April 21, 2014
April 18, 2014
Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology
The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious
: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain
April 14, 2014
Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time
: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic
: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships
: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin
: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate
: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure
April 11, 2014
Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden
: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does
: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer
: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You
April 9, 2014
Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?
Samuel G. Freedman
: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau
: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau
: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease
April 8, 2014
Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease
Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear
April 4, 2014
A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children
Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet
Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds
Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves
April 2, 2014
Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?
Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities
It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene
Jewish World Review
Oct. 9, 2007
/ 27 Tishrei 5768
Unlearned lessons: Hillarycare II
The year was 1993. Israel and the PLO signed an agreement on the White House lawn that, we were told, would lead to a lasting peace. Islamic terrorists tried to blow up the World Trade Center. When they were finally convicted, the federal government claimed an important message had been sent to terrorists everywhere: Stay away from the USA. The president also ordered the bombing of Iraq that year, to send another important signal that misbehavior in Mesopotamia would not be tolerated. On the home front, the president put his wife in charge of overhauling the health care system.
Well, considering this boffo record of success, it seems only fitting that Sen. Hillary Clinton would head back to the health care well.
To paraphrase William Faulkner: History isn't dead; it's not even past. This time around, though, Clinton claims history isn't repeating itself with her new health care plan. Far from it: She has learned from her mistakes, and she's "got the scars to prove it." This time Clinton as well as several of her primary opponents proposes "flexible" reforms that would preserve consumer "choice." This is supposedly the grand lesson Clinton learned from her many political scars: People don't want government-run health care.
But she might want to study her mistakes a bit more closely because her alternative is to provide government-run health insurance, which ultimately is the same thing. Clinton's plan would yank insurance regulation from the states and impose a series of federal mandates on employers, individuals and insurance companies. Insurers would have to cover anybody who knocks on their door. Individuals would be required by law to have health coverage, just as drivers are required to have auto insurance. Clinton claims she would make her system affordable by regulating both premiums and benefits, offering tax breaks and subsidies to the poor and middle class, and by offering a fallback government-run plan that would compete with the private plans. The Democrats insist this doesn't amount to government-run health care, but it would be more honest to say that it doesn't amount to government-run health care right away.
First of all, forcing people to buy health insurance whether they want to or not is somewhat at odds with the idea that her plan champions "choice." More important, forcing companies to cover everybody means the risk pool for insurance companies gets riskier and, hence, more expensive. Costs would rise, and so young healthy people would rationally opt for as little coverage as possible, because presumably bare-bones coverage would be much cheaper.
Boosters of these plans claim that the healthy "competition" between the government and the private sector would drive prices lower. But how, exactly, can private companies compete against a government plan that cares nothing about making a profit? Because there's no free lunch, the government costs would have to be made up elsewhere through higher taxes and mandated higher premiums for people who can afford their own health insurance.
In states where such plans have been tried, such as Kentucky and Washington, the response by the private insurance companies has been a Monty Pythonesque "Run away! Run away!", leaving behind pretty much only single-payer systems and angry customers, patients and voters. This is the model Clinton et al. want to impose at the national level. Indeed, John Edwards boasts that "over time," his plan "may evolve toward a single-payer approach." That single payer is you, Mr. Taxpayer.
Democrats may have invented new bells and whistles, but their thinking hasn't changed much since 1993. Back then, they believed there was a "health care crisis," and the solution required big-footed feds to stomp all over the existing system. What they didn't take into account is the fact that millions of Americans were satisfied with their health care. The Democrats' response now is to say, "but you can keep your doctor." That's nice, but it still misses the point.
Today, among the insured a group far larger and more likely to vote than the uninsured people actually like the status quo. A recent Kaiser Foundation poll on health care found that 88 percent of those with insurance thought their coverage was good or excellent while 93 percent were happy with their quality of care. And 64 percent said they were happy with their health care costs. Meanwhile, a recent Gallup Poll found that trust in the federal government is the lowest ever recorded. This is not quite the kindling for revolutionary change many liberals think is out there.
The GOP understands this. As Yuval Levin of the Ethics and Public Policy Center recently noted in the Weekly Standard, the Republican candidates as well as the White House have collectively pushed a number of reforms that would expand consumer choice without necessarily expanding government. By changing the way health care is taxed and using government purchasing power more efficiently, they aim toward decoupling the New Deal-era system of using big business to provide health care. Some propose following what Mitt Romney did when he was governor in Massachusetts and offering subsidies to those who can't afford insurance.
None of these plans is perfect, but all recognize that the federal government cannot simply impose a solution without creating the sorts of problems that plague all other single-payer systems rationing, long lines and ever-higher taxes. Moreover, these approaches are probably more appealing to the vast swath of voters who don't live inside the Democratic bubble.
And that's the irony of Hillary Clinton's claim to have learned so much from her last failure, which cost Democrats the Congress and largely hobbled the liberal aspirations of the her husband's presidency. If the most famous champion of nationalized health care in U.S. history wins the nomination and voters start paying attention, they might easily conclude that Hillary and her party haven't learned anything at all.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
To comment on JWR contributor Jonah Goldberg's column
Jonah Goldberg Archives
© 2006 TMS