The Push For HSAs Is On
by Scott Shields, Thu Feb 16, 2006 at 12:07:42 PM EST
What better place for a Republican to kick off a healthcare campaign than at the corporate headquarters of a fast food restaurant? It speaks volumes, no? Well, today Bush brought his traveling roadshow to a more respectable venue, the Department of Health and Human Services.
Having personally been under the impression that Bush was going to make the pitch during the State of the Union for transitioning the healthcare system away from group insurance towards private Health Savings Accounts, I've already done a lot of writing on the topic. Obviously, I think it's a terrible idea.
But beyond the economics of HSAs and the disastrous effects of pulling healthy, young people out of risk pools, I think the thing that bothers me most about this proposal is the fact that it demands even more sacrifice from the sick. This isn't something that Bush hides from. In fact, he brags about it. Clearly, he just doesn't get what this system would mean for the average American.
"When somebody else pays the bills, rarely do you ask price or ask the cost of something," the president said during a panel discussion on his health care initiatives at the Department of Health and Human Services. "The problem with that is that there's no kind of market force, there's no consumer advocacy for reasonable price when somebody else pays the bills. One of the reasons why we're having inflation in health care is because there is no sense of market." ...
"When you go buy a car you're able to shop and compare," he said. "And yet in health care that's just not happening in America today."
George W. Bush is a son of privilege. I don't care that he wears a cute little cowboy hat while he "ranches" and "clears brush." At the end of the day, he's still the Connecticut-born scion of one of America's most prominent political families. His life was a series of failures and bail-outs, with Poppy's friends always waiting with kind words and big checks.
This is Medicare Part D, writ large over the entire American healthcare system. It's just so easy for Bush to talk about the American people comparison shopping in a magical "healthcare marketplace." But it's not so easy for the average working person to actually go out and do that. Not only do we lack the resources, we lack the time. Of course, the wealthy will have an army of lawyers and health advisers holding their hands and walking them through the ins and outs of the system. But what about those less fortunate? And yet they wonder why there's an increasing sense that the GOP just doesn't care about everyday people.