Massachusetts voters’ dirty little secret
Most now assume that the election has become a referendum on the first year of Obama, particularly health care reform. In a sense, that is exactly what it is – but not in the way most analysts are portraying the race.
A couple of years ago, Massachusetts passed the closest thing this country has to a universal health care plan. Coverage is mandatory, government subsidies are available to help those who cannot afford coverage, and the program covers about 95% of the state’s residents.
On the ‘downside’ of the Massachusetts health care program, residents are experiencing higher costs and much longer waits to get in to see a doctor now that the doors to the world of medicine have been opened to most everyone. The state is also finding it difficult to deliver everything that was originally promised and is having to either cut back on the initial plan or raise prices for certain services.
Again, familiar territory.
While this may lead you to the conclusion that Massachusetts foks are unhappy with their universal healthcare, and do not want to see the mistakes repeated throughout the nation, this actually does not appear to be the case.
The Suffolk Poll, published on January 15th, asked the following question -
Do you support the Massachusetts near universal healthcare law?
54% said they do support the program while only 36% said they do not.
This is the same poll that put GOP candidate Scott Brown ahead of Democrat Martha Coakley by 4 points. It is also the same poll that reveals that Massachusetts residents do not support a national universal healthcare law by a healthy 51% – 36% margin.
So, the people of Massachusetts want near universal health care for themselves, but not for the rest of us.
This not only seems pretty selfish, it doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense. At least not until you check out the rest of the poll.
It turns out that it’s not that Massachusetts taxpayers don’t want us to have what they have – they just don’t want to pay for the rest of us to have it when they are already paying for their own.
While 54% of Red Sox Nation may like their health care, 62% don’t believe their state government can afford to pay for it. And when asked if the U.S. government can afford a similar deal for the entire nation, 61% say no way.
Massachusetts voters are just doing what the rest of us do in this country– they are voting their pocketbook, not policy. They’ve already got near universal health care and see no reason to even consider paying anything extra so that the remainder of the country can do the same – no matter how much they might like it.
While it will be impossible to convince much of anyone that the Brown victory is not a referendum on the first year of the Obama Administration – and to be fair, there is no doubt an element of this – a Brown victory is not a repudiation of Obamacare , it is merely a brutal reminder that Massachusetts already has Obamacare and doesn’t want to pay the tab for the rest of us to have the same.