Ezra Klein Provides Party Line on CBO Scoring of Obamacare

Perhaps he’s auditioning for Obama’s forthcoming Ministry of Truth?

I would, however, like to propose a couple of rules for commenting on this story. Politicians who are going to use this CBO report against the existing health-care reform proposals must do some combination of the following:

a) Support, as the CBO says you should, the eradication of the tax exclusion that protects employer-based health-care insurance;

b) Support, as Lewin and Commonwealth say you should, a public insurance option that can bargain at Medicare’s rates;

c) Support, as the Office of Management and Budget and every health-care wonk in town says you should, one of the various policies floating around to give MedPAC authority to continually reform and modernize Medicare;

d) Support some form of aggressive cost-sharing that would make people extremely angry because it will save money by reducing their access to health-care services;

e) Support 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.

How about, instead, I support ending a system where the sniffles are to be covered right along side lung cancer? You see, Ezra, this isn’t just an exercise in debating which bit of socialized medicine we’ll have, but whether or not socialized medicine is a worthwhile objective. Given that my view is that its unworkable, your rules for objecting are nonsense.

The root cause of our health care insurance crisis (and that is what it is – not a health care crisis, but a crisis in the insurance we use to pay for health care) is Medicare, Medicaid and the rapid spread of health care insurance which was triggered by the massive run-up in health care costs stemming from Medicare and Medicaid. Once upon a time, no one had health insurance – and everyone could go to the doctor; now we’ve got health insurance out the wazoo, and 46 million can only go to the doctor by heading for the ER and burdening everyone with their health care costs.

Now, we can’t end Medicare and Medicaid because the people simply will not see where their problem lies – plus, the left side of the aisle will say we want granny and the grand-kids to die, because we’re mean, old Republicans. Our problem then comes about in how to reform Medicare/Medicaid to prevent it from bankrupting the country while at the same time creating programs which will take away the “everyone will die without socialized medicine” propaganda meme from the left. The solution?

1. Charge $50 for doctor visits for Medicare/Medicaid recipients – that’s all; everything else is free…but by putting a significant charge on going, we’ll get people to stop going for every trivial thing which comes up.

2. Allow people to buy insurance where ever they choose.

3. Allow people to band together in whatever groups they wish to buy insurance in bulk.

4. Provide a government-subsidized catastrophic health care insurance – doesn’t cover basic care, but it does cover you for sudden terrible injuries or illness, as well as care for debilitating, chronic conditions.

5. Work via the Department of Education to provide grants to ease the cost of medical school and other medical training in order to vastly increase the number of health care providers, thus driving down the cost of using medical services over time.

And that, Mr. Klein, will solve the problem – without trillion dollar increases in spending, massive new taxation, or government control.

UPDATE: As is entirely expected, Obamacare opens up vast, new revenue sources for trial lawyers. What? You thought that with a fair and wonderful government plan that malpractice suits would stop? Geesh! What planet have you been on?