POST-GAZETTE - Res Publica

Socialized Medicine Makes the Economy Sick

by David Trumbull -- September 23, 2011

Mitt Romney’s landmark Massachusetts Health Care Reform Law cost the Commonwealth of Massachusetts at least 18,000 jobs since its passage, according to a study released last Thursday by the Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University. The study also found that “RomneyCare” has acted as a damper on investment and disposable income in the Bay State.

“The health care law does not exist in a vacuum,” said Beacon Hill Institute Executive Director David G. Tuerck, “The ‘shared sacrifice’ needed to provide universal health care includes a net loss of jobs, which is attributable to the higher costs that the measure imposed.”

The study is the second in a series examining the economic consequences of RomneyCare. A study released in July documented that the law is responsible for driving up private health insurance costs in Massachusetts by $4.3 billion.

Grounded in the principles of limited government, fiscal responsibility and free markets, the Beacon Hill Institute, while itself non-partisan, may be thought of as representative of voters in a Republican primary election who are motivated, for the most part, by lower taxes and less government interference in the economic activities of individuals and businesses. These voter, according to conventional wisdom, are those most likely to support Mr. Romney, so if he is losing them, then he has trouble.

Along with these fiscal conservatives, two other important constituencies in the modern Republican Party are social conservatives and libertarian leaning Republicans. “Get the gummint outta my life” libertarians, needless to say, will never support Romney’s universal mandate to buy health insurance. “Gov. Romney's signature policy achievement is a bust,” wrote Doug Bandow of the libertarian Cato Institute in an article published last week. He continued: “His health care failure raises doubts that he is the Republicans' best choice for president.”

As for the social conservatives, I reported in this space last month that Massachusetts Citizens for Life has mounted an effort to repeal RomneyCare and has launched a website –

Other Republican presidential candidates attack Romney over his Massachusetts health care law and nationally the majority of Americans oppose President Obama’s government takeover of health care. Even now, with jobs and the economy generally the big issues, this Beacon Hill Institute study linking socialized medicine to job losses suggests that opposition to government run health care will be an issue in the 2012 election. That is bad news for President Obama and the Democrats. It has yet to be seen whether it is good news for the Republicans.