Their own bill overhauls the tax code, currently stacked in favor of corporate employees, to provide a tax credit to every American to purchase insurance. It expands health-savings accounts. It creates state health-insurance exchanges, where private insurers compete to cover Americans, including the uninsured. (This is partly modeled on the Medicare drug program, which has provided seniors with choice and held down costs.)And we wonder why this response falls on deaf ears. While much of their soon-to-be-ignored proposal has some merit, using prevention as a means of lowering costs is a straw dog: doctors know it, patients know it, and responsible politicians know it. Until our conservative members of Congress quit fooling themselves that American's really give a damn about the "prevention" Kool-aid and understand that prevention has never lowered health care costs (except, perhaps, seat belt laws and anti-smoking legislation), their proposal is doomed to failure.
More broadly, it seeks to reorient financial incentives so that the system is no longer focused, as Mr. Coburn puts it, on "sick care," but on preventing the chronic diseases that eat 75% of health expenditures. These incentives would be used to lower costs and discourage insurers from cherry-picking patients. The bill also dives into Medicare and Medicaid reform.
Yet no small number of Senate Republicans are biding their time in Max Baucus land, waiting to see what the Democratic finance chairman produces as a "bipartisan" product. (Read: A bill the president wants.) This crowd has taken to heart Mr. Obama's accusation that they are the party of "no," and think it might be easier to be the party of Baucus, or the party of Baucus-lite, or the party of nothing whatsoever.
You gotta get a different angle, guys and unfortunately, time's running out.