2009 July 28 Tuesday
Martin Feldstein Down On Obama Health Care Plan

Harvard econ prof Martin Feldstein argues that the Obama health plan is a bad idea.

For the 85 percent of Americans who already have health insurance, the Obama health plan is bad news. It means higher taxes, less health care and no protection if they lose their current insurance because of unemployment or early retirement.

I think Obama's biggest problem is his attempt to tie reductions in Medicare outlays to funding of medical insurance for the poor. The oldsters vote more reliably and and with clearer idea of their self interest than do the (less intelligent and less tuned in) poor.

Feldstein thinks there are less costly ways to extend health insurance to the poor.

President Obama's primary goal is to extend formal health insurance to those low-income individuals who are currently uninsured despite the nearly $300-billion-a-year Medicaid program. Doing so the Obama way would cost more than $1 trillion over the next 10 years. There surely must be better and less costly ways to improve the health and health care of that low-income group.

Feldstein makes some good points in the full article.

I have a great proposal for how to cut the number of medically uninsured: Non-citizens make up 43% of the uninsured. Some have citizen children who are similarly uninsured. Deport them before they create more citizens who are a net cost to the rest of us.

We pay for the uninsured in at least two ways. The most obvious way is thru taxes. Obama wants to increase that. But we also pay in another way: medical institutions charge the insured substantially more in order to subsidize care for the uninsured. We are therefore already paying a lot for the uninsured before Obamacare.

What I most do not want from Obamacare: lowered quality of care for the insured or the retirees. I fear Obama's attempt to create a government insurance company will undermine private insurance and reduce one's ability to avoid government meddling in health care. So I hope resistance to Obama's plan continues to build.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2009 July 28 12:02 AM  Economics Health

Ned said at July 28, 2009 8:20 AM:

One thing should be obvious about Obama by now - he operates purely on ideology. Facts don't matter, so don't bother bring them up. The undeniable facts that Obamacare will be a rotten deal for most Americans and it will cost over $1 trillion with no countervailing savings are irrelevant. We saw this manifested in Obama's idiotic comments about Gates. White cop, black "victim," therefore racism and, voila, a "teachable moment." The facts of the case don't matter, nor does the fact that this was a tempest in a teapot that any wise president would have ignored. Obama had to jump in with both feet and thereby make a fool of himself.

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