You don’t have to travel to Canada or Great Britain to see what results government-run health care produces. You only have to look at Tennessee’s experience. From The Foundry, Learning from State Experiments in Government-Run Health Care
“All approaches for a nationalized health care system simply don’t work, and we saw this with TennCare,” Blackburn said this week during a discussion on the future of employer-based health coverage at The Heritage Foundation.
In 1995, the state implemented TennCare, a health program modeled after Medicaid. While it covered more uninsured adults, the budget-busting program grew at a 1.5-percent annual rate, with costs skyrocketing from $2.5 billion in 1995 to $8 billion by 2004, Blackburn said.
“This program started to consume every new dollar that was generated in the state,” Blackburn said. Additionally, Tennessee residents who already had private health insurance were dropping their plans to get on the free health program, she said. “We started hearing stories of individuals trying to buy ‘uninsurable’ letters so they could get on TennCare.”
By 2005, Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen cut 170,000 adults from the program and reduced benefits for thousands more to get a handle on the soaring costs. “Our experience with trying to do universal coverage ended up being a disaster,” he recently told the AP.
The results will be different if such a scheme goes national–they will be far worse, because there will be few if any options for people in the private insurance market, once they’ve been driven out of business.
The President’s solution for the expense explosion Obamacare will generate? He’ll borrow today and worry about funding tomorrow.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama on Tuesday proposed budget rules that would allow Congress to borrow tens of billions of dollars and put the nation deeper in debt to jump-start the administration’s emerging health care overhaul…
…It would carve out about $2.5 trillion worth of exemptions for Obama’s priorities over the next decade. His health care reform plan also would get a green light to run big deficits in its early years. But over a decade, Congress would have to come up with money to cover those early year deficits…
It’s pay as you go:
Obama’s latest proposal for addressing deficits urges Congress to pass a law requiring lawmakers to pay for new spending programs and tax cuts without further adding to exploding deficits projected to total about $10 trillion over the next decade.
If new spending or tax reductions are not offset, there would be automatic cuts in so-called mandatory programs — although Social Security payments and the Medicaid health care program for poor and disabled would be exempt and cuts to Medicare would be sharply limited.
One thing that needs to change in Washington is the mindset that views tax cuts as government expenses. The political class has gotten away with that for far too long.
“The ‘pay-as-you-go’ rule is very simple,” Obama said. “Congress can only spend a dollar if it saves a dollar elsewhere.”
This means that if taxes are cut in one area, they’ll have to go up in another.
Congress has done this before:
Congress lived under a so-called “pay-go” regime in the 1990s and the early years of this decade. But it didn’t stop lawmakers from passing President George W. Bush’s landmark 2001 and 2003 tax cuts and big increases in farm subsidies without making the required spending cuts elsewhere. A $127 billion surplus in 2001 subsequently turned into deficits over the next four years of $159 billion, $377 billion, $413 billion and $319 billion.
The rules still exist and lawmakers routinely find ways around them. For example, a bill to effectively double GI Bill education benefits was enacted last year. Congress also regularly waives the rules to pass an annual “patch” to the alternative minimum tax, sparing some 20 million families from a $2,000 tax increase on average.
It won’t go differently this time, just like a one-payer Federal health system’s results won’t be better than Tennessee’s.