Monday, September 29, 2008

Budget/Spending Creep

I learned from my Sunday World-Herald about the personal situation of a Douglas County Board colleague regarding a vote to extend coverage in the county health plan to several new conditions. As one who voted no, I wonder if the focus on the personal issue obscures another issue: Now that we’ve expanded the coverage, how will we pay for it?

The cost increase for preserving the existing plan was 14.2 percent. That’s a “yikes” all by itself. Covering the additional conditions will push the cost 10-30 percent higher than what already was on the table for the existing plan. Some county employees had urged the board to vote no on additional coverage because they already were staring at a likely premium increase without expanding the coverage.

The county could absorb the increased cost, which is tempting when you’re playing with other people’s money. Political philosophers have written that democracy can’t work in the long run because politicians and citizens can’t resist voting themselves access to other people’s money – keep expanding what government provides and stick someone else with the tab.

I’ll be interested to hear how my colleagues who voted for the expanded coverage plan to pay for it.

1 comment:

OmaSteak said...

Congratulations to the County Board for voting to expand their own health insurance converage to include "excess sweating" and "fat reduction" surgery. Maybe the commissioners who requested and voted for the expansion should have the "fat head reduction" surgery first. Where is the extra money going to come from??? You have to be kidding in even asking the question. It's going to come from taxpayers just like all the rest of the money does. I'd be deeply embarassed to be a member of such an unethical self-serving body...but then again I'm not a politician, which by definition requires a "certain flexibility" in one's ethics.