Canadians have a health care system that should be the envy of no one, says Investor's Business Daily (IBD).  It's not free, it's funded by taxpayers, and it isn't truly universal.  Two Canadian Court justices made this clear three years ago when they concluded that "access to a waiting list is not access to health care."

Delayed treatment in an overused system has been the root of much unnecessary suffering, says IBD:

"This is an example of a company that's actively soliciting for clients that have the ability to pay for the privilege of queue-jumping," said Adrian Dix, a member of B.C.'s Legislative Assembly.  "In my view, and in the view of the legal opinion that we obtained, it is illegal, and it violated both provincial and national health legislation."


The Chief Actuary in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in the Obama Health and Human Services (HHS) department issued a memorandum this week looking at the potential impact of the House health reform legislation (H.R. 3200).  As the Associated Press and other media outlets have been reporting, the study shows that the legislation would, as President Obama promised, bend the health care cost curve… but in the wrong direction.

The findings suggest that if the House legislation were enacted, President Obama would be breaking his long standing promise that reform would reduce rapidly growing health care costs, says the Heritage Foundation.  Although the President has continually argued that Americans spend too much on health care, and that under reform they would spend less, the new HHS report finds the opposite is likely to occur under the House legislation.  Here are some key findings from the HHS memorandum:



Now that the Baucus Plan has been introduced as actual legislative language, it is clear more time is necessary to have a full understanding of the massive 1,500-page health care reform bill.  As members get the opportunity to read the bill, more problems are likely to emerge on a daily basis, says Dennis G. Smith, a Senior Fellow with the Heritage Foundation.

For example, the Baucus Plan either puts states into fiscal jeopardy or provides another budget gimmick to avoid paying the full cost of the legislation through the treatment of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).  The SCHIP provisions have significant budgetary implications for either the federal government or the states, explains Smith:

With the increased federal percentage under Section 1611, states will substitute the federal dollars for state dollars so long as federal funds are available. In other words, the federal funds in the SCHIP pipeline will be spent faster, depleting the funding earlier than what would occur under current law.  When that happens, states will be hit with a choice -- reduce SCHIP benefits to lower the overall cost of the program or switch to Medicaid. 

Switching to Medicaid means returning to the regular Medicaid match rate:

Leaving the funding out either means the legislation is not really paid for, which breaks the President's promise to the budget hawks, or it shifts those costs to the states, says Smith.