Last month, I exposed the fallacy that somehow government can “cut costs” of medical care and health insurance. This WSJ article tells us that federal lawmakers are now considering a bill that I warned would be coming: a measure to impose price caps in health insurance.
When President Obama signed his health-care reform last month, he declared it will “lower costs for families and for businesses and for the federal government.” So why, barely a month later, are Democrats scrambling to pass a new bill that would impose price controls on insurance?
In now-they-tell-us hearings on Tuesday, the Senate health committee debated a bill that would give states the power to reject premium increases that state regulators determine are “unreasonable.” The White House proposed this just before the final Obama- Care scramble, but it couldn’t be included because it violated the procedural rules that Democrats abused to pass the bill.
National Democrats now want the power to do the same across the country, because they know how unrealistic their cost-control claims really are. Democrats are petrified they’ll get the blame they deserve when insurance costs inevitably spike. So the purpose of this latest Senate bill is to have a pre-emptive political response on hand.
What happens when insurance companies can’t raise premiums to reflect the skyrocketing costs imposed by all of Obamacare’s mandates? They can no longer remain profitable, and go out of business. The few remaining insurance providers will likely be the already-established Goliaths such as Blue Cross here in North Carolina (their existing large market shares courtesy of prior state mandates and restrictions, of course). And even those companies won’t be able to exist for very long, depending on how restrictive the price controls are.
But no worries, the federal government will be all-too willing and eager to step in and fill the void with a complete elimination of privately- owned (albeit tightly controlled) insurance companies.
The WSJ also points out the method by which the Obama crowd intends to find those “savings” in the Medicare system:
Most of ObamaCare’s unrealistic “savings” come from cranking down the way Medicare calculates its price controls, and Mr. Foster writes that they’ll grow “more slowly than, and in a way that was unrelated to, the providers’ costs of furnishing services to beneficiaries.” He expects that 15% of hospital budgets may be driven into deficits, thus “possibly jeopardizing access to care for beneficiaries.” Isn’t reform grand?
The official who will preside over this fiscal trainwreck is Donald Berwick, the Harvard professor and chief of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement who the White House has nominated to run Medicare. Dr. Berwick explained in an interview last year that the British National Health Service has “developed very good and very disciplined, scientifically grounded, policy-connected models for the evaluation of medical treatments from which we ought to learn.” He added that “The decision is not whether or not we will ration care—the decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open. And right now, we are doing it blindly.” (emphasis added)
So the feds will bankrupt the remaining health insurance companies through price controls on their premiums, and then funnel everybody into a “Medicare-for-all” type system. Once in that system, the rationing of care is inevitable.