Why does the GOP favor wasting money?

Do the Republicans in Congress have to be so so stupid on all matters of health care. A major cost-saving feature of ACA is to institute a board to make sure Medicare does not waste money paying for medical treatments that have no proven value.  Apparently, not wanting Medicare to pay for treatments of no or minimal benefit is rationing!!  Damn, damn, damn this stuff makes me mad.  The Republicans “care” about the deficit and government spending, yet they think Medicare should pay for any treatment any doctor is willing to give?!  Yglesias has the details:

There are currently two approaches to restraining the growth of Medicare spending in Washington. One, espoused by the Obama administration, is to create an Independent Payment Advisory Board which will prevent Medicare from paying for ineffective health care treatments. The other, espoused by House Republicans, is to do nothing whatsoever for the next ten years. And then to promise that nothing will ever be done to harm a precious hair on the head of a single precious person born in the good old days before 1955.

But if you were born after 1955? Then it’s simple—no Medicare for you. You get a coupon, of decreasing value, to go buy private health insurance.

Sometimes conservative pundits claim to believe that the problem with the IPAB approach is that it can’t be made to work. Other times conservative politicians dedicate themselves to fanatical defense of wasteful Medicare spending, denouncing IPAB as Kenyan socialist rationing. And Brian Beutler reports that they have a powerful tool tomake sure IPAB fails—just don’t confirm anyone:

There’s just one problem: Each of the board’s 15 members has to be confirmed by the Senate. That means filibusters and 60 vote requirements stand in the way of staffing a panel that Republicans decry as a government rationing board. And months ahead of the nominations, they’re telling Obama “good luck with that!”

“I think it would be pretty tough,” Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), the top Republican on the powerful Senate Finance Committee, told TPM Monday, when asked about confirming Obama’s nominees to IPAB. “We don’t believe in rationing, nor do we believe in an unaccountable organization like that. I mean that’s crazy.”

“I’d have to think about that. If it were changed, then probably, but the way it’s constituted now, it’d be difficult,” Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), an influential conservative in the Republican caucus, said Monday in response to a question from TPM.

Then once this effort to increase the cost-effectiveness of Medicare for all Americans is sabotaged, the success of the sabotage will become an argument in favor of scrapping Medicare altogether.

Ugh.  Worst part is I don’t see how you get around this.  Yet more evidence that the Republicans main priority is low taxes for rich people, not reducing the deficit.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

4 Responses to Why does the GOP favor wasting money?

  1. itchy says:

    Health care already is rationed and always has been. Any resource that is not infinite is rationed.

    • Steve Greene says:

      Indeed. What I realized I should have made clearer in the post is that I was using “rationing” in the ironic, oh, no, rationing is intrinsically evil sense as Republicans use it.

  2. itchy says:

    Oh, yes, I was responding to the Republicans’ use of the word as a scare tactic, not your ironic use.

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