Romney's New Pickle: Mass. Health Costs Highest in US

And his GOP rivals are using that fact in their attacks
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 27, 2011 8:51 AM CDT
Mitt Romney is greeted by New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner as he arrives to file his papers to be on the Nation's earliest presidential primary ballot, Monday, Oct. 24, 2011.   (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

(Newser) – Five years after RomneyCare took effect in Massachusetts, the state boasts the highest insurance premiums and health care costs in America, a fact that Mitt Romney's competitors in the race for the GOP nomination are increasingly using to attack him with, reports Politico. “Certainly, Gov. Romney made sure that everybody in Massachusetts was covered, and it also cost 18,000 jobs and it cost $8 billion,” accused Rick Perry in a recent debate.

RomneyCare defenders say the point of the bill wasn't to cut costs, but to cover the uninsured—and with fewer than 2% in the state lacking insurance, it has succeeded on that front. And while cutting costs wasn't the point of his health plan, Romney did claim, upon signing the bill, that it would do so. But "Massachusetts was always one of the most expensive states,” says an MIT economics professor who advised Romney on the topic. "Reform hasn’t made us more expensive or less expensive." The good news, notes Politico, is that if Romney can snag the nomination, the topic should quickly fade away: Since Obama's own plan hasn't dramatically slashed costs, either, the president is unlikely to bring up the issue.

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