The president is correct that health care reform is essential to a strong economy. He accurately identifies the underlying problem as extraordinary growth in health spending, leading to slower wage growth, too many uninsured and unsustainable government spending. He is correct that reform needs to “bend the cost curve” downward to stop families, employers and governments from chasing their own tails. Unfortunately, the legislation being developed in Congress moves in the opposite direction.
After the vice president admitted the administration had misread the economy, the president said administration officials, instead, had incomplete information — but yet they would not have done anything different in the too-slow stimulus. We need to prevent a recurrence of the stimulus mistake on health care.
At a time of rising unemployment and extraordinary short-term economic weakness, these bills would hurt the U.S. economy. The economic damage they would cause outweighs the benefit of reducing the number of uninsured.
As Hennessey notes, the health care reform bills do nothing about controlling costs–the key to increasing the availability of coverage. They will push down worker wages. They will make the provision of health care reform exceedingly complex. They will burden the United States with yet another unaffordable entitlement. And thanks to the poor planning inherent in the bills, we will get stuck with higher taxes.
Other than that, I suppose, the bills are excellent. Which isn’t much of a selling point, when one thinks about it.