Sunday, July 9, 2017

Peter Suderman Has a Joke of a Column in the NYT on How Republicans Can Have a Health Care Plan

All Platitudes – No Substance

One of the problems of people who write on policy is lack of specifics.  Democrats call for ‘universal coverage’ with no details on how that happens or how it is paid for.  Republicans call for ‘reform’ which can mean whatever the listener wants it to mean.  Everybody is for ‘reform’ of course.

An opinion piece by someone called Peter Suderman is in the NYT.  Here is what he recommends.

"No one starting from scratch would design a system that looks like this. And while starting from scratch is not possible, that is, in essence, what a Republican vision should seek to do.
This might mean reforming Medicaid, or creating a program with a similar goal of aiding the poor and the sick, but also seeking to make it more effective for those it covers. It might mean widely expanding health savings accounts or a broader system of catastrophic health insurance. It might mean seeking to limit the price-distorting power of hospital monopolies. It would almost certainly mean substantial reforms to both Medicare and the tax treatment of employer-sponsored health insurance. Hopefully, it would mean pursuing ideas that no one has thought of yet."
Notice it starts out correctly, that no one would ever deliberately design a health care system like America has.  But then go to the so-called recommendations.  These include ‘reforming Medicaid’ whatever that means and ‘to make it more effective’ with no details.  There is ‘expanding health savings accounts’ but no notice of by how much and no acknowledgement that the HSA’s only benefit the upper middle income and wealthy groups.  Then ’reform’ comes in again with the same lack of specifics.

Note the final sentence, ‘pursuing ideas that no one has thought of yet’.  How exactly do we evaluate those?  What a crock.

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