Are We Getting Our Affordable Health Care Yet?

June 28, 2010 in Health Care "Reform" by RangelMD

The Congressional health care reform boondoggle, otherwise known as the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Actexpanded government funded health care to about 32 million Americans but other than some tepid insurance restrictions, basically screwed the rest of us. How is the new reform law doing at 90 days? Why, mired in bureaucratic red tape, of course.

The process for making rules is long and rigorous, and new rules often have to go through multiple agencies and departments. It will also take many more people with specific expertise to carry out the various parts of the law, and hiring in itself can be a slow process in the federal government.

“The average rule takes 18 months, which means that there are many of those that take two or three years to do, because they have controversy or they require integration with some other rulemaking process. So this is a tsunami of rulemaking that has tipped the Department of Health and Human Services,” said Michael Leavitt, HHS secretary under former President George W. Bush.

I like to think of the new health reform law – which, if anything, is more of an insurance reform law – as being similar to the creation of the Department of Homeland Security. Both laws are attempts to address and correct significant institutional problems with massive amounts of money and additional layers of government bureaucracy. Both are more accurately thought of as massive spending bills that take advantage of a “crisis” to funnel billions towards specific private sector industries while the benefit to the greater population is dubious and difficult to verify.

Let me put this another way.

If the Federal government were a small town council then their response to a crime spree would be to spend tens of millions of tax payer funds to purchase an M1 Abrams tank and parade it in front of city hall. This after salesmen from General Dynamics spent millions of dollars taking various city council members on exotic vacations and to fancy dinners and conferences where they were given presentations on the crime fighting and deterrent effects of the M1.  Town citizens who haven’t been a victim of crime since the tank arrived are more than happy to give credit to the high spending council.

Americans generally support massive spending bills – like a big, expensive tank that sits in front of city hall – because the perception is that anything that is expensive must work. The economic reality is that everything else being unchanged, the prices for goods and services in a system will invariably increase in response to any massive infusion of cash. This is already beginning to happen to health insurance premiums and the funding hasn’t even started.

The political reality is that most Americans wanted secure affordable health insurance – hence, the name of the new law.

The reality is that most Americans are not going to get it.

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