President Obama pledges to provide health insurance for 46 million uninsured people and, at the same time, restrain the nation’s total health spending. Covering the uninsured is a worthy goal, but it will not save money: Once they are covered, they will use 70 percent more health services overall than before, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
So where will the promised savings come from? The truth is that Americans who already have insurance will get less care.
By Betsy McCaughey
Health spending is higher in the U.S. than in Europe not because the American medical profession is less efficient, but because Americans have higher incomes: “The more people have, the more of it they tend to spend on health care,” wrote David Blumenthal, a Harvard Medical School professor. Blumenthal was recently chosen by Pres. Barack Obama to be national coordinator of health information technology, a key position. In his academic writings, Blumenthal has long advocated government limits on how much health care you can get.
Patients will be dissatisfied, he admits. “Government controls on health care spending are associated with longer waits for elective procedures and reduced availability of new and expensive treatments and devices,” he conceded in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) in 2001.