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Archive for July 19th, 2009

The great American experiment has given the world greater choice with higher quality at a lower price than any other system in the history of mankind. I was in Children’s Foot Locker today, and there were polo-type shirts for kids for $4.99 a piece. I could always choose to buy Ralph Lauren’s but probably at a cost of $49.99 a piece. The choice and selection is mine. Our healthcare system, despite being the most responsive in the world as measured by the World Health Organization, does not have much choice. If Pelosi/Kennedy care comes to fruition, we’ll have even less choice (and according to the Congressional Budget Office — higher cost).

So, what do people really want in healthcare? According to a Rasmussen poll released yesterday (the whole poll can be found here):

Sixty-one percent (61%) of voters nationwide say that cost is the biggest health care problem facing the nation today. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 21% believe the lack of universal health insurance coverage is a bigger problem.

Cost of coverage beats universal coverage by a factor of 3X. Instead of fighting the success of the American experiment (higher quality, more choice, less cost) and implement a government-monopoly, why not move toward transporable Health Savings Accounts? This direction would have the added benefit that it is what people actually want since according to the poll “by a 50% to 35% margin, Americans oppose the creation of a government insurance company to compete with private insurers.”

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I’ve written before that I will know that the Congress has gotten the whole healthcare thing done correctly if & only if they give up their plan for the one that they dump on the rest of the country. Well, Republican Tom Coburn is trying to make Congress do just that. Unfortunately, the Democrats think that it is a terrible idea. To paraphrase George Orwell’s Animal Farm, “All people are equal, just some people are more equal than others.” The following is a nice Opinion piece on it from the Wallstreet Journal (The original article can be found here). I find the justification for the only ‘No’ Republican vote, cast by Senator Judd Gregg, particularly humorous…

In the health debate, liberals sing Hari Krishnas to the “public option” — a new federal insurance program like Medicare — but if it’s good enough for the middle class, then surely it’s good enough for the political class too? As it happens, more than a few Democrats disagree.

On Tuesday, the Senate health committee voted 12-11 in favor of a two-page amendment courtesy of Republican Tom Coburn that would require all Members and their staffs to enroll in any new government-run health plan. Yet all Democrats — with the exceptions of acting chairman Chris Dodd, Barbara Mikulski and Ted Kennedy via proxy — voted nay.

In other words, Sherrod Brown and Sheldon Whitehouse won’t themselves join a plan that “will offer benefits that are as good as those available through private insurance plans — or better,” as the Ohio and Rhode Island liberals put it in a recent op-ed. And even a self-described socialist like Vermont’s Bernie Sanders, who supports a government-only system, wouldn’t sign himself up.

Of course, they also qualify now for generous Congressional coverage. Most Americans won’t have the same choice. Some will be transferred to the new entitlement as it uses its taxpayer bankroll to dominate insurance markets. Others work for businesses that will find it easier to dump their policies and move employees to the federal rolls. Democrats also know that the public option will try to control health spending by squeezing payments made to doctors and hospitals, and by not paying for treatments that Washington decides are too expensive, which will result in inferior care.

No doubt Mr. Dodd acceded to the Coburn amendment to blunt such objections, and in any case he’ll strip it out later in some backroom. Judd Gregg was the only GOP Senator to oppose it, on humanitarian grounds. As he told us in an interview, the public option “will be so bad that I don’t think anyone should be forced to join.”

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