Thursday, February 26, 2009

Obama Doesn't Read InsureBlog

[Welcome FoxNews and Kaiser Network readers!]
Else he would know the difference between health insurance and health care. He would also understand that health care costs drive health insurance costs, and that simply extending insurance coverage to more people does nothing to cut the cost of health care.
So why is this important?
Because he's recommending that Congress spend an additional two-thirds of a trillion dollars to expand health insurance coverage.
Well, that's not quite right either: as we've pointed out many times here at IB, the gummint doesn't actually have any money: it simply takes funds from one group of people and redistributes them to another. This is called "taxes," and it's the primary means by which Congress can "pay for" such schemes.
The problem is that this is a well that can quickly dry up, especially as those folks targeted for additional taxation -- "the rich" -- stand by helplessly as their actual worth goes plummeting down the memory hole as the stock market continues its downward plunge. Then, too, there's the indisputable historical fact that higher taxes result in lower revenue for the gummint, thereby short-circuiting the process.
Historically, too, such programs inevitably outgrow their initially estimated size (cf: Medicare), and become cures which are worse than the underlying disease. Thus, a big problem becomes an even bigger one, with little hope of slowing down. Our political class has always been loathe to cut out programs which exhibit these traits (again, cf: Medicare), why would we believe that this one would somehow break that cycle?
The President is said to rely on "eight principles to guide his health reform effort," including freedom of choice as regards health care providers. But that flies in the face of experience: there are already two national health care schemes extant, Medicare and the VA. Both of these restrict that choice; why would any other program be any different? Indeed, how could another such system be any different?
The underlying problem is that the administration's “goal is still to bring down the cost of care and to get universal coverage." The problem is that it ignores the third leg: quality of care. As the saying goes, "you can have it fast, you can have it cheap, you can have it good. Pick any two."
Which ones would you choose?
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