POLICY: These Are Not the Droids You’re Looking For by Eric Novack

The NY Times, certainly not known as the bastion of the Right, snuck a very important article into the ‘non’ news day of Saturday. Interesting that this did not get saved for the front page on a Monday…

In it, some of the dirty secrets of the SCHIP bill passed earlier in the US House get revealed. Specifically, the article details attempts to provide special relief to specific companies currently ‘in favor’ with the political class. Several dozens hospitals, never mentioned by name, are slated to see multimillion dollar increases in their Medicare funds.

Hospitals are designated by their Medicare number, or location, or distance from a city with a certain population, to receive an arbitrary ‘most favored nation’ status.

Rep. Pete Stark, who has a diagnosis and solution to every hint of health care related inequality and corruption- link is one of dozens available… () , suddenly has lost his powers of deduction. “It’s always been thus,” Mr. Stark said in an interview. “I am at a loss to explain why.”

Even more stunning is his admission that, “Granting relief to particular hospitals is sometimes a way for Congress to improve “the equity and fairness” of Medicare payments, Mr. Stark said. Under Medicare, he added, “you are basically setting prices, and the system is clumsy.”

Though, in this case, nearly all the chicanery lies at the doorstep of Democrats, at least one Republican is involved as well. Herein lies, of course, the problem of over-investing power in the hands of government and their bureaucratic appointees.

THCB should be proud that the analysis here recognizes that policy details matter—and that hiding detritus in legislation can undermine the stated goal of the legislation. SCHIP was purported to make access to health insurance more fair and more just.

The NY Times exposes that, in addition to being bad policy, the legislators are more interested in supporting political financiers and whomever else they deem a favored political class at the time.

Yet Nancy Pelosi, who claimed the title of ‘most ethical Congress in history’, apparently has nothing to say. Instead, she sticks a spokesperson out to say, “It’s easy to criticize individual provisions of large, complex bills, but “the focus should be on the huge number of uninsured children who will be eligible for life-saving health care under our bill.”

In other words, the majority leader treats us all as nameless, faceless clones that are supposed to echo the words, “move along”.

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3 replies »

  1. I’m sure Matthew will be back shortly to explain why it is very different when Democrats do it.

  2. Eric, are you arguing that because of a corrupt and payback style political process health insurance for children is not necessary?
    I never expected the Dems or Pelosi to live up to her, “most ethical” rhetoric – the system is still corrupt. Take a look at the new ethics rules in relation to what lobbists can pay for, written by Congress, both Dems and Repugs.
    Your argument actually makes the case for publically funded campaigns (not defeat of SCHIP) where good policy overrides monied influence. But local taxpayers hold their Federal reps accountable for how much bacon thay can bring home, and politicians love to come running home for the photo op with a federal check in their hand. People do like taxes, it’s just that they like someone elses taxes.

  3. There has always been area’s in the country(mostly rural) where Medicare’s formula does not generate enough revenue for the providers, By the same token tere are areas where they are overpaid also. The problem is Congress should not be getting involved. CMS should be doing it. When you raise funding over here , you have to lower it elsewhere