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Killer Competition

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

Do private companies want to kill their customers?

It seems like a goofy question. Clearly, if a company killed its customers, there’d be nobody to buy its products and it’d go out of business. But many liberals don’t see it that way. In their eyes, a powerful government is all that’s protecting us from dangerous killer corporations. Look no further than the infamous health-care summit for proof.

“We could set up a system where food was probably cheaper than it is right now,” President Obama explained, “if we just eliminated meat inspectors and -- and we eliminated any regulations in terms of how food’s distributed and how it’s stored.”

Well, yes we could. And why would that be bad, exactly? “I’ll bet, in terms of drug prices, we would definitely reduce prescription drug prices if we didn’t have a drug administration that makes sure that we test the drugs so that they don’t kill us,” the president concluded.

So, meat companies, drug manufacturers -- they’d apparently be happy to kill you if they could. Just be glad you’ve got Washington’s efficient bureaucrats standing between you and them.

Sean Hannity FREE

The truth, of course, is that the free-enterprise system and its drive for profits is what really protects us. Remember the Topps Meat Company of New Jersey? Probably not.

In the fall of 2007 it shipped frozen hamburgers tainted with E. coli. It recalled the meat, but ended up shutting down almost immediately. “In one week we have gone from the largest U.S. manufacturer of frozen hamburgers to a company that cannot overcome the economic reality of a recall this large,” COO Anthony D’Urso announced. No government bureaucracy could react that quickly or decisively. No doubt other meat companies took note.

So too with drugs. The Food and Drug Administration’s approval process is flawed, and may be keeping life-saving drugs off the market. “Today, not only can the agency not lead, it cannot even keep up with the advances in science,” the Science and Technology Subcommittee of the FDA Science Board admitted after an internal review in 2007.

That brings us back to health care. In one respect at least, the president’s summit meeting was useful. It allowed liberals to detail what they really want. Not “reform” that “bends the cost curve,” but a federal takeover of the insurance system.

“It’s time to stop segregating people on the basis of their health,” declared Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa. “The more people in the pool, the cheaper it is for everybody. You start setting up these pools, you’re going to make it more expensive and you’re going to be segregating people on the basis of health. Let’s think about that. It’s time to stop that kind of segregation in our country.”

Of course, the only way to achieve that goal is to have everybody in the same pool. That’s not a pool at all. It’s a Canadian-style single-payer system. Socialized medicine by another name.

Vice President Joe Biden echoed these sentiments when he compared insurance reform to the creation of Social Security. “It was mandated, and it was mandated because everybody knew you couldn’t get insurance unless everybody was in the pool. And they knew if only some people were in the pool, what would happen is, a lot of people, when they got old, we’d take care of them anyway, and you’d have to pay for them.”

Well, true. We all do have to pay, and play plenty -- even those of us who never expect to see a dime back. But Social Security isn’t an insurance plan; it’s a Ponzi scheme. Today’s taxes pay for today’s benefits. When tomorrow’s benefits come due, we’ll either have to raise taxes, cut spending or renege on our nation’s promises. There are no good options.

To repeat: if we decide to put everyone into the same “pool,” it’s not insurance, just a way of managing spending by the federal government, which will be the single-payer. So if liberals want a system with everyone in the same pool, they should immediately stop claiming Americans can keep their existing insurance.

Obama opened the meeting by claiming that he’s put forward “a plan that works with the existing system, the employer-based system, the private health care system, but allows a lot of people who currently don’t have health care to get health care. More importantly, for the vast majority of people who do have some health care, it allows them to get a better deal.”

Americans know that’s not true. That’s why, when the smoke from the summit clears, they’ll still oppose Obamacare. It’s merely a question now of whether our elected officials will heed the will of the people, or flout it.

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