Human Exceptionalism

Obamacare: Trying to Figure the Cost

Senator Baucus’s proposal for health care reform passed muster from the CBO. From the story:

A compromise health care proposal widely seen as having the best chance to win Democratic and Republican support would cost $829 billion over the next 10 years, nonpartisan budget analysts concluded Wednesday. It also would reduce the federal deficit by more than $80 billion, according to a report from the Congressional Budget Office.

That and six bits will buy you a cup of coffee: First, these things are never as cheap as they promise. Just look at Medicare and Medicaid. Second, this would include cutting hundreds of billions out of Medicare. Good luck with that. Third, it does not include what the bureaucrats would put in–that’s where the real mischief will be done.  Fourth, the public option is out, an approach the Democratic Left promises to vote down. So, this seems like O’Hare Airport to me–you can get in, but you can’t get out. But that’s okay for Obamacare supporters. The point of this Kabuki Theater is to get this to the floor, after which most of the changes making it affordable will soon become non operable.

But even if I am being overly cynical about the Baucus bill, I fear we will still have the cost/benefit/best practices–rationing–boards that will apply to the private plans.  Federal money will help pay for abortion, which hasn’t been done in years, through the vouchers the lower income will receive to help pay premiums.  That could kill the bill.  And why tax good policies, while limiting the amount of money that consumers can pay out of pocket for care, e.g. deductibles and copays.  But that will tax the non-rich, violating an Obama promise, while making it harder to reduce the cost of plans.  Finally, it requires all of us to buy insurance–or else. I understand the point in terms of spreading the risk, but is it constitutional?

What a mess.  And the reason is because Obamacare is not reform, it is a remaking.  In other words, it does much more than is needed to fix the problems we have.

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