ObamaCare: Naive, hypocritical, or dishonest?

The one certain consequence of expanding insurance coverage is that it would raise spending. When people have insurance, they use more health services. That’s one reason Obama’s campaign proposal was estimated to cost $1.2 trillion over a decade (the other reason is that the federal government would pick up some costs now paid by others). Indeed, the higher demand for health care might raise costs across the board, increasing both government spending and private premiums.

No doubt the health program that Congress fashions will counter this reality by including some provisions intended to cut costs (“bundled payments” to hospitals, “evidence-based guidelines,” electronic recordkeeping). In the past, scattershot measures have barely affected health spending. What’s needed is a fundamental remaking of the health-care sector — a sweeping “restructuring” — that would overhaul fee-for-service payment and reduce the fragmentation of care.