The Democrat Health Care "Competition" Mirage

Kevin Glass
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Posted: Jul 06, 2009 5:18 PM
Will Wilkinson has a poignant piece on health care reform today highlighting that the "public plan" is either needless or dangerous.

[T]he point of the public plan is what? To put competitive pressure on private plan providers, thereby controlling costs? Sure, because when you listen to left-leaning speakers talk about health-care reform in front of left-leaning audiences, they just won’t shut up about how important it is to make sure consumers have more choices in the health plan market and about all the great ideas for making private-sector health plans more competitive!

...Keep an eye out for the following dynamic in the debate.
(1) Republicans push hard on the idea that a public option is a “trojan horse” or “back door” to single-payer.
(2) Democrats loudly deny with exasperated, eye-rolling annoyance that the public option has anything whatsoever to do with backing into single-payer.
(3) Republicans say, Well, okay. Then I guess you won’t mind structuring the public plan in a way that will help ensure that it competes with, but can’t use implicit and explicit government subsidies to crowd out, private plans.
(4) Democrats freak out about a “neutered” or “watered-down” public plan. It just so happens, they say, that in order to work – to improve the quality of care and keep costs from rising – a government-run plan has to be set up in exactly the way you’d want to set it up if you were trying to crowd out the rest of the market. But we aren’t trying to do that!!!