Supporters of the health care bills getting pushed through Congress want you to believe that their bills would be a panacea, instantly guaranteeing quality health care coverage for all while magically not increasing costs to the tax payers.   We have continually covered how that is not the case, and have outlined the numerous problems with the health care legislation currently getting pushed through by the Democrats in Congress and the President. Of course, in a 1000+ page bill, there is plenty of room for harm to be done. And as the New York Times reports there is another to fault to add to the list.

While the public has focused on the public option debate and total costs, several pet projects have managed to sneak themselves into the mix: the long-standing problem of earmarks is at work once again.  One such example comes from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). Part of the health care bill funnels money towards “comprehensive cancer centers”. At first glance, this may not seem like an earmark per se. But looking at who else sponsors this measure, and which hospitals are eligible for the increased funding, proves otherwise. Reid has shown his support for the measure, as have Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ). The amendment would cover hospitals who received their “National Cancer Institute comprehensive cancer care designation on July 27, 1978, February 17, 1998, and June 13, 2000”. Also covered is a hospital “designated on June 10, 2003, as the official cancer institute of its state”. Those dates correspond to institutes created in (you guessed it) Michigan, New Jersey, and Nevada.
The way to effective health care reform should focus on simple and effective market-based reforms to ensure success. Narrowly focused legislation, that solely benefits a small percentage of health care providers and consumers, is not the effective way to improve our system. Regardless of its form, a national health care bill has no place for such selective benefits, especially when the costs of said bill are paid for by us all. Such measures only make an objectionable bill worse.