Paul Howard at City Journal points out that improving the quality of healthcare, while a noble and worthwhile goal, won’t save anyone any money, so we shouldn’t pretend that it will:
President Obama has made many promises about his health-reform agenda, but none looms larger than: You will save money. Not only has the president promised to lower consumers health-insurance bills; he says his plan will trim federal spending as well. Thus, when the head of the Congressional Budget Office (Congresss fiscal watchdog) testified last Friday that none of the bills under consideration in the House or Senate would rein in spendingand that all would likely increase itthe presidents reform push took a heavy hit. The CBOs assessment underscored an important reality about health care. Lowering health-care costs (which have been rising faster than inflation for decades, except for a brief period in the 1990s) while improving quality is possible, but its awfully hard, for one simple reason: when it comes to health-care spending, death is the only really cheap option.