Your Lying Eyes

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18 September 2009

The 'Public Option' and Democrat Assurances

One of the more contentious issues in the health debate is whether there will be a so-called 'public option' - i.e., a government-run insurer of last resort. Health-care proponents claim it's necessary to "keep private insurers honest." Opponents claim the public option will destroy the health insurance industry. Proponents counter that this is a lie and the health care proposals in no way jeopardize private insurance - that there are safeguards to prevent this. We know that pundits on either side of a debate often lie, so which side is right this time?

This one fits a typical pattern we've seen over the years in which those on the left are the liars (yes, there are other patterns where the right is lying). The pattern is this:
Democrats push new proposal X
Republicans claim X will lead to Y
Democrats claim this is a lie and the proposal clearly prevents Y from happening
After a passage of some period of time, Y is the norm and those who continue to oppose Y are [insert appropriate anti-reactionary epithet]
Where have we seen this before? The Civil Rights Act, for one. Opponents claimed that it would lead to quotas. Proponents pointed out the act specifically bars quotas. Before we knew what hit us we had the EEOC and affirmative action was ensconsed thoughout the land, prosecuting instances of "disparate impact." Opponents are accused of bigotry.

When the immigration reform act was passed in 1965, Ted Kennedy promised Americans it would not lead to a shift in the nation's ethnic balance. Well, a dramatic shift has indeed occurred. Imagine arguing on TV today that immigration is a problem because it has changed our ethnic make-up.

Gay marriage is a recent example where the progression occurred rather rapidly. In his dissent in Lawrence v Texas, Scalia predicted* that the majority's decision to protect homosexual sex on Fourteenth Amendment grounds would lead to gay marriage being legalized. The majority scoffed at such a notion. But state court decisions legalizing gay marriage soon followed in its wake. And today, opposing gay marriage leads to charges of bigotry and can lose you your job.

So the 'public option' will absolutely lead to the destruction of the private insurance industry - it can't work any other way, no matter what 'safeguards' are put into the law. The only point of the public option is to provide a low-cost alternative to private insurance for those who can't afford the latter. "Keeping private insurers honest" means engaging in business practices that private insurers would find too costly. By definition, this will undercut the private market. The pressure to allow more-and-more people into the public option will be too great, and the floodgates will open. In a few years, when the private insurance industry starts to fall apart, proponents will point out how unfair it is that there is a private insurance market for the wealthy sucking up valuable health-care resources from the working class and that it should just be killed outright.

Now whether this is a good or bad thing is a different question - should we have a single-payer system or a private-insurance system? - I don't know. But the honest argument is that the public option will indeed kill the health-insurance industry. Come to think of it, Paul Krugman himself has argued just that.

*State laws against bigamy, same-sex marriage, adult incest, prostitution, masturbation, adultery, fornication, bestiality, and obscenity are likewise sustainable only in light of Bowers’ validation of laws based on moral choices. Every single one of these laws is called into question by today’s decision; the Court makes no effort to cabin the scope of its decision to exclude them from its holding. Lawrence v Texas, Scalia (dissent).

That this law as applied to private, consensual conduct is unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause does not mean that other laws distinguishing between heterosexuals and homosexuals would similarly fail under rational basis review. Texas cannot assert any legitimate state interest here, such as national security or preserving the traditional institution of marriage. Unlike the moral disapproval of same-sex relations–the asserted state interest in this case–other reasons exist to promote the institution of marriage beyond mere moral disapproval of an excluded group. Lawrence v Texas, O'Connor (concurring)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obama: Lets legalize the illegals so we can get them healthcare.

"Immigration system is broken" he claims. Me: Broken becuase there is no wall, and we dont prosecute employers who employ illegals.

The Democrats make me sick. Obama is a man who never had to meet a budget in his life. He is inviting in a lot more than "12 million" people by pushing for this. Give em' health care, free education, "disparate impact rights", and more waves will appear here, ready to get on welfare whether our economy has jobs for them or not.

The Repubs need to start talking LOUD about the 2010 elections, and the need to elect a Republican majority in both houses so we can effectively handcuff Borat Hussein O'Chicaco for his last two years, and make him the Jimmy Carter of the 21st century, hopefully forgotten.

BTW----The trade thing with China is a bone to unions who provide a lot of volunteer hours and money to the Democratic party, and probably to keep Goodyear in business (the only really domestic tire company with a decent amount of manufacturing actually still here----Firestone is really Japanese-Bridgestone now and Michelin is French).

September 18, 2009 12:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Under the first health bill, if a company paid the 'guvment' $750, they could dump their employees onto the public plan.

Well hellfire and brimstone, most companies would do just that. Their employees could then go stand in line behind bazillions of illegals, underclass xanax-soma-oxycontin-addicted single mothers, and hypocondriacs while trying to get legitimate work related injuries treated. What company would then even want to offer any kind of insurance at all, when they can just pay the government a weeks paycheck and chuck it all onto the taxpayer?

That little provision would assure that many insurance companies would lose a lot of business (and the best paying customers) to the government right off the bat.

Your analysis about "the progression" from a liberal proposal to concrete unreversable social reality is spot-on zeil. Thats precisely how things have been going down my whole life.

September 19, 2009 4:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is their motivation?

Is it the increased number of immigrants that they hope will vote for Democrats, or is it the opportunity to create a whole new bureaucracy that controls some 16% of the economy?

September 28, 2009 11:42 PM  

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