McCain's Healthcare "Cost Cutting" May Have Unintended Cost Nightmare Attached To It
by architek, Sat Jun 07, 2008 at 02:59:42 PM EDT
I was just doing some research on John McCains's healthcare proposals and I came across something which I think is VERY important. Right now, there are very few international companies in the US healthcare market, which is apparently good.. for the reasons explained in the following..
Obviously, trade agreements are a mixed bag. However, they can have hidden gotchas, which often, few of us understand. However, we would expect Presidential candidates to know far more than average citizens about these agreements. Which is why the following is -perhaps- surprising!?
John McCain wants - under the guise of saving us money, wants us to create a "national health care market" that would "facilitate entry of more foreign health care providers" into the US market. Well, there could be a huge hidden cost to that. It could pre-empt alternative methods of cutting costs, ones which have been proposed by both Obama and McCain. For example:
McCain Proposal for National Health Care Market Would Raise Cost of Removing U.S. Health Care from WTO Jurisdiction
McCain has proposed the development of a "national health care market" that would facilitate entry of
more foreign health care providers and thus make it far more costly for the United States to withdraw
the health care sector from WTO jurisdiction. While McCain has provided few details about the
proposal, implementing a real national insurance market would inherently require greatly reducing the
role of states, for instance with the federal government taking control of licensing and standards now
under state authority.
Pre-empting the authority of U.S. states in this area is a key demand of foreign insurance companies in
the context of the WTO's Doha Round of negotiations.42 European and other foreign insurance firms
have long considered U.S. state-level regulation of the insurance market to be a market access barrier
because it requires that they must obtain licenses in each of the 50 states in order to provide insurance
services on a national basis.43 Since the insurance sector and health services are already covered under
the GATS, new federal law that would preempt such existing state authority would facilitate the entry
of foreign service-providers into the U.S. market. "
HOWEVER....now read closely...
"Once the flood gates are open and many foreign
health insurance and health service providers are in the U.S. market, it would be significantly more
costly for future administrations to remove the health care sector from WTO coverage, as all WTO
nations with firms in the U.S. market or with an interest in the market would have to be compensated
under WTO rules.44
Unless U.S. health care services are withdrawn from coverage under various trade rules, federal
and state governments' future abilities to effectively regulate the delivery of health care services,
implement health care reform measures designed to expand access, and reduce the cost of health
care could be stymied. Because the United States must provide compensation under WTO rules
before removing U.S. health care policy from WTO jurisdiction, quick action to do so will be
much less costly, before more foreign insurance and health care providers enter the U.S. market."
That was taken from a report on the chilling impact of our existing trade agreements on the promises made by the nominees that came out a few months ago..
In this case, eliminating state regs and thereby encouraging foreign companies to enter the US health insurance market, could cause an presumptively unintended permanent lock-in! One that would be very expensive to leave- very expensive!