Posted 10/23/2009 07:30 PM ET
Health Reform: Congress' planned health care revolution will be bad enough without a government-run option. With it, Euro-style socialism becomes inevitable. It's time for a bipartisan way out of this disaster.
Last week proved Democrats want as much big government control as possible in the huge medical sector of the economy. The president's advisers said he's still committed to a government-run public option, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi lined up three versions of such a plan and the Senate majority leader announced a public plan with a state opt-out.
Why is the public option back at all? It seemed dead after a study earlier this year indicated such a plan would mean private health insurers could lose nearly 120 million customers.
Described as being "prized by liberals as a fundamental pillar of reform," the public option is really a way to put capitalistic America on a path toward socialized medicine.
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Barney Frank, a longtime co-sponsor of single-payer legislation, said in July, "I think the best way we're gonna get single-payer, the only way, is to have a public option and demonstrate its strength and its power." Why not just enact single-payer? "We don't have the votes for it," Frank replied.
The public option was conceived by leftist organizations such as the Campaign for America's Future years ago because polls showed the American people liked private health insurance and would never go for a direct government takeover. Ex-Sen. John Edwards' presidential campaign embraced it as "stealth single-payer," and the campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama followed suit.
Renegade Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine may be the one to thank if this new medical entitlement becomes reality, at a time when government accountants warn that Washington is spending the country toward a fiscal doomsday.
The president is reportedly smitten with Snowe's public option "trigger" — an idea that comes down to this: If private insurers charge customers more than Uncle Sam dictates as they deal with all the new costs Washington imposes, the federal government will become their unfair competitor and wreck the private health insurance industry.
With or without a government-run option, the Democrats' radical transformation of the greatest health care system in the world still means reams of new regulations on private insurers, including the likely end of anti-trust protection.
It means fines for those — especially the young — who won't buy what will become high-priced insurance. It may slap uncooperative employers with an 8% payroll tax. And it may impose a $460 billion, 5.4% income tax surcharge sure to kill private sector jobs.
It's time for new ideas, like the expanded private coverage options of the Patients' Choice Act, backed by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Sens. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and Richard Burr, R-N.C.
As Ryan warns, the federal government would run health care "with the compassion of the IRS, the efficiency of the Post Office and the incompetence of Katrina."