Health Care Reform – Washington Style

Washington is promising a coming change in health care.

Coverage for everyone. More affordable premiums. What’s not to love?

How about funding? How will we (the taxpayer) pay for this?

Nothing is final yet, but . . .

Higher prices (taxes) for beer, wine, tobacco products and soft drinks.

But what if these higher prices mean less consumption which translates into lower tax collections? Oh well . . .

Taxes on employer provided health insurance. In other words, if you have health insurance you need to pay a tax so those who don’t have health insurance can have health insurance.

Got it?

Seems to me like it is better for you (or your employer) to drop coverage so you can get it for free.

And let’s not forget Washington’s favorite target. The rich.

They want to tax the rich to pay for health insurance for the poor.

Sounds good until you notice they have also appointed a pay czar to limit how much business executives receive in compensation. So if they limit pay on those greedy CEO’s, where will the find the wealthy?

Only Washington would want to tax the rich and then turn around and limit the number of rich people.

But they have more silly ideas on how to fund health care for all.

In addition to raising taxes, they want to put restrictions on health care costs. Part of the Spendulus Bill (all $819 billion of it) allocates includes $147 billion for health care related issues.

So how does that $147 make health care, and health insurance, more affordable?

Roughly $86 billion will go to help states cover Medicaid costs; tax cuts for COBRA subsidy will consume $25 billion. My calculator says that is $121 billion and they have done nothing to make health CARE affordable.

So how much is Washington dedicating to do something to actually LOWER the cost of health care . . . which will actually lower health insurance premiums.

We have $26 billion left so let’s see how they plan to make an investment in lowering health care costs.

They will invest $20 billion to develop EMR (electronic medical records). You should note there is no proof EMR will significantly lower the cost of care. Some estimates put it at less than 2%.

Community health centers will receive $2 billion, the VA $1 billion and American Indian reservations will get $500 million.

Let’s recap.

$819 billion with $147 billion allocated for health care, and of that, only $26 billion to really have an impact on the cost of health care.

And how much does health care cost us?

About $2 trillion per year.

$26 billion to save, maybe in a good year, 2% or $40 billion.

Washington just doesn’t get it. If they want to really save money they need to focus on the folks who are using the system the most.

Like the 5% of the population that consumer 50% of all health care expenditures.

So the answer is simple. Locate the 5% that are eating us alive and tell them we can’t afford to pay for their care.

That is a change you can believe in.

Solving the health care problem is easy.

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