As pointed out by the Wall Street Journal, there is an unseemly rush underway towards health care “reform” without any concern regarding the details of such reform. The process is going the way it is because the Obama Administration and its allies do not want to have any proposal of their bogged down in an extended and protracted debate. Such a debate would be fatal to the impending legislative package, as the WSJ discusses:
[The Democrats'] health overhaul will run up a 13-figure price tag at a time when spending and deficits are already at epic levels and hook up the middle class to an intravenous drip of government health subsidies for generations to come. These are not realities that Democrats want the American people to mull over for very long.
This is especially true for the majority of Americans who are generally satisfied with their coverage and doctors but worried about cost. They might get scared off if they were allowed the chance to realize that Democrats will do almost nothing to restrain rising health spending. Based on the leaks so far, this year’s legislation will hone in on traditional liberal concerns of social equity — covering the uninsured.
This shell game found its apotheosis yesterday in “The Economic Case for Health Care Reform,” from the White House Council of Economic Advisors, which argues that slowing the growth rate of U.S. health costs by 1.5 percentage points would increase real GDP by more than 2% in 2020 and nearly 8% in 2030. But it presents no plan for actually slowing the growth rate of U.S. health costs. Christina Romer’s study is a political argument disguised as an economic one in favor of a “reform” that doesn’t even exist yet. And in any case, if we’re talking about the state of the economy decades hence, why does health care absolutely have to pass this year?
There are any number of “Harry and Louise” commercials that can truthfully detail the fatal flaws in the impending legislative package. The Administration and its allies do not want to see those commercials hit the airwaves, and are therefore working to pass health care reform under cover of night. A responsible press corps would have more outlets than just the WSJ highlighting this fact, and would pester the Administration and its allies with uncomfortable questions–both on the substance of the emerging legislation, and on the underhandedness with which the Administration and its allies are seeking to implement “reform.”