considered purchasing the coverage in Florida where I could buy coverage tailored to my specific needs.

However, under Massachusetts law, I wasn't allowed to purchase health care across state borders, as I was a MA resident. However, I can purchase plans covering me in other places, Thailand, Costa Rica, the Bahamas, even Cuba.

I've used private health care clinics in Laos, Thailand, Indonesia, Costa Rica, South Africa, and The Bahamas and Texas. I return to Boston periodically to see family and friends, change my travel gear, supply up, passport pages etc. When I come back I often get a general checkup.

The health care in Massachusetts is so distanced from reality it's awe inspiring. There is no such thing as a cash price, or cash discount. The prices and services rendered have almost no correlation.

The "socialized" system in MA is now extremely overloaded. Doctors are overloaded with the "free" patients. They have no time to relax, listen or learn. It's a slow but fundamental degradation in doctor-patient time, and quality. This leads to an increase in misdiagnosed patients, maligned regulation and never ending state and federal imposition towards your personal health care, via policy, regulation and mandates.

Ironically it's all named in the effort to better care and reduce costs. It's absolutely amazing, that the worse things become, the more irrational the solutions, and arguments become.

The millionaires of the world no longer travel to America for care. They go elsewhere. Where don't they go? Socialized systems like Denmark, Canada etc. They go where service, value, and quality are held highly. Where markets are free of onerous regulation.

Traveling the world has broadened my perspective immensely, to the point where I, unfortunately, may not call American soil my home anymore. The barriers to entry from a bureaucratic standpoint are endless for small budding entrepreneurs. I'd much rather setup shop here in the Bahamas, not that, that in itself isn't loaded with it's own set of problems.

There are simple and effective solutions to bringing costs down. Ideas like allowing consumers to purchase insurance across state lines. Allowing foreign competition into the drug market increases domestic efficiency and lowers cost. There's a long list of rational and logical ways to fix the market. Let it be. Health care is not a unique market.

However, as usual, Washington, lobbyists, and the powers that be don't want real structural change that will improve long term conditions. Thus the US system will remain a complete failure across the board.

1st Row in front of the Conch Shack
The Bahamas
One thing for sure is our current system does not work, Obamacare does not work, and Romneycare does not work. Of course Obamacare and Romenycare are the same thing.

Please see Obama Delivers Warning to Supreme Court on Healthcare; If Obamacare Goes Down Who Is To Blame? Who Loses If Not Struck Down? Mathematically Speaking, Obamacare Cannot Survive for further discussion.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
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