July 27, 2009

Interesting Bits

Apparently it pays very well to be a Senatorial spouse when "reform" is on the table...

Susan Bayh an issue in fight over health care
In 2 years, she earned $2.1M on health company boards

But for Bayh, health care isn't just the latest high-stakes political fight in Congress. It's also a substantial part of his family's income.
As the debate over health-care reform intensifies, Bayh's wife is receiving lucrative payouts from some of the companies that could be most affected by that legislation.

Bayh contends the $2.1 million that his wife, Susan, earned from public health-care companies from 2006 to 2008 represents no conflict of interest...

But no doubt she was well-suited for the board positions she was given. Let's check the employment record there, and the timing:
Susan Bayh, who was a midlevel lawyer for the politically active Eli Lilly and Co. while her husband was governor of Indiana, did not serve on the board of a single public health-care company until it was clear her husband was about to ascend to the U.S. Senate. Only one month before Evan Bayh was elected to the Senate in a landslide vote, his wife was appointed to serve on the board of what would become the nation's largest health insurance company -- and arguably the company with the most at stake in the health-care reform debate.

Nope, nothing suspicious there! Move along now.

Peter Suderman over at REASON magazine has an excellent article on the con job that is the current health care "reform" fight:

Buy Now, Pay Later
The health care cost-control conundrum
Despite all the talk of cutting costs, the tacit plan, from the beginning, has been to pass reform by building a coalition that would collectively agree to give members whatever they wanted now, while cheerfully talking around the serious budgetary complications posed by universal coverage.

This strategy was sketched out in a March New York Times article on lessons learned by advocates of national reform during the recent overhaul of the Massachusetts health-care system, which expanded coverage but saw costs rise sharply. According to some who backed the Massachusetts overhaul, however, that was a necessary ingredient in the recipe for reform...

...Subsequently, this year's health-care debate in Washington has featured a raft of insider deals and stakeholder handouts—to everyone from Wal-Mart to the drug industry—as well a lot of talk about cost-control without much substance to back it up. That's partly due to a string of sobering reports from the Congressional Budget Office that have made the fiscal aspect impossible to ignore

Well, DUH! We have only to look to the Massachussets experience to see the likely results of the current proposals. And for other real-life results from such plans we can also look to TennCare and to the Oregon experience in attempting capitation with their state-paid plans. It's not pretty.

No comments: