Just Negotiate


I was reading the Op—Ed piece by Paul Krugman in the New York Times this morning, something about democrats, centrists, health care and we need a government run health care program, silly stuff like that.  Then I read words about the government having better bargaining power with health care providers.  That got me interested.  Umm, bargain, negotiate, like the federal government does with Medicare and Medicaid providers?  Let me see, in this context bargain means that Congress passes a law reducing Medicare payments by 11% and then the providers who are losing money on the deal pass the costs they can’t get from the government on to the private sector which is then blamed for rising health care costs.  Boy, those doctors and hospitals must be lousy negotiators. 

Now, if there were a single payer system the governments negotiating skills would have even more of an impact.  Budget overruns and costs too high; just reduce payments, limit coverage, delay care, and raise deductibles.  My mind must be wandering, am I in Canada? 

I hope that you are a good negotiator.

The Times also contains an editorial on the subject and again the insurance companies take the hit with the government held out as the entity better able to get lower fees from providers and not have the profit motive.  Let’s point out again, Medicare is only as bad off as it is without major cuts in benefits and higher premiums and higher deductibles because it is able pay below market fees with the private sector picking up the difference.

The just released House version of health care reform includes a provision under which the public plan option would be allowed to reimburse at Medicare rates for the first three years with no requirement to pay competitively after that. 

Do you see where this is going?

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