A worrying prognosis: nationalised health care funding for America

After he assumes office, Barack Obama will likely introduce a reworked version of Hillary Clinton's 1990s health care plan, says Pete du Pont, chairman of the National Center for Policy Analysis. A more nationalised system was introduced two weeks ago by Senator Max Baucus (Democrat-Montana) to put government, as opposed to the individual, more in charge of health care decisions. The Baucus plan would add between $200 billion and $300 billion to the $2.3 trillion the US spends each year on health care, and it would intrude into people’s medical decisions since the government would decide what policies many of them could buy and what health care provisions they would have to contain.

The Baucus plan contains five essential elements, says du Pont:

  • Every individual must have a health insurance policy and compliance could be enforced by the U.S. tax system.
  • A new national Health Insurance Exchange would be created – a government marketplace from which all of Americans could choose to purchase insurance, either from the government or from among a group of government-regulated private policies.
  • Most private insurance companies that provide healthcare policies would not be able to deny coverage to any individual based on pre-existing conditions and would have to offer policies to all people at an equal price regardless of their health condition.
  • Companies that employ people would be given a choice: create a health care plan meeting certain government standards, or pay a percentage of company payroll (6-7 per cent) to the government so that it can provide coverage for the employees.
  • A federal Independent Health Care Council would be established to regulate health insurance policies, such as determining "affordable" premiums and defining key terms like what "coverage" is and what "affordability" means.

    Put this all together and existing health care programmes would be expanded, new health care regulation for business and individual policies would be established and America would have a vast new health care programme, run for and largely paid for by the government. Government would run it, regulate it, supervise its performance, mandate how companies must participate in it and somehow come up with more than several hundred billion dollars each year to pay for it, says du Pont.

    Source: Pete du Pont, A Worrying Prognosis, Wall Street Journal, November 24, 2008.

    For text: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122756563972954349.html

    For more on Health Issues: http://www.ncpa.org/sub/dpd/index.php?Article_Category=16

    FMF Policy Bulletin/ 02 December 2008
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