Donald Lambro

One of the least noticed but biggest policymaking changes in her plan would transfer health-care regulatory authority from states to the federal government. "I think it ultimately leads to more government-run health care. There is no way around that," said Charles Kahn, president of the Federation of American Hospitals.

Then there is the specter of price controls in her plan, which would invariably lead to health-care shortages, longer waiting periods and poorer service. "In her explanation of the federal rules, Mrs. Clinton says that national rules would help insure universal coverage, preventing persons from being charged 'excessive' premiums, while preventing 'excessive' profits on the part of insurance companies," said Robert Moffit, director of the Center for Health Policy Studies at the Heritage Foundation.

"There are no explicit price controls, but obviously federal officials will be charged with making sure these objectives are met," Moffit said in an analysis of the Clinton plan.

Clinton insists she would let people keep the private plans they have now, but part of her plan would allow Americans to buy into federal health-care plans -- putting the feds into direct competition with private-sector health insurance, which is the backbone of the health-care industry.

"If there is a public alternative to the private market, the public market is going to have a hard time competing," Kahn told me.

This isn't the direction that health-care reform should be taking. "Instead of socialized medicine," Club for Growth's Toomey said, "we should be deregulating the health-insurance industry and opening it up to innovative reform that increases competition and lowers prices, making health care more affordable for everyone."

For example: Arizona Rep. John Shadegg's Healthcare Choice Act, which would allow insurance companies to comply with any state's regulatory rules and let them to sell plans in all 50 states, is a needed reform.

Another solution to help bring down premium prices is to eliminate the costly web of government health-care mandates that have driven up prices beyond the pocketbook of many Americans. Let insurance companies offer a broader choice of plans under a larger range of prices.

In the meantime, Hillary Clinton's second stab at health-care reform has led to many of the same complaints heard in 1994. Maybe she didn't learn from her mistakes after all.


Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.