Robert Samuelson’s forceful critique of Obamacare.
The talk of the Beltway is the forceful critique of Obamacare in Robert Samuelson’s column in today’s Washington Post. Mr. Samuelson has been a consistent critic of Obamacare and of Obama’s economic policies in general, which is surprising considering that he is a Keynesian at heart. A Keynesian with sanity, but I digress. In today’s column, Mr. Samuelson likens Obamacare not to the euphemistic “healthcare reform” that so many in the media like to parrot the liberal talking point about government taking over healthcare, but to malpractice because of the shady behavior on the part of Obama and his Leftist cohorts:
Their far-reaching overhaul of the health-care system — which Congress is halfway toward enacting — would almost certainly make matters worse. It would create new, open-ended medical entitlements that threaten higher deficits and would do little to suppress surging health costs. The disconnect between what President Obama says and what he’s doing is so glaring that most people could not abide it. The president, his advisers and allies have no trouble. But reconciling blatantly contradictory objectives requires them to engage in willful self-deception, public dishonesty, or both.
And dishonest this debate has been from the beginning. One only needs to look at the current position of the federal government within the healthcare industry to understand the deceit of those on the Left. The government currently administers Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, Tri-Care, VA, and Indian Health Service (IHS) and costs are spiraling out of control. Yet, the government wants to get rid of what remains of the private sector, cut up Medicare, expand Medicaid and introduce a “public option” to “bend the cost curve down”. Mr. Samuelson is right to be skeptical that the government will accomplish this because of two reasons: 1) historically no government program has ever “bent the cost curve down” because although politicians have the heart to implement a new entitlement program they lose that heart when it comes to reforming it and 2) several independent analyses have already proven that this will not be the case. Mr. Samuelson again:
Equally misleading, Obama’s top economic advisers assert that the present proposals would slow the growth of overall national health spending. Outside studies disagree. Three studies (two by the consulting firm the Lewin Group for the Peterson Foundation and one by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, a federal agency) conclude that various congressional plans would increase national health spending compared with the effect of no legislation. The studies variously estimate that the extra spending, over the next decade, would be $750 billion, $525 billion and $114 billion. The reasoning: Greater use of the health-care system by the newly insured would overwhelm cost-saving measures (bundled payments, comparative effectiveness research, tort reform), which are either weak or experimental.
That last point is the liberals attempting to force the square peg of “healthcare reform” into the round hole of cost savings. They’ll get the peg through, but it won’t be a pretty sight. Mr. Samuelson, as do so may other skeptics, are right to point out the failures and flaws of socializing medicine in America because in the end, as with all socialist endeavors, the numbers never add up. After all, Mr. Samuelson and skeptics go to a school where 2+2 = 4 but for liberals it doesn’t matter if 2+2 = 3 so long as they get to socialized medicine.