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Study: Health reform would be drag on Indiana economy

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If one of the more liberal health care reform proposals becomes law, Hoosier taxpayers would have to spend $425 more per person every year for the next decade, according to a study released Aug. 4 by Florida-based conservative policy group Arduin Laffer & Moore Econometrics.

The burden of those extra costs would slow the growth of Indiana’s economy 4.4 percent over the next decade compared with its expected growth if nothing were changed, the study concluded.

The study is a rare attempt to predict, at a state level, the impact of current health care reform proposals. It pins its whole analysis on this claim: that the main factor driving growth in health care costs has been the steady growth over 40 years in government financing of health care.

The Arduin Laffer & Moore study cites 2007 research by MIT economist Amy Finkelstein. She calculated that the creation of Medicare in 1965 has since been responsible for at least 40 percent of the growth in health care spending.

Indianapolis health care consultant Les Zwirn said the study reflects just one more shot in the ideological battle between free-market conservatives and Medicare-for-all liberals when the real debate in Washington is more in the center.

“The reality is, neither of these approaches will likely be enacted by Congress,” Zwirn, who is executive director of Better Healthcare for Indiana, wrote in an e-mail. “What is likely to pass is something in between.”

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