Saturday, December 8, 2007

Clinton's Hostile Healthcare Takeover

"Canadian doctors, once quiet on the issue of private health care, elected Brian Day as president of their national association. Dr. Day is a leading critic of Canadian medicare; he opened a private surgery hospital and then challenged the government to shut it down. 'This is a country,' Dr. Day said by way of explanation, 'in which dogs can get a hip replacement in under a week and in which humans can wait two to three years.' " (David Gratzer, M.D., Manhattan Institute, from forbes of 10/01/07. Dr. Gratzer is the author of THE CURE.)

Despite widespread evidence of socialized medicine's practical failures, this country is slithering toward some sort of state-run medical system. The Democrats across the board, as well as some key Republicans, have jumped on the bandwagon for a state takeover of American medicine.

Senator Hillary Clinton, the all-but-certain Dem presidential nominee, has announced her “universal health care” plan that, she claims, “is not government-run”. Don’t believe it. She claims to have learned from her failed 1993 attempt at socialized medicine. But what did she learn? Of her 1993 plan, writes E.J. Dionne, she says “You can have a great plan…and still fail”. According to an adviser, Clinton vowed to “learn from [her] mistakes and…do it right the next time”. In other words, she will sneak her takeover plan in under the guise of freedom of choice.

So what will her non-government-run plan, called “Healthy Choices” look like? It would:

1. mandate everyone to purchase health insurance

2. mandate business to insure its employees or pay into a pool for worker
coverage (i.e., a fine).

3. mandate premiums do not exceed a certain percentage of income (i.e., price controls on insurance companies).

4. require insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions for new policies.

5. mandate insurance companies to cover every applicant for a policy.

6. forbid insurance companies from adjusting rates based on age or health status (i.e., more price controls).

7. impose a slew of new insurance policy mandates for “preventive care”, thus compounding the very policies that are driving up the cost of health insurance.

8. set up a subsidized, state-run plan to “compete” with the private insurers, virtually ensuring their demise. This would require a new or expanded federal bureacracy to administer, Clinton's protestations to the contrary notwithstanding.

In short, Clinton’s “non-government-run” scheme is a coercive death nell for the private health insurance market.

In addition, the expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) as well as the expansion of Medicare to cover people aged 55 and up (down from 65), both of which Clinton supports, would be a kind of “pincer movement” against the private market from both ends of the age spectrum.

Make no mistake, Clinton’s “non-government-run” health care scheme is socialized medicine. While attempting to camouflage her plan as one that “allows” individuals to keep their private coverage “if they like it”, her true intentions were exposed in a piece by Paul Howard of the Manhattan Institute;

"In April, Hillary spoke at a small gathering in New York. The Politico reports that she was asked why ‘she continues to see the solution . . . as private insurance, rather than a single-payer national system?’
‘Well, I didn't say that,’ she told the audience. If Democrats pick up several more Senate seats in the next elections, she said, ‘Medicare for All . . . would be something to be considered.’"

There is a weakness in her plan, though. Her use of the term “healthy choice” indicates that she believes that most Americans are still not ready to swallow a government takeover of medicine. This is also why she takes pains to point out, at every opportunity, that her plan does not involve creation of a big, new government bureaucracy (a blatantly false claim; see #8 above). Senator Clinton has apparently concluded that her (and the Democrats’) true statist intentions must be “packaged” as something that they are not.

The Orwellian double-speak that the Clinton campaign believes it must hide behind offers a huge opening to a strong opponent. It remains to be seen whether the GOP will exploit this opening. Early indications are not promising, to say the least. Most of the Republican leadership has accepted the socialist premise that every citizen has a “right” to health insurance and that it is the government’s duty to provide it. The only difference between the two parties at this point is a matter of degree and detail, not principle. Under this scenario, it is the most consistent adversary that will win, which is why America is careening by default toward the Dem’s dream of state control of medicine.

Americans deserve better. It is still early and my hope is that a Republican candidate will pick up the banner of justice and individual rights in medicine and present a true alternative to the Clinton plan. American voters deserve to be offered a clear choice in 2008 and with the Democrats lining up solidly behind the state and against the individual, it is up to the GOP to offer a plan based not on “universal coverage” but on the non-coercive, moral principles of free market capitalism.

Post Reference 14- Clintoncare

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