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Monday, February 08, 2010

Small Biz Health Care Daily: Democratic Plan Already Does Good Stuff – Really?

There is a strange piece by Erza Klein on The Washington Post’s site titled “The six Republican ideas already in the health-care bill.”

Klein opens: “At this point, I don't think it's well understood how many of the GOP's central health-care policy ideas have already been included as compromises in the health-care bill.”

Golly, what’s all the fuss about then?

Well, Klein attempts to transform measures in the Senate health care bill into something they are not.

First, Klein declares that allowing individuals to purchase health insurance across state lines is in the Senate bill because the bill allows states to form interstate compacts. But that is all about the states making decisions as to who gets to buy insurance and where. It’s not about consumers and businesses making those choices, and benefiting accordingly.

Second, Klein says that allowing individuals, small businesses and associations to pool together to buy insurance is accomplished through the effort to set up insurance exchanges. But insurance exchanges are all about government being in control, that is, vehicles for mandates and regulations.

Third, allowing the states to innovate is not the same as the waiver in the Senate bill allowing states an opt out if “they can do it better or cheaper.”

Fourth, Klein acknowledges that the Senate bill does not really do what many want in terms of medical malpractice reform, but he does not seem too concerned over this point since he apparently does not like it.

Fifth, on taxes, the key is to equalize tax treatment for purchasing health care. That is not accomplished, obviously, in the Senate bill. Klein dances around this.

Sixth, Klein insists Senate bill is “a private-market plan,” when of course it is not. It is all about more government funding and control over health care.

When it comes to expanding government’s role in health care, supporters seem willing to say just about anything. Consumers, small business owners and taxpayers beware.

Raymond J. Keating
Chief Economist
Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council

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