Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Health care: Obama's next financial sinkhole

Now that Barack Obama's public works boondoggle, the stimulus bill, is law, the administration is moving on to health care.

The day after Obama brought a group of health care industry to the White House to kick off his health care initiative, even the New York Times is worried:

Mr. Obama pronounced it "a historic day, a watershed event," because doctors, hospitals, drug makers and insurance companies voluntarily offered $2 trillion in cost reductions over 10 years. The savings, he said, "will help us take the next and most important step — comprehensive health care reform."

Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, said Mr. Obama had told the health care executives, "You've made a commitment; we expect you to keep it."

If history is a guide, their commitments may not produce the promised savings. Their proposals are vague — promising, for example, to reduce both "overuse and underuse of health care." None of the proposals are enforceable, and none of the savings are guaranteed. Without such a guarantee, budget rules would normally prevent Congress from using the savings to pay for new initiatives to cover the uninsured. At this point, cost control is little more than a shared aspiration.

Heading south on Interstate 95, the Washington Post derisively calls it "$2 trillion in hope."

Technorati tags:

No comments: