Thursday, September 20, 2007

Hillary's Health Care Plan

The American Health Choices Plan is Democratic Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton's current plan for Universal Health Coverage. This is a refinement of her failed 1994 HillaryCare, or as some have called it HillaryCare II. While Hillary's Plan is not initially totally Government Run, logically it will be in the near future. She does see it in the following terms.
The former first lady's 1993-94 health-care overhaul ended disastrously. Still, it poured the philosophical and policy foundations of the current health-care debate. As she unveils HillaryCare II, Mrs. Clinton likes to joke that it's "deja vu all over again"--and it is, unfortunately. Her new plan is called "Health Choices" and mentions "choice" so many times that it sounds like a Freudian slip. And sure enough, "choice" for Mrs. Clinton means using different means that will arrive at the same end: an expensive, bureaucratic, government-run system that restricts choice. [emphasis mine]
That quote is from the Editorial pages of OpinionJournal of the Wall Street Journal (HillaryCare's New Clothes). Hillary's new plan would require everyone to have Health Care through what she's calling "choices". Yet a look at the "choices" will show that exercising them will likely result in fewer choices.
Begin with the "individual mandate." The latest fad after Mitt Romney's Massachusetts miracle, it compels everyone to have insurance, either through their employers or the government. Not only would this element of HillaryCare require a huge new enforcement bureaucracy, it is twinned with a "pay or play" tax on businesses that don't, or can't afford to, provide health insurance to their employees. [emphasis mine]
New enforcement bureaucracy is another way to increase the cost of any program. This is an expansion of needless "Big Government" and waste of the taxpayers dollars.
The plan also creates a new public insurance option, modeled after Medicare, and open to everyone, regardless of income. To keep insurance "affordable," HillaryCare II offers a refundable tax credit that limits cost to a certain percentage of income. Yet the program works at cross-purposes, because coverage mandates always drive up the price of insurance. And if the "pay or play" tax is lower than a company's current health insurance costs, a company will have every incentive to dump its employee plan and pay the tax. [emphasis mine}
Are you hearing more money, more waste, more, more, more...
Meanwhile, the private insurance industry would be restructured with far more stringent regulations. Mrs. Clinton would require nationally "guaranteed issue," which means insurers have to offer policies to all applicants. She would also command "community rating," which prohibits premium differences based on health status. [emphasis mine]
These "Choices" are beginning to sound VERY EXPENSIVE.
Both of these have raised costs enormously in the states that require them (such as New York), but Mrs. Clinton says they are necessary nationwide to prevent "discrimination" that infringes "on the central purposes of insurance, which is to share risk." Not quite. The central purpose of insurance is to price, and hedge against, reasonably predictable risks. It does not require socializing every last expense and redistributing wealth. [emphasis mine]
As the Editorial also points out, Hillary, like the Democrats in general, wants to end Bush's Tax Cuts. Ending the Cuts would be part of the funding, and would bring the additional cost down to a modest $110 Billion in new government spending according to Hillary. Hillary claims that $35 Billion of this would come from modernizing" health-care delivery and "promoting wellness. We all know how well the government handles modernizing and promoting in order to save money.

Someone once said that the definition of a Government Bureau is where the Taxpayers Shirt is kept. Hillary's American Choices Health Care Plan is a lot of bureaucracy, and will take a lot of our shirts.

There are others weighing in on HillaryCare II. Read A Bad Idea Then, A Bad Idea Now by Mark Davis for more reason why HillaryCare II is a solution to a problem which is not broken, only slightly cracked.
In 1993 and today, she pays lip service to American health care, calling it the best in the world. In the same breath, she still proposes meddling in ways that can only denigrate that quality.

Her zeal is based on one of the great myths of modern times, the mistaken belief that we have a health care "crisis."
While there are 47 Million uninsured people in the US, a large number of them are uninsured by choice. Primarily they are young, healthy and see the expense of Health Care as unnecessary. They are gambling but it is by their choice that they do not have Health Care.
We can consider that a dangerous gamble, but it does not constitute some blight of victimization requiring a government solution.
The question should be - "Is the present Health Care System broken?" The answer is No. We still have the best Health Care System in the World despite what the Democrats and Michael Moore say. We do have problems, but they won't get better by making Health Care Mandatory and Government Run.
What we need is not so much health care reform as insurance reform. We are miles detached from the real costs of care in a system where the $12 Tylenol still gets routinely paid.
This is the real problem with our present system. This is where the fix should be aimed.
But how many people are truly "denied care" in America? Mrs. Clinton's reference Monday to Americans dying for lack of care is largely fiction in a nation with the biggest and busiest system in world history for providing care to those who cannot afford it.

True, some people cannot afford health insurance. But the seemingly noble instinct of fixing its cost and making it mandatory is a recipe for disaster. It is the open marketplace that has given us the best doctors, hospitals and technology in world history. Make those things a government-managed resource, and they will become a commodity just like every other line item in a government budget - vulnerable to whim and bureaucratic oversight, leading to rationing, delays and reductions in quality and availability of service. [emphasis mine]
Health Care costs have skyrocketed and therefore so too have premiums for Health Care Coverage. This is due first to the Cost of Malpractice Insurance the Caregivers (Doctors, Nurses, Clinics and Hospitals) must pay.

Second, to avoid costly court judgments against them, the Health Care Professionals and Service Providers go to extreme length to cover their asses. They do this by ordering every test and diagnostic procedure available.

Professional Medical Judgment should be free to make decisions based on a cost-benefit analysis as to what tests and procedures are indicated. Instead, we have a system which demands perfect judgment. To compensate, Medical Professionals order Tests and Procedures to cover the one in a million lottery. That routine drives up costs exponentially.

And third, at the bottom of the list are the enablers of the lawsuit happy population. Of course I am referring to the personal injury lawyers who reap millions of dollars from all of us. Limits on jury awards would be a better start to Health Care reform than a Government Health Care Mandate.

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