• Weekly Column: We Pay Them to Lie to Us

      As the long battle over health care is rejoined in the Senate this week, experts remain deeply divided over whether the legislation would rein in soaring health-care costs or simply add millions of people to a system that is already driving the nation toward bankruptcy.

      That’s from today’s Washington Post. Expanding health coverage for millions of people while reining in health care costs is quite a trick. And that’s exactly what the health care legislation pending in Congress amounts to: A magic trick. In my syndicated column, I try to find the difference between magicians and politicians:

      The key to magic is misdirection, fooling the audience into looking in the wrong direction.

      I happily suspend disbelief when a magician says he'll saw a woman in half. That's entertainment. But when Harry Reid says he'll give 30 million additional people health coverage while cutting the deficit, improving health care and reducing its cost, it's not entertaining. It's incredible.

      … To be deficit-reducers, the health care bills depend on a $200 billion cut in Medicare. Current law requires cuts in payments to doctors, but let's get real: Those cuts will never happen. The idea that Congress will "save $200 billion" by reducing payments for groups as influential as doctors and retirees is laughable. Since 2003, Congress has suspended those "required" cuts each year.

      … If a business pulled the accounting tricks the politicians get away with, the owners would be in prison.

      More magic tricks here.

      Health Care
      Syndicated Column