Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Has HCR Cost Doubled?

Faux News is trumpeting that the cost of “health care reform” is twice what the Obama Administration promised it would be, while Obama supporters are citing the same CBO report to say that it actually will be slightly “less than originally forecast.” So I went to read the report for myself and, having done so, can tell you without any reservation that the Sun rises in the East and sets in the West. As to who actually shot Jesse James…

There is no question that the Obama Administration advertised its cost for a ten year period during which it would be in effect for only six years, so it’s hard to believe that their estimate provided an accurate picture of its true cost. However, they also claimed that it was offset by savings which were also in place for only six years out of the ten year period, so that should be a wash. Except it’s not, because the net cost per year was positive, so a positive net cost for six years is certainly smaller than the same net cost per year for ten years.

The CBO report only evaluates spending, not savings and tax increases, so the report actually has very little value, politically or financially, and I don’t know why anyone is even bothering to discuss it. Well, yes I do, of course, but that’s my point here. Like most political discussion, both sides are blathering about bullshit.

Republicans are attacking Obama based on the spending having increased while ignoring the savings side of the equation, but Democrats aren’t all that much better; they are defending the program based on savings, but they cannot tell you what those savings actually are. They just claim that they offset the spending to “x” degree without listing them, and they carefully fail to mention the six years versus ten for net cost.

You certainly can’t tell much from the CBO report, which doesn’t compare spending to the original estimate at all, which was in 2010, but rather to the CBO’s estimate in 2011, which is not all that useful. And I’m not sure how much point there is in evaluating spending alone, rather than evaluating the actual net cost. They have a chart at the bottom of the report, but since Medicare is not included in the chart I’m not sure how meaningful it is.

I doubt very seriously that we’ll ever know what the cost of “health care reform” will be or what effect it will actually have. The damned thing was thousands of pages and included hundreds of programs, such as community clinics which are certainly useful, and others which are almost certainly not. Is it likely to reduce the cost of health insurance? You have to be kidding; of course not. Will it enable more people to buy insurance? Of course it will, and in fact it will force a lot of people to do that who don’t want to. That may turn out well, or it may not.

The bottom line is, we have “health care reform” and we need to quit squabbling over it and learn to live with it, because it isn’t going to go away.

1 comment:

bruce said...

The whole HCR thing was such a boatload of poop I don't think I believe anything about it anymore, not from either side. No one is really looking at it objectively, so it's too hard to get a handle on good vs bad - never mind of what's in it in the first place.

I'm almost dreading the USSC ruling on this, because it's pretty much going to be shit hitting the fan no matter what way they rule.

But with all that, it IS in place, unlikely to go away, and must be accomodated and lived with. And most like;y tinkered with to smooth out the rough edges, clarify ambiguous points and policys, etc.

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