Congress’ Unhealthy Care Plan

June 19, 2009

Congress’ Unhealthy Care Plan

IBD – 18 June 09

Health Care: The CBO says a government-run health care system would cause 23 million Americans to lose private coverage, cost $1 trillion dollars and still leave 30 million uninsured.

The Congressional Budget Office, not your typical right-wing think tank, has looked at the Affordable Health Choices Act, as unveiled by Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy, and found the word “affordable” to be false advertising.

We have looked at it and found the word “choices” to be as meaningless as being told you can buy any car you want — as long as it’s a Ford.

The CBO director says on his official blog, “According to our preliminary assessment, enacting the proposal would result in a net increase in federal budget deficits of about $1.0 trillion over the 2010-2019 period.”

This figure doesn’t even include the cost of a proposed “public plan” option.

According to the CBO, “the number of people who had coverage through an employer would decline by about 15 million and coverage from other sources would fall by about 8 million.”

The CBO envisions 39 million would obtain coverage through the new insurance exchanges that would be set up.

That would mean a net reduction in the uninsured of just 16 million, still leaving 30 million without insurance.

“You don’t get the benefit, from CBO, of cost savings through prevention programs,” counters Sen. Chris Dodd, the Connecticut Democrat who is pushing the bill as a memorial to his friend Kennedy.

On the other hand, Dodd doesn’t factor in the cost of rationed care, which is what inevitably happens with government-run health care in places like Britain or Canada.

The stimulus bill created an entity called the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research, which will decide which treatments you should get, whether you should get them, and whether they should even be available.

It’s modeled on a British board which helps run the notoriously inefficient and bureaucratic National Health Service.

As Ed Morrissey at HotAir.com puts it, we would be adding a trillion dollars to the debt to solve just one-third of the uninsured problem.

He calculates that at an annual cost of $5,000 for basic catastrophic and wellness coverage, we could just purchase 20 million plans for that trillion without destroying our health care system.

The bill, drafted by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (yes, that spells HELP) would break a key campaign promise by President Obama, that if you were happy with your current insurance, nothing would change.

This bill changes everything.

Title 1 of the bill specifies how Health and Human Services would assist the states in setting up a “gateway” or “health insurance exchange.”

In establishing a gateway, the states would be required to make “qualified health plans” available to state residents, and in making available that coverage, “a Gateway shall include a public insurance option.”

According to a Heritage Foundation report by Robert E. Moffit and Stuart M. Butler, “A public plan conflicts with the assurance that Americans satisfied with their current coverage will not be affected. A public health insurance plan would displace the private coverage of many Americans, regardless of their personal preferences.”

The CBO says its figures “do not represent a formal or complete cost estimate for the draft legislation … only the major provisions related to health insurance coverage.”

The folks at cost management solutions provider Health Systems have factored such things in as subsidies, Medicaid expansion and reducing the number of uninsured by 99%.

The number they come up with is a staggering deficit increase of $4 trillion over 10 years with 79 million Americans shifted out of private insurance to government-run health care.

The cost estimates vary, but when one considers the paltry estimated initial cost of Medicare, even the high estimates may be too low.

The first rule of medical care is to do no harm. If this or similar legislation makes it to the president’s desk, it is the American economy that may soon be in intensive care.


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