Ever heard of the phrase “no such thing as a free lunch”? If you’ve taken Economics 101, you likely have. But evidently, this falls on deaf ears in the Obama administration. Six months after taking office, the President vows that his “reform” will insure the uninsured and rein in health spending. What he covers up in his flowery rhetoric, however, is how he intends to control these costs and eliminate waste.
Writing today in the Washington Post, columnist Robert J. Samuelson says, “his ‘reform’ isn’t likely to compel needed changes, partly because it’s not clear what will work.” Samuelson continues:
Judged objectively, “reform” may do exactly the opposite of what Obama says. But because the president is so well-spoken, he has the ability to make misleading statements sound reasonable or sophisticated. Still, they’re misleading.
In a recent dialogue at a congressional hearing, Douglas Elmendorf, head of the independent, non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said, “in the legislation that has been reported, we do not see the sort of fundamental changes that would be necessary to reduce the trajectory of federal health spending by a significant amount. And on the contrary, the legislation significantly expands the federal responsibility for health care costs. … The (cost) curve is being raised.”
The administration is not going to get something for nothing, argues Samuelson. “It could emphasize expanded insurance coverage (‘access’) or cost control, but not both,” he concludes.