Ever have those days when you think everything will be fine—even if Congress does pass its gargantuan overhaul of the health-care system? We’ll just muddle along, and it won’t be that drastic. Sorry, but that’s not the case.
A columnist at the Denver Post, Vincent Carroll, sets forth what you must do in order to actually believe Democratic claims that the costs of the pending legislation won’t be disastrous. You must…
Pay no attention, please, to the fact that the Senate Finance Committee’s bill imposes fees on insurance providers, as well as producers of drugs and medical devices, that it caps deductions for flexible spending accounts and slaps a 40 percent excise tax on so-called Cadillac health plans. Oh, yes: and that it raises the bar for itemizing medical expenses on your taxes.
It almost requires magical thinking to believe Democratic claims in light of the lack of any real cost-containment measures. Somehow, we’re to expect that future Congresses will jump in and make cuts if costs are too high! And Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former director of the Congressional Budget Office, has pointed to the dearth of “any competition-based reforms that would actually bend the curve of health-care costs.”
Congress is posed to do what it often does:
[S]ince Congress doesn’t have the courage to enact the sort of far-reaching reform that would actually realign incentives and constrain costs, it is poised to do what in the political world is considered the next best thing: make matters worse.