Can the Government Save Money?
I'm shocked that I continue to hear people say on TV and in the papers that one of the main goals of the so-called health care reform efforts in Congress is to control spending. Huh? When the hell has that ever happened? On the contrary I strain in vain to think of any area in which the government getting involved in providing any service has resulted in cost savings.
If anything, government involvement is an invitation to waste and fraud, as the TV show 60 Minutes so eloquently showed on Sunday. I urge you to watch the video below of that 60 Minutes segment, and then I dare you to talk about government savings in the health care field with a straight face.
If Congress were really interested in controlling costs, they would not model their program, as they have, on what increasingly appears to be the failing model of universal health care here in Massachusetts. Columnist Jacob Sullivan explains:
Since 2006, Michael Cannon notes in a recent Cato Institute paper, health insurance premiums in Massachusetts have risen by 8 percent to 12 percent a year, almost double the national average. During the same period, total medical spending has increased by 28 percent. The cost of subsidizing coverage through the state’s Commonwealth Care program is expected to hit $880 million next year, 20 percent more than originally projected.
Second, despite stricter penalties, Massachusetts seems to be experiencing adverse selection. Cannon notes that, while the share of residents without insurance has shrunk from about 10 percent to about 5 percent, the proportion of uninsured people in the 18-to-25 age group has increased from 30 percent to 35 percent, indicating that “the young (and presumably more healthy) are less likely to comply with the mandate.”
Third, requiring people to buy insurance entails defining the minimum level of coverage, which necessarily makes insurance more expensive than it would otherwise be. In effect, the government prohibits the cheapest insurance plans, the ones with the highest deductibles and the least generous benefits.
The upshot is a phenomenon we have seen many times before: Instead of protecting us from big business, big government buys it off with our money.
With Grace Slick in poor health the Jefferson Starship is today primarily a Paul Kantner solo band. Currently touring Canada, a review from a Canadian paper yesterday describes the 68 year old Kantner as still overseeing a realm of stoned chaos.
Kantner sang and played mostly rhythm guitar. Here’s one dude who’s still living the dream. He spoke several times on the quality of Vancouver Island drugs, which apparently, pale to his usual toot.
“Some of the stuff I had from your local dispensary is pretty good,” declared Kantner sagely. “But it’s not as good as San Francisco.”
To read the whole concert review click here.
Hadley in the Rain
Today is another one of those gloomy, wet New England fall days. On the bus into Amherst this morning I took some pictures through the rain streaked windows of the farm fields of Hadley. Sometimes I captured a nice effect.
Other times I didn't. Those blurry light and dark blobs on the grass are white ducks and black hens.
This area is so rural you need a sign just to warn you of an approaching sign.
All the farmer's fields are dead, patiently waiting until next spring to be reborn.
Growth, harvest and rebirth, the unchanging cycle of hundreds of years.
Easthampton explores the bizarre.