Saturday, February 16, 2008

Gorman Letter on The Hill

Linda Gorman has written the following letter on the 208 Commission findings which was published in February 13, 2008 edition of The Hill, a daily newspaper devoted to federal government news:
Panel's report on healthcare is poor model for U.S. policy

By Linda Gorman, Health Care Policy Center director, Independence Institute

Judging from the contents of his op-ed "Congress could learn from Colorado’s 208 Commission" (Feb. 5), Sen. Ken Salazar (D-Colo.) has been misinformed about Colorado’s 208 Commission.

Sen. Salazar implies that commission members found common ground on the "complex and contentious issue" of healthcare reform. They did not. I coauthored one of the two minority reports...

Medicaid and Medicare are the largest generators of uncompensated care in the United States. They are fiscally unsustainable, yet the commission recommended a vast expansion of Medicaid/SCHIP. The recommendations accompanying that expansion would give state government almost complete control over the vast funds in the private markets for health insurance and medical care.

Sen. Salazar talks about partnership and collaboration. He repeats the fashionable assertion that healthcare is "broken."

He does not bother to distinguish between relatively efficient private arrangements and the mess that Medicare and Medicaid have created.

Steven S. Schroeder, former head of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the group that almost bankrupted Tennessee with TennCare and created model legislation that destroyed health insurance markets in Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York, once explained how to run partnerships: "[t]he key to public/private partnerships is to induce the private sector to 'play' on terms that are acceptable to the public sector." Otherwise, "strong incentives -- financial or political -- [are] needed to 'force' cooperation on what were otherwise competing and successful institutions."

Healthcare is too important to be left to public officials interested in forcing cooperation, and a fabricated consensus supported by manufactured factoids is not a good reason to give government virtual control of private healthcare. Real reform means deregulation to reduce costs, and flexible programs enabling people to save so that they can spend their own money on healthcare of their own choice. ...

Golden, Colo.