Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Patronage in the Baucus Bill

Michael Barone, in a piece on hidden costs in the Baucus health care bill, notes some of its cash transfers from states with less politically powerful senators to states with Senate leaders:

Kimberley Strassel points out that well-placed senators are getting special favors in the bill. Majority Leader Harry Reid gets the feds to pick up Nevada's extra Medicaid spending. Charles Schumer gets many high-cost insurance plans in New York exempted from tax. How long before other members seek similar breaks for their states?

For the bill as a whole

We can reasonably conclude that the Baucus bill -- or whatever similar measure Reid and Schumer concoct -- would vastly and permanently increase public sector spending and impose a crushing burden on the private sector in a weak economy. That burden would be particularly heavy on low earners forced to buy expensive policies or else pay stiff fines, with money they would otherwise receive as wages or salaries.

I don't think anybody seriously disputes (although most supporters will attempt to obscure the point) that any bill will be particularly tough on the middle class and below, as they are the ones least equipped to take on significant increases in their medical costs.

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