If Past is Prologue When it Comes to Guesstimating Actual Health Care Costs, Well, it Was Nice Knowing You All…


Ah, Bart Stupak, ah, humanity! As health care reform lurches across the finish line like a madcap nurses-on-the-gurneys race on an episode of M*A*S*H, consider this while considering all the rosy predictions of cost-containment, deficit reduction, and the vanquishing of simple chronic halitosis via bigger government involvement with the 50 percent of health care dollars it doesn't already spend:

Where's Ted Knight or Robert Mandan now that we need a good spit-take/slow burn? Ah, that's right, they're sleeping with kings and counsellors. 9.17 to 1? That's good enough for government math, don't you think? This may well be the only chart in all of Christendom that makes the Massachusetts Health Reform, which has lead to the highest premiums in the country for the Bay State, look pretty damn good. The chart is from a document, prepared during the long, hot summer of 2009 when teabagging terrorists were shooting up town hall meetings on a daily basis by the Joint Economic Committee's Republican members, so it's all lies anyway, right? Concludes the analysis:

It seems there is a kind of Murphy?s Law of health care legislation: "If it can cost more than the highest available official estimate, it probably will." The House and Senate are currently considering health care reform bills that would cost in the vicinity of $1 trillion over the first 10 years and $2.4 trillion over the first 10 years of full implementation. Given the potentially significant fiscal and budgetary consequences, lawmakers will want to keep this variant of Murphy's Law in mind when considering major health reform legislation.

Bonus flashback to a 1968 Medicare poster. Think of government-mandated health care this way: This poster came out the same year the Beatles released The White Album! Does that make you feel better? And do you know who the first Medicare recipient was? That broken-down haberdasher from Missouri, Mr. Harry S. Truman.

Not sure it's relevant but there's a fun fact: In 2007 dollars, households headed by people between the ages of 65-74 clocked in with a median net worth of $239,400 dollars and those headed by someone 75 or older boasted $213,500. The median net worth for all American households? $120,300. (See table 4.) Maybe old folks are only so rich (relatively and on average) because they don't have to shell out for health care they way they used to in the pre-Medicare world. Or maybe they'd still be rich even if they're retired and paying full price for health insurance (and cups of coffee! and movie tickets!) like they used to. And the way that younger and poorer folks are going to have to once that individual mandate kicks in.

All of which is a way of saying: The future just ain't turning out the way it was supposed to.