The Corner

Re: More False Than True

Dan, that House Budget Committee hearing you cite below was a great example of the power of getting the facts out—a power House Republicans will now be able to exercise by holding hearings on the Democrats’ health-care law. We will no doubt be getting a much clearer sense from CBO of how plausible the assumptions they were forced to score last year really are, and hearing from employers and insurers about where this law is taking us. That process started today with questions posed to the chief actuary of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services at Obama’s HHS, Richard Foster.

As the Associated Press aptly summarized it, Foster told the committee that “the landmark legislation probably won’t hold costs down, and it won’t let everybody keep their current health insurance if they like it” (he said the Democrats’ claims on that front are “false, more so than true.”) 


Foster also had an amusing exchange with ranking committee Democrat Chris Van Hollen, in which Van Hollen tried to get him to say that the cost controls in Paul Ryan’s Roadmap proposal would not work, while those in the Democrats’ bill would. Foster instead offered a lengthy explanation about how incentives can help keep certain kinds of costs down and then said “the Roadmap has that potential. There is some potential for the Affordable Care Act price reductions, though I’m a little less confident about that.”


In that exchange (and even more so in several others), Foster reinforced the basic argument of conservative health-care reformers: that moving toward a defined contribution model is much more likely to keep costs down than the kind of top-down price controls that are in the new health-care law.


Transcripts and video links will probably be available in a few hours.

Yuval Levin is the director of social, cultural, and constitutional studies at the American Enterprise Institute and the editor of National Affairs.


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