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  • Morning Bell: The Road to Single Payer Goes Through the Public Plan

    President Barack Obama came a long way towards acknowledging the ultimate consequences of his health care plan yesterday. But he still has a long way to go before he comes clean with the American people. First, President Obama acknowledged that, contrary to his repeated earlier promises, his health care plan will force millions of Americans out of their current health care. Obama said: “When I say if you have your plan and you like it, and your doctor has a plan — or you have a doctor and you like your doctor, that you don’t have to change plans, what I’m saying is the government is not going to make you change plans under health reform.”

    That is a distinction without a difference. If the government creates financial incentives that cause 119 million Americans to be placed in government care, then they are culpable whether they specifically forced Americans or not. After all, Obama’s cap and trade plan does not force energy companies to raise energy prices, but Obama has, to his credit, admitted: “Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.” Americans deserve this same frankness on health care.

    Another huge admission by the President yesterday involved his insistence that any health reform include a public plan. Earlier this month, Obama told the American Medical Association: “What are not legitimate concerns are those being put forward claiming a public option is somehow a Trojan horse for a single-payer system.” But yesterday Obama admitted: “I think there can be some legitimate concerns on the part of private insurers that if any public plan is simply being subsidized by taxpayers endlessly that over time they can’t compete with the government just printing money, so there are going to be some I think legitimate debates to be had about how this private plan takes shape.”

    It’s good to see the President acknowledging that there is real legitimate concern that a government plan will inevitably lead to single-payer health care. As we have pointed out before, it is impossible for the federal government to play both umpire and competitor in any market, especially health care. Here are just some of the questions that Congress has not yet addressed: Would the public plan be subject to state premium taxes, like private health plans, or state insurance laws, or solvency requirements with the private plans in states with which it is competing? Will public plan officials be subject to the same state and federal tort laws as private firms? How about the same accounting standards as private companies? Could they be sued for breach of contracts?

    And most importantly, as the President himself identified, how can this government credibly assure the American people that a public plan will not drive private firms out of business by offering lower premiums, due to their ability to be constantly bailed out by the federal government? This is, after all, the same federal government that in just the past year has bailed out AIG, Citibank, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, General Motors, and Chrysler. If all those “private” companies were too big to fail, what intelligent American would believe for a second that the federal government would not hesitate to bail out a money-losing public health plan?

    Americans have every reason to be suspicious that the public plan is just the first step on the road to single-payer care. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) has explicitly said so. So has Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI). And in 2003, President Barack Obama told the AFL-CIO: “I happen to be a proponent of a single-payer universal health care program. … And that’s what Jim is talking about when he says everybody in, nobody out. A single-payer health care plan, a universal health care plan. And that’s what I’d like to see. But as all of you know, we may not get there immediately.” Everybody in out, nobody out; that’s Obama’s ultimate goal. And with the public plan, he’s not going to force Americans to get there, he’s just gonna make it impossible for them to choose anything else.

    Quick Hits:

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    28 Responses to Morning Bell: The Road to Single Payer Goes Through the Public Plan

    1. Whicket Williams Kin says:

      Why do they continue down this path when we have all this proof that this is a disaster? and most americans are against it?

    2. Jonathan Seid, Willi says:

      I want to pay more for fuel, electricity, health care, food, services and general merchandise. I am very pleased that we have a President who will see that this desire becomes reality. I know I will have to pay higher income taxes and higher taxes on social security and the other government plans to take care of me. It is about time we entered into the new millennium with a leader who will take us where no American has gone before.

    3. Jack Lohman says:

      OF COURSE a single-payer system would move 119 million people from their "first class" private insurance policy to a "first class" Medicare-for-all system. But as a Medicare patient for 5 years I am receiving the same HEALTH CARE as before, seeing the same doctor and hospital as before, but they send their bills to a Medicare administrator instead. Yea, your insurance industry friends will not like this, but the $400 billion saved will be used to expand care to 100% of Americans and move health care off of the corporate balance sheet, thus greatly improving our economy.

    4. Fred,Michigan says:

      This is really no different than what Obama is doing with the US auto industry except for Ford (so far.) If you buy a GM or a Chrysler you are buying from a single-seller (US gov't parnership with UAW.) The difference in that case is that there are still alternatives albeit not preferred (Toyota, Honda, VW, etc.) With healthcare there will simply be no alternatives. And in what bizarro world will that create a competitive system?

    5. Mary GS, Atlanta GA says:

      Gov. backed health care will be like any other gov. program, full of waste, fraud and substandard quality. Beside the fact that there is no money to pay for it, it has been proven that it does not work. There is no accountability in this system. You get substandard health care that is not available. My daughter starts college in the fall and is interesed in a PA program. I am not sure that is a wise choice if we get Gov. health. Many talented people may opt out. (Dr. opt out of medicare…) If congress wanted to create a better health care system they could pass the Fair Tax. Businesses would not be taxed out of the system, more Americans would go back to work and pay for and choose their own health care. It would be competitive and in the end a better system. FREE MARKET! It's that simple. The US has the best health care in the world. It can be expensive – it is worth it. NO GOV. HEALTH CARE. We deserve better.

    6. Paul Pomerville, Bro says:

      I've read your report on H.R. 2454; and a letter

      (unsigned) out of Markey's office (I think) that

      states "CBO costs about a postage stamp a day…"

      There is quite a discrepancy between Nick Loris'

      "Breaking down the costs of Waxman-Markey…",

      and the conclusions of the CBO. How can that be?

      Mark Levin (reading from Loris' detailed report)

      says Waxman-Markey would be the most expensive

      and destructive piece of legislation in American

      history.

      This much I know: man-caused global-warming or

      cooling is ridiculous and a hoax; carbon dioxide

      is a blessing without which all plants die.. as do

      all people without the oxygen they produce.

      If passed into law, 2454 will not only destroy

      our economy.. but will greatly diminish the lives

      and hopes of generations of Americans of every

      income level. This nation will never recover.

      Thank you for this opportunity.

      Paul D. Pomerville

    7. rcourt, Vermont says:

      Health Care and Education: Irrevocably Linked

      What do health care and K-12 education have in common?

      Besides being the two most costly sectors of our economy today?

      Both are third-party payer ‘systems’ that prevent any direct accountability. This lack of direct accountability between buyer & seller (in ‘gov-speak’: ‘consumer’ & ‘provider’) is the real culprit of runaway costs.

      Special interests in both the health care and public education industries line their pockets by using government to prevent the direct accountability that otherwise exists in all direct relationships.

      Obama desires a ‘public option’ to introduce competition into health care? Bully for him. Then insist that he also accept a ‘private option’ (say, vouchers) to introduce competition into K-12 education.

      If Obama sincerely wants to bring about ‘hope & change' we can believe in, require that any ‘public option’ in health care be conditioned upon an equal reform via the ‘private option’ in K-12 education.

      C'mon think tanks and pundits: Link health care and education irrevocably. Force Obama to acknowledge that for real ‘hope and change’, bipartisanship is not a one-way street. Insist on neither one without the other.

    8. A. Terranova, Ormond says:

      It isn't just the "single payer" probability that makes me cringe, it is the fact that a massive overlay of government bureaucracy will be placed on top of an already existing government bureaucracy and, as we all know and object to, that means more government control, less quality care, less accessibility to health care, more incompetent government bureaucrats making decisions that only doctors should be making and increased taxes to pay for a system that has failed in every country it has ever been tried in. In addition I don't know where Mr. Obama thinks he's going to get the doctors from to work within this structure; there aren't enough doctors working now. Many are retiring and fewer are entering the system. Will he hire foreign doctors to come in and work as independent contractors? One of my sons is a practicing physician. I know all about the many issues that Mr. Obama doesn't want to address because he knows his system is a ruse. It's a ruse because by compounding government welfare by extending health care to all of us, he creates a system beholden to him and his political party. Once socialized health care becomes a reality, our way of life will "change" dramatically and it will be to the detriment of our national sovereignty. But he already knows that which is why, in my opinion, he is cramming it down our collective throats. As for the Trojan Horse analogy, "never look a gift horse in the mouth"; run away as fast as you can! If, as Mr. Obama and many politicians keep telling us, Medicare and Medicaid are draining our system, then how is this new system going to be any different? In fact, this system would be far worse because it would cost trillions to operate. A fact: "In the 1960s, President Johnson and the Democratic Congress both projected that Medicare would cost $12 billion in 1990. Its actual cost was $111 billion – 9 times the original estimate." ("The President's Trojan Horse" by Michael O. Leavitt, secretary of the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services from 2005-09, and Jeffrey H. Anderson, senior fellow at the Pacific Research Institute) Keep in mind, this was in 1990 when far FEWER were on welfare, we had a much smaller immigrant population of illegals and there were far fewer seniors in the system than there are now and that segment is growing by leaps and bounds. This is just another lose-lose game for the American citizen and taxpayer and I oppose it.

    9. Richard Cancemi, Arl says:

      DO NOT TRUST GOVERNMENT! DO NOT TRUST OBAMA! DO NOT TRUST POLITICIANS! BE SUSPICIOUS OF EVERY STATEMENT AND PROMISE ANY OF THEM MAKE!

      WHERE DOES OBAMA COME OFF "TELLING ME"?, "FORCING ME"?, "MAKING ME"? "DECIDING FOR ME"?

      HE'S SUPPOSED TO BE A PUBLIC SERVANT! I'M SUPPOSED TO BE HIS BOSS!

      HE WAS ELECTED BY SOME OF THE PEOPLE BUT NOT ALL OF THE PEOPLE.

      NOT ANY! OF THE PEOPLE CROWNED HIM KING!

      HE IS TOTALLY OUT OF BOUNDS THINKING HE HAS THE RIGHT TO TURN THIS COUNTRY INSIDE OUT AND ON ITS HEAD!

      I SAY IMPEACH HIM FOR FLAGRANT VIOLATIONS OF THE CONSTITUTION AND THE BILL OF RIGHTS!

    10. Nelia, AZ says:

      Statement: government-run-healthcare will be like MEDICARE for all. Does anyone realize tax dollars alone do not pay for MEDICARE? As a senior citizen, a hefty amount is deducted from my monthly social security check for MEDICARE coverage. In addition, I pay a premium for secondary insurance. It works well for me, but I'm almost certain whatever Obama has in mind, will not recognize working, established programs.

    11. Jim@Redding,CA says:

      How tough is all this to figure out? The

      plain truth is: WHEN OBAMA'S LIPS ARE MOV-

      ING, HE IS LYING. The rest is a no-brainer: impeach him for repeated violations of Constitutional Law and repeal every single illegal act he has done since Jan. 20. The longer we wait,

      the more difficult it becomes to pry this

      leech out of the White House.

      Maybe I'm wrong here. Maybe you all LIKE

      LOSING THE FREEDOMS GUARANTEED TO EACH OF

      US BY THE FOUNDERS OF THIS ONCE-GREAT

      COUNTRY… If that's the case, then just

      keep doing what you've been doing:NOTHING.

    12. David Sayers, NC says:

      Like other government programs,you know the ones that government has no business being in,it will reek of fraud,waste and abuse. Of course,Obama and his hacks don't care how much it cost or how many hoops we have to jump through,it's not their dime and besides, they have their own plan. Could it be it's more about how much of an increase in the democratic voter base it will create? Obama, a legend in his own mind.

    13. Fred,Michigan says:

      The largest cost that needs to be curtailed in healthcare is the direct result of the litigious nature of this country. The ability for anyone to sue anyone for anything in the US has driven the costs of health care as follows:

      a. Mal-practice awards: no cap, generally outrageous, lawyer gets 1/3 of the windfall.

      b. The cost to doctors, hospitals, etc. for mal-practice insurance (see point a above). A relative of mine is a well established anesthesiologist and has to pay more than $200,000 per year in insurance premiums.

      c. Doctors are driven to run every test under the sun on a patient whether or not it is standard practice because IF something unpredicted occurs and they left any stone unturned (no matter how counter-indicated) they will be sued. (See point a above)

      A huge cost of healthcare in this country would be managed if the lawyers played a minor role in patient advocacy rather than the primary role. But which legislator (lawyer) in Washington would EVER push for reforms needed? Even Obama said his plan does not in any way limit these horrific abuses.

    14. Thomas Showalter, Tr says:

      A recent article by Star Parker, syndicated columnist demonstrated that those 47 million Americans without health care insurance are not the desparate people we think they are.

      Over 50% make more than $75,000 per year and could easily afford health insurance; they just choose NOT to buy it. Of the remaining 50%, half of them are illegal aliens and should NOT receive ANY services designed for citizens.

      The remaning 50% of the 50% (approximately 12 Million people) are poor, uneducated high school drop outs who are not employed. They get their health care at local emergency rooms and free clinics.

      So, Obama is proposing that we uproot the health care that is working for over 250 Million Americans in order to provide care to the 12 Million high school dropouts who get care anyway.

      Why is this such a smart move?

      Regards

      Thomas Showalter

    15. Pamela Colorado says:

      I am so upset at what is going on with all the politicians in D.C. They have shown how utterly stupid and power hungry they really are. For them it is about how much goes into their pockets by way of anyone willing to suppost them and their agenda has NOTHING to really do with the PEOPLE OF THIS COUNTRY WHO HAVE WORKED THEIR BUNS OFF FOR THE AMERICAN DREAM.

      Today I turn my computer on and what do I see—headlines of THREATS FROM N.KOREA. This is what the government was set up for—to protect us from harms way…..

      All I see with the far too long in D.C. politicians is greed, power hungry and we want to control all of you dumbies out there and not have a military to help protect this country …

      BEING GREEN is NOT going to help us when we are hit by a bomb…..it is sad that only then will people that support this administration will wake up…..

      Do away with welfare and tell them to go to work……

      Do away with UNIONs—never, ever in time has UNIONs been GOOD when they are the middle man that takes and takes. Like what I just heard on the radio when a man called in talking about his mother –84–retired a few years ago and her union–waitress- only gives her 112.a month because he pointed out that where she worked –illegals were there and ended up walking off with union money–which was never regained because—DA–they went back to mexico……

      I am in my 60 and we will NEVER BE ABLE TO RETIRE because of this administration and all of you who think that giving to the poor is the only answer. AND BEING GREEN IS GOOD FOR A FROG NAMED KERMIT AND SALADS…….

    16. Bob San Antonio,Tx says:

      It is utter stupidity to think that the government can be all things to all people.They can't take care of our veterans and now they propose to extend the same type of care to the multitude! Unbelievable! It is time to put a stop to the Mad Marxist in the whitehouse and defeat this absured program. We don't have the money now to pay for all the things the government is involved with and socialized medicine will bankrupt us. That along with CAP & TRADE are a viscious attack on the taxpaying Americans and should not be tolerated

    17. Ben C, Ann Arbor, MI says:

      June 24, 2009 Fred,Michigan writes:

      The largest cost that needs to be curtailed in healthcare is the direct result of the litigious nature of this country. The ability for anyone to sue anyone for anything in the US has driven the costs of health care as follows:

      I agree with Fred but the solution is simple: "loser pays". Because most attorneys collect only when they win there is little risk for plantiff when filing frivolous law suites. Most insurance companies pay to avoid litigation even when they know they will win the case. If, however, the countersuite always wins then attorneys will think long and hard about sueing for anything.

      Good luck getting this change in the court system.

    18. Pingback: Morning Bell: The Road to Single Payer Goes Through the Public Plan » The Foundry « Snow Report Blog

    19. Ron, Derry NH says:

      I have said this before and I will say it again. The government isn't looking to solve anything, just gain more control of what Americans choose to do with their money.

      This stimulus bubble is not repairing the economy but it has open the door for government intervention into private business at the hands of the chosen few.

      When the stimulus bubble, false economy runs out of gas, we as Americans have to pay for all this government overspending and idealized agenda spending that has no basis in economic growth, stimulus or free choice. Its basis is in coercion and government control.

      Sadly the Democrats are so drunk with power they missed the obvious solution and that is to strip away 30 years of financial protection they have given to the very industries they are bailing out.

      Break up the banks, take home mortgages away from commercial bankers, break up insurers and credit card lending banks and reinstate competition to the banking industry on every level.

      Make it illegal for insureres to package deals to groups of consumers and make insurers pay the beneficiary not the doctors, so doctors and hospitals have to wait for their money and satisfy the client.

      We basically are on the road to enveloping all our systems into racketeering and letting the government dictate the price we pay with no ability to force economic friction upon that price.

      Congress has insured that no one at the top needs to prove their value to the consumer, but have levied economic pressure via the bail out on every single person from here to the end of time, by handing over unregulated billions into the hands of those that got us here.

      It would have been cheaper to lower the taxes 5-10% across the board then to increase vapid spending like it was gift of unlimited crack cocaine to a coke head and then thinking some how that would cure the addiction.

      All Washington is doing is expanding its addiction to every crack of free America so all will be dependent on its euphoric idiocy.

    20. ella quinn n.c. says:

      If i knew how to impeach obama i would muself.Let us all figure out how soon.The ones who think all this health care will work are full of it.Jonathan i donot want to go were no america has ever been before.Go and take obama with you.

    21. ella quinn n.c. says:

      I agree pamela.

    22. Pingback: » Financial News Update - 06/24/09 NoisyRoom.net: “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. Moderation in the face of tyranny is no virtue.” Barry Goldwater

    23. Lynn B. DeSpain says:

      Wake up America! The Federal government does NOT have the right to enforce or mandate Universal Health Care for its Citizens. Go back and study our History! This is exactly one of the reasons the original Thirteen Colonies Wrote and declare the Idependence Proclimation and Bill of Rights,of the United States!

      Englandtried to force us to buy only thier products, and tax us on what they sold us. They tried to take away our gun powder to keep us from fighting back.

      In that Proclimation we wrote that England and indeed no Government, including our own hs the right to interfere with Free Trade umong the States or anywhere among the World.

      It also says that it is the right and duty of the Citizens to protect and defend these rights from our own Federal government and to replace that Government when necessary!

      The Federal Government has grown so large and broken so many promises to its people, in our living history with our Social Security System, that it is nearing time for them to be reined in and brought back under control by the People!

      Study our Bill of Rights, our Decloration of Independence, our Constitution, and then confront your Congressmen about their errors and demand that they change!

      Hozro

    24. Pat, Vancouver WA says:

      I see everyone dancing around the one word that has been on my mind since March 2009 – IMPEACHMENT! There, it's out in the open now. This health care debachle should be the straw that breaks the proviberal camel's back! In order for this country to survive as a democratic republic, Obama has to go – now.

    25. Truth Hurts,The Real says:

      Frankly speaking,This is really about him getting even with the insurance company and hospital who let mommy die the man is a certifable nut , has anyone read his fairy tales about him?It ia about him Not the citizens,Its a about abusing power and destroying the US from within! impeachment Now!!!!!

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