Monday, July 19, 2010

Getting More Popular and Stupider Every Day

WaPo's Ezra Klein has been beating the polling drum to note that ObamaCare is gaining marginally more popularity as the summer drags on toward election season. Inasmuch as little has become operative in the massive bill, that gain can only be attributed to the lowering of volume in the discussion, coupled with the obvious fact that the sky has not yet fallen.

So it's time to raise the volume again, because there are facts to be discussed, specifically the facts of RomneyCare, the microcosm of ObamaCare.

The essential Robert Samuelson notes as much today. RomneyCare is bankrupting the People's Republic of Taxachusetts while exerting absolutely no downward pressure on costs. Samuelson, scion of a celebrated economics clan, notes why and whither:

The system's fundamental incentives won't change. The lesson from Massachusetts is that genuine cost control is avoided because it's so politically difficult. It means curbing the incomes of doctors, hospitals and other providers. They object. To encourage "accountable care organizations" would limit consumer choice of doctors and hospitals. That's unpopular. Spending restrictions, whether imposed by regulation or "global payments," raise the specter of essential care denied. Also unpopular.

Obama dodged the tough issues in favor of grandstanding. Imitating Patrick, he's already denouncing insurers' rates, as if that would solve the spending problem. What's occurring in Massachusetts is the plausible future: Unchecked health spending determines government priorities and inflates budget deficits and taxes, with small health gains. And they call this "reform"?

It's high time to remember these fundamentals, and to explain them to the complacent masses who will decide the next election.

1 comment:

JB in CA said...

I'm amused (okay, annoyed) at how little everyone seems to know about Obamacare. On another blog awhile back, a young man that couldn't afford health insurance told the blogger that he, for one, was thrilled that Obama made it possible for him to get free health care. The blogger (correctly) responded, "You mean you're thrilled that Obama made it possible for you to have to buy health care."