Critical Condition

Hatch Has Been Closed, It Seems

Given Sen. Orrin Hatch’s past squishiness on health care, this is a good sign:

Kennedy’s death could galvanize Democrats to stand behind a bill and push it forward, Hatch said. But he doubts it. “We’ll just have to see,” he said.

Hatch, who spoke to an audience Wednesday at The Sutherland Institute, a conservative public policy think tank, blasted President Barack Obama’s plans for health reform.

He argued a proposed public insurance option would dismantle the private insurance market. It is a slippery slope to a single-payer system, and ultimately socialized medicine, he said.

“The administration, they wrote a totally partisan bill that has an awful lot of bad stuff in it,” he said.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates some 10 million Americans would leave the private insurance market if offered a public plan, Hatch said. The Lewin Group, a health and human services consulting firm, thinks the number could reach 119 million, he added.

Either way, “it’s going to be a lot of people,” Hatch said. “Sooner or later they’re going to do away with the private insurance market, which would be a catastrophe.”

Even proposed health care co-ops, he said, are “a Trojan horse for a public plan anyway.”

Now we just have to make sure that Hatch and other members don’t fall for a fall “compromise” that facilitates an eventual government takeover by imposing new federal regulations on health plans.

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