Charles Krauthammer proposes what I suspect is very much along the lines of what the Congressional leadership will eventually do with respect to healthcare reform. It has six components:
- Forget the public option.
- Jettison any reference to end-of-life counseling.
- Soft-pedal the idea of government committees determining “best practices.”
- More generally, abandon the whole idea of Obamacare as cost-cutting.
- Make health insurance universal and permanently protected.
This would result in our paying significantly more for healthcare overall than we do now. Consistent with the United States’s previous experiments with healthcare reform, it would carefully preserve most of the worst features of our present system. These bad features aren’t, as many would have it, that people go without healthcare insurance coverage.
No, it’s the perverse incentives. There are virtually no incentives at any level for controlling costs. Unfortunately, since we already pay nearly twice as much for healthcare per capita as an other OECD country and in this form healthcare reform would do nothing to change that, that would all but certainly result in stunting the growth of every sector of the economy other than healthcare which employs fewer people per dollar spent than most other sectors of the economy do (that’s what it means when you say that pay is higher in one sector than in another). See my previous post this morning.