September 8, 2012
Free-market economists have long known that “controls breed controls.” In health care, leading Obamacare supporters are now proposing unprecedented new government controls over all medical spending — private as well as public — to “solve” problems caused by prior controls. Welcome to ObamaCare 2.0.
In a recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), several prominent Obamacare supporters have called for a binding “global spending target for both public and private payers.” In regular English, this means a government-enforced cap on how much Americans may spend in aggregate on their health care, both public and private. The co-authors of this article include former Obama administration officials Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel (former White House health care advisor and brother of Rahm Emanuel, former White House chief of staff), Dr. Donald Berwick (former head of Medicare), and Peter Orszag (former budget director).
The authors argue that current Obamacare cost controls do not go far enough. Although Obamacare will reduce government-sector health spending (e.g., Medicare and Medicaid), insurers and medical providers will simply shift those costs onto the private sector. To properly control health care costs (they claim), the government must therefore also control private health spending.
I think we need global controls on busybodies. Enforced with tar, feathers, and other coercive elements.