The Problem Isn’t the Public Option
Conservatives are rightly pleased with yesterday’s rejection of a new government insurance scheme within the emerging Senate health-reform legislation. But there are still ways for proponents to resurrect the idea later on, so continuing vigilance is required.
More importantly, however, winning that one battle won’t win the war. It is critically important that we all understand what will happen if a Baucus-type bill passes even without a government-run plan or government-sponsored cooperatives. Once the federal government enacts a mandate that businesses or individuals purchase government-approved health insurance — along with new regulations that essentially abolish real insurance in favor of mandatory, prepaid health care for all comers — the resulting political dynamic will lead inevitably to the unraveling of the private market and a government takeover in the future. Once lawmakers and the special-interest lobbyists they listen to gain the ability to dictate the details of health plans to unwilling buyers, consumer-driven health care will be doomed.
The problem, then, isn’t a “public option.” It’s a government mandate.