Last week FactCheck wrote a nice article on the Obama’s Health Care News Conference. For a moment I thought that they had finally turned the corner and were now writing about something more substantive than debunking email hoaxes and political ads I had never seen. Then I saw that they were not alone. The AP published this story, FACT CHECK: Obama’s health care claims adrift?, and the NY Times printed this story, Concerns on Plan Show Clashing Goals. Are the lap dogs rebelling?
So far the health care reform looks like a plan with lots of cost shifting and very few improvements in cost controls. Without significant cost control improvements it sure looks like the proposed health care plans are going to get the same results as Tenncare and Massachusetts. RealClearPollitics published a nice summary of the TennCare history last week, Lessons For Health Care Reform. I find it amusing seeing the huge cost savings being promoted in the health care plans by removing “overpayments” in the Medicare and Medicaid plans. The details of these savings remain pretty sketchy but the Dynamist Blog does a nice job discussing the subject with this post, Medicare First!. The proposed savings bring up a lot of unanswered questions. Why were these programs not reformed in previous years if the cost savings are so great? Can we trust our legislators and Medicare administrators to implement reforms this time if they chose not to reform the programs in previous years? Can we afford a supersized TennCare-like health care failure in our economy if these savings do not pan out?
This week I started reading Kaiser Health News. I enjoyed reading the article, Checking In With Carol Steckel On Expanding Medicaid. The article did a nice job of explaining why so many governors are having problems with the expanding health coverage in this economy and the sacrifices the states are making to keep present health care coverage in tact. It is interesting to note that many states are unable to expand health coverage to the extent provided by already existing laws due to lack of state funds. Unless there are major changes in the funding for the proposed health care plans, it looks like the expansion of the health care coverage is dependent on a dramatic improvement in state tax income.