John Stossel

"What disturbs Americans of all ideological persuasions is the fear that almost everything, not just government, is fixed or manipulated by some powerful hidden hand," Frank Rich wrote in Sunday's New York Times.

That manipulation should disturb us. But contrary to Rich, it is not the work of "corporatists" who have sprung up to attack progressive reforms proposed by Obama and the Democratic majority. Manipulation is what we got many years ago when we traded a more or less free market for the "progressive" interventionist state. When government is big, the well-connected always have an advantage over the rest of us in influencing public policy.

Observe: Although President Obama and big-government activists demonize health-insurance companies, the companies "are still mostly on board with the president's effort to overhaul the U.S. health-care system," the Wall Street Journal reports; and ...

Although the activists criticize Big Pharma, "The drug industry has already contributed millions of dollars to advertising campaigns for the health care overhaul through the advocacy groups like Healthy Economies Now and Families USA. It has spent about $1 million on similar advertisements under its own name," the Times reports.

Big Pharma and Big Insurance want Obama-style health-care reform?

It's not so hard to understand. "The drug makers stand to gain millions of new customers," the Times said.

And from the Journal: "If health legislation succeeds, the [insurance] industry would likely get a fresh batch of new customers. In particular, many young and healthy people who currently forgo coverage would be forced to sign up." No wonder insurers are willing to stop "discriminating" against sick people. (Forget that the essence of insurance is discrimination according to risk.)

Not that Big Pharma and Big Insurance like every detail of the Democratic plan. Drug companies don't want Medicare negotiating drug prices -- for good reason. If it forces drug prices down, research and development will be discouraged. (Depending whom you believe, Obama may or may not have agreed with the drug companies on this point.)


John Stossel

John Stossel is host of "Stossel" on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of "No They Can't: Why Government Fails, but Individuals Succeed." To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at >johnstossel.com. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. ©Creators Syndicate