Thursday, January 14, 2010

Labor and Government in Health Care Collusion

"The White House and labor leaders agreed Thursday on a formula to tax high-cost insurance plans." Los Angeles Times

"The White House, Congressional leaders and labor unions said Thursday that they had reached agreement on a proposal to tax high-cost health insurance policies." New York Times

"Unions and Democratic negotiators agreed Thursday to scale back a proposed tax on high-end health-insurance plans in the health bill." Wall Street Journal

Does anybody see any problems with these statements? What if these articles substituted the term union leaders for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce? If there are private closed door meetings between Congressional Republicans and the American Medical Association that will determine the course of 15% of the U.S. economy do you think there might be an uproar? Seems like there is a very public collusion going on between the government and a small minority of people that is affecting the health care for the rest of the country and the media doesn't care. Why isn't anybody pointing out that these back room deals for a small influential group of union workers (12.4% of working Americans) is forcing the rest of us to pay higher taxes so they can keep their Cadillac health insurance plans ie/we're subsidizing their health care premiums so they can have zero deductible zero copay free prescription insurance plans.

Just as galling is who isn't at the table negotiating the terms of these reform. I'll give you three guesses. We've heard from the unions, the elderly, and the tea partyers. But who has the most at stake in this debate? Who will be affected worst by the planned $500 billion cut in Medicare reimbursements in the next ten years. If you are reading this post you are probably one of them. That's right. Doctors will be directly punished by this legislation and yet we are not even outside the White House window looking in as decisions affecting our livelihoods are being debated. Where is the AMA in all this? Once again they show absolutely no political clout to advance the political priorities of physicians.

As usual the big spending special interest groups are making out like bandits: unions, insurance companies, government bureaucracy. The losers are the ones most directly involved in health care: patients, doctors, hospitals. Certainly no "change" in American politics since the presidential election.

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