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Human Exceptionalism

Life and dignity with Wesley J. Smith.

National Health Care on the Way! Well, Maybe Not



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They brought it on themselves, the private health insurers. Raising rates, cherry picking, too often trying to game people. So, now with the election of Barack Obama, the LA Times announces that there is a "consensus" to legally implement some form of nationally mandated health insurance. From the story:
After decades of failed efforts to reshape the nation's health care system, a consensus appears to be emerging in Washington about how to achieve the elusive goal of providing medical insurance to all Americans.

The answer, say leading groups of businesses, hospitals, doctors, labor unions and insurance companies--as well as senior lawmakers on Capitol Hill and members of the new Obama administration--is unprecedented government intervention to create a system of universal protection.
Except there really isn't. While our handlers agree that it won't be a Canadian style single payer plan--good--nor a McCain style free market approach, and there will be a need to control costs and guarantee quality--good luck with that--there isn't much else that is agreed upon:
Among the issues to be decided as more concrete proposals emerge in the months ahead is whether the roughly 46 million uninsured people in the U.S. will be pushed to buy private coverage or will be enrolled in a government insurance program, as some consumer groups want.

Hospitals and doctors fear another public program would reduce what they are paid, as Medicare and Medicaid have done. Insurers worry they could lose customers to the government.

Also unresolved is what mechanisms might be created to force individuals or businesses to get insurance, both potentially contentious subjects.

And few have tackled how the government will control costs and set standards of care, proposals that raise the unpopular prospect of federal regulators dictating which doctors Americans can see and what drugs they can take.
As I have written before here at SHS, they are not even tackling the big ones in the story, among which are: Will abortion be covered in the basic coverage that must be provided everyone? Since any government plan will include taxpayer money, expect pro lifers to fight against it tooth and tong. But if it isn't included, the NARAL and Planned Parenthood sector will bellow like an attacking grizzly bear.

And what about illegal aliens? Millions of the 46 million uninsured have no right to be in the USA. Will a mandatory policy cover them also? If so, the bank will definitely break as millions more travel here from around the world to get good health care. Also, there will be a huge fight if the government tries to impose utilitarian and invidiously discriminatory rationing regimens on us, such as based on age or "quality of life."

Then there is the black hole of debt we've incurred in the last month, which it seems to me sinks any ambitious new plan.

And then the judges will want their say.

Consensus? Sure, until you actually try to decide something. But there is some good news: As Secretary of State, at least Hillary won't be involved.


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