Friday, October 16, 2009

Congress is bent on making "Public Option" Inevitable

The phrase "public option," when it comes to the health care debate, has become so poisonous that everyone who supports socialized medicine have distanced themselves from that language. No longer will the government mandate everyone to be on "public" insurance. Rather, the government is going to force everyone out of private options and to government care. It is not as "cut and dry" as the approach they prefer and some (the very rich) will still enjoy private coverage, but the vast majority will find themselves with no other practical option than the government.

Peter Landers of the Wall Street Journal reports that "Insurance companies have another made-to-order report saying that the Senate Finance Committee's health bill would drive up health costs." Citing a report from PriceWaterHouseCooper, Landers notes that "The Oliver Wyman report says that unless the Senate beefs up the proposed mandate on Americans to carry insurance, average annual medical claims five years after the overhaul takes effect would be 50% higher than today, not accounting for medical inflation. That would increase the premiums for family coverage by $3,300 in today's dollars, it says." Many families who are struggling to hold on to the health insurance they have will feel forced to give up that private option, especially if there is a government option in the wings and regardless of how poor of an alternative it is.

That is the other side of the two edged sword; not only will Obamacare drive up the prices of health insurance for all those who stay in the private option, it will also put taxes on virtually everyone to pay for it, including (or maybe, especially) those who are already paying for insurance of their own. Just like those individuals forced to pay property taxes while their own kids attend private schools, socialized health care will mandate every taxpayer to pay for the services, even if they are not using the programs themselves.

The demagogues that are currently driving the debate are telling those that have private insurance (approximately 85 percent of the population according to US News and World Reports) will continue to have such after a socialized medicine program becomes law. The truth is, they might have the right, but between being forced to pay for a service they do not want to use and having the cost of the insurance they want to use growing exponentially, they will find themselves "crowded out" of the private option and forced in to the public one.

Because of the same "crowding out" effect in education (people being forced to pay taxes for it, even if they prefer their children to go to private school), 90 percent of all children in the US are in public schools. In England, where public health care is financed in a similar way as we are moving, 90 percent of the population is under socialized medicine. This is not a mere coincidence, but a clear warning for us today.
Kevin Price is Host of the Price of Business, the longest running show on AM 650 (M-F at 11 am) in Houston, Texas and on AOL Radio. His articles often appear in Chicago Sun Times, Reuters, USA Today, and other national media. Steve Moore of the Wall Street Journal calls Price the “best business talk show host in the country.” Find out why and visit his blog at www.BizPlusBlog.com and his show site at www.PriceofBusiness.com. You can also find Price on Strategy Room at FoxNews.com.

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