Star Parker

What is now being billed as health care reform is but the latest chapter in a process I described in an earlier column as "Back on Uncle Sam's Plantation."

Rather than moving dysfunctional America off the welfare state, as we did with welfare reform in 1996, we are now moving the free, functioning, and once prosperous part of our nation onto the welfare state.

Bills out of committees in both the House and the Senate contain all the elements of President Obama's dream to get as many Americans onto the government health care plantation as possible.

We've got creation of the new government run insurance plan that supposedly will create new competition. We've got fines on employers who don't provide insurance and fines on individuals who don't buy it.

And we've got the trillions of dollars in new spending to subsidize insurance purchases for low to middle income Americans and expand Medicaid to get more low income Americans into it.

And, of course, we've got the massive new government bureaucracy to oversee it all.

Obama continues to tell the many millions of Americans currently insured through their employer not to worry, that "If you like your health care plan you can keep that..."

But we know this is a slight of hand. Many employers will gladly pay the fine and purge their employees into the government plan. And how will private plans possibly compete with the government plan when politicians can reach into taxpayer pockets anytime they want to keep on subsidizing it?

The Lewin Group estimates that a hundred twenty million Americans may be driven into the government plan.

And the idea that a government plan will keep, in the words of our president, "insurance companies honest"?

We've already got half the country on government health care through Medicare and Medicaid.

Harvard's Malcom Sparrow, a specialist in health-care fraud, estimates annual Medicare fraud at $85 billion.

The Government Accountability Office estimates Medicaid fraud at around $33 billion annually.

So that's $120 billion a year in government health care fraud! This is who will keep private companies ''honest?''

It defies logic and experience that we will save money and deliver better health care by expanding government control and spending.

Congressional Budget Office head Douglas Elmendorf confirms as such. CBO now estimates this proposed reform will require a trillion dollars in new expenditures and that rather than lowering the "cost curve", "the curve is being raised."

Despite all this, this horrible legislation may pass. Why?


Star Parker

Star Parker is founder and president of CURE, the Center for Urban Renewal and Education, a 501c3 think tank which explores and promotes market based public policy to fight poverty, as well as author of the newly revised Uncle Sam's Plantation: How Big Government Enslaves America's Poor and What We Can do About It.