Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The CBO analysis we really need

Todays kerfuffle over the phony release of the grossly incomplete CBO report, is a reminder that what we really need is a complete and honest analysis of all the major health care proposals out there.

Complete is the key word here, because most of what is being talked about, regardless of whether it is Enzi and Grassley, or Baucus and alas sometimes Obama, is just the Federal government cost. That is a dishonest, incomplete picture.
What about the costs to State government?
What about the costs to Employers?
What about the cost to Individuals/families/households...?
What about total costs to the U.S., in dollars and as a percent of GNP, showing whether it will really control total costs?

Fortunately, such an analysis and report was done in early 2009, but since it confirmed an inconvenient truth, it has been largely ignored.

What we really need is a complete, honest, side-side comparison of all proposals, including single payer.

That comparison must NOT bee limited to just the costs to the Federal government, but also the total costs (e.g., currently about 2.5 trillion and 17% of GNP) as well as the costs to State government, employers, and individuals and household of different income levels.

The closest we have is the analysis and report done by the liberal leaning pro-reform Commonwealth Fund think tank, which supports the Obama "Building Blocks" approach, with both individual and employer mandates and a moderately strong public option (essentially the same as Jacob Hacker, HCAN, Campaign for America, Edwards and Clinton from the campaign, etc). Their partner in analysis is the industry gold-standard Lewin Group (which is actually owned by United Health and so if biased, certainly is biased against single payer as well as strong public option.
The Building Blocks plan, like the Obama and Baucus plan, would increase costs overall, and to the federal government and for employers. The Wyden plan dumps even heavier on employers.

Regardless of what the CBO or GAO or beltway mainstream may say, being "revenue neutral" and saving the Federal government money is not the most important goal of health care reform.

We do need to control costs, but it is overall total costs that are what really count.

And, we also need to provide coverage that is truly Universal for all people, Comprehensive in covering all health needs, and does not bankrupt you if you get sick.

Thanks to DrSteveB at Daily Kos - Click here to read it all and see the great charts.

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