Prescribing Poison:

Why ObamaCare Delivers the Wrong Family Medicine “When it comes to the cost of health care,” President Obama declared in 2009, “this much is clear: the status quo is unsustainable for families, businesses and government. America spends nearly 50 percent more per person on health care than any other country.” Americans indeed heard a great many ideas from the Obama administration to reduce the staggering cost of care: establishing a public health-insurance program and then negotiating discounts with medical providers serving those insured by that program; reducing waste and fraud in medical care; investing in wellness initiatives that combat obesity, sedentary lifestyle, and smoking; guaranteeing access to preventative medicine; requiring transparent pricing of medical services; reducing unnecessary diagnostic tests; cutting administrative costs—and the list goes on. Indeed, Democratic Rep. John B. Larson of Connecticut indicated that lawmakers were casting their nets widely in searching for ways to contain runaway health-care costs. “All ideas are on the table,” he said, “even the bad ones.” The need to rein in health-care costs has indeed grown urgent. National expenditures have risen from $28 billion in 1960 to more than $2.5 trillion in 2009.[1] Even if numbers are adjusted for inflation, Americans have witnessed more than just a dramatic escalation of health-care costs. This has been an explosion. Yet despite claims to the contrary, the Obama administration and its allies never put all ideas for dealing with this explosion on the table. Indeed, some very good ideas—namely, those that would rein in health-care costs by reinforcing marriage and family life—never appeared on the Obama administration’s list at all. Moreover, some measures that the Obama team vigorously endorsed—and now is enacting—exacerbate the health-care crisis by further weakening marriage and family life. Congressman Larson was thus perhaps revealing more th
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