Revisiting Health Care

David Brooks wrote an excellent summary of all the reasons the recently passed health care bill is inevitably going to fail to achieve its purported goals. He highlights the need for both parties in congress to provide realistic plans for addressing the out of control cost escalation in the health care system and thus in government entitlements and budgets.

The formula for reform promoted a year and a half ago by Whole Foods CEO John Mackey is still the most reasonable approach I have seen proposed.

The early failures of the new health care policy that Brooks points out, as well as the skyrocketing cost of the similar Massachusetts health care system, should be enough for any responsible politicians to want to seriously revisit the issue in a credible manner. Unfortunately politics always trumps good policy in Washington. So it will be a couple years before anything effective is done about health care costs. Meanwhile our new law will continue to make matters worse than they were in regards to costs, government budget impacts and distorting business decisions.

For anyone paying attention, there is a general rule that can be observed in the functioning of government. The longer, more complex, more ambitious and hard to understand a law or regulation is, the more likely its unintended consequences will lead to the opposite net impacts that its sponsors purported to achieve.

It is not clear that responsible grownups will rule in Washington any time soon. But the current symbolic efforts to repeal the health care fiasco passed last year are a good sign that at least some people in Congress are starting to realize that citizens expect realistic and responsible solutions from our government.

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Filed under Economic Policy, Health Care, Politics

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