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Thursday, January 21, 2010

RIP, Obama health care reform

I think it may be just as well that the Obama health reforms are likely dead in their current form.


1.       The problem of costing too much? Not really addressed. One thing for sure: the government would be paying more.

2.       Universal coverage? Not really. If you want universal coverage, you have universal coverage, not some gerrymander in which you can otherwise pay a small fine and then opt back in if you want.

3.       Understandable? Not to those doing normal citizen reading. Public options went in and out. Labor unions got special treatment on taxes. Nebraska got a specific exemption from certain tax increases. Who knows what else was in the bill!

4.       The Law of Unintended Consequences would seem to apply.  With so little time to study each new bill, who knows what unintended consequences of the legislation there might be.

5.       It’s hard to think about lowering costs without the strong possibility that some sectors would shrink – to take the obvious example, if we had a government single payer system we wouldn’t need large health insurance companies. Without breaking some eggs, there’s no omelet. But in the political process for this bill, it was never clear to me that there were any eggs being broken – other than the high likelihood that costs would not be controlled and we would end up in a worse financial pickle than before.