Chris Hayes Asks The Right Questions About Health Care Costs

We are hearing far too much of this from our elite news media: And the fact is that the American people, who want all the benefits and want the free lunch, and don't want a single gray hair on the beautiful head of Social Security or

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[h/t Heather at Videocafe]

We are hearing far too much of this from our elite news media:

And the fact is that the American people, who want all the benefits and want the free lunch, and don't want a single gray hair on the beautiful head of Social Security or Medicare touched, and basically don't want to pay for it, I mean, the old line is, we elect Republicans because we don't want to pay for it and we elect Democrats because we want everything that government is going to give us.

Instead, we should be hearing more of what Chris Hayes is saying. The Villagers are already playing into the right wing frame, that there is a crisis brewing, that the baby boomers are going to bankrupt the country, that health care costs will chew up our budget and our GDP over the next 20 years, and everybody batten down the hatches and hang on because, well...it's a crisis, stupid.

No, it's not a crisis, and thankfully there is one adult in the room who is asking why everyone is setting their hair on fire before the complete package of reforms built into the ACA come to pass. What he is saying is what we all need to keep hammering on. Here's the list:

  1. Medicare is in about the same shape it has been in since its inception. It's solvent for 11 more years without touching anything. That's standard solvency now and yesterday for Medicare.
  2. We spent an enormous amount of time and political energy on the Affordable Care Act, which is a 2,000 page bill, as the Tea Party and Republicans are fond of pointing out. The Affordable Care Act has consumer protections and Medicare reforms written into it. The consumer protection piece is about 60 pages. The other 1,940 pages are Medicare reforms intended to control the rising cost of health care.
  3. We will not know whether those reforms are effective for three to four years. What we know today is that Medicare spending has decreased over the last three years, and that's before all of the ACA reforms take hold.

This is the conversation that isn't happening anywhere else. Note Megan McArdle's shocked reaction when Hayes actually dares to say that everyone is setting their hair on fire years early.

You know why it is that conservatives make such a big deal out of the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB)? It has nothing to do with death panels and authoritarianism, despite what they whine about in public. It is because it will quite likely end the medical gravy train so many have been on for so long, without decreasing quality of care.

I repeat: Without decreasing quality of care. It will end practices like charging uninsured patients $3,000 for a colonoscopy that costs $300. It will begin to end unnecessary tests and procedures which are performed because fee-for-service medicine requires more and more services to maintain profitability. This is why conservatives hate it with an undying passion. It actually limits and controls costs.

These same Very Concerned Conservatives are so very concerned about Medicare costs that they are going to block the IPAB's fast-track funding required in the ACA. Via The Hill:

The House is set to vote Thursday afternoon on rules for the 113th Congress. The rules package says the House won't comply with fast-track procedures for the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) — a controversial cost-cutting board Republicans have long resisted.

The rules package signals that Republicans might not bring up Medicare cuts recommended by the IPAB — blocking part of a politically controversial law, and resisting Medicare spending cuts.

Let's review the bidding here. Republicans are making the rounds and gladhanding with the likes of Pete Peterson, rending their garments and claiming our children and grandchildren will be saddled with too much debt, too much debt because their parents and grandparents had the temerity to get sick and require Medicare coverage, while they are aggressively blocking the ONE SINGLE THING that will likely contain those costs.

Tell me more about how we must cut, cut, cut in order to avoid a terrible horrible future after they sit down and get out of the way. When the ACA reforms take hold (whether the House likes it or not), that cost curve will likely bend sharply downward.

Republicans are hoping they can distract us long enough with their incessant crying and stalling so they can gut it before the reforms happen.

Don't let them win.

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