The Shape of Things To Come

Amy Menefee at the Galen Institute has a quote from, and a warning about, New York Times columnist and Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman’s prediction on the future of health care policy:

“Legislation could be drafted within weeks, though this would not come into force until 2010 or 2011. There are four pieces to this plan: a community rating, to prevent ‘cherry-picking’ by private insurers; subsidies to help lower-income people afford insurance; a form of mandatory insurance for children; and government-run plans so people can opt out of private insurance. Many people think such a federal health insurance system would eventually merge with Medicare and Medicaid to form a larger national system.”

As the Galen Institute has explained, these policies have a track record of driving up health care costs for consumers and taxpayers. The recent example of Hawaii’s program for children’s insurance is a stark message to those who would mandate insurance for children and provide a “free” government option. When everyone starts signing up for the “free” care — not the intention of the program — the government can’t sustain it.

On the other hand, if the political right has some better ideas for health care reform, they have done a very poor job of marketing their ideas.  And whatever window of opportunity they had may now be closed.

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