President Obama just made official the agreement with the health care industry that I posted about earlier, but he offered us no more detials on how money will actually be saved. All that we know is that a bunch of special interest groups are supposed to squeeze $2 trillion in savings out of the projected costs of the health care system over 10 years. But we can’t actually say precisely what health care costs will be 10 years from now, and they aren’t giving us any specifics. They say we’ll save $2 trillion, but it may as well be $10 trillion because it’s a completely made up figure.
As Cato’s Michael Cannon put it:
I smell a rat. Lobbyists never advocate less revenue for their members. Ever. If they did, they would be fired and replaced with new lobbyists.
With that said, it’s important not to lose sight of the political value of what just took place at the White House, as Obama called for an “aggressive” push for health care reform this year, flanked by leaders of groups representing the insurance industry, doctors, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, and unions.
“Reform is not a luxury that can be postponed, but a necessity that cannot wait,” Obama said.
Noting the presence of AHIP, the largest health insurance industry group, Obama said, “It is a recognition that the fictional television couple, Harry and Louise, who became the iconic faces of those who opposed health care reform in the ’90s, desperately need health care reform in 2009. And so does America.”
The big test will be how long this alliance will hold up, especially when it comes to the creation of a government-run option, which the Obama administration supports and insurers oppose vigorously.
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