While much of the impetus behind healthcare reform is to reduce spending, that’s not going to happen under the House or Senate bills, many experts say.
“None of the bills so far would reduce total health-care costs as a percentage of the economy,” David Walker, former comptroller general, told Bloomberg. “If there’s one thing that can bankrupt the country, it’s healthcare costs.”
He points out that the bills won’t eliminate the fee-for-service payment system, which spurs more doctor visits and medical procedures.
Some of the bills’ provisions merely shifts costs from one group to another, Victor Fuchs, a Stanford University economist, told Bloomberg.
For example, making insurance companies cover people with pre-existing conditions will lift insurance costs for the healthy, he says. And businesses that are forced to offer coverage will shovel the costs to their workers.
Congress, of course, isn’t famous for its thrift.
“They are a bunch of gutless wonders,” Uwe Reinhardt, a Princeton University economist, told Bloomberg. “They can’t cut any spending.”
A recent report from the Congressional Budget Office says that for the 17 percent of Americans who buy individual policies, premiums could rise by 10 to 13 percent.
"This is the latest report to confirm that the current healthcare reform proposal fails to bend the healthcare cost curve," Robert Zirkelbach, a spokesman for America's Health Insurance Plans, an industry lobbying group, told the Los Angeles Times.
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