Free Markets, Free People

smoke and mirrors

Dumb idea of the day – Reintroduce the public option to lower deficit

Yes, that’s what 128 Democrats in the House are sure will be the way to lower the deficit in coming years:

As both political parties worry about the growing federal deficit, an unlikely proposal is returning from last year’s divisive healthcare debate: the "public option."

Creating a major government health insurance program was roundly rejected last year, but 128 House Democrats are pushing to reconsider the idea, contending that it would hold down federal spending.

Anyone – what are Medicare and Medicaid? Well, yes, you’re right, they’re "government health insurance programs". And how solvent are they? Well, you’re right again – they’re not. Both have unpaid future liabilities in the tens of trillions of dollars.

So explain to me how, after these two "government health insurance programs" have been mismanaged to the point of impossible future liabilities, giving the government the rest of the population will, as CBO claims "save the government $68 billion between 2014 and 2020.

Yeah, see, I’m not on board with this idea at all – seems to me to be more smoke and mirrors. I’d love to the reasoning behind the CBO’s findings. Oh, wait, how about this:

The government’s administrative costs would be lower than private insurers’, proponents say, and it could pay hospitals and doctors less.

No, their admin costs are not "lower" and that’s been pointed out ad naseum for quite some time. They just passed the "doc fix" and there is no stomach (or spine) to cut doctor’s pay in the Congress and they risk all sorts of problems if they cut pay to hospitals.

So yes, I’m right – smoke and mirrors.

Let’s see how they play this hand of vapor as Democrats try again – before the window closes for good – to move us another step closer to single payer with nothing more than hot air promises as a basis for their arguments.


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