The New York Times reports
(7May09) on current proposals for providing medical insurance to those presently without a plan. One scheme in particular involves taxing "Cadillac" programs to fund government subsistence level coverage for others. On its face, this concept has classic 'income redistribution' all over it. In a curious way, though, it does have the 'virtue' of imputing market value to a huge chunk of the American economy by exposing it as a taxable asset. Interestingly, pro/con forces have not lined up in totally predictable fashion. Opponents of redistributive economics have actually found elements of this plan attractive. No surprise, politicians seeking to fund universal coverage find irresistible the allure of a 5-year capture of up to $100B of 'new money' into Uncle Sam's coffers. At the same time, however, they are sensing heated opposition emerging from the US labor union movement. For those attracted to an exhaustive analysis of this proposal, read this commentary
from EBRI (Employee Benefit Research Institute).
Before his dismissal, former CEO Rick Wagoner opined that when he took the GM helm he naively thought he was set to run a car company, not a healthcare management firm. For some time, policy engineers have been grappling with the quandary of how to provide the best quality of medical service to the greatest number in a cost-constrained environment. As the nation confronts the incumbent role of government and/or the private sector, and the looming specter of draconian healthcare rationing to avoid national bankruptcy, the debate will only intensify. The paradoxical role of developing technologies as both potential cost-mitigators, and inchoate budget-busters is sure to occupy center stage. MedTechIQ members are likely to emerge as focal characters in this national polemic.