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Mass. Treasurer Rips Mandated Health Insurance

In 2006, the state of Massachusetts required every single one of its residents to get health insurance, and every single one of its businesses to provide it. Otherwise, residents and employers would be fined.

Some have asked, as national healthcare reform works its way through Congress, is there anything we can learn from the Massachusetts experiment?

Yes, according to the state's treasurer, interviewed today on CNBC: Whatever you do, don't do what we did.

In a blisteringly frank interview, treasurer Tim Cahill laid out some jaw-dropping stats, which eviscerated the plan and excited every conservative's worst fears about government getting further into the health insurance business:

-- The program has so far cost 30 percent more than anticipated.
-- It already has a $9 billion shortfall projected over the next two years.
-- Costs have risen 41 percent since the program's inception, well outpacing the rise in healthcare costs nationwide, which stands at 18 percent.
-- We thought this program would mean fewer people would go to hospitals, which is the highest cost any insurance plan has to pay. In fact, fewer people are not going to hospitals.
-- A Harvard study shows 60 percent of state residents are unhappy with the plan. The most unhappy? Those whom it should be helping the most -- those making $25,000 to $50,000 per year.
-- To cut costs, the program is now having to kick out legal immigrants.

Cahill summed up: "This is not a miracle by any stretch of the imagination."

Now, you should know this: Cahill is considering a run for governor as an independent, and would likely face Gov. Deval Patrick, who has touted the state's health insurance plan. It was, interestingly, signed into law by a Republican -- former Gov. Mitt Romney.

But numbers are numbers. And in this case, they tell a clear story that could be a warning for Congress.

Watch the whole interview below. If the player doesn't show up in your browser, click here to watch.

-- Frank Ahrens
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By Frank Ahrens  |  July 29, 2009; 4:45 PM ET
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Deval Patrick, Massachusetts, Mitt Romney, Tim Cahill, healthcare reform  
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