Perhaps the most revealing moment of Barack Obama’s presidential candidacy came in the ABC debate conducted on April 16 of last year. Charles Gibson asked the then-senator why he would possibly consider raising the capital gains tax rate, when doing so results in decreased tax revenue. Obama replied that he “would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness.”
That same impulse toward social leveling is at work in the President’s health care plan. Advocates of Obamacare are pushing to achieve universal health care coverage by offering a “government option” for health insurance. That plan will eventually result in a health care system that is more “equal” in its treatment of all Americans, those with the means to pay and those without them – but the new, uniform standard of care will be much lower for everyone.
Here’s why. As with the current Medicare and Medicaid systems, under the “government option,” the government will simply decide what it will pay doctors, hospitals and other health care providers for labor, products or services. And that’s all the doctors, hospitals and other medical personnel will get, regardless of the actual costs or value of the services they offer to those in the government plan.
Right now, of course, a deficit exists between the cost of caring for those on Medicare/Medicaid and what the government will spend on it. Accordingly, those with private insurance simply pay more to keep the hospitals solvent and the doctors working. In other words, even after paying taxes, those with private insurance subsidize the government program yet again.
But if Obama succeeds in imposing a “government option” on America, the privately insured will be forced to pay even more to compensate for the government-created cost/payment shortfall as the rolls of those in the government plan expand. As a result, the cost of private insurance will ultimately become untenable. And then – there will be only government-administered health care for all.
Without privately insured Americans subsidizing Medicare and Medicaid, there will have to be another way to close the deficit between the cost of treatments and the below-market payments government offers for them. The answer, of course, will be health care rationing. Rather than the free market – or health care consumers’ economic and personal choices – driving the distribution of health care, the government will do it.