Obama knows that there is no way to pay for universal health care insurance coverage. He also knows that there is no way to borrow enough money for such coverage. The well is running dry on the national credit card.
The solution: Cut health care costs to pay for expanded coverage. Obama trumpeted a plan with industry executives to trim $1.5 trillion in costs. But this wasn’t a cut in costs, merely a cut in the rate of increase in costs. Even so, the plan was heralded:
President Barack Obama on Monday welcomed the health care industry’s promise to cut $2 trillion in costs over 10 years and vowed to keep working tirelessly to find a solution to the problem of uninsured Americans.
Hospitals, insurance companies, drug makers and doctors told Obama in a letter that they will voluntarily slow their rate increases in coming years in a move that government economists say would create breathing room to help provide health insurance to an estimated 50 million Americans who now go without it.
One big problem. The Obama administration twisted private industry’s willingness to look into a problem as a promise to do what the administration wanted:
Hospitals and insurance companies said Thursday that President Obama had substantially overstated their promise earlier this week to reduce the growth of health spending….
“These groups are voluntarily coming together to make an unprecedented commitment,” Mr. Obama said. “Over the next 10 years, from 2010 to 2019, they are pledging to cut the rate of growth of national health care spending by 1.5 percentage points each year — an amount that’s equal to over $2 trillion.”
Health care leaders who attended the meeting have a different interpretation. They say they agreed to slow health spending in a more gradual way and did not pledge specific year-by-year cuts.
This episode is reminiscent of Obama’s overstating the supposed promise by Caterpillar to rehire workers if the stimulus package passed. Caterpillar disputed that any such promise was made, and ended up laying off more workers, not rehiring.
Why should the public put any faith in the administration’s health care cost projections, when such projections are “just words” and based on nothing more than political spin?
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