Feeling Unhealthy

Right now, the supposed philosophical descendants of those who helped Brutus take out a dictator are deciding whether they, having sickened the United States, will choose to bleed her well in a misguided attempt to improve her health (care). The Senate’s version of the bill will cost (based on reasonable estimates) somewhere between $850 billion and $1,600 billion over the next 10 years. The House’s version of the bill is no better. The fact is it may well be worse–but estimates are only that. The reality of government programs is that they nearly always cost more than projected. Medicare comes to mind as one example:

Congress has a long history of dramatically underestimating Medicare costs. “At its start, in 1966, Medicare cost $3 billion,” wrote Steven Hayward and Erik Peterson in a 1993 Reason article. “The House Ways and Means Committee estimated that Medicare would cost only about $12 billion by 1990 (a figure that included an allowance for inflation). This was supposedly a ‘conservative’ estimate. But in 1990 Medicare actually cost $107 billion.”

This behemoth of a bill looks an awful lot like another much fatter member of the Medicare family.

Then, outside of the cost, there is the enormous loss of freedom which the implementation of (in the House version) 111 new bureaucracies/boards/etc. I’m not certain how many are contained in the Senate bill since it’s only been available for public viewing for a few days, but I’m guessing that it is comparable. The point of all the new positions which will be created to staff these entities is that these people will find me and you and our consumption of health care services to be their life’s work.

It’s possible that this hard-to-kill infection I have right now is simply getting the better of me, but then again it just may be the actions of our duly elected aristocrats.