In 2008, three researchers decided to cost out the expense of insuring those in America lacking health insurance. The Health Affairs paper estimates the price tag at $120 billion a year.
The paper is flawed. First and foremost, the cost of health care to the nation’s uninsured is assumed to be the same as the average for those who are insured. (Remember that the uninsured tend to be younger and healthier than the rest of the population, and not everyone necessarily needs full coverage.)
The authors also assumed that it was the government’s job to insure all 47 million or so uninsured. (Remember that some uninsured are illegals — even the president quotes a figure far lower than 47 million.)
But let’s go back to the price tag. Even with these generous assumptions, they calculate that insurance for all is $120 billion a year away.
On Saturday, with limited debate, the House of Representatives passed health-reform legislation that — when fully enacted — will cost roughly $3 trillion over a decade. That’s the CBO estimate, by the way.
Do the back-of-the-napkin calculation — $120 billion times 10 — and you draw one conclusion: The House bill is about more than covering the nation’s uninsured.
Rather, it’s about remaking the nation’s health care system.
So begins my most recent essay. The full op ed can be found here.
The central point: there is much to criticize in the House bill. Yes, the public option would be a public-policy disaster. But there is much else problematic in the bill, which is too long, too unfocused, too expensive.
Since January, Democrats have insisted that they understand this issue, that they’ve learned from the HillaryCare debacle, and that they’re willing to make the tough decisions to “bend the curve.”
Is it any wonder that Americans are less than persuaded?