Healthcare And Binary Choices

In our last post we were sucked in to the healthcare maelstrom.  Soon we will be down to a binary choice: The GOP proposal or the status quo.  But we are not there yet.  We would like to discuss George Will’s support of the Pat Toomey amendment.

First George talks about the critical need to rein in entitlements:

It required tenacity by Toomey to insert into the bill a gradually arriving, but meaningful, cap on the rate of growth of per-beneficiary Medicaid spending. It is requiring of Toomey and kindred spirits strenuous efforts to keep it there, which reveals the Republican party’s itch to slouch away from its uncomfortable but indispensable role as custodian of realism about arithmetic.

We agree 100% that entitlements including Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security need to be brought under control.  We have no choice and it is easier to do it early rather than to wait.  Then he tells us what Pat did:

In the Senate draft, for eight years the growth of Medicaid spending would equal inflation in the health-care sector (somewhat more spending for the elderly and disabled). After eight years, Toomey’s measure would lower the growth rate of per-beneficiary spending to meet the normal measure of inflation — the basic consumer price index.

Color us much, much less excited.  It doesn’t say how this rate of growth reduction will happen.  It sounds to us like this is or will lead to price controls and revives George’s question of why do we need Republicans if this is the best they can do?

Still, it will eventually come down to a binary choice: GOP or the status quo on healthcare.  This attempt to reform healthcare might be better than the status quo and we might support it but we would prefer a process to limit entitlements.  An optimist might say that the process will follow the restriction.  George is being much more optimistic than usual.

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