Monday, June 22, 2009

National Government Run Health Care

From Net Right Nation --
A headline in today’s edition of Roll Call summarizes the health care debate this week: “More Hurdles for Health Care.” Democrats struggled with their various health care proposals last week in the wake of inconvenient reports that the two health care bills in the Senate would likely cost in excess of $1 trillion and would fail to cover all uninsured Americans. This week, more problems are surfacing as Americans get a better look at what President Obama and Democrats are proposing to do.

First, Democrats may have problems with each other when they attempt to merge bills being written in the Senate’s Finance and HELP committees. Roll Call notes, “last week, it was increasingly apparent that these two Senate committees are working on separate, and conflicting, tracks.” While the HELP bill includes a government-run insurance plan that could cost $1.6 trillion over ten years, the Finance bill does not include one. But the Finance bill is estimated to cost $1 trillion, and Democrats are now hastily rewriting it to lower the cost, widening the gap with the HELP bill. Not only that, the lead Democrat legislators on the committees seem to have different goals in mind. On Thursday, Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT), who is writing the HELP bill said, “my goal is not bipartisanship,” and also dismissed cost projections for it. Yet Sen. Max Baucus, chairman of the Finance Committee, said, “I think it’s very important to get a good, bipartisan bill” and is quite concerned with reducing cost projections for his bill.

Indeed, the cost of these health care reforms, and particularly that of government-run health plans, has become a key issue. The Washington Post’s Fred Hiatt sees the writing on the wall, pointing out, “it is quite likely that any legislation that emerges will create a hugely expensive health-care entitlement with no guarantee of the upward cost spiral being slowed.” Saturday, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell [video]discussed this issue. “Throughout this debate . . . the administration’s central argument has been that America needs health care reform for the sake of the economy. Yet according to independent estimates, every health care proposal Democrats on Capitol Hill have offered would only hurt the economy.”

The policies being pushed by Democrats and President Obama look more and more problematic as Americans get a better look at them. Yesterday, George Will explained key problems with the idea of a government-run insurance plan. “The Lewin Group estimates that 70% of the 172 million persons privately covered might be drawn, or pushed, to the government plan. . . . Assurances that the government plan would play by the rules that private insurers play by are implausible. Government is incapable of behaving like market-disciplined private insurers. Competition from the public option must be unfair because government does not need to make a profit and has enormous pricing and negotiating powers. Besides, unless the point of a government plan is to be cheaper, it is pointless.”

A costly government-run insurance plan that pulls people out of the insurance they already have with a $1 trillion-plus price tag that the country can’t afford is not the right direction on health reform. The Hertitage Foundation reports "You Can’t Trust Obama on Health Care" and concludes "The American people know what the true costs of government-run health care would be: lower quality, less access, and less choice. As the health care debate continues this summer, and the reality behind Obama’s rhetoric is exposed, we’ll see how many people still support a government-run health insurance plan.

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