New Obama health plan moves hard in wrong direction

February 22, 2010

Well, let’s see: It costs $75 billion more than the Senate plan. It delays the one sure-fire cost-control measure, the tax on high-end plans. And it gives the federal government new authority to block insurers from increasing premiums. That last one is particularly wrong-headed. The policy thrust of ObamaCare was supposed to be to reduce costs by changing how healthcare was delivered, not through rationing. But price caps are nothing more than rationing. As Cato’s Mike Cannon puts it:

As I have written elsewhere, artificially limiting premium growth allows the government to curtail spending while leaving the dirty work of withholding medical care to private insurers: “Premium caps, which Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick is currently threatening to impose, force private insurers to manage care more tightly — i.e., to deny coverage for more services.” No doubt the Obama administration would lay the blame for coverage denials on private insurers and claim that such denials demonstrate the need for a so-called “public option.
Who knows if this thing can actually pass, but using reconciliation to do it will only amp up the partisan and polarized nature of Congress.

2 comments

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

If you have a “pre-existing condition” it’s already too late for insurance. For Obama and the Dems to insist that these people be insured just shows that they either don’t understand the very basic concept of insurance or they just have contempt for the business in general-two very childish alternatives for such allegedly intelligent folk. Insurance is a fabulous risk management tool. There is a reason it is such a large industry-it fills a huge need. Government interference in how we buy insurance AND how we pay for basic health care services has distorted the issue to the point that debate is almost impossible. Almost.
The GOP needs to do a better job of exposing the core issues. Bring free market reforms to the system that 85% of us use and are satisfied with. Government clinics can provide the care now sought by the uninsured at emergency rooms. The long waits, rationing and outright refusal of treatment there will provide ample incentive to get on board with the private system. A “public option” would do the opposite, destroying the best system in the world in short order.

Posted by Pat Duggan | Report as abusive

This health bill will force the average small business to fire 3-4 workers on account of the hefty fines. I work for http://storyburn.com, and I can see why folks are pulling their hair out over the temp job being the new full time job, China stealing our mojo, Wall Street bonuses at record highs, and people taking a 10% paycut and asked to work unpaid overtime. We have the most read home foreclosure story as well as several job hunting stories

Posted by Voomie | Report as abusive