Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Let's Make a (Health Care) Deal

As Bob has pointed out, a major problem for funding all these wonderful new initiatives is that the price tag keeps getting bigger and bigger, but no one in DC really has any idea of how to pay for it. One way, of course, is to begin taxing employees' health insurance benefits. While that would appear to be a non-starter (a lot of "employees" are also "voters"), there's one large, implacable and irresistible force that could make it happen:
Yup, that should do it. After all, if the unions can't count on their own employees (aka the Legislative and Executive branches), then what was the point of all that campaign moola? And since they now basically own (in conjunction with those employees) major swaths of industry, it seems pretty likely that they'd get their way.
Of course, if they're exempt, what about all those poor non-union employees?
"Tough luck, bud."
On the other hand, we know that the cost of at least part of the proposals now on the table is a major reduction in the cost of medication, maybe this won't be so bad. After all, reducing the cost of drugs is sure to lower the overall cost of health care, and hence health insurance.
Well, not so much:
So the $80 billion in savings (which would do so much to alleviate the expected multi-trillion dollar government expansion into health care and insurance) just got halved? That can't be good.
The underlying problem is that no one in Washington really understands the relationship between health care costs and health insurance costs, so no plan realistically addresses either one. The overarching motto is "throw more money at it." Of course, there's no evidence that this approach has ever worked in the long run, but hey, pols aren't known for letting reality get in the way.
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