Free Markets, Free People

Health Care’s Giant New Bureaucracy

One of the persistent memes with this current round of health care reform is the counter-intuitive belief that adding 30+ million to the health care insurance roles and subsidizing them is going to save money. Another is that there won’t be more bureaucracy – that, in fact, this reform will streamline health care and again “save money”. Just as we’re supposed to “trust” the climate scientists who’re apparently not trustworthy, we’re supposed to believe a Congress which cranks out 2,000 page bills when they say it won’t be a bureaucratic nightmare.


“The legislation lists 1,697 times where the secretary of health and humans services is given the authority to create, determine or define things in the bill,” said Devon Herrick, a health care expert at the National Center for Policy Analysis.

For instance, on Page 122 of the 2,079-page bill, the secretary is given the power to establish “the basic per enrollee, per month cost, determined on average actuarial basis, for including coverage under a qualified health care plan.”

The HHS secretary would also have the power to decide where abortion is allowed under a government-run plan, which has drawn opposition from Republicans and some moderate Democrats.

And the bill even empowers the department to establish a Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation that would have the authority to make cost-saving cuts without having to get the approval of Congress first.

That’s right – we’re supposed to believe that this huge shift in power and authority to the HHS will be done without adding a single worker, panel, council, department, “task forces” or agencies. There will be no new commissioners, advisors, council, staffers or contract employees. None.


Haislmaier said one the greatest powers HHS would gain from the bill is the authority to regulate insurance. States currently hold this power, and under the Senate bill, the federal government would usurp it from them. This could lead to the federal government putting restrictions and changes in place that destabilize the private insurance market by forcing companies to lower premiums and other charges, he said.

Health and Human Services … doesn’t have any experience with this,” Haislmaier said. “I’m looking at the potential for this whole thing to just blow up on people because they have no idea what they are doing. Who in the federal government regulates insurance today? Nobody.”

The health care reform legislation would rely on the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force for recommendations as to what kind of screening and preventive care should be covered.

By the way, the U.S Preventive Services Task Force is the one which recently told women under 50 they really don’t need mamograms. Yeah – preventive services. They’ll try to prevent you from taking advantage of such services it seems.

And then there’s this:

Critics of the bill said this was an example of how the new bill could empower HHS to alter health care delivery, but Democrats argue they would rather have the government making these decisions.

“There’s an insurance company bureaucrat in between the patient and her doctor right now,” Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., said on ABC’s “This Week.”

Yes, because everyone knows that government bureaucrats are so much more efficient and caring than insurance bureacrats – which explains the reason Medicare denials are much higher than insurance company denials.

If you want the equivalent of the Post Office or DMV running your health care in the future, support the Democrats and this bill. Because if you are satisfied with what they’re trying to pass, you’ve already bought into the idea that spending a trillion dollars will save money and lower the deficit and that government is always more efficient than the market in delivering anything.


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7 Responses to Health Care’s Giant New Bureaucracy

  • If Democrats are truly concerned that Republicans have no heart and would sell the poor and infirm up the river in order to help line the pockets of their evil corporate cronies… why would they design a system that would allow a future Republican administration to determine who gets to set the rules and rates for health care across the nation?
    Or put another way, are they saying that they trust Republicans to manage health care properly (indicating that their rhetoric is false and politics as usual)?  Or are they saying that they’re willing to pass a health care bill that could lead to disaster, just so that they can say they passed a health care bill?

  • Or are they saying that they’re willing to pass a health care bill that could lead to disaster, just so that they can say they passed a health care bill?

    No – their hope is that by passing health care they will have solidified their place as the dominant party for the next two generations or even longer.  A simple expansion of Medicaid would have covered all Americans without insurance.  This is far more about power than it ever has been about health care.

  • Scott says, “No, they just envision a world in which the Republicans are never in control again.”
    But, alas alack, Republicans will be in control again, come a year from next month. And we can thank The Clown and his Clownettes for all their help in coming back into power.

  • When Andy Burnham, the Health Secretary, admitted last week that he was going to have to “re-prioritise” £60 million of the Government’s medical research budget, diverting it to help pay for social care for the elderly and disabled, it seemed a blatant example of robbing Peter to pay Paul. It is self-evident, after all, that today’s research will reap dividends in the future, whether through new treatments, or novel ways of thinking about and preventing disease.

  • “There’s an insurance company bureaucrat in between the patient and her doctor right now,”

    Maybe so, but if the government got out of the way you could change insurance companies if you didn’t like yours, just like you can with automobile, life, and home insurance.  How do you change governments if you don’t like the government’s healthcare decisions? You can also sue your insurance company. And the insurance companies know that the threat of government intervention is always present if they get too greedy. Sometimes the threat is more effective than the actual deed, and it’s reusable.