Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Death By Private-Public Partnership

Ronald Bailey on the bleak future, which may indeed be worse than a full-on, single payor (i.e., government system):

Yesterday, the country's major health care producers, including insurance companies, hospital and physician organizations, pharmaceutical companies, and health care labor unions, promised President Barack Obama they would reduce the growth rate of their future incomes by 1.5 percent over the next ten years. If those cuts actually happened, it would mean that in 2019 health care costs (both government and patient) would be $700 billion lower than current projections, reducing health care spending by $2 trillion over the next ten years.

Why would the industry agree to this preemptive surrender? Because it means the end of competition. Under the proposed agreement, the government would guarantee a certain level of profit for each health care producer. From the industry's point of view, the goal is to get a seat at the table as politicians and government technocrats "reform" health care—which means it will decide who the winners and losers will be.

There's a word for when the government directs the production of goods and services and divides the economic pie: corporatism. The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Politics succinctly defines coporatism as "a system of interest intermediation linking producer interests and the state, in which explicitly recognized interest organizations are incorporated into the policy-making process, both in terms of the negotiation of policy and of securing compliance from their members with the agreed policy."

Ugh. I think the best we can hope for is a bifurcated system modeled after our country's lower education system, whereby we all get milked to pay for the "free" public school system and those that can afford it also pay for a private system. It sucks; but, it's happening in Canada and it sure as hell beats those lines. And who knows, maybe in such case the Feds and States would then deem it reasonable to deregulate the private insurance market...