Report From The Death Panel

Knowing how much you have cherished health care reform I feel great pain as I speak to you.

I must tell you that your health reform is very sick and unlikely to survive with any meaningful quality of life because it is experiencing a severe failure of its public option.

Unless the function of this organ can be restored quickly the progressive deterioration that we have already experienced in the health care system will only become worse. The consequences will damage the economy as a whole and other members of your family of reforms.

We always knew that the treatments that we applied to the health care system were risky and delicately balanced. We expected that mandatory health insurance and government subsidies - by increasing the flow of funds into the health sector - would greatly exacerbate the already existing infestation of parasitic health insurers. While we had some hopes that the legislator would regulate these parasites and thus decrease their virulence we were skeptical.

Still we had hoped that the mandate would take some of the burden of health care finance off of the sick and the health care providers and that this evening of the burden would greatly improve the flow of funds through the system.

Unfortunately the regulatory system has failed dramatically, allowing parasites to adopt their most favored strategy. Our prognosis is that insurance companies will continue to segregate the healthy from the sick and old in different risk pools. They will continue to price the plans for these groups so as to extract the maximum funds for the use of insurance companies. In addition the proposed regulations will allow and even encourage the creation of insurance plans that require consumers and their care providers to assume most, if not all, of the financial risk of illness.

In effect, most of the new flow of funding that was designed to nourish the system which actually provides health care, will be diverted to the large parasitic growth that already has weakened this system.

Many of us had placed great hopes on the success of the public option which we attempted to transplant from the highly successful Medicare system. We felt that this public option would provide an effective channel to pass funds from consumers and the government directly to actual providers of health care. We were deeply troubled by your feckless failure to support our efforts to complete this transplant.

It my gives me great pain to tell that the transplant is most likely to fail without your help in completing the treatment. If the public option fails the package of mandates and subsidies will provide little or no support for actual health care and will do almost nothing to reduce the financial risk of illness to the consumer.

Without the public option this reform can live on for some years. It will serve none of its intended functions while it adds further burdens to individuals and to the government budget. Indeed it will likely worsen the situation as health insurers accumulate more funds and more power.

The damage that this does to public and private finances will rebound to destroy your own political career and the causes that you value.

Dr. Wonks Anonymous Ph.D Econ.


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