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Can’t Say I Didn’t Warn You

While some celebrated the passing of the Christmas Eve health insurance legislation in Congress, sensible folks lamented its passing for a variety of reasons.  First, as I’ve noted on more than one occasion providing health insurance to most Americans, does nothing to improve access to quality of healthcare for all Americans. Case in point:

The Mayo Clinic, praised by President Barack Obama as a national model for efficient health care, will stop accepting Medicare patients as of tomorrow at one of its primary-care clinics in Arizona, saying the U.S. government pays too little.

More than 3,000 patients eligible for Medicare, the government’s largest health-insurance program, will be forced to pay cash if they want to continue seeing their doctors at a Mayo family clinic in Glendale, northwest of Phoenix, said Michael Yardley, a Mayo spokesman. The decision, which Yardley called a two-year pilot project, won’t affect other Mayo facilities in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota.

Look for more top quality healthcare facilities to follow suit in the coming months and years. And, where will this leave us? Well, like most big expensive government entitlement programs, it will leave us even deeper in debt, and an insolvent program that fails to deliver as promised.  Oh sure, the program won’t be a total loss. In fact, for those states whose Senators were into selling their votes, this legislation will prove to be a big win:

New Mexico Sens. Tom Udall and Jeff Bingaman on Wednesday criticized special deals that Democratic leaders struck with some senators to win support for a sweeping Senate health care bill headed for passage today.

But the two Democrats said the deals weren’t enough to justify voting against a measure they said would benefit New Mexicans.

Senate leaders offered Sen. Ben Nelson, a Nebraska Democrat, 100 percent federal subsidies for new Medicaid beneficiaries added to his state’s rolls under the Senate legislation. Other senators wrangled separate financial concessions for their states in exchange for their support for the Senate bill.

Sorry, criticizing the deals after the fact, but voting in a manner that tacitly endorses the deals doesn’t really hold water. Pretending this was a win for New Mexicans is a little less than honest:

According to Udall, the Senate health care overhaul would eventually insure 91 percent of New Mexicans, improve rural health care and grant permanent reauthorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, among other things. 

Think about that for a moment. Despite promises that this “landmark legislation” would insure all Americans, in New Mexico, the best outcome will be to insure 91% of New Mexicans… EVENTUALLY.  When this does EVENTUALLY happen, you can’t help but wonder how many of the newly insured still won’t have access to quality healthcare because they won’t be able to find an institution willing to take their insurance.

What a mess.