This highlights the fact that, for years now, private insurance has been subsidizing the care provided to seniors under Medicare. Private insurers have shelled out more than the going rate for hospitalization and medical services, to make up for the fact that Medicare has been under-paying for them. But once there’s a public “option,” of course, many private insurers will be out of business. Hospitals and doctors will then have no choice but to accept Washington’s lower payments, or cut back on offering care at the lower reimbursement. Some will doubtless pursue a new line of work.
Finally, it’s worth asking if all these changes would actually accomplish what they’re supposed to. The goal is to cover all Americans.
But Lewin writes that, “We estimate that there will be about 49.1 million uninsured people in 2011. Once the program is implemented, we estimate that the number of uninsured people would be reduced by 32.6 million people.” That, of course, would leave some 16.5 million -- roughly a third of the current uncovered population -- uninsured.
Before Congress votes to blow up our existing insurance system, lawmakers and President Obama should actually read the bill they’re considering -- and the Lewin report on its likely outcomes. If they do, they’ll realize this so-called “reform” is change the country can’t afford.