Charles Krauthammer argues that the current Democratic proposals for health-care reform are dead. If they want to pass anything that they could call a victory, they need to junk the current schemes and come up with a new plan. Call it ObamaCare 2.0:
…Make health insurance universal and permanently protected. Tear up the existing bills and write a clean one — Obamacare 2.0 — promulgating draconian health-insurance regulation that prohibits (a) denying coverage for pre-existing conditions, (b) dropping coverage if the client gets sick, and (c) capping insurance company reimbursement.
What’s not to like? If you have insurance, you’ll never lose it. Nor will your children ever be denied coverage for pre-existing conditions.
The regulated insurance companies will get two things in return. Government will impose an individual mandate that will force the purchase of health insurance on the millions of healthy young people who today forgo it. And government will subsidize all the others who are too poor to buy health insurance. The result? Two enormous new revenue streams created by government for the insurance companies.
And here’s what makes it so politically seductive: The end result is the liberal dream of universal and guaranteed coverage — but without overt nationalization. It is all done through private insurance companies. Ostensibly private. They will, in reality, have been turned into government utilities. No longer able to control whom they can enroll, whom they can drop and how much they can limit their own liability, they will live off government largesse — subsidized premiums from the poor; forced premiums from the young and healthy.
It’s the perfect finesse — government health care by proxy. And because it’s proxy, and because it will guarantee access to (supposedly) private health insurance — something that enjoys considerable Republican support — it will pass with wide bipartisan backing and give Obama a resounding political victory.
Sounds brilliant, doesn’t it? Simple, seductive, almost irresistible. Rather than the bloated, laden with mines legislation now being pushed, Congress simply mandates private coverage for all and provides subsidies for those who can’t afford it. (Never mind the constitutional questions.)
There’s a doozy of a catch, however, a big, fat worm hidden at the core of this oh-so-sweet looking apple. There always is. Read the whole thing to find out. And remember Maine.