The health care debate – 75 years strong

The current debate on United States government involvement in health care has been going on for more than 75 years and quite honestly, we’ve gotten nowhere. Sure, plenty of legislation has been passed, new departments and program created and billions have been spent, but what has been the result?

Over at American Thinker, Frank S. Rosenbloom, M.D. takes a look at the failed promises – and outrageously low cost estimates – of previous federal legislation geared at solving the American health care crisis, which is not in crisis at all.

We’ve heard President Obama’s goals: increase competition, lower costs, and universal coverage for all. Rosenbloom takes a look at those three lofty goals and reflects on their attainability.

Everyone always assumes that more competition is a very good thing, and it is a good thing. The problem is the “more competition” mantra is a lie. There is no shortage of companies who will jump at the chance to provide insurance for you, your family, your small business or the company you work for, so what good would come from government involvement?

You need to ask… has government involvement in the past increased competition? Rosenbloom uses Medicare as a test case, with my emphasis added.

The government decides on the worth of medical services and the providers of those services must comply. The government therefore utilizes unfair practices to establish a monopoly, transferring costs to the private sector, artificially magnifying the cost of private insurance and hiding the true cost of government coverage.

When Medicare was passed senior citizens were promised that Medicare would not prevent them from utilizing private primary insurance if they wanted to. This assurance was false. Private primary health insurance has become all but impossible for persons over 65 to obtain.

So much for increased competition.

What about lowering costs? Certainly the Medicare program – with full government involvement – has reduced the costs for the consumer right? We all know this is not the case.

In 1965, the government promised that Medicare Part A would cost $9 billion by 1990. The actual cost was more than $66 billion — over seven times projected costs. There has never been a single large federal social program that has come in at budget or has performed as predicted.

A more recent example was the Medicare Part D (prescription drug program) that was signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2003 after narrowly getting through Congress. Sweetness & Light reminds us about the original $395 billion estimate, the new $534 billion estimate one month after the bill was signed, and the White House revised estimate of $1.2 trillion one year later.

Oh yeah, that’s what you call lowering costs!

Finally, we have Obama’s goal to ensure everyone has access to reasonably priced insurance and everyone is covered. Everyone. You know… universal coverage for those 46 million who don’t have, and can not afford the coverage they need. Of course, the 46 million uninsured figure is a complete myth. The American Spectator goes through the details and concludes…

When all of these factors are put together, the 2003 BlueCross BlueShield study determined that 8.2 million Americans are actually without coverage for the long haul, because they are too poor to purchase health care but earn too much to qualify for government assistance. Even being without insurance still doesn’t mean they won’t have access to care, because federal law forbids hospitals from denying treatment to patients who show up at the emergency rooms.

Then we have the myth that Obama’s plan does not cover everyone they want to cover. From The Atlantic.

The good news: 39 million people would obtain health insurance coverage through the new health insurance gateways. But the plan, according to the CBO, would result in only a net gain of 16 million Americans adding insurance. That’s because the CBO believes that the plan would kick about 15 million people out of the system because their employers would no longer offer insurance, and coverage from other sources would decline by 8 million.  The plan would add a trillion dollars to the deficit over 10 years.  An important caveat: the plan submitted to the CBO doesn’t include expanded Medicare coverage guidelines and other measures that would serve as a safety net for those whose employers stopped offering health coverage.  This version of the bill doesn’t include a “public plan,” and it does not include the so-called “pay or play” option for employers.

The cost from the plan went quickly from $1 trillion to $1.6 trillion and other estimates are upwards of $4 trillion over 10 years.

If 16 million who were not covered, are eventually covered in the plan, that works out to a taxpayer cost of $12,500 each per year if we spilt the difference and call the total tab $2 trillion. That’s $50,000 per year for a family of four.

So everyone will not be covered with Obamacare, and the cost will be outrageous. People… are we awake yet?

4 replies
  1. Dimsdale
    Dimsdale says:

    Here is your challenge, Mr. President: before running roughshod over America with your "hope and change," let's see if you have what it takes:

    1) Before revamping all of the nation's health care, fix Medicare. To OUR satisfaction, not yours. Show us that your hypotheses work on a small scale first. Demonstrate to us that all of the other attempts at socialized medicine actually worked. Also explain how your "partially public" scheme is different from Bush's proposal to partially privatize Social Security, and why your idea is good and his bad.

    2) Before uprooting the nation's economy with Crap and Tax, fix Social Security. With your Harvard training, explain exactly why Social Security is not the world's largest Ponzi scheme.

    3) Before you recreate the climate in your own image, set up some public debates between the proponents and skeptics and see where the chips fall. Or at minimum, reliably predict the weather a year in advance. Do not use the terms "settled" or "consensus" unless you can demonstrate it.

  2. sammy22
    sammy22 says:

    I keep wondering: "Is the fix to health care to leave things as they are? Trust the insurance companies, they know best"? I am not happy with the way things are and are expected to go. Perhaps I am alone in this.

    • Steve McGough
      Steve McGough says:

      @sammy22 – you're making the incorrect assumption insurance companies are running health care. The industry is heavily regulated at the federal AND state level. Medicare, Medicaid, and Medicare Part D do really drive a good portion of the industry. We currently DO NOT have a "free market" health care system.

  3. sammy22
    sammy22 says:

    @Steve- I agree we don't have a free market health system (or any other), but that is what we have to work with for the foreseeable future.

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