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A new study released by Suffolk University’s Beacon Hill Institute reveals that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s socialized medicine plan – which included an unconstitutional individual mandate – cost the Bay State more than 18,000 jobs.

“Mandating health insurance coverage and expanding the demand for health services without increasing supply drove up costs. Economics 101 tells us that,” Beacon Hill research director Paul Bachman told The Boston Herald.

The study also found that “Romneycare” drove up health insurance costs in Massachusetts by $4.3 billion – while forcing U.S. taxpayers to shell out billions worth of Medicaid waivers to pay for the program.

“While the federal government has helped Massachusetts pay for its health-care law, there is no higher entity for the federal government to go to except the taxpayers,” Bachman noted.

The Beacon Hill study is the latest proof that Romneycare has utterly failed to live up to its promises of expanded coverage and reduced costs.

“Romneycare expanded coverage simply by putting more people on the dole,”  a recent Forbes column by Sally C. Pipes notes. “Since 2006, 440,000 people have been added to state-funded insurance rolls. Medicaid enrollment alone is up nearly 25 percent, and Massachusetts is struggling to cover the cost.”

Pipes’ column – which you can read by clicking here – also notes that Romneycare’s implementation has been plagued by many of the same problems that Democrats ignored a year ago when they were shoving Obamacare down our throats.

Fraud has been rampant, physician wait times have increased and the program is expected to exceed its original cost estimates by more than $2 billion over the coming decade.

Perhaps most damaging to Romney’s presidential aspirations, though, Pipes’ column exposed a key weakness in both Romneycare and Obamacare – the rising cost of private insurance.

Romney claimed in 2006 that his legislation would reduce health care costs, but that clearly hasn’t happened.

Citing a 2010 study, Pipes’ report notes that health insurance premiums have risen dramatically in Massachusetts since Romneycare was implemented. In fact, the average employer-sponsored family health care plan in the Bay state now costs $14,000 – the highest figure in the nation.

Romney has blasted U.S. President Barack Obama’s socialized medicine law and vowed to effectively dismantle it in the event voters select him to replace Obama – even after claiming that a virtually identical socialized medicine plan was “right for the people of my state.”

Obamacare” – which was narrowly passed last March by a Democratic-controlled U.S. Congress (and repealed in January by the GOP-controlled U.S. House) – is currently on a collision course with the U.S. Supreme Court.

We have consistently opposed this monstrosity ever since it first reared its sinister head. We hate its infringements on individual liberty, but the bottom line is that America simply cannot afford its exorbitant costs or the new burdens it would place on the private sector – concerns which are even more relevant now than ever in light of America’s debilitating debt and increasingly sluggish economy.