Saturday, June 02, 2007

Hillary's Health Care Plan

[Don't know why this never got published... Well here it is.]

Hillary Clinton Unveils Plan For Reducing Health Care Costs I think it would be great if health care could be cheaper in America, but I cringe when Democrats start talking about it.
1. Focus on prevention: wellness not sickness.
Sounds good and there are examples of "incentives" that reduce health care costs. But she also talks about obesity as a major problem. Now, I agree that it is. Exactly how is the government going to correct the problem? Outlaw French fries? Outlaw sweet roles? Dictate what I have for breakfast? Increase my taxes for every pound overweight I am? What incentive can the government use?
2. Use more computer technology: to increase security and accessibility of records, reduce costs and errors, and share research.
You cannot both increase access and security at the same time. Fewer errors would be nice, since medical errors kill a lot of people. (It isn't always mistakes by an individual, but mistakes by the profession.) But a mad-rush to computerize is guaranteed to cause problems.
3. Co-ordinate and streamline the care of chronically ill patients.
Who does the coordinating? A government bureaucrat? Coordinated care is a good thing, anyone not insisting on it is in for world of hurt. How is the government going to mandate it?
4. Offer individuals and small businesses market access to larger insurance pools. ... prohibiting insurance companies from carving out benefits or charging higher rates to people with health problems.
This last bit means that healthy people will pay more for insurance. I am not sure this is a bad thing - anyone can end up in the "high risk" category with their next doctor's appointment. But what she is talking about is dictating of the insurance business model by government. (More government intervention than we have today.)
5. Improve the quality of care to help drive down costs:
This statement means nothing. It is like saying she is in favor of Apple Pie. Imagine a statement that is just the opposite. "Ruin the quality of care to help drive up costs." I am all for driving bad doctors out of health care, but by and large I think she is saying "spend more government money" but not saying where - exactly - it will be spent or where - exactly - it will come from.
6 Get prescription drug costs under control.
OK, I am all for that. But then consider the statement, "Drive prescription drug costs out of control." I am in favor of baseball, hot dogs, and cheap gas too. This statement is not very meaningful. Oh, but it is easy - government control of the prices charged by drug companies.
7. Reform medical malpractice:
Excuse me, but isn't tort reform a GOP issue? Smart work that - get on the side of one conservative issue to make things appear balanced.

Now, there are probably ways to save money in health care. I would like someone to explain what - if any - impact is had by all of the CURRENT laws on prices. Everything from patent monopolies to reporting requirements already on doctors, hospitals and insurance companies. The net impact of the government on this market today is not zero. What is it? But I am pretty sure I don't want to write a blank-check for a bunch of Leftist bureaucrats to control a huge section of the economy. That didn't work out too well for the Soviet Union, and cracks are showing in parts of Western Europe as well.

This is a thinly-veiled attempt to gain government control over a large part of the economy, by someone who doesn't like free markets.

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