Ideology in the Way
Submitted By Todd on August 30th at 6:26am
New York Times.
The Obama administration seems to understand the importance of reducing health care costs. But the president’s universal coverage and public option proposals are directly at odds with his emphasis on cost containment.What!!! The two key components of the Obama proposal would drive up costs? But... but... I thought the Public Option was a big winner on cost containment!
A public option that reduces costs through public subsidies simply shifts the expense to taxpayers (still us!), while increasing the share of health care the government (again back to us) would pay for with taxes.I'm shocked! This Sounds Bad. Well, surely then, universal coverage would drive down costs? We know that getting everyone on board would get them out of emergency rooms...
Universal insurance coverage would enshrine the present inefficient system by increasing aggregate demand for, and thus the prices of, health care services. The increases in insurance costs for those already covered are estimated at 10 percent from this effort alone.Let me see if I get this right. The public option might offer a cheaper insurance plan, but it's only cheaper because the cost is being subsidized by taxpayers? And adding tens of millions of new customers to doctors and hospitals will increase demand so much that prices will shoot up 10 percent? Wow. Hubbard points out that by having a brawl over the Public Option and Universal Health Care, we're not having the two discussions we should be having.
The first is over how to reform insurance arrangements to reduce cost growth and provide better value for the money spent. The second should be about access to health care. To achieve these goals, the president could embrace a compromise of tax and regulatory reform for cost containment, and progressive intervention to offer assistance to low-income individuals.See? It's simple. The President has blown the reform project because he's focused on ideology - he wants a socialist model in place, so he hasn't focused sincerely on how to solve the legitimate problems in the health care system. Too bad.