Despite his claims to the contrary, President Obama ultimately wants to replace private health insurance with a public plan subsidized by the government, Rep. John Shadegg tells Newsmax.
The Arizona Republican, who is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, notes that a CNN poll released in March found that nearly 3 out of 4 Americans are satisfied with their healthcare coverage.
For those Americans who are uninsured, Shadegg has introduced a bill that would allow those without health coverage to obtain it more cheaply, using tax credits. Individuals with existing health problems would obtain insurance through high-risk state plans.
But Obama is pushing a public plan that he claims will somehow co-exist with private insurance. Shadegg isn’t buying it.
“Ultimately, that so-called public plan, or government plan, will run the private sector out of business, because the guys that are operating the public plan are setting the rules for the guys running the private plan,” Shadegg says.
The congressman says Obama does not want people to think he will replace private health insurance. That’s because of Democrats’ bitter experience with the plan pushed by Hillary Clinton when her husband was president.
“I think Hillary figured out after the fact that when she proposed to dramatically change the healthcare system in America at a time when most Americans were relatively happy with their healthcare, she scared people,” Shadegg says. “She wanted the same thing that Obama wants, but she was more forthright in proposing it, saying look, we need to go to a single-payer system. And she lost the fight.”
As evidence that the Democrats want to drive health insurance companies out of business, Shadegg cites a comment by Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., chief deputy whip for the Democrats. In a talk to Democrats on YouTube, she said insurance companies are right when they say a public plan would put the health insurance industry out of business.
“I know many of you here today are single-payer advocates, and so am I,” Schakowsky told her audience. Those of us “who are pushing for a public health insurance option don’t disagree with this goal. This is not a principled fight. This is a fight about strategy for getting there, and I believe we will.”
Shadegg says he believes Democrats’ end goal is government control of the delivery of all health care. Citing recent comments by Obama’s economic adviser Larry Summers, Shadegg says, “Ultimately, they want to ration that health care.”
Why are Democrats intent on substituting a government plan for private health insurance?
“I think they believe generally in government, and they believe that government can run healthcare better than the private sector,” Shadegg says. “Of course they hate the private sector and they hate profit, and they don’t think the private sector is a good mechanism for delivery of healthcare.”
According to Shadegg, as evidence that market competition does not work in the health insurance industry, Democrats point to the fact that healthcare costs continue to rise far more steeply than the rate of inflation. The truth is America does not have a free market system with real competition, Shadegg says. That’s because employers buy health insurance with pre-tax dollars, and most Americans obtain health insurance through their employer. They essentially have no choice in selecting a health insurance plan and no opportunity to compare prices and coverage offered by different companies.
“As a result of the tax code, and as a result of government policy, what we have is a situation where your employer picks your healthcare plan, and that doesn’t make any more sense than having my employer decide what kind of car I want to drive or having my employer pick my homeowner’s insurance or automobile insurance,” Shadegg says.
“We ought to go back to a system where every individual American or American family gets to select their own healthcare plan, and thereby select their own doctor, and they then take individual responsibility,” he says. “If you let them do that on the same tax-favored basis as employers can do it, you can give them choice, you can create a market, you can control costs, the way we control costs for everything else in our society.”
As a result, he says, “We can maximize quality, because Americans will demand in healthcare what they demand in everything else: the lowest affordable cost, and the highest affordable quality.”
To allow individuals to shop for health insurance at group rates, Shadegg has introduced legislation that would enable institutions, clubs, and associations like the American Association of Retired Persons or Kiwanis International to offer their members group coverage similar to what employers now provide. These plans would be given the same tax advantage employers’ group plans now have and would pool risks.
“The question is, through what mechanism do you deliver health insurance?” Shadegg says. “Do you put them in a government-run program that forces everybody into a one-size-fits-all kind of cookie cutter system and is run by the government and therefore not subject to the rules of competition, or alternatively, do you facilitate every American being in a system driven by choice, one that produces competition to hold down costs and drive up quality?”
Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com. View his previous reports and get his dispatches sent to you free via
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