Reports Challenge Healthcare Reform Proposals

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A Campbell-Graves study of the National Flood Insurance Program looks at the consequences of using private industry to solve an essential public need. The concluding section and accompanying video explain implications of the report's findings on public options, healthcare reform, and the use of private insurance to solve a cost problem.

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Reform legislation is backwards. Congress switched from addressing healthcare cost problems to subsidizing the insurance industry. Reforms ignore the fact that costs are the problem.

Campbell-Graves.org released today its twelve-month study of the National Flood Insurance Program along with a video report explaining the implications of that study on healthcare reform efforts.

The Pass Through: Compromising America's Public Interests is part of a new report series on government insurance programs and their effects on middle-income families. Similarities between the flood program and healthcare reforms are notable.

Public Options & the Insurance Illusion is a video report that applies The Pass Through findings to understanding the effects of proposed healthcare reforms.

Both reports raise questions about long-standing ideologies that frame how public solutions should work. Some program designs cannot succeed.

According to project founder, Phil Campbell-Graves, "Reform legislation is backwards. Congress switched from addressing healthcare cost problems to subsidizing the insurance industry. Reforms ignore the fact that costs are the problem."

Flood loss and healthcare reform legislation share a number of similarities:

  • Each addresses an essential public need resulting from private industry failing to serve a large portion of that need;
  • Each stems from cost problems, with both sets of costs (flood losses and medical expenses) growing far faster than the economy;
  • Each addresses complex issues, with practical solutions requiring multiple and, at times, competing functions;
  • Each has a primary insurance function that relies on private industry; and,
  • Each faces a pressing need to take action.

A sixth similarity raises concerns. With both, delaying action is problematic. The flood program illustrates how some actions worsen the problem.

Lawmakers say the National Flood Insurance Program saves a little over $1 billion a year in flood losses. The numbers say something else. Over the past 31-years, taxpayers and consumers paid $54 billion to 'save' $36 billion in losses. The program increased costs by 50 percent. Congress is pushing healthcare reform down a similar path.

All healthcare reforms proposed in Congress lock America into an inefficient financing model. Because costs paid by the public for an essential public need are 'taxes,' reform proposals, from both sides of the aisle, increase taxes. They also hide the increase.

Consumers and taxpayers enjoy no benefit from the increase in costs. It wastes scarce family resources. Contrasting political rhetoric, Campbell-Graves contends, "Inefficient programs are uniquely un-American - they undermine America's public interests."

The Pass Through report and Public Options video are in a 56-megabyte Acrobat Portfolio (pdf), available at campbell-graves.org.

For more information on these reports or the related public-awareness campaign, please visit the Press Information Page or contact Phil Campbell-Graves (888-543-5130).

ABOUT CAMPBELL-GRAVES.ORG: Campbell-Graves.org is a non-partisan public service project, founded in 1997. It focuses on policy topics related to the economy, mortgages, investments, taxes, and retirement.

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