Sunday, July 26, 2009

WaPo Bombshell: Obama Hiding Costs of Health Care Reform

President Barack Obama last week perhaps had his worst week since he was forced to throw his spiritual mentor, and longtime, friend Rev. Jeremiah Wright, under the bus.

It got a lot worse Sunday when the Washington Post editorial board accused the President of withholding from the public the true costs of the health care reform he so eagerly seeks:

The Health-Care Sacrifice
What President Obama needs to tell the public about the cost of reform

Sunday, July 26, 2009

PRESIDENT OBAMA sometimes presents health-care reform as a pain-free proposition, as simple as choosing the red pill over the blue -- one that's no more effective but costs twice as much. Asked at his news conference whether "the American people are going to have to give anything up in order for this to happen," Mr. Obama's basic answer was no. "They're going to have to give up paying for things that don't make them healthier," he said.

But Mr. Obama's soothing bedside manner masks the reality that getting health costs under control will require making difficult choices about what procedures and medications to cover. It will require saying no, or having the patient pay more, at times when the extra expense is not justified by the marginal improvement in care. Mr. Obama is right that sticking with the status quo is a bad alternative, but he isn't leveling about the consequences of change.
Are you clicking the link right now to make sure this really was a Washington Post editorial? Well, it gets better:
Take Mr. Obama's red pill-blue pill example. What if the pricey blue pill is actually better than the cheaper red one? What if it's better but just a little bit? What happens when a yellow pill comes along, costing twice as much as the blue? What happens if there's a new procedure that cures the ailment, but at an even bigger cost? [...]

The fundamental driver of health-care inflation is technological innovation. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that new technology accounts for about half the increase in health-care costs over the past several decades.

This is, for the most part, a good thing. Adjusted for inflation, health-care spending per person is six times what it was 40 years ago. But no one today would settle for 1960s-style medicine. Treating patients with heart disease was inexpensive then, because there wasn't a great way to detect problems before a heart attack and not much to do afterward. Today, angiograms can diagnose blockages. Bypasses and angioplasty can fix them. Drugs such as beta blockers can prevent repeat heart attacks. So spending for coronary care has soared, along with survival rates. Some medical innovations can save money, but the general arc has been better treatment -- at higher costs.
This is what those on the left and most in the mainstream media don't get.

Yes, course health care costs have dramatically increased in the last 40 years as have health insurance premiums. But what do you get for the extra expense now?

There's a reason why the fastest growing segment of our population is over the age of 80.

But that comes with a price.

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