GOP Admits That Competition Would Be Bad For Private Health Insurance
by Todd Beeton, Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 08:24:14 AM EST
One of the tenets of Barack Obama's health care plan is that a public plan would be introduced into the market to compete with private plans so that efficiency and lower costs would actually be incentivized (imagine that!) The brilliance of this politically is that it plays into one of the supposed core beliefs of conservatism: that competition drives the free market. Now, I'm not deluded enough to think that the modern Republican Party has anything remotely resembling core beliefs outside of making their allies rich but the bluntness with which they're throwing overboard the entire notion of competition is sort of stunning.
...McConnell suggested there were areas in which Republicans won't compromise, particularly the creation of a new public insurance program to compete with private insurers.
"Forcing free market plans to compete with these government-run programs would create an unlevel playing field and inevitably doom true competition," the letter stated. [...]
McConnell's letter was signed by Sens. Charles Grassley of Iowa, Mike Enzi of Wyoming, Judd Gregg of New Hampshire and Orrin Hatch of Utah.
Umm, OK, so in other words, in a competition between private and public plans, the public plan would win. David Sirota asks the obvious question:
If the "free market" is as marvelously awesome as the GOP says, shouldn't it have absolutely no problem winning a health-care competition with "government-run programs?"
...and answers it:
The GOP sees polls showing the public supports the concept of government-sponsored health care (and loves government programs like Medicare) - that is, the party knows that if given the choice, many Americans would choose a government-run program over private health insurance. But because the party is so owned and operated by the private health insurance industry, it is willing to effectively undermine its entire macro-argument about the supremacy of the free market so as to shill for its moneyed benefactors.
Update [2009-3-5 13:27:50 by Todd Beeton]:In case you needed further proof about where the rightwing's allegiances lie (from Think Progress):
Rep. Zach Wamp (R-TN) went on MSNBC to explain his opposition to Obamas stated goal of comprehensive health care reform, arguing that health care is a privilege, not a right:WAMP: Listen, health care a privilege. [ ]Wamp went on to claim that many Americans are uninsured by choice because they rejected the insurance plan offered by their employers. Asked to respond to Wamp, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) remarked Well my reaction is that it was said by somebody who has a really good health [insurance] plan as a member of the House of Representatives. More importantly than that [health care] is a right in this country, Brown concluded.
MSNBC: Well, its a privilege? Health care? I mean if you have cancer right now, do you see it as a privilege to get treatment?
WAMP: I was just about to say, for some people its a right. But for everyone, frankly, its not necessarily a right.
Video is at the link above.