Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Dishonest headline of the day

This analysis of adding 131 million people to Medicare covers the likelihood of rapid cost increases. Tennessee got burned by its bold experiment to cover everyone. Massachusetts also. Medicare was projected to save money, but costs increased right away. Politico's headline calls the game for Obama. But the analysis is shows clearly what can go wrong and chances that it will. See? How Obama can win health care debate - Philip Klein -
... To defeat him, Republicans will have to expose his claims for being about as honest as those old comic book ads hawking 7-foot-long submarines. ... But history and good sense contradict the president. People who receive subsidies for any good or service consume more, driving up costs. This has proved true for health care wherever government has expanded coverage. Tennessee launched TennCare in 1994, which made more people eligible for Medicaid benefits. By 2003, a McKinsey and Co. report commissioned by the state deemed the program “not financially viable,” and Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen was forced to rein it in. In 2006, Massachusetts enacted universal health care legislation that created an exchange enabling individuals to use subsidies to purchase state-regulated insurance plans. Costs have since skyrocketed, and less than three years into its implementation, experts have concluded that the program is unsustainable. Despite this, Obama’s own campaign proposal and most of the ideas floating around Congress involve creating something similar at the national level. With the Social Security and Medicare Trustees warning last week that the entitlement crisis is approaching sooner than previously anticipated, Obama is asserting that health care reform is entitlement reform. But Medicare is costly not simply because each unit of health care is expensive but also because its beneficiaries consume a lot of units of health care. And once baby boomers retire, there will be many more beneficiaries. ...

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