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Mass Governor Proposes Tax to Fix Failed Health Reform

Image: Mass Governor Proposes Tax to Fix Failed Health Reform

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker wants to slap a $2,000 per worker tax on businesses that do not offer health coverage to staffers who become dependent on Medicaid – a failed strategy that will spell disaster in a post-Obamacare era, one financial analyst warns.

In a commentary posted on Forbes.com, John Graham, a senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis, argued Baker's move makes him the second GOP governor of the Bay State, after Gov. Mitt Romney, "to buy into the notion that imposing taxes (or fines or penalties or fees) on individuals and businesses can force them to accept responsibility for government failure at getting health spending under control."

The opposite is true, he wrote.

"Hiking taxes on businesses to pay for a failed decade-old state health reform that paved the way for Obamacare is not a good sign for Massachusetts' ability to respond to Congress' imminent repeal of Obamacare in favor of state-regulated insurance markets," he wrote.

Graham argues, Romney was the first to institute the individual mandate in 2006, but then, as now, it "merely camouflages significant growth of government spending and control over health insurance."

"Spending has grown out of control, despite many failed efforts to bend the cost curve," Graham wrote.

"For most beneficiaries, Commonwealth Care was wholly welfare, not 'individual responsibility,'" he added. "State and federal spending attributable to Massachusetts health reform almost doubled from $1 billion in 2006 to $1.9 billion in 2011," and hospitals' ER use jumped by 17 percent in the two years after the reform was put into place.

"What these taxes, and fines, and penalties, and growth in welfare really accomplish is feeding more unaccountable money into hospitals and other health services facilities," he wrote, decrying the lack of job growth in non-health jobs.

"This is surely way out of whack," he added.

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