Tuesday, September 25, 2007

HillaryCare Raises from the Dead

Fire of Liberty

I'd say that Kevin Hassett pretty much knocks it out of the park with his most recent Bloomberg column in which he notes that Senator Clinton is slowly but surely sneaking nationalized health-care through the back door while she unveils his more moderate sounding HillaryCare 2.0. Now while she may think she can take her old health care jalopy off the blocks, apply some bondo and add some new paint, the former first lady will run into individuals like Hassett who dig into the plan and reveal that it's the same socialistic wreck of 1993. Just take a look at what she has in store for America:

The Plan

The crux of Hillary's plan is an ``individual mandate,'' which requires that all Americans buy health insurance, but guarantees that the government will make insurance available to everyone at ``affordable'' prices.

To accomplish this, the plan will create a government- regulated national pool through which individuals can purchase insurance. Those who are already insured would get to choose whether to keep their current health coverage or purchase the new national plan.

Additionally, Clinton would force big businesses that don't offer health insurance to pay a tax.

In order to sell to the national pool, the government would demand that insurers cover all applicants (``guaranteed issue'') and that premium levels would have to be indiscriminate, regardless of people's health status when they apply (``community rating.'')

What's more, premiums wouldn't be allowed to exceed a predetermined fraction of total household income.

She estimates that her plan would cost $110 billion per year -- which is probably low, but who's counting?

Goodbye, Tax Cuts

To pay for it, Clinton hopes to exploit the significant savings from improved health-care technology, particularly from electronic medical records. She would also use some of the revenue from the repeal of President George W. Bush's tax cuts. Additionally, she advocated a cap on the tax deductibility of health insurance for wealthy Americans with expensive insurance coverage.

In other words, Hillary is telling every American that they must purchase a health-insurance product the government likes. This is inconsequential if you already have a plan the government will like, but a serious problem if government makes you purchase something you don't want.

Although Massachusetts is the only state to try out the individual mandate, there have been a variety of experiments with community rating and guaranteed issue by state governments. States with these regulations tended to experience higher premiums and lower rates of coverage, particularly among the healthy.

I just hope more Americans are paying attention to Hillary's stealth efforts and reject her health-care plan and seek out a more market friendly alternative that gives them a real choice.

*I prefer the ideas that are hashed out in Arnold Kling's Crisis of Abundance, David Gratzer's The Cure, Michael F. Cannon's Healthy Competition, Sally C. Pipes' Miracle Cure, think tanks like the Cato Institute, Manhattan Institute, and the Center for Health Transformation.

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