Prof. Scott Harrington of Wharton is an expert on healthcare economics. I learned of him from his detailed op-ed in Monday’s WSJ, and then used that to find his website and blog.
Harrington’s blog provides the best and most detailed economic analysis I’ve found for the current healthcare debate. There have also been excellent heathcare posts at EconLog (a joint blog of several economists). (Econlog, Cato and Heritage are good places to track economic issues more broadly.)
Harrington’s blog pointed me to a dynamic column in Forbes about last week’s latest presidential salvo over transforming the healthcare system. Here are excerpts from the column by David Gratzer, MD:
Before a tense and packed House, the President told Congress:The entire column (and both blogs) are strongly recommended.
"Millions of Americans are just a pink slip away from losing their health insurance, and one serious illness away from losing all their savings... And in spite of all this, our medical bills are growing at over twice the rate of inflation..."
That's President Clinton, sixteen years ago almost to the day, in a speech about a complex health-care plan built on government expansion, with billions in hidden costs. Last night, a President--who was only 32 then--is now in the White House, out to prove that nothing has changed in the minds of the Democratic leadership since the Clinton debacle.
President Clinton's health-care legislation didn't fail in 1994 because people didn't want better health care. The White House plan failed because it was too bureaucratic, too complicated, and too expensive.
The President (yes, Obama this time) told Congress that "our collective failure to meet this challenge--year after year, decade after decade--has led us to a breaking point." Has it really? When President Clinton conjured similar fears about pink slips and millions losing coverage to Congress in 1993, 15.3% of Americans were uninsured. In 2007, the percentage of Americans without insurance was...15.3%. A solution to this problem is needed, but the fact that it hasn't grown worse is a sign that Congress has time to think, and little reason to panic.
Since President Clinton spoke of health inflation in 1993, health costs continued to rise faster than wages, but President Obama refuses to acknowledge years later that the U.S. health inflation rate is almost identical to rates in government-run systems. Rising costs must be attacked, yes, but if rationed health management can't stop health inflation in Britain or Ireland, will a rush to President Obama's version of HillaryCare do any better?
Latest in a series of outsourced economic policy criticism as a cost-cutting move during difficult times.