Since forever, the Big O has argued that comprehensive health reform was a prerequisite to revivifying the nation’s flagging economy.
Last week, his argument got support from a report by the Council of Economic Advisors, which claimed that cutting annual growth in health-care spending from 6% to 4.5% could create 500,000 jobs per year and increase annual family income by $2,600 over the next decade.
Alas, the report lacked details regarding how such goals would be met, and failed to mention the extra dollar or two in government spending that would be needed to jump-start the process.
The report also acknowledged that the 25% reduction in the rate of growth in spending was “near the upper bound of what is feasible.”
Republicans and independent analysts were deeply critical of the report, decrying in particular the assumption that a broad expansion of health insurance could translate into long-term savings for the government and the economy as a whole.
“This report is nothing more than smoke and mirrors,” seethed House Minority Leader John Boehner to the Washington Post. “The administration hasn’t offered a credible plan to (cut costs) without raising taxes or rationing care.”
Nevertheless, the Unflappable One pushed onward, releasing the contents of a letter from a consortium of industry stakeholders that promised to help save money over the next decade.
In it, American Hospital Association pledged to fight nosocomial infections and readmissions. The AMA said it would coax physicians to follow evidence-based guidelines for back pain, heart disease and prenatal care. Big Pharma said that starting drugs earlier in the course of certain illnesses could reduce the need for more costly interventions later on.
One can only wonder why these obviously good ideas weren’t implemented long ago.