Free Markets, Free People

Health Care “Reform”: A Little History Is Always Useful

Daniel Henninger gives us a little walk down memory lane to remind us of the effect of our first attempt at “health care” reform.

Back before recorded history, in 1965, Congress erected the nation’s first two monuments to health-care “reform,” Medicaid and Medicare. Medicaid was described at the time as a modest solution to the problem of health care for the poor. It would be run by the states and “monitored” by the federal government.

The reform known as Medicaid is worth our attention now because Mr. Obama is more or less demanding that the nation accept another reform, his “optional” federalized health insurance program. He suggested several times before the AMA that opposition to it will consist of “scare tactics” and “fear mongering.”

Whatever Medicaid’s merits, this federal health-care program more than any other factor has put California and New York on the brink of fiscal catastrophe. I’d even call it scary.

Anyone who has paid any attention to the health care debate know full well that Medicare and Medicaid have become huge black holes with future funding obligations in the tens of trillions of trillions of dollars.

Now, pointing that out and doubting the government’s ability to do any better is apparently “scare tactics” and “fear mongering”. Reminds me of the AGW nonsense.

After 45 years, the health-care reform called Medicaid has crushed state budgets. A study by the National Governors Association said a decade ago that because of “new requirements” imposed by federal law — meaning Congress — “Medicaid has evolved into a program whose size, cost and significance are far beyond the original vision of its creators.”

There is nothing to convince anyone that the same won’t happen with a “public option”. And although the present plan is to have such an option pay for itself through premiums, there’s nothing to stop Congress from deciding the taxpayer should pick up the tab at some point in the future.

In his speech, Mr. Obama said the cost of the Public Option won’t add to the deficit: “I’ve set down a rule for my staff, for my team — and I’ve said this to Congress — health-care reform must be, and will be, deficit-neutral in the next decade.” If we’re honest, that means tax increases are inevitable.

The thing to remember – “deficit-neutral” doesn’t necessarily mean cuts in spending. It means that revenue must equal spending and that obviously means that spending increases must have added revenue – tax increases.

There is some resistance starting to form to the “reform”. The Democrats plan on rushing this through with limited debate. If they succeed, “Son of Medicare” will wander out the government lab and bankrupt this nation much more quickly than now anticipated.


2 Responses to Health Care “Reform”: A Little History Is Always Useful

  • Let me see if I understand this.  In 1965 we enacted legislation to provide affordable government-run (or managed) health care to those who needed it.  This has worked so well, than in 2009 the administration wants to enact legislation to provide affordable government-run (or managed) health care to those who need it.  But the new legislation will supplement the old, not replace it.  Even though the old one doesn’t provide health care to all who need it, and it is definitely not affordable.
    Does that about cover it?

  • what henninger should have done, what *needs* to be done, is for someone to do a little homework. way back when, when i were yoost a lad, i looked up the debate on the creation of medicare. using obsolete and antiquated research materiel, (“look” and “life” magazines) i read what the pols of the time were saying about medicare’s cost and future costs would be as they tried to sell it.
    it’s been a long time – 20+ years – but IIRC, a democrat senator (kennedy?)  was quoted as saying “by 1990, medicare would cost just (some ridiculously low number. i want to say $25,000,000, but am not sure it’s right. whatever it was, it was off by several orders of magnitude.)”
    the WSJ needs to do the research, pull and post the old quotes, and allow people to compare and contrast government’s record of monumental failure re projected healthcare costs with the pathetic lies ol’ barry’s tossing out for his medical plan.  if they were off by a hundredfold on the medicare thing, how much might total gummint healthcare REALLY cost? a large part of rush limbaugh’s huge success has been his strategy of using a politician’s actual words to make limbaugh’s argument for him, and there’s no reason it couldn’t happen here. “senator kennedy, back in 1965 you said medicare wouldn’t cost very much, and you were off by several hundred billion dollars. why should we believe you now?”