Wednesday, March 11, 2009

We Don't Have Ten Years

The Disease Management Care Blog confesses that it never learned much in its past gym classes. One thing it did learn was that there was a 'window' of opportunity while running those repugnant laps. As it fell further and further behind, those out ahead eventually extended their lead to the point where it appeared they were trying to catch up with the DMCB. The gym teacher was only rarely foooled but the DMCB liked being momentarily out front.

Alas, that rent in the time-space continuum of Mr. Hottenstein's Universe of Ropes That Could Not Be Climbed, Dodge Balls That Could Not Be Avoided and Laps That Lasted Forever was always short lived. To quote Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes, at the time the young DMCB felt as if 'I was put on this earth to accomplish a certain number of things. Right now I'm so far behind I will never die.'

Neither will the U.S. Congress if it goes along with this wacky idea. According to the Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report of March 10, a coalition of health care organizations wants the legislative pay-go rules to be discarded because reform offsets and savings can extend over ten years or more. Apparently, some on Congress favor the notion and, oh, by the way, pay-go is often ignored anyway.

Well guess what. According to this short, credible, non-partisan and very telling 4 minute video by former HHS Secretary Leavitt, we don't have ten years. In fact, the day of reckoning may fall within the second term of the current administration. Even the body language is depressing.

As the DMCB has pointed out before, it's the costs stupid. Unrestrained spending without tackling the underlying cost inflation will simply make things look like we're ahead on laps, while insolvency is ready to overtake us.

Watch out Ms. Sebelius. The current crisis cautions how easy it is to go from hero to zero.

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