January 31, 2007 8:04AM

The Laws of Arithmetic

Robert J. Samuelson writes,

Last year, then‐​Gov. Mitt Romney made headlines by signing legislation to cover all the state’s uninsured… Romney suggested that annual premiums for a single worker might total $2,400. But when insurance companies recently provided real estimates, the cost was much higher: $4,560.

I told you so.

The problem of paying for health‐​care coverage, which politicians are declaring they have “solved,” is really just beginning. The only way to make zero‐​deductible health insurance available at low cost is with a large subsidy; how much will depend on negotiations with insurance companies. Only when the size of the necessary tax increase becomes clear will Massachusetts’s leaders learn the laws of arithmetic.

Everyone is asking whether the Massachusetts plan can work in other states. It seems to me that the only fair assessment is that it isn’t even working in Massachusetts.