Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Myth of Cheaper Government Health Care

Forget for a moment about the quality of such care. Instead, let's focus on the actual cost of government health care versus that of private health care.

We've got 40 years of data to pore over, and the results aren't pretty. In fact, it's devastating. Government health care costs have risen far faster and higher than private care, and the difference in care is in the hundreds of billions. Had Medicare and Medicaid simply risen at the same rate as private health care, taxpayers would have saved nearly $200 billion.
My new study, published by the Pacific Research Institute, shows that -- across four decades -- the costs of government-run health care have risen far more than the costs of private care.

My study compares the cost increases of Medicare and Medicaid with those of all other health care in the United States. The key finding: Since 1970, Medicare and Medicaid's costs have risen one-third more, per patient, than the combined costs of all other health care in America -- the vast majority of which is purchased privately.

Since 1970, Medicare and Medicaid's combined per-patient costs have risen from $344 to $8,955, while the combined per-patient costs of all other US health care have risen from $364 to $7,119.

Medicare and Medicaid used to cost $20 less per patient than other care. Now they cost $1,836 more. (And that's even without the Medicare prescription-drug benefit.)

In fact, if the costs of Medicare and Medicaid had risen only as much as the costs of all other health care in America, then, instead of costing a combined $807 billion last year, they would've cost a combined $606 billion. That savings of $201 billion would have amounted to more than $1,750 per American household last year alone.
The CBO came out this past week with a similar finding; that the Democrats' plans for health care would never see any cost savings and would end up costing far more than the nation can afford.

It's no wonder that President Obama is running around in perpetual campaign mode to try and convince Democrats that his health care plans aren't going to bankrupt the nation and will do the impossible - create a government program that saves money over the private sector.

The New York Times is doing its part to cover for the Administration. After the CBO came out with that devastating news about the Democrats' health care plan, they buried those details, while the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post highlighted the nonpartisan report.

It's disingenuous for media outlets to downplay the CBO report, particularly when the news undermines every argument being made by the Administration in support of this health care monstrosity. If you were attempting to be objective about the health care proposal, you couldn't run a report without citing the CBO objections.

But, if you're in the game of trying to save the Administration's bacon, you will do anything and everything to obscure the fact that the numbers simply don't work. They never did.

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