08 October 2009
The Real Cost of an Expansion of the Government Role in Health Care
Much is being made of the CBO cost scoring of the "conceptual plan" by Senator Max Baucus of his version of the health care insurance reform act. CBO says that the next 10 years of Medicare spending reductions and tax increases to start immediately will pay for the first 7 years of the new program, which starts in 2013. This is a curious way to rig the debate. It is like saying that my next 10 years of earnings will cover my expenses in years 4 through 10. In addition, there are further costs in the bill which are not even included in the scoring since they are not thought of as part of the new plan.
This does not even address the fact that the "conceptual plan" will no doubt have many additions to it as the Democrats find they have to bribe more and more special interests to get the 60 votes they need with a very skeptical public putting pressure on Senators to vote against this bill. But the biggest expense issue is this: this bill is just the Socialist foot in the door to take ever more control of everyone's health care from birth to grave. The Democrats are not content to "merely" pick winners and losers in business in the private sector with regulations and complex, targeted tax laws. No, they want to pick who lives and who dies as well. That is the ultimate power.
When the Socialists have the established the power of the government to dictate what an acceptable health insurance policy is, they can put most of the health care system costs directly upon us as individuals so that the cost does not appear on the government books at all. These costs will skyrocket, but more off than on the government books. Thus, this debate about the cost of the Baucus bill is a very secondary issue. The primary cost issue is what will this "reform" to increase the number of people covered by insurance and to decrease the cost of health insurance cost most Americans. The answer is that it will cost us a fortune. The claim that this will bring a reduction of costs at constant quality is a total fiction, a dream of Obama's father, an otherworldly wish.
Pooling the older, the unhealthy, and the drug users, the alcoholics, and the obese with the young and the healthy will of necessity greatly increase the cost of their insurance for decades of their lives. This is pure and simple a massive transfer of wealth from these poor, innocent lambs who by and large are programmed by the government-run schools and universities to accept this sacrificial role as their public duty. They will suffer for the fact that they cannot think this through for themselves. They will suffer mightily.
Most states already mandate many coverages and requirements for the health insurance plans they allow within the state. Many, many states have created Cadillac plans with the very high price tags to be expected of such plans. This is a natural combination of politicians wanting always to seem the champion of everyone sick or afflicted and being the prey of special interests who of course would like to force everyone to buy their services. The federal requirements for health plans are also going to go down this path. Soon, everyone in the country will be mandated to buy Cadillac health care plans or be fined and/or sent to prison. This is an incredible expansion of the federal government's power.
This is all so wrongheaded that it puts any rational mind into a whirlwind of anger. There is no constitutional mandate for Congress to exercise such power. There is no possibility that such political and governmental power can be exercised without trampling on the rights of the individual. All schemes to give government such a measure of control over their citizen's health care have led inexorably to a rationing of health care services along egalitarian lines to produce slow, lowest common denominator health care. The last engine of medical advancement, the United States of America, will be removed from the ranks of innovation and experimental health care as only the tried and true traditional practices are allowed by cost-conscious bureaucrats. Delays for services will mount and doctor quality and motivation will fall. The numbers of doctors will fall further and further behind the population growth, unless the population stops growing because that is what has happened in the other countries with socialized medicine.