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Herding Us Into ObamaCare

Think you'll have a real choice between private insurance and a nationalized health system? Think again. (Also read Richard Fernandez: Getting Better)

by
Jennifer Rubin

Bio

July 26, 2009 - 12:39 am
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Hence, we see the need for Orwellian structures to regulate and limit “costs” — which means regulating and limiting care. Capretta and Yuval again:

So, now, at the eleventh hour, the president is hailing a new approach — vast new powers for a board of experts in Washington to set rules and calibrate fees — as the secret to cutting costs and bringing the system under control, first within Medicare and then beyond. But in a system as complex as ours, this is a recipe for one-size-fits-all inefficiency and the shortages, misallocations, and waiting lines that come with it. This is even worse than simple rationing; it is an attempt at technocratic central planning for a country of over 300 million people.

In PJTV’s health care forum, Levin explained exactly how this very painful rationing plan operates. He calls ObamaCare a “herding” plan which would drop more and more of us into the public option plan. You will have everyone, he explains, forced in effect into a “very long line” for health care. And then we also get drug price controls, limiting money available for life-saving new drug development.

The cost-ration conundrum is the inevitable result of the Democrats’ insistence that “health care reform” means government-run health care. There are of course cheaper ways to provide health care (e.g., swapping employer-provided insurance for tax credit) and real ways of eliminating some costs (e.g., tort reform) but these hold little interest for liberals. The point here is to have government-run health care.

This is no secret. Liberals call it scare-mongering when contrary facts are introduced, but in fact liberals themselves have long talked about schemes like the public option as a gateway to single-payer, nationalized health care. They too understand the public’s aversion to “nationalized health care.” So the solution, from their perspective, is to set and rig the rules so eventually all or most of us slide into government-managed care.

As Rep. Paul Ryan explains:

The public option is not designed to keep private insurance honest but to make private insurance go away.

A new government-run plan would stack the deck against any would-be competitors. The private sector has to pay taxes; the government collects taxes. The private sector has to account for its employees and benefits, while maintaining minimum reserve requirements; the government does not. The private sector pays whatever rates it negotiates with providers; the government dictates payments.

The August recess and the months of debate to follow will afford all of us the chance to learn just what it means to be “herded” into government-managed plans. If it sounds frightening, it is. And deprived of their strategy of rushing health care through before the public and Congress can get their bearings, the Obama administration will now have to explain why we should put health care decisions for 300 million Americans in the hands of government bureaucrats. That realization, coupled with the staggering cost of the plan, may in fact drive a stake through ObamaCare. Let’s hope so.

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Jennifer Rubin blogs at the Washington Post.
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