Sunday, June 21, 2009

Health Care Part Two

This post is my second post discussing health care and health insurance. In the first post, I discussed a few ground rules that seem to get forgotten whenever politicians start talking about health insurance. These were 1) you don't have a right to health insurance, and 2) doctors, nurses, hospitals, and health insurance companies are in business to make a profit. I also pointed out that the jury is still out regarding some of the early initiatives of President Obama and the new Congress. The health care we receive in the United States is some of the best care in the world. Why rush to "fix" this if we aren't sure the people in Washington are up to the task?

In this installment, I want to look at a few problems with the current health care proposal by the Democrats. The current bill, referred to as the Kennedy-Dodd bill, is incomplete. An incomplete bill won't stop Democrats. They have introduced the bill and are trying to get it discussed and voted on anyway.

The non-partisan CBO has estimated the price tag of the bill as currently written at just over $1 Trillion. Democrats have complained that it isn't fair to put a price tag on this bill when it isn't complete. I would tell Democrats to finish the bill, let the CBO score it, then debate it. Another fun fact of the Kennedy-Dodd bill: it won't cover everyone who isn't covered today. I have heard different commentators claim as many as 49 million people don't have health insurance. The CBO says that not all of these uninsured will be covered under the Kennedy-Dodd bill. If we must cover everyone, why doesn't this bill cover everyone?

The Kennedy-Dodd bill will also include some sort of "public option" health insurance. It is hard to tell if this option would be paid for by taxes people who get employer provided health insurance, or by increasing our deficit again. Either way, a public option would eventually drive private insurance companies out of business. Senator Dodd has stated frankly that private insurance companies need a public version to reduce the profit of insurance companies. If the public option doesn't have to make a profit, how is a private insurance company going to make a profit or stay in business?

One of the biggest flaws with Kennedy-Dodd is that it is 615 pages long. Very few Senators (Republican or Democrat) are going to read a 615 page bill before voting on it. There have been a number of problems with the Omnibus spending bill congress passed a few months back for this exact same reason. Lawmakers don't read the bill until after it passes.

Kennedy-Dodd is a bad bill for a number of reasons: it costs to much, it won't cover as many people as the authors say it will, and it will drive private insurance out of business. Do you want a politician deciding what health care is most "efficient" for you? We may need health care reform. Kennedy-Dodd isn't it.


pack04 said...

My only comment on this is why does it seem bad for companies or people to make a profit?

Andy D said...

The whole reason of having a company is to make a profit right?

pack04 said...

That is the kind of company I want to work for. Then I know they will be able to pay me.