The Public Health Care Plan: What Seems to Be the Problem?
Debunking the Myths
- Lower Costs? It's a shell game. A government plan always
looks cheaper, but the reality is that the true costs are hidden.
Costs are passed on to providers in administrative costs and lower
reimbursements, resulting in a huge cost-shift to private payers to
make up the difference.
- Quality Care? One only needs to look at current
government health plans. Medicare has huge gaps in coverage. And
Medicaid's quality is notoriously bad. The record is clear: They
offer substandard care compared to private health insurance,
especially in the areas of cancer and cardiac care. These
persistent quality deficiencies are routinely overlooked in
discussions of a government health plan.
- Increased Competition? With a public plan, the federal
government would create the rules for the "game" in which it plans
to compete. But the government would not just be a neutral umpire
in the game. It would also own one of the competing teams, namely
the public plan.
The Public Plan Won't Crowd Out Private Insurance? It's
impossible to believe that Congress and the Administration could
resist setting rules-and interpreting those rules-in favor of their
own public plan. Independent estimates show that as many as 119
million Americans would no longer be in private coverage.
- The End Goal Is Not Single-Payer? As Congresswoman
Schakowsky will tell you, the end goal is definitely a single-payer
system. That's why many supporters of a single-payer system, where
the government runs the whole health system, are suddenly converts
to choice and private competition as long as there is a public
Don't Drink the Complimentary
- Using Free Market Language Doesn't Make It a Free
Market: Proponents of a public health care plan use descriptive
Language like "competition," "choice," and "level playing field" to
give a false impression that their policies are consistent with
market principles. In reality, these policies are the very opposite
of a free market.
- The President Will Never Have Enough to Pay for It:
President Obama would like the American public to believe that he
can pay for his plan. These promises are more hopeful than real,
whether it's voluntary cost-saving by the health care community,
savings from a new global warming tax, or "sin" taxes on soda and
potato chips. What next?
An Alternative Prescription
- Take Bold Steps, Give States the Power: Instead of
expanding Washington's control of the health care system, allow
states to develop solutions that will transfer direct control of
health care dollars and personal health care decisions back to
individuals and families.
- Give Consumers a Real Choice: Give Americans a true
consumer-choice system modeled after the one available to Members
of Congress, not a façade for government-run health
- Be Imaginative: Instead of typical liberal tax hikes
combined with technocratic tinkering of administrative payments,
Congress should reform existing health care spending, where value
is secured for "payers," not patients.
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