Friday, July 15, 2011

Obamacare: We Have To Pass The Bill To See What’s In The Bill

In what I am sure is going to be a recurring theme, a bi-partisan group of lawmakers have introduced legislation that will repeal a section of Obamacare that is proving to be unpopular. (I know, I know…the bill in its entirety is unpopular, but I’m referring to the parts of the bill that are SO unpopular that even now as partisans duke it out, they agree on this).

It seems that a provision of the new health care law that was meant to reduce costs has instead, wait for it, RAISED costs and produced excess waste and waiting time:

Lawmakers in the House and Senate introduced bipartisan legislation Thursday to remove restrictions on tax-exempt health spending accounts, the latest provision of the healthcare reform law to come under attack by Democrats.

The bill would nix a provision that since January has required a prescription for buying over-the-counter medicines with medical savings accounts such as Flexible Spending Arrangements and Health Savings Accounts. The language was added as a way to keep the bill’s costs down because it was estimated to save $5 billion over 10 years by cutting down on unnecessary drug purchases.

Of course, those who are familiar with the thinking that incentives drive behavior would predict that requiring people to get a doctor’s note for over the counter medication to save money would increase the amount of people going to the doctor understand that this idea is a non-starter. But those who don’t understand this [liberals] are somewhat shocked at the development:

But it appears to have had the opposite effect of increasing people’s use of medical services. Indeed, many doctors complain that they’re seeing patients for the sole purpose of writing out prescriptions for over-the-counter medicines.