Saturday, October 10, 2009

Bend the curve?

Good article laying out difficulties is having something in any health reform bill to slow cost growth. HR3200 has almost nothing. The Baucus bill has tax on high cost health insurance plans and a more robust commission to look at Medicare payment rates and coverage decisions. Article talks of the lobbying after getting rid of these two aspects of the Baucus bill.

The tax on high value insurance plans is at least a beginning of ending the unlimited federal subsidy of private health insurance. If that goes out, it will be bad news for any hope of slowing the rate of health care inflation....esp if replaced by an income tax increase. Income tax increase is bringing more money into the health sector, while the tax on insurance is redistributing money already in the system, and ending a loophole that has made several generations of American workers have no idea how much their health insurance actually costs.

A Medicare commission with a bipartisan commission made up of non-govt experts is the only hope of any reasonable changes to Medicare. But, it has got to be real. Excluding hospitals from being addressed by a Medicare commission would make such a commission a farce. [for the same reason that Willy Sutton robbed banks.....because that is where they keep the money....]

As an aside, I wish more Republicans would take the example of Mark McClellan (head of Medicare and Medicaid under GW Bush) and be involved in trying to move this ahead while maintaining or improving the cost saving nature of the bill. If there were even 10 or 15 in the House and 2 or 3 in the Senate, they could have quite a lot of influence, and probably improve the bill and help the country.

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