HillaryCare still is a poor prescription - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

HillaryCare still is a poor prescription

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Posted: Thursday, September 20, 2007 2:47 am | Updated: 6:50 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

HillaryCare is back with a promise to make health care more affordable, more available and with more choices for everyone.

But if Sen. Hillary Clinton’s health care program financed with $110 billion a year in new taxes becomes law, health care will be substantially more expensive, health insurance will be much less available, and Americans will have far fewer choices. One more thing: The nation will be ever closer to complete government-run health care. So much for promises.

Clinton would require every person to pay for health care, or receive it at someone else’s expense. She would require employers to provide insurance or pay into a fund. She would require insurers to sell coverage at the same price, whether buyers are in perfect health or at death’s door. Clinton would subsidize some insurance premiums with tax credits. And she would dramatically expand tax-paid government-provided health care into the middle class, offering “a public plan option similar to Medicare.”

Clinton’s solutions would worsen everything she claims to fix and move the nation away from genuine market-based options that drive down prices. As the libertarian Cato Institute’s director of health and welfare studies, Michael D. Tanner, observed: “Hillary Clinton clearly trusts big government more than she trusts the free market and the American people.”

Requiring individuals to purchase health insurance would require a massive, costly government bureaucracy to enforce compliance. Even then it’s certain to fall short of its universal goal. In California, where all motorists are required to have auto insurance, about 25 percent don’t. Mandating behavior doesn’t guarantee it.

Requiring employers to provide health insurance or to pay a new tax into a fund would inflate business costs, resulting in fewer workers hired and more laid off. Businesses with fewer than 10 employees, exempt under Clinton’s plan, would be discouraged from expanding payrolls rather than trigger insurance-or-tax mandates.

Requiring insurers to sell coverage at one price irrespective of health risks would mean premiums would soar to cover actuarial risks posed by those in bad health. Such a mandate would impose on private insurers a subsidy to cover the gravely ill by overcharging the relatively well. It’s also likely to drive providers out of the market, and the void would be filled by government plans. Could that be the motive?

Clinton’s proposed expansion of the federal State Children’s Health Insurance Program to include middle-class families is another step closer to socialized medicine. Private clients would migrate to government-funded coverage. What family would pay private premiums, bound to increase thanks to Clinton’s mandate on insurers, when a “free” government program is available at someone else’s expense?

Clinton’s plan “would mean higher taxes, lost jobs, less patient choice and poorer quality health care,” Tanner said.

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