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Paying for Health Care Reform is ‘Difficult and Essential’

Writing in the September 3, 2009 New England Journal of Medicine, Henry Aaron, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute explains that:

“No health care reform bill can succeed unless Congress finds the money to pay for it. The challenge is brutally simple. The up-front costs of extending coverage are certain and immediate.”

Aaron goes on to say:

“The savings from delivery-system reform are speculative and slow. U.S. budget projections indicate explosive increases in government borrowing and rapid increases in debt-service costs, which could cause lenders to lose faith in the nation's repayment capacity. Prospects are so bleak that not even the achievement of the worthy goals of health care reform justify increasing already perilous budget deficits.”

The goal of healthcare reform may indeed be laudable, but unfortunately the reforms envisioned by HR 3200 certainly don’t seem laudatory. Rather they seem burdensome and confiscatory. For the evidence, just look at the organizational chart of HR 3200, the primary House bill for health care reform, which we growled about on July 23, 2009. And as we growled on September 2nd and September 3rd, HR 3200 not only looks like a tax bill, but would give far too much power to the IRS.

Take a look at the following chart Aaron provides, which identifies the various costs of “extending coverage” and “ways of paying for it.” While certainly useful for helping to understand so-called health care reform,” it surely seems further evidence that HR 3200 is nothing more a tax-raising measure rather than a health care reform measure.


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