Wishful Thinking About Healthcare Costs

Liberals are counting on Obamacare to generate efficiencies that they believe will contain healthcare costs. One of the more celebrated initiatives is the adoption of electronic medical records, but hold on, the significant efficiencies expected from electronic record keeping might not be forthcoming after all.

According to a new study by the RAND Corporation, “electronic medical records have failed to live up to expectations for reducing costs.” Obviously, it’s too soon to know the ultimate impact of electronic record keeping, and most likely computerization will generate some efficiencies (healthcare shouldn’t be an exception to the benefits of computers). But these expectations still seem to be a good example of liberals’ wishful thinking about centrally planned health-care.

Obamacare does not encourage competition in provider markets, and so, even if some record keeping efficiencies do materialize, it’s unlikely the savings will be passed on to consumers in the absence of competition. And if at that point, the liberals in charge decide to get to those savings by implementing price controls for all of healthcare, then the game will be over. We can look forward to low quality, stagnation, and eventual decline of the system.

Blogger Mickey Kaus uses the news of the RAND study to raise what he calls the epistemo-logical mystery of Ezra Klein, who writes for the Washington Post and continually touts the benefits of electronic records. As Kaus himself is a liberal, it’s nothing short of remarkable to see him wonder if Klein is “deluding himself and his readers” about the efficacy of electronic record keeping and follows up by asking:

Hoaxer, self-hoaxer, or just confused? When they are through with Manti Te’o  maybe the nation’s amateur detectives can turn to Klein.

In fact, the nation’s amateur detectives need only read a few of Klein’s articles and posts to realize that he worships centralized, authoritarian government, and it’s especially refreshing to see someone like Kaus call him on it.

P.S. – Kaus is a liberal worth paying attention to as he actually thinks and reasons about issues, even if his reasoning leads to conclusions that might upset other liberals. So, the real mystery isn’t so much about Ezra Klein as it is about Mickey Kaus:  why did he ever vote for Obama?

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