The Politics of Publicly-Funded Health Care – Brian Klepper

Over at Health Care Policy and Marketplace Review, the always insightful Bob Laszewski walks us through the mechanics of the just-passed federal budget and its health care financing implications for SCHIP, physicians, hospitals, Medicare Advantage plans. This clear, common sense analysis is a must-read for anyone interested in how the budget process actually works.

The final bill had 12,000 earmarks,
testimony to continuing special interest domination over the public interest. Everyone facing
a cut got a reprieve, but all the same issues (and cuts) will be on the
table in the near future. Here’s one of Bob’s summary paragraphs.


Late in 2008, the docs will be facing
a 15% Medicare fee cut on January 1, 2009, SCHIP will be out of money a
few months later on March 1, 2008, the extra payments to Medicare
Advantage plans will present the same plump target, and we will know
who won the November elections.

So the cuts were held off. Nothing really changed. And once again,
our Congressional representatives on both sides of the aisle made
decisions that accrued much more to the interests of their contributors
than those they claim to represent.