15 May 2009

More on Orzag

Well, this didn't take long:

Health Care Leaders Say Obama Overstated Their Promise to Control Costs
Hospitals and insurance companies said Thursday that President Obama had substantially overstated their promise earlier this week to reduce the growth of health spending.

Mr. Obama invited health industry leaders to the White House on Monday to trumpet their cost-control commitments. But three days later, confusion swirled in Washington as the companies’ trade associations raced to tamp down angst among members around the country.
Well you can just knock me down with a feather that the industry leaders are frantically trying to walk back their pledges, though I certainly am surprised to see it so quickly.  Interestingly, uber-nerd OMB Director Peter Orzag writes on his blog (of course he has a blog!) that it's really not as big a deal as the NYTimes makes it sound:

OMB - Blog Post - Misdiagnosis
A media report this morning makes a mountain out of a molehill – suggesting that the commitment earlier this week by health care providers and insurers to reduce cost growth was overstated. Here is what the groups stated in a letter they signed: "we will do our part to achieve your Administration’s goal of decreasing by 1.5 percentage points the annual health care spending growth rate—saving $2 trillion or more." The groups have since clarified that they may need to "ramp up" to the 1.5 percentage point reduction in the growth rate, which is understandable.
Frankly, the whole kerfuffle seems a little silly to me, bickering about the exact rate of reduction in expenses in a pledge made by multiple entities with no accountability or enforcement.   Happy talk and fluff is tough to quantify, which is difficult to reconcile with the exactitude that the Budgeteers bring to this sort of endeavor.


  1. Everyone is not going to bow to the Messiah that easily

  2. The industry leaders are frantically trying to walk back their pledges.Actually, SF, I think they were genuinely surprised that "the One" lied his ass of about the deal.

    I guess they were actually dumb enough to think he was acting in good faith.

    Hard to believe anyone would be that stupid, eh?

  3. Did you guys read the part about where the disagreement is? Jeez, why do you comment on the blog if you're not going to read the entire post?


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