THE SAPIENT SPARROW: conservatism for commoners

"What has always made the State a hell on earth has been precisely that man has tried to make it his heaven."–Holderlin


Obamacare Version 4.0 snuck up on us.

This morning Fox News reported that on Wednesday, Mr. Obama will announce a “smaller version” of his Healthcare plan that may include some “Republican ideas”.  He really was listening during the bi-partisan “Healthcare Summit”.  Uh-huh.

There seems to be some confusion among the Democrats about exactly how much “smaller” Version 4.0 will be.  Nancy Pelosi opined that it will be “big enough”.  So, smaller, but not that much smaller.  A price tag of around $1 trillion over the next ten years is still probable.  The prevailing opinion is that this scaled back version would still seek to cover an additional 30 million people over the next ten years.  (Note the important point that healthcare coverage does not equal actual healthcare).  This plan is expected to still include mandates for everyone to buy health insurance, and it would still include government regulations on insurance companies and employers.  Despite excluding a government-run health insurance plan that would “compete” with private companies, the mandates and regulations nevertheless smack of a government take over of the health insurance industry.

Including the Republican ideas for tort reform and buying across state lines might be a step in the right direction, depending on how they are actually implemented.  During the “Healthcare Summit”, Mr. Obama seemed to be willfully misunderstanding the difference between allowing people OUT of a state to buy elsewhere vs. allowing companies INTO a state in order to sell policies.  Melody Barnes, a White House policy advisor, parrots the President’s position:

“We’re going to be borrowing from those conversations…to come up with a bill that we hope can receive bipartisan support,” Barnes said.

Press Secretary Robert Gibbs indicated Friday that the White House would work on GOP ideas for health reform over the weekend. Barnes identified two: tort reform and allowing insurers to sell policies across state lines. (My emphasis).

The Democrats seem to artlessly misstate the Republican idea of buying health insurance across state lines, pretending that they are proposing the same thing Republicans are—they are not.   This provision as the Democrats interpret it begs the question: What will be done, if anything, about state mandates?  As long as these are in place, increasing the number of companies that are allowed to compete within a state would make no appreciable difference in the cost of coverage, since they, too, will be required to only provide policies that meet the mandates of a state.  This will not create true competition, nor does it offer true freedom of choice.  And how Mr. Obama and the Democrats will define “tort reform” is anyone’s guess.

Putting lipstick on a pig does not come close to describing what Obamacare Version 4.0 will attempt to do.  It’s more like gluing feathers onto a pig in an effort to convince us that it is really a kosher turkey!  No matter how it is spun, passing this kind of bill creates the foundation for socializing American healthcare.  Will it be enough to garner the necessary Democrat votes in the House?  Maybe.  Will it convince the American people that it is a bi-partisan bill?  I don’t think so.   Bottom line—kill this turkey, because it’s still the same pig it always was, and this pig  just can’t fly .


Filed under: congress, healthcare, LEGISLATION, , , , , , , ,

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