Office of the Actuary: Democrat health care "reform" will increase costs
The nation's medical costs will keep spiraling upward even faster than they are now under Democratic legislation pending in the House, a report from government economic experts [but see below] concluded Wednesday.
The Obama administration immediately challenged the analysis...
Of course, of course.
... saying it is out of date because the House bill is being rewritten to bring costs under tighter control ...
Of course, of course. (Even though single payer would save the country at least $350 billion a year, and it's not even on the table. Thanks, "progressives"!)
and will be merged eventually with other House legislation and a Senate bill.
The report from the Office of the Actuary*, which does long-range cost estimates for Medicare, carried an unusual disclaimer, saying that it "does not represent an official position" of Health and Human Services or the rest of the administration.
The disclaimers and warning labels actually the report more credible to me, since it smells like whistleblowers, or at least a bureaucratic victory by people who are very, very sure of their results. (Oddly, or not, the administration still hasn't appointed a Medicare administrator, to whom the actuary would report.)
Unlike previous estimates that have focused mainly on the legislation's impact on the federal deficit, the actuaries' report looked at total costs, public and private, over the next 10 years.
Translation: This is not CBO scoring, which is concerned with the impact on the deficit. It's a full analytical study, which is what single payer should be getting!**
It found that the nation's health care tab would increase somewhat more rapidly with the legislation than if nothing is done. The main reason: Newly insured people will seek medical care.
Well, if the insurance companies are still going to be taking thirty cents of every health care dollar, that's not very remarkable, is it?
The nation's health care tab, now at about $2.5 trillion annually, is projected to approach $4.7 trillion in 2019 without the legislation.
With the legislation, national health care spending would be nearly $4.8 trillion in 2019.
"With the exception of the proposed reductions in Medicare ... (the legislation) would not have a significant impact on future health care cost growth rates," the report said. Moreover, it's "doubtful" that proposed Medicare cuts will stay in place, the analysts concluded.
Measures in the legislation to reduce cost may take 15 years to 20 years to deliver a savings dividend, the report said.
It also cautioned that tens of millions of newly insured people could put a strain on the health care system.
"The additional demand for health services could be difficult to meet initially with existing health provider resources and could lead to price increases, cost-shifting and/or changes in providers' willingness to treat patients with low-reimbursement health coverage," the analysts concluded.
Any serious attempt to cut costs and maintain the level of care would do what the rest of the civilized world has done: Cut the insurance companies out of the equation entirely, or regulate them so tightly that they might as well be non-profit public utilities.
So, (a) Obama's health care deform effort is and has been from the start about bailing out the insurance companies, quelle surprise, and (b) if there are savings to be had, they're going to come by decreasing actual medical services performed under Medicare, presumably by throwing "going to die anyhow" elders under the bus, as the Dartmouth study is misused to establish a national lowered baseline for costs. Which would make Obama's health care deform effort "entitlement reform" by stealth. Yay! Versailles will love him!
NOTE * The actuary, Rick Foster, also served under the Bush administration, who threatened to fire him over the same sort of issue.
UPDATE ** I called Rep. Weiner's office (202.225.6616) and suggested this....