Argument: 2009 US health care bill does not cut costs

Issue Report: US health care reform


“Change Nobody Believes In.” Wall Street Journal (Editorial). December 21, 2009: “The best and most rigorous cost analysis was recently released by the insurer WellPoint, which mined its actuarial data in various regional markets to model the Senate bill. WellPoint found that a healthy 25-year-old in Milwaukee buying coverage on the individual market will see his costs rise by 178%. A small business based in Richmond with eight employees in average health will see a 23% increase. Insurance costs for a 40-year-old family with two kids living in Indianapolis will pay 106% more. And on and on.”

David Brooks. “The Hardest Call.” New York Times. December 17, 2009: “If this bill passes, you’ll have 500 experts in Washington trying to hold down costs and 300 million Americans with the same old incentives to get more and more care. The Congressional Budget Office and most of the experts I talk to (including many who support the bill) do not believe it will seriously bend the cost curve. […] Over its first several years, the demand for health care will rise sharply. The supply will not. Providers will have the same perverse incentives. As a result, prices will skyrocket while efficiencies will not. There will be a bipartisan rush to gut reform. […] This country has reduced health inflation in short bursts, but it has not sustained cost control over the long term because the deep flaws in the system produce horrific political pressures that gut restraint.”

Megan McArdle. “Senate prepared for cloture on health care.” The Atlantic. December 19th, 2009: “The irony of this is that this bill is great for me personally. I’m probably uninsurable, and I’m in a profession where most people now end up working for themselves at some point in their career. So mandatory community rating is great news for me and mine. But I think that it’s going to be a fiscal disaster for my country, because the spending cuts won’t be–can’t be–done the way they’re implemented in the bill. We’ve just increased substantially the supply of unrepealable, unsustainable entitlements. We’ve also, in my opinion, put ourselves on a road that leads eventually to less healthcare innovation, less healthcare improvement, and more dead people in the long run. Obviously, progressives feel differently, and it will never be possible to prove the counterfactual.”

Jane Hamsher. “10 Reasons to Kill the Senate Bill.” FireDogLake. December 21, 2009: “The cost of medical care will continue to rise, and insurance premiums for a family of four will rise an average of $1,000 a year — meaning in 10 years, your family’s insurance premium will be $10,000 more annually than it is right now.”