Sunday, August 16, 2009

Kathleen Sebelius: Public Option 'Not Essential Element' of ObamaCare

The Rhetorican's got the news, "Public Option? We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Public Option!"

I'm just inscreasingly astounded when listening to Democrats arguing that greater government control is going to "restore" competition to insurance markets. Here's John King's interview with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on this morning's "State of the Union":

Sebelius argues at one point that "it's good to have consumer choice ... to let people choose an option in the new marketplace .. and it's good to have competition for private insurers who will inherit a lot of new customers."

It's almost mindboggling to listen to this, Orwellian even. Governments do not promote competition in markets. Governments regulate markets. One of the biggest marketplace inefficiencies right now is that consumers cannot buy private insurance across state lines. As Michael Tanner has pointed out in his article, "
Obama Kills Health Competition":

Obama's plan ... will ultimately result in less competition, not more ... Though few realize it, it's illegal to purchase health insurance across state lines. This effectively creates insurance cartels in each state. Tear down this barrier to interstate commerce, and you'd instantly increase competition.


And note something else: The Democrats at taking one step back to allow two steps forward (a classic Leninist prinicple). Don't believe for a second that a public option is off the table. By demonizing insurance companies, the administration's hoping to deflect criticism of ObamaCare onto the "greedy insurance monopolies"

For more on that, see my piece yesterday, "Obama's Town Hall at Grand Junction, Colorado: 'Nobody's Holding Insurance Companies Accountable'."
Plus, CNN, "Sebelius: There will be competition with private insurers" (via Memeorandum).


Pete Muldoon said...

Mind boggling? That seems a bit hyperbolic, doesn't it?

By the way, government does promote competition in markets. That's why they have regulation. Ever heard of the Sherman Anti Trust Act?

The problem with health insurance companies is that they don't cover everyone. If they are a profit-driven company, they cannot do this. So if universal coverage is important, we are going to find a different way.

Do you have any suggestions? Or do you reject the premise, which is that we should provide basic health care for everyone?

Rich Casebolt said...

Pete, the problem isn't so much the lofty ideal of "universal" coverage (more or less lofty, depending on how comprehensive you want that coverage to be) ...

... it is who is in control: the individual, or a government that will gravitate towards monopoly control of the health care system, leaving no recourse or work-around when it errs or abuses its power.

You asked for suggestions? Here's mine: health care reform should be empowering We the People -- not government ...

... through reining in the lawsuit lottery, to cut costs in both money and time ...

... through increasing competition by allowing the purchase of insurance across state lines ...

... through giving individual policies the same tax treatment as employer-purchased group plans ...

The first will lower health care costs; the other two will open up more options for people to obtain appropriate insurance for their situation ... as opposed to a one-size-fits-all plan driven by politics and ideology.

Add to that more private-sector charitable efforts ... perhaps encouraged by changes in the tax laws? That would help catch those who fall through the cracks, when the other systems fail individuals ... without the risk of the public-option "safety net" turning into a spider-web for everyone.

Whether or not it is called "Obamacare", ANY plan from ANYONE that places more power in the hands of the government and/or does not include individual-empowering solutions like those above, DEMANDS vigorous opposition on our part.