Jens 'n' Frens
Idle thoughts of a relatively libertarian Republican in Cambridge, MA, and whomever he invites. Mostly political.

"A strong conviction that something must be done is the parent of many bad measures."
  -- Daniel Webster

Saturday, January 29, 2011 :::

On a new HHS report on Obamacare:

Then there are vague promises about legislative goodies that might help keep health insurance costs down. One of these is rate reviews, which I wrote about in December when it was announced. As I pointed out then, reviewing rates has very little to do with driving down the underlying cost of health care. If a hospital charges $1,500 for a night in a bed, heckling the insurer is unlikely to change that. Just like yelling at the U.S. Airways ticket agent is not going to get your plane to take off during a snowstorm.

Screaming about rate increases is a softer version of price-fixing. And capping rates paid for services naturally leads to shortages of providers or thinner benefits. But since you can’t lower benefits because the legislation makes insurance one-XXL-size-fits-all, it will lead rapidly to Medicaid-for-all. That’s where people think they have insurance but they don’t because nobody takes it. Try finding a dermatologist in most counties who will accept $18 for an office visit. If you can it’s because they’re a Good Samaritan, not because it’s a long-term sustainable business.

Actually, it can be sustainable if only a fraction of your patients are on Medicaid; it's only when everyone is on Medicaid that doctors really can't accept Medicaid patients at below cost. Which isn't to say that I'd blame them for turning down any patients who they would have to subsidize.

Semi-related, I just saw this "tweet":
Breaking: Mubarak crushes populace with oppressive law, exempting hundreds of his cronies. Oh, wait, that's ObamaCare.


::: posted by Steven at 12:13 PM

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Idle thoughts of a relatively libertarian Republican in Cambridge, MA, and whomever he invites. Mostly political.

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