Tag Archives: public option

Enemy of the People

LiebermanSenator Joe Lieberman vows to filibuster any health bill that includes a public option.  You have read his opinion here before.  Kudos to Mr. Lieberman for voting his conscience.  He has already been kicked out of the Democratic Party.

Response from the left has been shrill.  They are calling for the senator to be stripped of his seniority, his committee positions, and kicked out of the caucus (and tried for treason, and hanged).  How’s that for civil discourse?  Most Orwellian was the instant creation of a Facebook Page called “If Joe Lieberman filibusters health care, I will donate to his opponent,” with thousands of pledges.

The page, the photo, and the vulgar blog posts bear a disturbing resemblance to Nineteen Eighty-Four’s ritualized hating of Emmanuel Goldstein.  Meanwhile, real politicians are much more relaxed.  Senator Reid himself expressed only respect for Lieberman.

Facebook, the last refuge of scoundrels.


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Partisan Vote on Health Reform

The Economist leads this week with an exclamation of dismay that “public option” is somehow back on the table.  This is not the National Review.  The Economist is a liberal British newspaper that endorses President Obama.  Their main argument against public option is that it does nothing to reform health care.  It merely moves the (huge) unreformed cost onto the backs of taxpayers.

The Economist also notes some features conspicuously absent from the House bill, such as tort reform and interstate competition.  Public option, most observers agree, is a Trojan horse for nationalizing the industry.  The government plan will easily run private insurers out of business.

One might wonder if this kind of “reform” is really where the House should be spending its energies, given the state of America’s economy.  The Economist finds the same explanation you have read here – craven partisanship.

By resurrecting the idea of a public plan, the Democrats are serving notice that what little chance there was of a bipartisan effort on health is gone.

The House vote ran strictly on party lines.  Check your congressman’s vote on this New York Times page.  Kudos to the few Democrats who broke ranks.  President Obama should join them.

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Veto Partisan Health Bill

There is no good reason to pass costly healthcare legislation this year, with the economy in recession and the federal budget in a record deficit.  The only reason is a craven, partisan one.  House Democrats, led by Speaker Pelosi, have the votes to push the bill through despite conservative objections.

Ms. Pelosi, furthermore, refuses to let go the “public option.”  She and her followers are committed to this idea because they fundamentally mistrust the free enterprise system.  Senator Joe Lieberman – an independent – said it best:

I don’t remember another case where our answer to a concern about fairness in the marketplace — in this case whether there is real competition in the health insurance business, whether the health insurance companies are being fair in their rates, et cetera, et cetera, all important, reasonable questions — I don’t remember another case where the answer to that was to create a government-owned corporation to compete with the private sector.

Right now, the only brake on the House – and their statist approach – is the Senate.  Many Senators, including Democrats, do not support “public option.”  But the House thinks President Obama is desperate, and will sign anything.  He needs to show America that they are wrong.  A responsible leader does not sign landmark legislation without bi-partisan support.  President Obama should send Ms. Pelosi back to the drawing board.

See also: Jeremiah’s four laws of public spending.

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Public Option Still a Bad Idea

Senator Max Baucus deserves credit for putting together a half-decent bill on health care reformSenator Snowe, too, for having the “public option” removed.  A Democrat and a Republican, respectively, they showed good bi-partisan cooperation.  Unfortunately, there is no such spirit in the House, where Nancy Pelosi has vowed to bring back the provision.  Even President Obama, an early supporter of “public option,” has signaled he will sign a bill without it.

Ms. Pelosi, and others in the House, describes the provision as stick with which to beat the health insurers.  These are people who don’t believe in the free enterprise system.  Certainly, insurers need to feel the pinch –but all that’s required is to remove distortions from the health insurance market.  Create a binding individual mandate, end the deductibility of employer-paid plans, and allow interstate competition.  Once the free market goes to work, we’ll see insurers beating each other – without government help – like GEICO and Progressive.

House Socialists also like public option as a vehicle for income redistribution.  The “rich” would pay a hefty surcharge, to subsidize care for the poor.  The Baucus plan is upfront about redistribution, and accounts for it, instead of burying it in a vast new bureaucracy.  Not everyone is a fan of redistribution, but at least our leaders could be honest about it.

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Public Option A Bad Idea

Last night, President Obama presented some good ideas on health care reform.  The “public option” was not one of them.  This entity can be relied upon to suck funds out of the treasury, swell an already-bloated federal bureaucracy, and distort the insurance market.  If the president wants a vehicle for wealth redistribution, he should consider directly subsidizing premiums under the “individual mandate” outlined earlier in his speech – using tax breaks, for instance, or vouchers.

The president said he wants the public option because it will promote choice, contain costs, improve service – and end some immoral practices.  All of these goals can be met through new regulations and incentives, and by stimulating more competition.  So, why create a new and expensive agency?  Here’s the disturbing part:

Mr. Obama said that a government agency can operate more efficiently by avoiding “profits, excessive administrative costs, and executive salaries.”  If this is true, why stop with health care?  We should nationalize the airlines next – plus the schools, the post, and the auto industry.  This line of reasoning has been thoroughly discredited by experience here, and in Cuba.  Populists in Congress may disdain the fat cats and the profit motive, but free markets are ultimately cheaper for the taxpayer.

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