Fighting Back Against Bush's Nightmare Healthcare Plans
by Scott Shields, Wed Jan 25, 2006 at 08:03:03 AM EST
As busy as we are with Alito, warrantless wiretaps, the war, 2006, and the laziness of the traditional media, I would encourage everyone to become intimately familiar with the details of the Bush plan, as the misinformation and spin will be flying fast and furious post-SOTU. The healthcare system in America isn't so hot, but it's far better than this anti-working family, anti-poor, anti-sick, and anti-elderly disaster Bush is about to put his weight behind. This is a serious fight we're going to have to engage in.
Former Senator Tom Daschle has a post up at Think Progress that does a fairly good job of providing a brief primer on the proposal. The links, which I'd suggest checking out, are from the original post.This is a bad idea for three reasons:
- It makes the wrong assumptions about health care. A person with chest pain is not in a position to decide on which tests to take and what drugs he needs. A $1,000 deductible is not going to make a person switch hospitals to get an extra hour of hospital care, which is all that the deductible can buy. Health care is not a commodity. When we buy a car, we don't want to have the parts dropped off on our front lawns. Consumer-driven care just doesn't make sense for health care.
- It assumes that individuals can go up against industry and win. Look at the Medicare drug benefit. My mother has to choose from 73 plans. It is impossible for her to figure out which has the lowest prices. Rather than pooling the purchasing power of seniors to leverage lower prices, this drug benefit allows for drug companies to charge higher prices and insurers to profit. So, if you like the Medicare drug benefit, you will love consumer-directed health care.
- It pits the healthy against the sick. About 70 percent of costs in the U.S. health system are for the top 10 percent most expensive people. These people's costs are well above the deductible, so a high deducible won't change their behavior.
Ezra Klein also turned in a solid backgrounder piece on Bush's HSA plans a few days ago at Tapped, which I would wholeheartedly recommend for those interested in a bit more in-depth discussion of the issue. He cites a good deal of evidence to indicate that Bush's plans won't even come close to accomplishing their stated goals.
In other words, Bush isn't really interested in improving healthcare. He's only interested in achieving his ideological goal of making sure that the shared burdens of American society are foisted upon individuals, whether or not they can handle them. Every man for himself.