Paul Jacob

Now, somehow, we need to find millions more people we can cover with medical insurance so that we can totally wipe out the federal deficit and have a giant surplus. Think big. For instance, maybe we can work a deal with China to insure their billion-plus population. The federal treasury would pour forth with riches. Then we wouldn’t have to borrow so much money from those Beijing boys.

Of course, some of the “savings” derive from other elements in the bill. For instance, folks with “Cadillac” health plans will be taxed. And businesses that don’t provide health coverage to employees will be fined. In the House version, individuals can be fined for failing to purchase an insurance policy to facilitate their “right to health care.”

Additionally, both the Senate legislation and the bill already passed in the House cut nearly half a trillion dollars from Medicare. Luckily, we’re told this won’t diminish Medicare services at all. Not even one little bit.

That money will come from cutting all the absolute waste and fraud bulging throughout the system. Now do you see how important it is to have such waste and fraud, to nurture and grow it, so that in times like these we can cut it without actually hurting anyone, anywhere, at all?

Medicare costs have pushed the system into the red this year. To be financially responsible, Congress ordered double digit percentage reductions in what Medicare reimburses doctors for providing medical services. (Who needs these expensive physicians? Couldn’t our congressmen perform the needed medical procedures? That would save even more money!)

But two weeks ago, the House turned about face to block their own reductions from taking effect. This means they are now spending $210 billion more on doctors to keep them on board the Medicare train. Why? Medicare has had a humungous problem with low reimbursement rates for physicians, which causes more and more doctors to refuse to take Medicare patients.

This $210 billion cost was wisely kept out of the overall financial calculations for the current reform legislation. Since in one fell swoop, this so-called “doctor fix” is $80 billion more in costs than the health care bill would save over the next ten years, let’s just pay no mind to the doctors — behind that curtain — who may need to be paid in the future as well.

The main thing to concentrate on is that the cost of health care will go down while the quality and quantity of care will go up. Come to think of it, this should be done in every sector of our economy: Government must get involved. Why not simply mandate lower costs and better products?

Silly congressmen, just pass a law.

Paul Jacob

Paul Jacob is President of Citizens in Charge Foundation and Citizens in Charge. His daily Common Sense commentary appears on the Web and via e-mail.