Focus Point - So-called Patient Protection

Commentary by Pete du Pont

I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis. When are unintended consequences no longer unintended? If you know bad things are going to come from supposedly beneficial actions, it seems to me we can't claim surprise.

Case in point: the patients' bill of rights. The senate version's a costly mess. The house version closest to the senate, the Dingell-Ganske-Norwood bill, would do just the opposite of what it's intended to do: protect patients.

Based on actuarial analysis by the Health Insurance Association of America, the bill would increase the number of people without health insurance by 6.5 million. About 3.7 million would have no insurance, 2.8 million would go to public programs like medicare, thus increasing the bill for taxpayers. Most severely hit: low-income workers and their families. The reason is that the number of employers offering health insurance coverage in 2003 would drop five percent compared to those offering coverage next year.

So, the same people who cry loudest about America's uninsured are set to add to their numbers by millions. This makes sense?

Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont. Next time, killing suvs.