Monday, June 27, 2011

If They Won't Play Nice, Beat Them Up

The Massachusetts Attorney General has a solution to the rising cost of health care (and health insurance). If the providers won't behave she will make them do her will.

Forbes magazine reports the OAG (Office of Attorney General):
“at least setting temporary statutory restrictions on how much prices may vary for comparable services” in order to “moderate price distortions, without price setting, . . . as a stop-gap until the corrective effects of tiered and limited network products can improve market function.”
Eliminating the government speak, it means if medical providers and health insurance companies don't toe the line until Obamacrap kicks in the OAG will make you limit your fees.

Yes, that worked so well when Nixon imposed price controls.

"At first prices did go down under the Nixon imposed freeze, but what happened once they were lifted didn't work out so well.

No reason to believe the Massachusetts OAG price controls will work out any better.

First, as was true for the OAG’s 2010 report on cost control, the 2011 report was motivated by continued rapid growth in Massachusetts healthcare costs following the enactment of its healthcare reform law in 2006. That cost growth further highlights the “expand coverage now – deal with costs later” philosophy underlying the Massachusetts law and its nationwide descendant, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. It also highlights that when “later” arrives, proposed solutions will likely include a heavy dose of additional government controls on private contracting."
So in other words, make promises to get elected and deal with the truth later. Kind of makes you wonder just what the REAL price tag will be for Obamacrap.

"The report vaguely blames that unexplained variation on “dysfunctional” markets. The analysis parallels studies of geographic variation in Medicare spending and associated views that Medicare spending can be cut significantly in high cost regions without any reduction in the quality of care. In contrast to the conclusions of the OAG analysis and much of the Medicare research, substantial uncertainty exists about the extent to which variation in spending across regions or providers that researchers have been unable to explain is in fact attributable to unmeasured differences in patient health and quality of care."
Don't confuse me with facts, my mind is made up.

When government interferes with the private market costs never go down, only up.
"The report contains no discussion of the potential (inevitable) adverse effects of price controls. It’s not even clear that limits on “how much prices may vary for comparable services” would help lower costs, as opposed to exerting upward pressure on reimbursement to providers currently receiving relatively low reimbursement. Overall, the price control recommendation seems to come out of Fenway’s short left field."
The left field is where the Green Monster resides.

But don't read anything in to that . . .

Thanks to Henry Stern for the heads up!
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