Sunday, December 20, 2009

Health Care: Bad Plan

So, we have what a conference committee will give us, reconciling the not-too-good House plan with the toxic Senate plan. So the liberal blogosphere is feuding: support the toxic plan, or try to kill it. Both choices are bad: they both lead to unecessary illness, death, and financial ruin. But the bills currently in Congress are unequivocally good for the insurance companies.

There are some differences:

  1. If some version of the Senate plan passes, it will tend to increase the disparity of wealth in the United States. It will do this by placing a large and regressive tax on the public, which will, especially, affect people making under $50,000/year without employer health insurance. The insurance companies will be granted, essentially, taxing authority. A huge amount of money will be funneled from the public, especially the currently uninsured, to the insurance companies.
  2. The proposals do not seem likely to reduce the extraordinary costs of the US system. Under both House and Senate proposals, systemic savings will probably be collected by the insurance industry.
  3. The Senate legislation guts state insurance regulation. Unless this is removed before the final bill, it will lead to a race to the bottom.
  4. The Senate plan creates a financial incentive for employers to reduce their insurance levels.
I don't see it. In the short term, this may improve the quality of life of some people. It may even save some lives. But these improvements will be made at the expense of the lives and quality of lives of other people. In the long term, it is just kicking the can down the road. As with the bank bailout, it will be all to do again, and there will be less money to do it with.

I think it's poison.

[weasel word removed on day of publication]

No comments: