Byline: Robin Lumb
Reform? What "reform"?
Look closely at the Democrat plan to federalize health care and all you'll see is a major new entitlement program masquerading as "reform." It spends vast amounts of money, but doesn't do anything to drive down costs.
The entire scheme is based on a number that misrepresents the problem: 47 million Americans without health insurance, implying that many Americans lack health care.
The fact is these 47 million "Americans" consume over $140 billion in medical care each year, 42 percent of it paid for by insurance.
Why is nearly half the spending on the uninsured paid by health insurance? It's in the definition of "uninsured." Whether you went without coverage for a day or the entire year, the government counts you among the 47 million.
Now look closely at the "47 million": 10 to 11 million aren't U.S. citizens; 6 million already have Medicaid and another 6 million qualify for Medicaid or SCHIP but haven't applied; 5 million are childless adults between 18 and 34 and are typically healthy; and 10 million have household incomes of at least $60,000 but don't buy health insurance because it's a poor value and they can pay for routine care out-of-pocket.
The reality is that the hard core uninsured is no more than 12 million to 14 million. It begs the question on why Presient Barack Obama and a Democratic Congress want to turn health care on its head to fix a problem that could be solved with a thoughtful, comprehensive overhaul of Medicaid.
The Democrats' subterfuge is especially disturbing in light of the crisis in Medicare. Reports show the program will be bankrupt by 2017, having exhausted its "trust fund" accounts. The truly frightening news is Medicare's unfunded liability of $68 trillion. This is the amount we need today in an interest-bearing account, over and above future tax receipts, to meet the program's obligations over the next 75 years. …