I previously posted that the Republican plan missed the boat on some key healthcare issues, and Jon Elrod offers the following thoughts in response on a point-by-point basis.
1. The (Obama) health care plan won’t add one dime to the budget or deficit.
No one believes this, not the CBO, nor any other objective individual. Covering the costs of health insurance for 64M people will require increased spending.
2. $500B of waste will be cut from Medicare.
Obama made a big fuss about trimming 100M from the entire federal government: it took 2 months. That is 0.02% of $500B. He is going to cut 5,000 times that amount from Medicare alone? Right.
3. The health care plan will reduce the cost of health insurance.
The bill puts a 35% tax on health insurers for plans that have too generous benefits. Those costs will be passed on through higher premiums (or coverage and co-pays will be shifted to make the plan less generous). The bill fines individuals who enroll in plans that are too frugal (i.e. less coverage), forcing them to buy more expensive health care plans (more coverage). Premiums will rise.
4. Your insurance will not change.
As just mentioned, premiums will go up for many and coverage will change for many. If the fines on businesses are cheaper than the qualified plan premiums, employers will drop health insurance benefits.
5. Health care must be fixed now, in one major overhaul.
Most of the provisions do not come into effect until 2013. This reminds me of that oh-so-urgent stimulus bill that was passed in days but only 25% of which is spent after 6 months. The cynic in me tends to think the date is politically motivated.
6. The co-ops will be funded by premiums.
The largest number of uninsured are the “working-poor” who do not qualify for Medicaid and do not have employer health insurance. These are the same people who will qualify for government-subsidies for premiums. So the government itself will pay the vast majority of the premiums. The other group that will flock to the co-ops will be the uninsurable: people with chronic, expensive, pre-existing conditions. Because this pool will attract the highest risk insureds, premiums will not be sufficient to fund the co-op. Like Fannie-Mae/Freddie Mac, they will be government subsidized boondoggles.
The plan is massive new spending and a major change in health care law. It may be good policy or bad policy. But don’t lie by claiming it’s revenue neutral and moderate incremental change.