The question seems like a joke, right? Yet because so much of our elite media class wants Elizabeth Warren to win, they are contorting themselves into every possible direction to make this one sound coherent. It is not a question of whether total nominal expenditures on health care go up or down, but rather of thinking through incidence and opportunity cost and where the real burdens of the plan will fall. Those are the core themes of my Bloomberg column, here is one excerpt:
Another part of the plan is to pay lower prices — 70% lower — for branded prescription drugs. That is supposed to save about $1.7 trillion, but again focus on which opportunities are lost. Lower drug prices will mean fewer new drugs are developed. There is good evidence that pharmaceuticals are among the most cost-effective ways of saving human lives, so the resulting higher mortality and illness might be especially severe.
And the close:
Warren’s proposals, when all is said and done, are best viewed not as a way of paying for her program but as a series of admissions about just how expensive it would be. Whether or not you call those taxes, they are very real burdens — and many of them will end up falling on the middle class.
It’s really hard to pick out which part of her plan is most insane?: – Lowering brand drug pricing by 70%? – CMS paying specialists less money – Taxing unrealized capital gains – Claim hiring more IRS agents will raise $2.3 trillion – “Not one penny in middle-class tax increases”
Here is more from Peter Suderman.