Home
In this issue
December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 29, 2009 / 7 Tamuz 5769

No excuse for Dems' sticker shock on health care

By Michael Barone


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Democrats' plans to pass major health care legislation have been stymied, at least for the moment, by the Congressional Budget Office's cost estimates. To the consternation and apparent surprise of leading Democrats, the CBO scored Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus' latest offering at $1.6 trillion over 10 years, while it scored the completed sections of Sen. Christopher Dodd's bill at $1 trillion. Presumably, the incomplete sections would cost more.


The senators and the Obama administration might not have been so unpleasantly surprised had they paid closer attention to CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf's testimony to Baucus' committee delivered back on Feb. 25. Elmendorf, by the way, is no leftover hack from the Bush administration — he is a Harvard-trained Ph.D. economist formerly at the Brookings Institution and appointed to his current position by congressional Democrats. My soundings indicate he is highly respected by economists associated with both political parties.


Elmendorf's February testimony, in crisp language punctures some of the balloons that have been sent aloft in Democrats' campaign talk about health care. One is the idea that since a lot of health care spending seems to be ineffective, it can be easily reduced by government action.


"The available evidence also suggests that a substantial share of spending on health care contributes little if anything to the overall health of the nation," Elmendorf said, agreeing with the first half of the proposition. Then he added, disagreeing with the second half, "But finding ways to reduce such spending without also affecting services that improve health will be difficult." It's like advertising: Half is wasted, but we're never sure which half.


Then there are the assurances by Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag that by using the results of comparative-effectiveness research — studies of the results of treatments in different regions and facilities — we can easily identify the most cost-effective health care procedures and, using the power of government, force all practitioners to do things that way.


Elmendorf admitted that the benefits of such research "suggest a role for the government in funding research on the comparative effectiveness of treatments, in generating measures of quality, and in disseminating the results to doctors and patients." But then he threw some cold water on the proposition that such research could be used by government to jam down costs. "Absent stronger incentives to control costs and improve efficiency, the effect of information alone on spending will generally be limited."


And what about savings from moving away from "from fee-for-service design to providing stronger incentives to control costs or reward value"? In Elmendorf's view, "their precise effects are uncertain." He suggests testing options "to see whether they work as intended or to determine which design features work best." And maybe we should reform Medicare before we try to reshape the entire health care private sector. "Changes made in the Medicare program can also stimulate broader improvements in the health sector."


What about improved information technology? "Requiring that hospitals adopt electronic health records would reduce their costs for treating Medicare patients, but the program's payment rates would have to be reduced in order for the federal government to capture much of those savings." Preventive care? "Those efforts may still fail to generate net reductions in spending on health care because the number of people receiving the services is generally much larger than the number who would avoid expensive treatments as a result."


There are two more general problems, one of which Elmendorf spotlights: "Studies attribute the bulk of cost growth to the development of new treatments and other medical technologies," and so "reducing or slowing spending over the long term would probably require decreasing the pace of adopting new treatments and procedures or limiting the breadth of their application." If you pay less, you get less.


Second, and perhaps beyond the ambit of a data-driven CBO director, is the more general observation that the cost projections for government-run programs like Medicare and Medicare tend to come in low, while the cost projections for programs involving private-sector competition like the 2003 Medicare prescription drug benefit have turned out to be high.


Private-sector competition produces efficiencies and innovations that government bureaucracies almost never produce and can seldom keep up with. As Democrats scamper to reduce the projected costs of their health care bills, the rest of us might want to keep that in mind.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment by clicking here.

JWR contributor Michael Barone is senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner.




Michael Barone Archives

© 2009, Washington Examiner; DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS SYNDICATE INC.

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles