The Status Quo Alternative
Good column from Steve Pearlstein today:
Among the range of options for health-care reform, there's one that is sure to raise your taxes, increase your out-of-pocket medical expenses, swell the federal deficit, leave more Americans without insurance and guarantee that wages will remain stagnant.
That's the option of doing nothing, letting things continue to drift as they have for the past two decades as we continue to search in vain for the perfect plan that would let everyone have everything they want and preserve everything they already have while getting someone else to pay for it.
So the next time you hear someone throwing a hissy fit because health reform might raise taxes on some people, or steer people into managed care, or require small businesses to contribute $2 a day for each employee's coverage, just remember to ask yourself: And that's compared with what?
Another way to say this is that health-care reform includes a couple of serious efforts to cut costs in the long-term. One is the effort to take Medicare reform away from Congress. Another is the mix of comparative effectiveness research and health IT. Another is insurer competition in the Health Insurance Exchange. Another is the public plan. There are reasons to believe these policies will work and reasons to believe they won't. But there is no reason to believe that doing nothing will obtain a different result then it's already produced.
July 22, 2009; 10:37 AM ET
Categories: Health Reform
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