Numbers stink?


If comedy headliner Wayne Brady wants new talent for his Strip show "Making It Up," we'd like to recommend the wacky wonks at the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada.

When confronted with the potential ramifications of their big-government dreams, the socialist schemers at PLAN do what they always do: deny reality and retreat to their fantasy world, where money grows on trees and the basic laws of economics don't apply.

Their latest stand-up act was highlighted in Sunday's Review-Journal. Business reporter Jennifer Robison detailed a local insurer's analysis of the $1.2 trillion Affordable Health Care for America Act, a 2,000-page legislative abomination with a name that proves House Speaker Nancy Pelosi actually might have a sense of humor (albeit one that's pretty twisted). PLAN thinks the bill is a thing of beauty.

Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, a subsidiary of WellPoint that provides health insurance to about 300,000 Nevadans, applied some of the bill's core coverage requirements to the company's actuarial data and determined it would increase premiums for most of its customers -- and lead to huge cost increases overall.

WellPoint research in 13 other states that offer Blue Cross coverage had nearly identical findings. The old and ill would see a slight decrease in their premiums, but costs would skyrocket for the young and healthy, more than doubling in Nevada and tripling in other states. Most "working families" -- the demographic every congressional Democrat claims to fight for -- would see their premiums rise sharply as well. Other insurers have reached the same conclusion.

The reasons are easy enough to grasp. If Congress prohibits insurers from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions but doesn't mandate that Americans purchase health insurance, healthy people could wait until they're sick or seriously hurt before buying coverage, slamming insurers with huge claims. Throw in an effective federal ban on high-deductible, catastrophic health plans; limits on discounts for age, gender and health status; the continuation of specific state coverage mandates; and billions of dollars in tax hikes on insurance companies and prescription drugs, and you've got a recipe for huge premium increases on most consumers.

Enter PLAN's punch line.

"I think these numbers stink like a week-old fish at the market," said PLAN's spokesman, Launce Rake. "They're absolutely absurd."

But to think that 2,000 pages of new regulations and a market-undercutting "public option," which would increase demand for medical services, will make health care cheaper is to think your kids go to public school for "free." It requires a complete suspension of disbelief.

"I just don't trust any of their numbers, because they are not objective," Mr. Rake said of the WellPoint studies. "They are spinning it as much as they can."

No, they're doing what PLAN and majority Democrats refuse to do: examine the precise, potential effects of every so-called "reform" on their business.

And Washington Democrats aren't "spinning it as much as they can"? Like PLAN, they're just making it up as they go along.

 

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