Health-care reform: the biggest lie
First, the president should have started with a real reform proposal, which would have to be a single-payer approach that would cover everyone resident in the United States. Then the burden of opprobrium would lie on those who were maneuvering to water down the proposal. Instead the Democratic leaders s t a r t e d o u t with a plan that was already watered down. Once this limping, wounded creature was released, it was only a matter of time before the jackals attacked, taking out further bites.
To my mind, however, the worst feature about the health-care proposal that is apparently about to pass is not the coddling of big pharma and the insurance agencies, and not the millions who are cruelly left out, but the way in which it is absurdly claimed that the proposal will save money over the next ten years.
This notion of saving money, endorsed by the president, is simply a huge lie.
In a piece in today's Week in Review (New York Times) Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former director of the Congressional Budget Office lays out the ugly details. We are told that although the bill will cost some $950 billion over the next decade it will save $138 billion. "In reality, if you strip out all the gimmicks and budgetary games and rework the calculus, a wholly different picture emerges: The health care legislation would raise, not lower, federal deficits by $562 billion."
Holtz-Eakin goes on to explain how this legerdemain is produced. Some of the devices are almost incredibly transparent and phony, but just about everyone has been drinking the Kool-Aid. The article, entitled "The Real Arithmetic of Health Care Reform," gives the skinny. It is too horrible for me to repeat here; just read the article (www.nytimes.com/2010/03/21/opinion/21holtz-eakin.html).
Btw, some may question Holtz-Eakin's credentials, as he was for a time an adviser to John McCain. My recommendation would be to avoid attempting to kill the messenger. Is the message correct? Yes, it is.
Labels: Health-care reform