Thursday, April 08, 2010

When does more become too much?

It is often, though not always, the case that more is better. But there always comes a point at which more becomes too much.

Thanks to the advice and generosity of Chris Van Gorder, CEO of Scripps Health in San Diego, I have recently finished reading a book titled The Heart of Power by David Blumenthal and James Moroni, respectively of Harvard and Brown Universities.

Beginning with Franklin Roosevelt, the book discusses each President (except Ford) and the approach he has taken to healthcare-related issues.

One of the generalities arrived at by the authors is that a President’s success in pursuing healthcare legislation is dependent, in large part, on his ability to muzzle economists. They suggest that any President pursuing a healthcare agenda has to downplay the cost involved since it is almost impossible to get such legislation enacted if the ‘true’ cost becomes known. The influence of economists within the federal government has grown during this period and they can be counted on to express concern about the legislation being proposed, based on realistic estimates of its cost.

I have no idea whether President Obama has read the book or knows about it, but he obviously followed the advice of Blumenthal and Moroni. He was able to keep the economists under control and succeeded in getting a law passed. As with all other such legislation, the cost will surely be much greater than was represented during the debate.

The question is whether this is the time that more becomes too much. Time will tell.

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