Gov Patrick Confused on Economics on “Daily Show”

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Governor Patrick was on Comedy Central’s “Daily Show” Tuesday night to promote his new memoir.  But the joke may be on us, if his flawed understanding of healthcare economics on the show translate into policy.

Stewart began an exchange on the Massachusetts reform by pushing back on the notion that markets can work in health insurance (with the clear implication that health insurers are currently operating in a free market system).

Governor Patrick responded that double digit [health insurance] premium increases are the result of markets “without parameters.”

Hmmm.  Would benefit mandates, guarantee issue policies, thousands of pages of state regulation for insurers and providers, administrative premium hike rejections, minimum credible coverage requirements, standardization of products at the Connector, and so on, count as parameters?

The ‘parameters’ put in place by government intervention had earned us an extremely regressive employer-based healthcare system (hurting low wage earners the most) and a fee for service payment methodology, driven by publicly funded programs, that fueled the fractured nature of our current system.

The government can play a supportive role by increasing transparency in public programs, and reducing regulation, but I don’t think that is what Governor Patrick is advocating.

Finally, the Governor’s quote of Congressmen Barney Frank’s definition of government was blog worthy.

Government is the name we give to the things we choose to do together.