Hillary Clinton is asking for a giant do over when it comes to health care reform. After nearly single handedly bringing about the failure of her husband’s health care package, the former first lady careful crafted her latest proposal to appear different in style and substance from her earlier attempt. Don’t be fooled, however, this is simply a smaller step toward the same goal.
She would like you to believe that her plan is reasonable and cost effective reform. But no matter how many times she uses the word choice or insists that her plan doesn’t involve a new government bureaucracy, the fact is that this plan is another step toward government-controlled health care.
Hillary’s plan mandates health care coverage for both employers and individuals. Employers have to offer it and individuals, regardless of their employment, have to have it. Her plan doesn’t specify the punishments for failing to comply - she is leaving that decision up to Congress. She did, however, go so far as to suggest that proof of health insurance could be required in order to get a job! So we once again have government deciding what you can and can’t do to provide for yourself and your family.
Secondly, if coverage is required someone is going to have to decide what qualifies as such. Do you think this is going to be left to individuals? No, there will soon be standards and regulations that specify exactly what type of insurance and coverage are required, the documents required, etc. Hillary argues that her plan won’t require a new government bureaucracy, but this assertion requires, to adopt her own turn of phrase, a “willing suspension of disbelief.” Government mandates always mean more oversight, more paper work, and more bureaucracy.
By refusing to allow insurance companies to manage risk and allocate costs Hillary’s plan will also inevitably lead to rationing of care. When you socialize and subsidize costs you get increased costs because the end user isn’t paying the true cost of the care – if something is free or cheap why not use more of it. At some point the costs are going to be prohibitive and the government will step in to impose restraint. This means limiting care or access to care.
In the same way by socializing costs and removing the profit motive, Hillary’s plan will stifle the very innovation that has led to so many health care breakthroughs. Instead of allowing private research to lead the way, she proposes a government agency to study best practices and recommend cost saving measures. When was the last time a government panel outperformed the private sector?
As if this increasing government control and involvement wasn’t bad enough, Hillary’s plan willfully ignores the looming entitlement crises, will lead to higher taxes, and undermine economic growth.
Hillary’s plan simply wishes away fundamental economics. The laws of supply and demand do not go away by wishing them so. And the nature of government control doesn’t change simply by saying the word choice over and over again.
Hillary promises everything to everyone: refundable tax credits and increased spending on government programs for those who can’t afford coverage; mandated coverage for everyone no matter what the health condition; tax credits for small businesses that can’t afford to offer coverage.
It doesn’t take an accountant to figure out that this sort of system is going to cost a lot of money. This means higher taxes. Oh sure, Hillary promises she will only tax the rich. But as the spending goes through the roof watch how surprisingly broad the definition of “the rich” becomes.
On top of all of this, Hillary’s plan exacerbates the looming entitlement crisis. Entitlement programs like Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security are already causing budget problems at the state and federal level and the Baby Boom generation threatens to bankrupt the system. Hillary’s plan increases eligibility and spending on these very programs at a time when they threaten to bust the budget and stagnate the economy.
Don’t be fooled by the spin. Hillary’s latest proposal is simply a better packaged less complicated version of the government run monstrosity she proposed previously. It may take a few more steps to get there, but it is still the path to government run health care.