The Corner

More Government Is Not the Cure for Health Care

Yesterday President Obama spoke about his health-care agenda at the annual meeting of the American Medical Association in Chicago. Mr. Obama reiterated his desire for a public-plan option modeled after Medicare that would compete with private insurance plans. Speaking to the audience of health-care providers, Mr. Obama claimed that a public plan was about competition and would not be a “Trojan horse for a single-payer system.”

Obama at the AMA

Clive Crook, writing in yesterday’s Financial Times, challenges that contention:

Shutting it down is not the purpose of the public plan, say its Democratic supporters: the public plan is just one more choice. This is disingenuous. If the public plan had to compete on truly level terms with private plans, how would it be able “to keep them honest”? If it is going to exert the pressure it is intended to and really make a difference, it will have to flex its political muscle, its ability to attract subsidy and its superior buying power: “accept this lower reimbursement or no Medicare patients for you”. A public plan cannot be just another competitor: it is anti-competitive, and meant to be.

If a public-plan option were implemented, the government could easily stack the deck in its favor. Independent research from Lewin has indicated that a public-plan option would lead to 120 million Americans losing their private insurance and being forced into the public plan. A single-payer system would be inevitable.

Furthermore, Medicare is certainly no case study in fiscal discipline. Since Medicare became law in 1965, real per capita health-care expenditures have increased almost six fold. Medicare has not stood idly while costs have escalated either. Medicare has as much blood on its hands as anyone. Medicare has 36 trillion dollars in unfunded liabilities. The system is broke. Where are the trial lawyers when you really need them? Just imagine if a private health-insurance company was ran this poorly — forget bankruptcy court; CEOs would be carted off to jail with applause from any liberal pundit that could get in front of a microphone.

Medicare’s inadequacies are no surprise. It possesses the same deficiencies the public has become accustomed to from all forms of government. For a reminder, just take a trip to the DMV. Or better yet — how do you spell AIG?

Doctors currently waste way too much precious time bogged down in paperwork and bureaucratic red tape. Fortunately, cures exist that can improve health care in this country and return it to the patient; however, more government intervention isn’t one.

– Jason Fodeman, MD is a recent graduate of Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Most Popular

U.S.

The Gun-Control Debate Could Break America

Last night, the nation witnessed what looked a lot like an extended version of the famous “two minutes hate” from George Orwell’s novel 1984. During a CNN town hall on gun control, a furious crowd of Americans jeered at two conservatives, Marco Rubio and Dana Loesch, who stood in defense of the Second ... Read More
Religion

Billy Graham: Neither Prophet nor Theologian

Asked in 1972 if he believed in miracles, Billy Graham answered: Yes, Jesus performed some and there are many "miracles around us today, including television and airplanes." Graham was no theologian. Neither was he a prophet. Jesus said "a prophet hath no honor in his own country." Prophets take adversarial ... Read More
Film & TV

Why We Can’t Have Wakanda

SPOILERS AHEAD Black Panther is a really good movie that lives up to the hype in just about every way. Surely someone at Marvel Studios had an early doubt, reading the script and thinking: “Wait, we’re going to have hundreds of African warriors in brightly colored tribal garb, using ancient weapons, ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Obstruction Confusions

In his Lawfare critique of one of my several columns about the purported obstruction case against President Trump, Gabriel Schoenfeld loses me — as I suspect he will lose others — when he says of himself, “I do not think I am Trump-deranged.” Gabe graciously expresses fondness for me, and the feeling is ... Read More