In a recent column, The Wall Street Journal’s Kimberley A. Strassel explains how the financial crisis/stimulus efforts could be the Trojan Horse that allows nationalized health care to be pushed forward by its proponents. The concept is interesting from a political perspective. The results, however, could be catastrophic from businesses’ and taxpayers’ perspectives.
The bill even takes a whack at the private market. Under the guise of money for "health technology," the legislation makes the government the national coordinator for electronic health records, able to certify what platforms are acceptable. This is an attempt to squelch a growing private market that is competing to improve transparency and let consumers compare providers and costs. In liberal-world, only government should be publishing (and setting) health-care prices.
Add it up, and Democrats may move 10 million more Americans under the federal health umbrella — in just four weeks! Good luck ever cutting off that money. Meanwhile, the Democratic majority is gearing up for a Medicare fight, where it may broach plans to lower the eligibility age to 55. Whatever costs accrue, they’ll pay for by slashing the private Medicare Advantage option.
Under "stimulus," Medicaid is now on offer not to just poor Americans, but Americans who have lost their jobs. And not just Americans who have lost their jobs, but their spouses and their children. And not Americans who recently lost their jobs, but those who lost jobs, say, early last year. And not just Americans who already lost their jobs, but those who will lose their jobs up to 2011. The federal government is graciously footing the whole bill. The legislation also forbids states to apply income tests in most cases.
House Democrat Henry Waxman was so thrilled by this blowout, it was left to Republicans to remind him that the very banking millionaires he dragged to the Hill last year for a grilling would now qualify for government aid. His response? A GOP proposal to limit subsidies to Americans with incomes under $1 million was accepted during markup, but had disappeared by final passage. In this new health-care nirvana, even the rich are welcome. CBO estimates? An additional 1.2 million on the federal Medicaid dime in 2009.
1.2 million more people on Medicaid? What could possibly go wrong?