Friday, September 11, 2009

Obama on Healthcare II - More of the same

First, if you are among the hundreds of millions of Americans who already have health insurance through your job, Medicare, Medicaid, or the VA, nothing in this plan will require you or your employer to change the coverage or the doctor you have. Let me repeat this: nothing in our plan requires you to change what you have.

Now, I don’t know how much BHO’s plan will look like Hillary Clinton’s plan, but his speeches are certainly channeling Bill Clinton’s style of dissimulation. No, the President’s plan won't force anyone to lose anything; it will simply make it impossible for a business to remain competitive and continue to provide the plan it is is providing. No coercion there, nosiree.

But by avoiding some of the overhead that gets eaten up at private companies by profits and excessive administrative costs and executive salaries, it could provide a good deal for consumers and would also keep pressure on private insurers to keep their policies affordable and treat their customers better

Are you paying attention? “overhead that gets eaten up at private companies by profits … and executive salaries.” So we are going to have a level playing field after all. The private companies can compete successfully simply by paying their senior executives on the Civil Service scale and paying their shareholders, well, nothing.

Let’s leave aside the fact that the President is lying about the equal playing field. Obviously, an insurer that does not have to pay for its capital or compete for managers – it’s not clear why the public option companies won’t have to pay a lot for competent management, but I guess it’ll be a good place to get your ticket punched on the way to a big salary at a for-real insurance company, if there are any left when the smoke clears – such an insurer can do what it does more cheaply than can a company that actually has to raise capital in the private market and recruit real executives who know something about running an insurance company.

No, let’s leave the nonsense about competition aside. Let’s ignore Mr. Obama’s specious analogy to co-existing public and private educational systems. Let’s focus on the President’s claim that profits are somehow the problem – that the private sector could deliver better health insurance to more people if private companies weren’t saddled with the need to make money. How can the President of the United States of America denounce profits per se – not “windfall profits,” or “gouging” or “profiteering,” but the very essence of free enterprise itself as something Congress should pass a bill to obviate?

When conservatives claim that the President is a leftist – not a liberal, but a leftist – they sound shrill. But what are we to call a man who thinks profit is overhead, or that executive talent grows on trees? These are precisely the things that socialists and communists believe. They believe not only that the profit motive is corrupt – it certainly can be corrupting -but that ipso facto an economy can operate without it, and it is government’s job to see to it that it does.

The President’s speech was downright Orwellian. Not only does his plan do what he says it won’t do – compel businesses (by the gravity of competition rather than the force of law) to drop their private plans in favor of a one-size fits all public plan – but it reveals his complete and frightening alienation from the entrepreneurial model that drives our economy and, by extension, the economies of all of the less entrepreneurial states (read, Canada and Europe) that live off our innovation and hide behind the military shield our wealth supports.

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