Friday, May 15, 2009

He Said, They Said

Earlier this week, both Bob and I weighed in on the president's proposed health care "plans" (such as they are), with particular emphasis on how the health care and health insurance industries reacted to his initiatives.
Unfortunately, The O-man (to borrow a phrase from Bob), may have significantly overstated his case:
Readers may recall that the health care industry had (allegedly) promised some $2 trillion in cuts over the next decade; according to The Gray Lady, "Health care leaders ... say they agreed to slow health spending in a more gradual way and did not pledge specific year-by-year cuts."
As the song goes, "You say tomato, I say hippopotamus."
In point of fact, the American Hospital Association (about whose gloom-and-doom outlook we reported earlier this month) specifically contradicted the administration, adding that the organization "did not commit to support the ‘Obama health plan’ or budget. No such reform plan exists at this time.”
Is this train wreck being derailed?
On the health care financing side of the equation, a spokescritter for America’s Health Insurance Plans (an organization which itself is not exactly the brightest light in the harbor) clarified that "savings would “ramp up” gradually as the growth of health spending slowed." Now where have we heard that tune before? Oh yeah, right here at IB.
Meanwhile, our esteemed legislators are busy hunting for "savings that could be certified by the Congressional Budget Office, the official scorekeeper, so the money could be used to pay for coverage of the uninsured."
Interesting metaphor: is this all just a game to them?
If it is, health care providers aren't in the mood to play: "Mr. Pollack [AHA's Executive VP] assured hospital executives that the promised savings “are not subject to rigid ‘scoring’ rules used by the Congressional Budget Office.”
How reassuring.
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