Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Hailing Reform

Candidate Obama, July 7, 2008, speaking of his plans on health care reform, (emphasis mine)

“I'll also help families who are struggling under the crushing burden of health care costs by passing a plan that brings the typical family's premiums down by $2500 and guarantees coverage to everyone who wants it.”

President Obama, Oct 13, 2009, celebrating passage out of committee of the “health care reform” bill that he favors, (emphasis mine)

“…as the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has certified, it will slow the growth of health care costs in the long term and it will not add a penny to our deficit.”

In another speech he said that it would both “slow the growth of health care costs” and “bend the cost curve” as if those were two separate things. Actually it doesn’t even address health care costs, as all it deals with is health insurance. It extends insurance to more people but is by no means universal, since it leaves out millions and not just illegal residents. It claims not to increase the deficit, but even the non-partisan CBO admits that premiums will increase under this bill. Apparently they just will increase a bit more slowly than without it.

Note that a diagnostic MRI in the United States costs five times more than it does in other industrialized nations, and this reform bill does not address even peripherally how much imaging labs and hospitals charge for MRI’s. The cost of insurance premiums is dependent, in part, on the amount that insurance companies pay for MRI's received by the people they insure.

You want to reduce the cost of health insurance? Reduce the amount the imaging labs and hospitals charge for an MRI. Does this reform bill even attempt to do that? No.

We are, instead, reducing the cost of health insurance by adding a tax on the insurance companies. In what universe is it sane to suggest that increasing costs to insurance companies is going to result in them lowering their prices?

I’ll tell you what universe comes up with that logic; the universe of the politician that has to raise revenue to provide benefits to voters, but does not have the courage to admit to those voters that there is no such thing as free lunch. Unwilling to suggest taxing actual people to pay for benefits, politicians come up with taxing insurance companies. Insurance companies are not people and can, in any case, be painted as the cause of the problem and therefor deserving of the tax as a form of punishment.

And these are Democrats.

Democrats and their proponents love to bloviate about how stupid and self destructive Republicans are, but look at what Democrats come up with. Impose taxes and additional costs on insurance companies to get them to lower their rates, while leaving doctors, hospitals, and pharma free to continue charging whatever fees and prices they want to charge. Then claim that you have created “fundamental health care reform” and are “bending the cost curve” of whatever it is that you are reforming, which is health care one moment and health insurance the next.

As the Daily Howler says, we live in an idiocracy.

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