Tag Archives: public option

Ten Reasons ObamaCare is a Government Takeover of Health Care

From the Galen Institute’s Resource Guide for Candidates:

Ten Reasons ObamaCare is
A Government Takeover of Health Care
The 2,700-page Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act created the architecture for the government-controlled health care system that the administration is busily constructing through thousands of pages of regulation. Yet some argue that ObamaCare isn’t a government takeover of health care. Here are ten reasons why it is:
  1. MANDATES For the first time ever, the federal government will force citizens to use their own money to purchase a private product. The fact that the Supreme Court says the penalty for not complying is a tax does not diminish this breathtaking assertion of federal authority. Americans now are compelled to purchase an expensive health insurance product every month for their entire lives. What’s the next purchase the government will compel?
  2. GOVERNMENT DECIDES The federal government will also determine what health care benefits are “essential” — not us, not our doctors, but government bureaucrats.
  3. REGULATIONS Doctors and hospitals will face an avalanche of new reporting rules to make sure they are providing medical services that fit the government’s definition of “quality care.”
  4. 159 NEW BUREAUCRACIES The legislation creates at least 159 new boards, commissions, and programs that will rule over virtually every corner of the health care sector.
  5. STATES The states are being treated like contractors to the federal government, not sovereign entities empowered by the Constitution. They are ordered to set up new exchange bureaucracies lest the federal government sweep in and do it for them.
  6. EMPLOYER MANDATE Any employer with more than 50 employees must provide government-decreed health insurance to its workers — or face financial penalties.
  7. LOSING CURRENT COVERAGE Nearly 80 million people will not have the option of keeping the coverage they get through their jobs, according to results of a survey from McKinsey & Company. Many of them will be forced into the government-run health insurance exchanges.
  8. HIGHER SPENDING ObamaCare dramatically expands the number of people whose health coverage will be paid for entirely or in part by taxpayers, giving the government more power to decide which medical services millions more people will receive — or not.
  9. PRIVACY In order to parcel out taxpayer subsidies for insurance, the government and employers are going to need to know a lot more about us. An estimated 16,500 more IRS agents will be needed to check on our income and any changes to family status and our compliance with this massive new law.
  10. PUBLIC PLANS The law creates the infrastructure for public plans by requiring a federal agency to sponsor at least two national health plans. If private plans are crushed by ObamaCare’s regulations or simply turned into government contractors, these government plans could dominate the market, leading to the government-run health care system that the majority of Americans deplore.

We hope you find this Pro Patient Minute useful. Please feel free to circulate this to friends, family, and associates who need to know the truth about ObamaCare. The whole series is available on our website as Galen Guides. I encourage you to use these resources, distribute them to your networks, and share your ideas with us about how to reach as many people as possible with this message. Our freedom hangs in the balance!

See also:

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“Public option”: kept alive by health control bill?

[Post updated in response to Max’s comment. Thanks!]
The San Francisco Examiner reports:

Remember when Obama and congressional Democrats made a big show of dropping the public option government insurance program that was supposedly going to give private insurers competition and drive rates down? The truth is the public option is alive and well, residing in Section 1334, pages 97-100, of the new health care law. That section gives the U.S. Office of Personnel Management — which presently manages the federal civil service — new responsibilities: establishing and running two entirely new government health insurance programs to compete directly with private insurance companies in every state with coverage for people outside of government.

I have not substantiated the claims I quoted in the above Examiner article.  The editors appear to draw on this publication from the Heritage Foundation: The Office of Personnel Management: A Power Player in America’s Health Insurance Markets? The abstract states:

On Christmas Eve 2009, the U.S. Senate passed a mammoth health care bill [HR 3590] that would dramatically expand the role of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Why should Americans care about this? OPM is the government agency that runs the federal civil service and also administers the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program–and does a decent job at both. But with its new powers, OPM would no longer merely act as referee in the annual competition among private health plans trying to attract federal workers. OPM would become the official sponsor of at least two national health plans (read: public option) that would compete against private plans in every state in the country. The possibility of OPM’s new role opens up a near-endless array of questions and concerns. In a panel discussion on January 20, 2010, hosted by The Heritage Foundation, four health policy experts, including three former OPM directors, address some of them.

I’ll look into this more when I get a chance.

For more of the Barney Frank video, see: Barney Frank: “public option” is “best way to reach single payer”.

Also check out Scott Harrington’s Wall Street Journal article, The ‘Public Plan’ Would Be the Only Plan:It’s impossible for private insurers to ‘compete’ with government.

(Examiner article via FIRM, video via Jon Caldara)

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Michael Bennet’s lame support for “public option” via reconciliation

The Denver Post reports:

U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet is pressing colleagues to use a procedural tool known as reconciliation to pass health-reform legislation — and to include the controversial public-insurance option in the bill. …

“Much of the public identifies a public option as the key component of health care reform — and as the best thing we can do to stand up for regular people against big insurance companies,” said the letter, which so far has garnered signatures from six other Senate Democrats.

As for reconciliation, Michael Tanner of Cato explains it this way:
The last, desperate gasp would be to use an arcane procedure known as reconciliation to pass health care reform with just 51 votes. But doing so would require Senate Democrats to overcome all manner of procedural hurdles. Reconciliation cannot be used for policy as opposed to budgetary issues. That means Democrats would have to drop some of their more popular proposals like the ban on preexisting conditions. They would be left with a bill that did little more than expand Medicaid and other subsidies, raise taxes, and cut Medicare. How popular would that be?
But maybe there’s a way to finagle the rules to pass more through the reconciliation process.  For more details on this, see Keith Hennessey’s two in-depth posts on this issue:

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Joe Lieberman on the public health plan

“It doesn’t help one poor person get insurance who doesn’t have it now. It doesn’t compel one insurance company to provide insurance to somebody who has an illness.  And . . . it doesn’t do anything to reduce the cost of insurance.” — Joe Lieberman, Wall Street Journal, Dec. 5 2009

This means a lot coming from a former Democratic Party vice presidential nominee.

(Via Scott Harrington)

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Public health plan: if it were a basketball game

Both the House and Senate care bills include a new government-run health plan.  (See the Wall Street Journal‘s comparison.) In June I wrote the following:

Supporters of the “public insurance option,” that is, government-run insurance that competes with commercial insurers sense opposition: People realize it’s unfair competition. You know, like playing basketball against a team of players who also function as the referees.

Either my post inspired someone at the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest to make following video or (more likely) someone there thought of it independently:

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If government has a “public option” for cable TV

The Center for Medicine in the Public Interest made a clever and to-the-point video showing how a “public option” would play out:

(Via FIRM, State House Call)

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“Opting out” of the “public option”

The Wall Street Journal reported last week:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, stepping deeper into the health-care debate, put his weight Thursday behind a proposal that would create a new government-run insurance plan while giving states the option not to participate.

Roger Pilon of Cato asks the pertinent question:

Will residents in states that opt-out be able to opt-out of the taxes needed to support the public option? (Please don’t say the public option will be self-supporting: we’re grown-ups.)

Michael Cannon comments:

Taxpayers in every state will have to subsidize Fannie Med, either implicitly or explicitly.  What state official will say, “I don’t care if my constituents are subsidizing Fannie Med, I’m not going to let my constituents get their money back”?  State officials are obsessed with maximizing their share of federal dollars.  Voters will crucify officials who opt out.  Fannie Med supporters know that.  They’re counting on it.

A state opt-out provision does not make Fannie Med any more moderate.  It is not a concession.  It is merely the latest entreaty from the Spider to the Fly.

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