New Health Bill is a "Monster in the Making"

We assume you’ve heard by now the health reform bill overcame a big procedural hurdle in the Senate around 1 AM today. If you’ve been too resigned and/or disgusted to pay attention beyond that, here’s the deal…

  • The Senate version of the health bill will likely be passed this week, maybe Thursday.
  • After the first of the year begins the process of “reconciling” differences between the Senate version and the House version.

So in all likelihood, a health bill of some sort will become law early next year. At that point, three things will happen – none of which the politicians on any side of the issue want to talk about…

  • For the first time in US history, you’ll be required to buy a product or service from a private party as a condition of your residency in the country
  • The costs are sure to far outstrip the Senate projection of $871 billion over 10 years or the House projection of $894 billion. We remind you that when Congress brought Medicare into existence in 1965, the cost was $3 billion, and Congress projected it would reach $12 billion (adjusting for inflation) by 1990. That was off only by – oh, about an order of magnitude. The actual 1990 cost was $107 billion
  • What the Federal Reserve has done to monetary policy over the last century, a new Independent Medicare Advisory Council will do to health care. The IMAC would set the fees that Medicare pays doctors, hospitals and other providers – a job now performed by Congress. Like the Fed, the president would choose its members and the Senate would confirm them.

It’s as if the executive and legislative branches have realized what an utter botch they’ve made of health care over the decades… so now, they’re palming off the big decisions onto a Fed-like panel so the politicians won’t have to take the heat. And if Congress decides it doesn’t like what the IMAC is doing and proposes legislation to scale back its powers, no doubt its members will squawk just like the Fed about how its “independence” would be compromised.

Mark our words – this is a monster in the making.

The Daily Reckoning