Category Archives: Health Care Issues For Taxpayers

Health Care Cost Curves And Such


When I reached Jonathan Gruber on Thursday, he was working his way, page by laborious page, through the mammoth health care bill Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had unveiled just a few hours earlier. Gruber is a leading health economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who is consulted by politicians in both parties. He was one of almost two dozen top economists who sent President Obama a letter earlier this month insisting that reform won’t succeed unless it “bends the curve” in the long-term growth of health care costs. And, on that front, Gruber likes what he sees in the Reid proposal. Actually he likes it a lot.

“I’m sort of a known skeptic on this stuff,” Gruber told me. “My summary is it’s really hard to figure out how to bend the cost curve, but I can’t think of a thing to try that they didn’t try. They really make the best effort anyone has ever made. Everything is in here….I can’t think of anything I’d do that they are not doing in the bill. You couldn’t have done better than they are doing.”

Via Ezra, which I picked up here, and linked up with instead of Mike’s trick.

The Hidden Costs Of The Uninsured

One of the things I haven’t heard mentioned in the health scare debate is the expense to taxpayers of the uninsured.

If they are going to the hospital emergency room for whatever purpose, some of them actually have an emergency, then someone is going to foot the bill. Usually this expense is passed along in higher costs to everyone who goes to the hospital, and has an impact on the deductible amount of your insurance, which insurance companies do when their costs go up for claims, claims that have built in inflation to cover those who do not pay. Pretty much like increases in the price of consumer goods at various stores cover shoplifting and other expenses of the business.

What happens is the hospital sees no revenue from these transactions and so the taxing authority raise taxes to cover those expenses, so that the insured home owner takes a double whammy. It really is that simple. The public option at least gets some revenue into the hospitals, which reduces the need to ask hospital boards for more money, in taxes.

I think that some shifting of the local property tax burden to the federal government is order, since it is a national problem. As it stands now it is an unfunded mandate to care for the uninsured showing up at the emergency room, and so I think it is important to note this returning of the mandate to the federal level that the public option provides.

(I clobbered the insurance industry observation because it didn’t have much to do with the thrust of the post. It is more of a state by state problem which ties more into my point that it is the states and not the federal government encroaching on individual liberty and rights. Another day another post.)