Interesting comments on CNBC from Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) on the current versions of health care reform: http://www.cnbc.com/id/32008145
One of his more interesting arguments is from 3:00 to 3:50 of the clip, where he talks about the likely effects on the health insurance industry — he sees a handful of the largest health insurers becoming claims processors for the federal government. This is similar to a warning we offered in 2008 regarding corporate tax burdens:
[O]pponents [of lower corporate taxes] often overlook entirely the aggregate costs imposed by all business related taxes (e.g., payroll and a variety of state and local taxes) and regulations that dictate the allocation of a significant share of resources. Left leaning critics should be mindful of the risk that these kinds of barriers are more beneficial than harmful to ‘big business’, as they tend to limit competition.
Ryan’s comments were later followed by a panel including Howard Dean, who (almost) argues that the private health insurance industry isn’t really worth saving: http://www.cnbc.com/id/15840232?video=1188383109&play=1
Dean’s comments about health care costs leading to job losses due to lower costs abroad is interesting — but we continue to believe that this is more a function of the rising relative marginal corporate tax rate in the U.S. — which we could reasonably lump employer health care mandates into.
That Howard Dean and Rep. Coburn (R-OK), who helped pen a competing health care proposal with Rep. Ryan, have both been practicing physicians is interesting — and seems to support the idea that this is complicated stuff, both philosophically and operationally. In fact, at 7:30 of the second clip, Dean argues that health coverage shouldn’t be subject to the costs found in most competitive enterprises — executive salaries, sales and marketing, and returns to [creditors and] shareholders. Ryan countered that the plan won’t address health inflation, and that the CBO still sees health care costs rising well in excess of inflation. Dean deftly counters that health care costs have been rising at substantial rates under our private insurer system.
Once again, complicated stuff. If you’re waiting for an easy answer and a simple solution, don’t hold your breath (that includes you, Mr. President).