Wonks Will Kill Health Care Yet

A mostly political weblog.
July 17 2009 5:14 AM

Wonks Will Kill Health Care Yet

WaPo' s Ezra Klein  decrees "rules" for those who would use the CBO's damning analysis "against the existing health-care reform proposals"--they "must," he says, endorse some combination of cost-cutting proposals from a list he provides. Huh? Even as mock hubris (and it's hard to tell) this makes no sense. Who said opponents have to be for more cost-cutting? Why can't Republicans say to Dems a) You said your plans would bend the cost curve down. Instead they increase costs. The status quo would be better than your plans. Vote no.  b) You said your plans would bend the cost curve down. Instead they increase costs. Why should we believe anything else you say? ... That isn't what I would say, but it's not an illogical or inappropriate response. ...  

P.S.: Klein goes on, of course, to re-endorse the very treatment-restricting form of cost-cutting that is scaring people away from the Dem plans , specifically 

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comparative effectiveness review that can judge not only the effectiveness but also the cost -effectiveness of various treatments, and give the federal government authority to use that data when deciding reimbursement rates.

In other words, a medical treatment can be more effective than the alternative but the government will still try to prevent you from getting it if it's expensive. Yikes . Smug self-styled wonks will kill health care yet. ... [ What would you do?--ed Guarantee health care security to all citizens--a public plan being one way to do it. People can switch jobs and lose jobs and be poor and near-poor and move and get ill without worrying about being covered. Assume this will raise costs. Assume the cost curve of medical costs will be hard to bend in any case, if that can be done at all.  Figure out how to pay those costs--through taxes, if necessary. Take reasonable cost-controlling measures, if desired, once everyone has health care security--but don't expect too much. Stop acting as if cost-cutting and treatment-denying is the point of health care reform.] ...  2:28 A.M.

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