Now that many Americans realize the Obamacare bills in Congress herald a government takeover of U.S. health care, they can’t afford to relax.
Yes, their voices -- raised in town halls and other forums -- sent surprised liberals and “progressives” scurrying to regroup. A few even repudiated the idea that a “public option” (that is, a government health plan) is necessary to fix the system.
But now is the most dangerous phase, not the time to celebrate, for those of us who believe real reform doesn’t involve more government control.
Watch out. President Obama and the liberals on Capitol Hill will come back, one way or another, with alternative paths toward their ultimate goals.
Look for those routes to include:
• Legislation to enroll millions more children and adults from middle- and upper-middle-class families in the government’s ever-expanding children’s health program (known as SCHIP).
• “Rights” bills to make “affordable” health care and drugs the law of the land, which would mean sweeping price controls.
Regrettably, history shows many Republican lawmakers -- conservatives included -- will fall for such ruses so they can vote “for” something.
Of course, conservatives aren’t against health care reform, no matter how many times President Obama, the majority leadership in Congress and big media say so. We’re simply against their idea of reform.
We are for a conservative vision of health care reform, one based on principles emphasized for years by The Heritage Foundation and others. It’s a vision that springs from the traditional American approach of gradualism and experimentation, rather than the European approach of micromanagement and central planning.
Most Americans will share a vision, assuming they hear it communicated, that includes these elements:
• Proceeding stage by stage, rather than rushing to make major changes in a health care system so big it’s equivalent to the world’s sixth-largest economy (bigger than Britain). Let’s test each stage to be sure it works before building the next.
• Working agreements between the private sector and state and local governments. They would design simpler but more sensible insurance rules, reinsurance systems and other changes to see that sicker Americans can get coverage.
• Allowing families to buy and keep the health insurance that suits their needs, regardless of employer or state borders.
• Making the tax code neutral on insurance choices, rather than biased toward employer-sponsored coverage.