Is there something he's not saying?
I decided to review Senator Barack Obama's health care plan. I already knew that upon election, he plans to "stop the rising of the oceans", but how, I wondered, could he perform his next miracle - the provision of affordable, equitable health care to all Americans without destroying what makes our system great?
I went to the source - www.barackobama.com. I found that his plan consists of three main strategies. Today I will discuss the first of these: "Quality, affordable, portable coverage for all".
I could find nothing new in the Senator's plan, to be honest. I had almost expected to be surprised, I guess. It basically breaks down like this:
1. Everybody will be required to have health insurance of some sort.
2. If you are currently covered, you will be required to keep coverage.
3. If you are not presently covered, your employer will be forced to provide health insurance for you.
4. Your employer (or you) can choose from either the available private health insurance plans, or a new government plan.
5. A new government regulatory agency will be created to make your insurance permanent and portable between jobs.
6. Medicaid and SCHIP will be expanded to cover even more people.
7. Those who make too much money to qualify for Medicaid or SCHIP, but not enough to afford either the "affordable" government insurance or their own private policy will be given a federal "subsidy" so that they can buy either a private plan or the new government insurance.
So there you go. Problem solved. You say there are people without insurance? Obama tells them "Let them get insurance". You say, "But not everybody can afford insurance". Obama replies, "Then I will give them money - your money - to buy insurance". What Solomonic wisdom. I should expect nothing less from the candidate so special, even the Presidential seal isn't good enough. But wait just one minute. I have a few criticisms...
1. Is it just me, or is there something a little intrusive about someone "forcing" you to have insurance. I mean, we can't even figure out if we are gutsy enough to "force" parents to have their children vaccinated or "make" Jehovah's Witness parents consent to life-saving blood transfusions for their children. Are we really going to have the gumption to force compliance with this? Keep in mind that if even one single person "opts out" then the entire thing falls like a house of cards. This is compulsory universal coverage we're talking about.
2. If there is any solution to this problem that is less palatable to me than the complete take-over of healthcare by the idiotic Washington beaureaucrats, then it is this plan, which basically allows the already-overindulged insurance industry to gain monopoly access (aided by a government fiat) to each and every American. The government health care plan as Obama envisions it would be administered by insurance companies. Big, fat insurance companies. The exact same insurance companies that Obama trusts so little that he feels it necessary to create yet another giant government agency to watch them to make sure they don't rob us all blind. Talk about putting the foxes in charge of the henhouse.
3. Your employer will be compelled to provide insurance for you. Sounds nice, right? Finally those smug bastards will get their just desserts. Employers. How they disgust us. But wait a second. However distasteful work might be, it is, of course, the way we are able to make a living - at least those of us who are not already completely dependent on the government's handouts and therefore helpless. Our employers make our personal freedom possible in a very real way. What if buying health care drives them out of business? What if they decide it's more economical for them to let me go? Am I worth what they pay me? These are questions that should be asked and answered before we throw the yoke of responsibility squarely on the necks of our employers. After all, Obama is only saying they have to provide health care. He's not saying they have to hire us or keep us on. At least not yet.
But Obama has an answer to this, too. Well, at least a partial, Obamesque answer. He plans to give a tax credit to "small businesses" so that these new expenses won't ruin them. Unfortunately, he has yet to define exactly what constitutes a "small business". One presumes that it means a company with less than $250K/year in income. Anyone making more than this has already been defined as "filthy rich" by Obama, deserving of a large tax increase to pay for their crimes. He also has yet to define how big this tax credit would be.
If I'm an employer, I think I might just opt to save myself the trouble and do everything myself.