House bill bars private medical insurance

Leftists are so greedy for what they want, which is control over our lives for the purpose of achieving equality of misery for everyone, that they can’t bother concealing what they’re about. Yes, they indignantly deny the charge that their socialist plans are socialist plans, but, because they despise the very necessity of having to appeal to people who are so backward as to resist socialism, they can’t even pretend to make the denials plausible.

And so we get, early in the House’s health care bill, the flat-out admission that the bill does exactly what Obama and the Democrats have been loudly proclaiming all along that it would not do.

It’s Not An Option
By INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Wednesday, July 15, 2009 4:20 PM PT

It didn’t take long to run into an “uh-oh” moment when reading the House’s “health care for all Americans” bill. Right there on Page 16 is a provision making individual private medical insurance illegal.

When we first saw the paragraph Tuesday, just after the 1,018-page document was released, we thought we surely must be misreading it. So we sought help from the House Ways and Means Committee.

It turns out we were right: The provision would indeed outlaw individual private coverage. Under the Orwellian header of “Protecting The Choice To Keep Current Coverage,” the “Limitation On New Enrollment” section of the bill clearly states:

“Except as provided in this paragraph, the individual health insurance issuer offering such coverage does not enroll any individual in such coverage if the first effective date of coverage is on or after the first day” of the year the legislation becomes law.

So we can all keep our coverage, just as promised—with, of course, exceptions: Those who currently have private individual coverage won’t be able to change it. Nor will those who leave a company to work for themselves be free to buy individual plans from private carriers.

From the beginning, opponents of the public option plan have warned that if the government gets into the business of offering subsidized health insurance coverage, the private insurance market will wither. Drawn by a public option that will be 30% to 40% cheaper than their current premiums because taxpayers will be funding it, employers will gladly scrap their private plans and go with Washington’s coverage.

The nonpartisan Lewin Group estimated in April that 120 million or more Americans could lose their group coverage at work and end up in such a program. That would leave private carriers with 50 million or fewer customers. This could cause the market to, as Lewin Vice President John Sheils put it, “fizzle out altogether.”

What wasn’t known until now is that the bill itself will kill the market for private individual coverage by not letting any new policies be written after the public option becomes law.

The legislation is also likely to finish off health savings accounts, a goal that Democrats have had for years. They want to crush that alternative because nothing gives individuals more control over their medical care, and the government less, than HSAs.

With HSAs out of the way, a key obstacle to the left’s expansion of the welfare state will be removed.

The public option won’t be an option for many, but rather a mandate for buying government care. A free people should be outraged at this advance of soft tyranny.

Washington does not have the constitutional or moral authority to outlaw private markets in which parties voluntarily participate. It shouldn’t be killing business opportunities, or limiting choices, or legislating major changes in Americans’ lives.

It took just 16 pages of reading to find this naked attempt by the political powers to increase their reach. It’s scary to think how many more breaches of liberty we’ll come across in the final 1,002.

[end of IBD editorial]

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LA writes:

When I said at the beginning of the entry that the left’s real goal is “equality of misery for everyone,” I was inadvertently paraphrasing Satan’s speech in Book I of Paradise Lost, where, stirring to wakefulness in the lake of fire into which he has been thrown as a result of his unsuccessful rebellion against God, he recognizes his companion and lieutenant Beelzebub lying at his side and speaks to him:

If thou beest he—but O how fallen! how changed
From him who, in the happy realms of light,
Clothed with transcendent brightness, didst outshine
Myriads, though bright!—if he whom mutual league,
United thoughts and counsels, equal hope
And hazard in the glorious enterprise
Joined with me once, now misery hath joined
In equal ruin.

Karen writes from England:

Socialised medicine, as we have in Britain, means everyone is treated equally badly. There are long waits for treatment, loads of foreign doctors on whom little background checks are done, poor facilities, dilapidated buildings, and many of the most effective treatments are banned on cost grounds. In fact the NHS is so desperate to keep an endless supply of cheap labour physicians that it allows almost anyone from anywhere into the country to practice. There are several bogus physicians who have passed the “PLAB exam” a simplistic entrance exam which places more emphasis on communication skills than clinical and scientific knowledge. If Obama succeeds, this is where the USA will be heading.

Tim W. writes:

A couple of weeks ago Obama rhetorically asked how government insurance could put private insurers out of business if the government plans were inferior (as they obviously will be). That’s like asking why there are more kids in public schools when they’re clearly inferior to private academies. The public schools are subsidized by the taxpayers, and after coughing up the cash to keep the government schools afloat, only a minority of the population have the means to send their kids to a better school.

But at least in the realm of education some competition survives because employers aren’t required to pay to educate their employees’ kids. Nor are private schools barred after such-and-such a date from accepting new students. If employers specifically had to pay for education, then they’d buy the cheap government package every time. Not that it’s all that cheap, but it’s funded by other taxpayers as well so it would be cheaper than any private plan which receives no subsidies at all.

Which brings up another issue. Once a government program like this becomes law, it can never be gotten rid of (short of a revolution) no matter how lousy it is. People become psychologically dependent on the state for a particular service and become frightened at the idea of ever having to take care of themselves again. Not everyone, but enough of the population feels that way to make the program sacrosanct. Again, look at education. No matter how awful the public schools become, they could never be gotten rid of. In fact, the worse they get, the more powerful the demand for more money for them becomes. And government insurance will be far worse because the small amount of competition will be driven from the marketplace.

Add in that the dumbed-down voters think government programs are “free” and the program can never be abolished or even reformed. Actually, to many Obama voters, these programs really are free. They don’t pay any federal taxes in the first place, including the ones illegally occupying our territory. When they hear the words “income tax” they don’t hear tax, they hear income. This whole government insurance scam is a mass transfer of wealth from the middle class to Obama’s largely uneducated and uncontributing constituents.

Kathlene M. writes:

I hope that the House bill barring private medical insurance is only a scare tactic by the Democrats to force the private insurance companies to agree to reform. right now the private insurance companies are lobbying fiercely to keep the status quo because they earn huge profits each year. Some Democrats are proposing extra taxes on the private insurance companies’ profits which I think is only fair when everyone else in this debate (doctors and hospitals for example) have agreed to concessions.

The private insurance companies are being given a choice: agree to a surtax on profits above a certain amount, or the Democrats will “reform” the private insurance companies out of existence. Currently the healthcare companies are threatening that, if the companies are taxed further, they’ll pass it on to everyone else. But they forget that currently costs are being passed to us via increased premiums and deductibles each year.

I am a Christian conservative who is pro-capitalist; however, there are profits and then there is greed. Isn’t avarice one of the seven deadly sins? The private insurance companies have avariciously made extreme profits out of the healthcare system to the detriment of patients and doctors. Their model is to deny payments to hospitals and doctors, and deny drugs and services to patients, while retaining huge profits.

I am definitely against government-run healthcare because it’ll mean that government bureaucrats, instead of private company administrators, will delay or deny treatments. True healthcare reform should mean finding ways to cut costs, and that begins with the private insurance companies agreeing to keep their profits reasonable. Perhaps this type of regulation smacks of socialism, but we have to ask ourselves if we can continue the current system. Doctors already agree to regulations via price controls on their services (via negotiated rates of reimbursements), so why should the private insurance companies be exempt from price-control mechanisms?

James N. writes:

Hillary’s bill banned private medicine altogether, at least for “covered services”. If the government program would pay for something, but you contracted privately to do the same thing (but better, or faster) the Health Security Act of 1993 provided a term of 5 years in Federal prison and a $50 000 fine, per offense.

Any plan like the one before the House MUST outlaw or severely penalize real doctors. There’s no alternative.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at July 16, 2009 08:35 AM | Send

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