The Super-Committee: Less Important Than Meets The Eye

Henry Aaron

Posted 11/19/11 on The Health Affairs Blog

Copyright ©2011 Health Affairs by Project HOPE – The People-to-People Health Foundation, Inc.  

The effort to cut federal budget deficits resembles nothing so much as the old movie serials in which each week the hero ran a gantlet of perils the last of which threatened imminent death or dismemberment.  Seven days later, the intrepid adventurer would somehow escape unscathed, only to repeat the cycle.

The courageous crusader of the last couple of months has been the so-called ‘super committee,’ the group created by Congress last August to slay the economic menace threatening the economy—budget deficits.  Impelling projected deficits are anticipated increases in the rising cost of health care for the elderly, disabled, and poor through Medicare and Medicaid.

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“Multiple Fictions” Drive Opposition To Health Law


Originally published 1/20/11 on Kaiser Health News

While reading “A New Definition of Health Care Reform” by James C. Capretta and Tom Miller, I was reminded of the old adage “if one can frame the debate, one wins the debate.”

The health reform debate, they say, is between those who would use government regulation to try to control growth of health care spending and those who would rely on cost-conscious consumers operating in a competitive market place. The right way to reform health care, they say, is not government regulation but rather by shifting to a defined-contribution system in which people would bear the full marginal costs of insurance they buy. Medicare beneficiaries and Medicaid recipients should be given vouchers for the purchase of health insurance. Employers should do the same with private employees. The recently enacted health reform legislation, they say, extends fee-for-service medicine. For that reason, it should be replaced.

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