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Administration Contradictions on Health Care   June 28th, 2009
In the course of several days, differing things have been said       

 
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If you're having a hard time figuring out what President Obama supports regarding health care reform, you're not alone. He has been making contradictory statements.

In his ABC Informercial last week, the president said the following:

The president said there should be a "legitimate concern" about the ability of private insurers to compete with a public plan only "if the public plan is simply eating [from] the taxpayer trough."

If that were the case, it would be tough for private insurers to compete, Obama said. If, on the other hand, the "public plan must collect premiums and provide [good] services" like private insurers, then private insurers should have no problem competing with a public option, he said.


This is plausibly true: If the government plan were truly collecting premiums and its entire cost were being paid for by those premiums, then the government plan is essentially just another insurance company. I'm not exactly sure what the point of yet another insurance company is, but I don't doubt the private sector could compete and it wouldn't cost a dime of public money since it would be covered by the premiums paid by those that get their health coverage through the program.

However, today, we have the following:

The White House left open the possibility Sunday that President Obama could tax employer-provided health insurance to pay for his $1 trillion universal health care plan, a violation of the president's campaign pledge to not raise taxes on middle-class families.


Not only is it a violation of his campaign pledge to not raise taxes on middle-class families, it's a contradiction in what he said just last week in his infomercial.

If the program is being paid for by taxing the benefits offered by private companies purchasing health care through private insurers, how can it be argued that that the plan isn't "simply eating [from] the taxpayer trough." Or just as importantly, how can private insurers compete with the government when the government is funding its program (competition for private insurers) by taxing the value of the benefits offered by those private insurers?

To put it simply, if Sony offers TVs and the government decides Sony needs some competition, and the government decides to give TVs to everyone by taxing the value of TVs that Sony sells, how can Sony possibly compete with that? Sony is paying its own costs and paying the costs of the government alternative that is funded with Sony's own money! Every TV Sony sells gives money to the government to compete with Sony! How is that fair?

Taxing health care benefits to fund a government "public option" is a recipe for a quick spiral into "single-payer" where government is the only provider of health care. This will not decrease the costs of health care. It will increase them and very possibly eventually bankrupt the country.

There is no free lunch. Insuring everyone in the country will not reduce costs, it will increase them. Getting government involved will not make things better, it will make them worse. Inserting government into the medical industry will not increase efficiencies, it will decrease efficiencies. And having a government or "public option" that is funded by anything except direct premiums paid by those that are covered is a recipe for a single-payer government-run system--a takeover of the health care industry by the federal government.

The Obama Administration is not being honest regarding its intentions for the health care industry. Nothing that the president seems to support makes any sense in any context other than an eventual move to a single-payer government-run health industry. That is to say, the socialization of the health care industry.

This is bad, bad policy.


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