Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Obama's Health Care Plan - Stealth Single Payer System

Nice review of Obama's Healthcare Plan by Mona Charen.

Obama has embraced the "play or pay" concept first offered by Michael Dukakis. In order to solve the problem of the 47 million uninsured, Obama would require all but the smallest businesses to either offer health insurance that meets government guidelines, or pay a tax that would finance government-provided health insurance. The Obama plan doesn't offer many specifics but most analysts agree that the Commonwealth Fund's health proposal is nearly identical. It would impose a 7 percent tax. Since the tax would almost certainly be less onerous to employers than expensive health care plans, more and more businesses would opt for the tax, forcing private insurers to raise rates even more. Once the stampede got going it would be impossible to stop. The private insurance market would collapse.

What the U.S. would have then would be pretty much Medicare for everyone — or single payer.

Around the world, single-payer systems keep costs down by rationing care. A Cato Institute study found that in Norway, health care is funded through general tax revenues (taxes consume 45 percent of GDP). But Norwegians commonly travel abroad to avoid long waits. "Approximately 280,000 Norwegians are estimated to be waiting for care on any given day (out of a population of just 4.6 million)." In Britain, "delays in receiving treatment are often so long that nearly 20 percent of colon cancer patients considered treatable when first diagnosed are incurable by the time treatment is finally offered." Even in France, whose system gets high marks from international raters, bureaucratic rigidity contributed to the deaths of 15,000 elderly people in the heat wave of 2003.

If Obama, Pelosi, and Reid succeed, they may change our health care system for the worse, and permanently. of 2003.

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