Friday, January 29, 2010

Stossel: Try Googling It, Mr. President

Seems simple enough of a suggestion.

During the President's State of the Union, Obama laid down a challenge to opponents of his health care plan:

If anyone from either party has a better approach that will bring down premiums, bring down the deficit, cover the uninsured, strengthen Medicare for seniors, and stop insurance company abuses, let me know.

This is a tiring theme from the President: Pretend your opponents don't have their own ideas. As Reason's Peter Suderman put it, "Here, Obama, Let Me Google Some Health-Care Reform Alternatives For You":

It's simply not true that reform opponents haven't offered solutions. Here's what I could come up with in about two minutes on the Google:

In The Wall Street Journal, John Mackey suggested eight reforms that would make health insurance more competitive, more affordable, and more responsive to consumer demand.

... In The New York Times, Ramesh Ponnuru explained why mandatory universal coverage isn't likely to be the best way to solve our health-care problems and suggested, instead, that we break the link between employment and coverage and drop state coverage mandates.

There's more out there from smart policy analysts like Arnold Kling and Michael Cannon, as well as from business-minded thinkers like Regina Hertzlinger and David Goldhill.

No, not all of these essays and books come with thousand-page pieces of legislation attached (thanks goodness!), but every one of them offers innovative ideas for how to administer health-care and how to pay for it—ideas that, by and large, Obama has ignored.

These ideas would "bring down premiums" in the individual insurance market, which would help "cover the uninsured" since this is generally the only market available to the uninsured. Obama's plan would raise premiums on the uninsured, but address that problem by forcing them to buy it and apply for a federal subsidy.

These ideas would not add to the deficit, which is something you cannot say about Obama's plan, even though Obama feels comfortable repeating that falsehood.

For a president that is credited as a consensus builder, someone who listens to arguments on all sides before coming to a decision, he is remarkably resistant to free-market reform. It's as it he stuck his fingers in his ears and sang "la, la, la, I can't hear you" whenever anyone tried to tell him about a health reform plan that did not involve expanding the scope of government or making millions of Americans dependent upon the federal government.

Try Googling It, Mr. President : John Stossel

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