Monday, August 31, 2009

Another set of health care myths

Ed Morrissey looks at another "debunking" of health care myths on Yahoo Live Science.

In order of their appearance, let’s do a little mythbusting ourselves:
  • Wait times - Arguable. As government controls more and more of the payment decisions, resources could become more scarce and wait times may increase as a result. That certainly has been the experience in Canada and the UK, two systems which Obama lauds as models for rational health-care delivery. Wait times and accessibility have gotten so bad in Canada that the state-run system has had to contract with private-sector providers in the US to alleviate the problem (and to avoid the political consequences of it).
  • Government will get directly involved in health-care decisions - Reality. What do people think Obama means when he says the new system will prevent Tonsil Vultures and Foot Rustlers from enriching themselves at our expense? The ObamaCare initiative explicitly calls for comparative-effectiveness management of treatment, which means that government will seek to influence treatment … and non-treatment. “Maybe she should just take a painkiller” is an explicit call for government involvement in those decisions.
  • Tax money for abortions - Reality. Even the Annenberg folks admit that.
  • Health care coverage for illegal immigrants - Myth, at the moment. The House bill currently has a restriction on federal funding for “undocumented aliens” (Section 246): “Nothing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States.”
  • Public option will increase premiums - Reality. In fact, the entire idea of the exchanges is to force insurers to meet a standard of coverage that some plans do not now supply, for various reasons. That will force premiums up across the board, especially if “community rating” rules get applied. Maine’s DirigoChoice boondoggle proved this rather clearly.
  • Medicare cuts to finance ObamaCare - Reality. In fact, Obama himself proposed $313 billion in Medicare cuts, including the virtual elimination of Medicare Advantage. How anyone can call this a “myth” even in scare quotes is beyond me.

No comments: