I wrote earlier about what looked like a provision in the proposed health care reform bill to kill the private medical insurance market by banning the sale of new policies after the government plan comes into effect. This was based on a reading of the bill by the staff at Investor’s Business Daily. Others disagreed somewhat.
Philip Klein at American Spectator has taken a closer look at the bill and seems to have figured what’s really intended: it’s not that ObamaCare will ban new private insurance, it just bans the private market in insurance:
IBD followed up with a bit more nuanced editorial explaining that private insurers would still be able to offer individual insurance, but only through a new government-run exchange that would impose heavy regulations on participating insurers. At the prompting of our dilligent intern Molly O’Connor, I looked a bit further into the issue. This morning, I was able to independently confirm the IBD editorial with several Republican staffers on the Ways and Means committee. And if that doesn’t convince you, especially telling is a video clip (see below), in which Rep. Paul Ryan poses the question of individual private insurance to Cybele Bjorklund, who is the Democrats’ staff director on the Health Subcommittee that helped author the bill. While existing plans would be grandfathered in, Bjorklund responds that insurers “cannot create new policies outside of that window, outside of the exchange, but they can choose to operate in the exchange.”
In other words, private insurance may only be offered via a government-controlled market. And if the government provides the only market, it can also control the price and the breadth of offerings. It doesn’t have to own the insurance industry outright as long as that industry serves government ends, the essence of liberal fascist or corporatist economic policy.
It amazes me that the administration and the progressives in Congress insist on statist solutions straight out of the mid-20th century, which have been shown not to work as well as a free or mostly free market, when the tide of the world is still moving against collectivism.
Commanding the uncontrollable didn’t work for King Canute, either.