Gateway Pundit catches Bernie Sanders in the modern definition of a gaffe, which is the accidental telling of truth by a politician. While health-care reform advocates insist that the public plan is no threat to health insurers, Sanders insists that the entire point of the public plan is to strike fear into the hearts of the heartless:
FOX News analyst: But they’re afraid. Private insurance companies are afraid that they will be put out of business. So why shouldn’t they fight it?
Sen. Sanders: They should be afraid. Let me tell you they should be afraid. I think when they deny people health care because somebody has breast cancer a few years ago, when they throw people off of health insurance because people were sick and ran up a health care bill they have a right to be exposed, a right to be afraid.
Sanders accuses the health insurers of spending a million dollars a day, in the aggregate, to fight the public plan. If so, that amounts to $365 million for this year at the most (obviously, they’ll stop once action is taken on the bill or it fails). At that rate, the health insurers would take 2,739 years for them to spend what the CBO estimates ObamaCare will cost over ten years in its least expensive iteration. If we’re going to talk about wasteful spending, let’s put that in its proper perspective.
Meanwhile, hospitals have agreed to find cost cuts that will bring them in line with ObamaCare, but their claims rest on some shaky logic:
Most of the savings — about $100 billion — would come through lower-than-expected Medicare and Medicaid payments to hospitals, said the two industry sources. About $40 billion would be saved by slowly reducing what hospitals get to care for the uninsured, they added. The reductions would probably not begin for several years, after a significant number of people have enrolled in the new insurance programs.
For their part, hospital officials have an understanding that, if the final legislation includes a new government-sponsored insurance program, it will not pay at Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement rates, which the industry has long argued do not cover the cost of services.
“We have concerns about a new public program where you have Medicare rates,” one industry representative said. “That would not be part of the plan.”
Agreeing to the plan were the American Hospital Association, the Federation of American Hospitals and the Catholic Health Association.
If the hospitals are claiming savings while getting paid at better rates than they are now through Medicare and Medicaid, how will that reduce costs? The only way to lower the overall bill while raising compensation rates and adding people to insurance rolls is to reduce the amount of care the hospitals provide. They’ve agreed to ration care more stringently.
Health insurers aren’t the only ones who need to be afraid of this bill.