Thursday, January 19, 2006

From the Administration that Brought you the Medicare Drug Benefit...

Bush is pushing his Medical Savings Accounts again.

I've pointed out before that these are very bad for many reasons, not the least of which is that they punish the sick, they destabilize hospitals, and they help out well-off healthy people way more than anyone else.

But what you might not have realized is that George Bush is lying when he says they'll control health costs.

Everyone in the field knows that in healthcare, sick people are expensive and healthy people are cheap. Something like 80% of the money in health care is spent on just 20% of people--it's spent on things like 24-hour ventilator care and kidney transplants and cancer treatments and surgery for kids with spinal bifida and holes in their heart. This phenomenon is familiar to every insurance executive, hospital administrator, and healthcare policy person in the country. It's even got a nickname, "the 80/20 rule."

George Bush claims that the reason we're spending so much on healthcare is because people aren't personally responsible. He promises that Medical Savings accounts will make healthcare cheaper because they'll make people spend their own money instead of the insurance company's money. But that's a lie and he knows it, becuase he knows about the 80/20 rule. He knows that MSAs wan't control healthcare costs by making people spend their own money because most of the time, that money is going to be spent by insurance companies and not by individuals.


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