Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Let’s not be so optimistic about national health care — that’s you, Kevin Drum and Ezra Klein

Kevin Drum and Ezra Klein are both optimistic on getting real health care changes done after this year’s elections. In specific, both are much more optimistic now that, as compared to the Clintons’ 1994 plan, much of the business community is on board.

Here’s Ezra:

Business also seems exhausted by the ceaseless march of health care costs and ready for reform. In 1994, when managed care was just beginning to squeeze cost growth, health spending grew by a mere 4.1 percent. It looked like the private sector might prove able to control costs just fine. But the gains from managed care dissipated as the 1990s wore on, and in 2005, health spending grew by 7.2 percent. Much of that cost was borne by the business community.

First, I’m not sure what world Ezra is even living in.

“Really?” is my mildest reply. My newspaper group, in the last 3-4 years, first cut its share of copay on premiums, after changing providers twice, then killed insurance entirely for a HSA. I am sure other people have similar stories.

In my opinion, Kevin and Ezra are wayyy too optimistic about the National Federation of Independent Business, and folks like them, committing to real health care change.. Sure, the NFIB has no problem with a mandate system, as long as businesses don't have to dig into corporate wallets to help with co-pay on premiums.

Get back to anything close to a single-payer system, or even a German voucher-type system where corporate taxes are a major portion of paying for this, and the NFIB will jump off that ship so damned fast...

Can’t believe the two bloggers sign off on the optimism line so easily. This “optimism” will get us enough incremental change the NFIB figures it will shut people up for 20 years or so.

And, should Obama get the Democratic nomination and then the election, the question of his “let’s play nice” on healthcare reform will become clear. I suspect if he moves one inch beyond a mandate that falls largely on the backs of employees, he’ll get his hat handed to him by the NFIB.

[That's all.]