Sunday, August 16, 2009

Obamacare's Demise is Democrat's Gain

Cross-posted over at We're hearing news now that Obamacare is on the chopping block:

WASHINGTON – Bowing to Republican pressure, President Barack Obama 's administration signaled on Sunday it is ready to abandon the idea of giving Americans the option of government-run insurance as part of a new health care system.
I think the administration might have been thinking about this move for a few weeks now. The powergrab started out 'healthcare reform' and suddenly renamed itself 'health insurance reform', which many of us assumed was obviously a stab at re-branding the dying dream of Obamacare. It's looking like 'health insurance reform' is exactly what we're going to get now - and it's nefarious influence on the free market is what the Democrats will be interested in... not insuring "47 million people." Obama's retreat here will not be civil, he's going to make sure Americans are begging him to take over healthcare by election time in three years. The article from the dreaded Associated Press continues:
Officials from both political parties reached across the aisle in an effort to find compromises on proposals they left behind when they returned to their districts for an August recess. Obama had sought the government to run a health insurance organization to help cover the nation's almost 50 million uninsured, but he never made it a deal breaker in a broad set of ideas that has Republicans unified in opposition.
Under a proposal by Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., consumer-owned nonprofit cooperatives would sell insurance in competition with private industry, not unlike the way electric and agriculture co-ops operate, especially in rural states such as his own. With $3 billion to $4 billion in initial support from the government, the co-ops would operate under a national structure with state affiliates, but independent of the government. They would be required to maintain the type of financial reserves that private companies are required to keep in case of unexpectedly high claims. "I think there will be a competitor to private insurers," [Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen] Sebelius said. "That's really the essential part, is you don't turn over the whole new marketplace to private insurance companies and trust them to do the right thing."
Yes - God save us from the private insurance companies. Instead we'll have 'consumers' running a subsidized competing entity to keep the market honest? How is the ill effect any different, even when operating "under a national structure with state affiliates, but independent of the government"? It's still a government attack on the free market whether or not you think we ought to change how we deliver healthcare in America. Obama has changed his tune but he hasn't altered his aim. Obama's strategy now will be to use the 'health insurance reform' movement to create market pressures that drive profits down and ultimately undermine the solvency of private insurance companies. Obama's retreat comes after a brutal beating in the polls that even started to bite into his personal approval numbers, not to mention his political numbers. He should have taken his own words to heart - 'it's going to take 10, 15, maybe 20 years to get to single payer.' The first step toward that goal was a long jump, and who would expect anything else from bills led by the likes of Pelosi and Reid; it was a liberal gift bag of statist pipe dreams. Would you put your political future in the hands of those two? What was Obama thinking? This was a smart move reframe the takeover as one now being led by "consumer-owned nonprofit cooperatives." If he gets away with the sleight of terms he'll have stopped the heavy bleeding and given his party enough time to push back against the Republicans before next year's mid-term elections. Next topic: What have we learned from this battle against our government?

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