Contemplating Health Care Reform

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Friday, November 6, 2009

How much does this thing cost, III

Cato’s Michael Cannon, writing in National Review Online, does a deep dive on the true cost of Ms. Pelosi’s health care monstrosity:

The $1.5 Trillion Fraud

This is quite possibly the largest expense cover-up in national history, and appears to be an “inside job” – Democrats concealed the individual mandate cost, which helped defeat the Clinton proposal:

Rather than admit the individual mandate’s unpopularity and move on, congressional Democrats simply ensured that its costs would not appear in the federal budget this time around by gaming the CBO’s rule for what constitutes “federal revenues.”

Guess who worked his behind-the-scenes magic to enable this? You got it -

Obama budget director Peter Orszag laid the groundwork for this feat. While director of the CBO in 2007 and 2008, he fostered a more collaborative relationship between the CBO and members of Congress, which enabled the agency to provide behind-the-scenes guidance to Democrats crafting their mandate. That’s why the cost of the Democrats’ individual mandates appears nowhere in the half-dozen or more “preliminary cost estimates” the CBO has completed on various Democratic health-care bills.

So, it still costs “only” $1 trillion, right?


So while the CBO estimates that the coverage expansions in the House Democrats’ legislation would trigger about $1 trillion of new federal spending over ten years, the actual cost of those coverage expansions is more like $2.5 trillion.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Thomas Sowell on the Empty Promises of Health Care Reform

In his latest column, Thomas Sowell explores the concept of price and cost with regard to medical care and the foolish, empty promises of politicians.

If we cannot afford to pay for doctors, hospitals and pharmaceutical drugs now, how can we afford to pay for doctors, hospitals and pharmaceutical drugs, in addition to a new federal bureaucracy to administer a government-run medical system?


Economics and politics confront the same fundamental problem: What everyone wants adds up to more than there is. Market economies deal with this problem by confronting individuals with the costs of producing what they want, and letting those individuals make their own trade-offs when presented with prices that convey those costs. That leads to self-rationing, in the light of each individual's own circumstances and preferences.

Politics deals with the same problem by making promises that cannot be kept, or which can be kept only by creating other problems that cannot be acknowledged when the promises are made.