Friday, May 15, 2009

Nobody Could Have Anticipated, Vol. XXIV

Dang, score another one for my bullshit-smelling nose. Remember those healthcare industry groups who vowed to do their very best to cut healthcare costs, as long as it doesn’t hurt them too much? And by "not much” we mean not at all? Seems they are having second thoughts:
Hospitals and insurance companies said Thursday that President Obama had substantially overstated their promise earlier this week to reduce the growth of health spending.

Mr. Obama invited health industry leaders to the White House on Monday to trumpet their cost-control commitments. But three days later, confusion swirled in Washington as the companies’ trade associations raced to tamp down angst among members around the country.

Oh, dear. Follow the links and you will see these healthcare groups boldly resolved in a press release:

By reducing the rate of growth in health care spending by 1.5% each year, the nation can achieve a savings of $2 trillion over the next decade.

To deciding

He and other health care executives said they had agreed to squeeze health spending so the annual rate of growth would eventually be 1.5 percentage points lower.

One of the lobbyists, Karen M. Ignagni, president of America’s Health Insurance Plans, said the savings would “ramp up” gradually as the growth of health spending slowed.

David H. Nexon, senior executive vice president of the Advanced Medical Technology Association, a trade group for makers of medical devices, said “there was no specific understanding” of when the lower growth rate would be achieved.

So we went from a specific "1.5% a year" to a "gradual" and very non-specific decrease. Amazing.

So in other words, not so fast! We’ll get there, eventually. Just not any time soon, which means, probably never.

My nose for bullshit is rarely wrong.

Once again, asking the people who profit off of healthcare to voluntarily take less profit is pure folly. It’s like Dick Cheney asking the oil companies to write our energy policy.

Come on, people. This shit is important. Too important to be left in the hands of a bunch of greedy assholes whose financial interests are diametrically opposed to seeing a functioning, affordable healthcare system in this country.

President Obama and the U.S. Congress, I say this to you: get tough with these assholes and tell them to bring their best offer to the table or be put out of business. Enough is enough.