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The Democrats' phony "retreat" on "the public option"

By Robert Bidinotto
web posted August 17, 2009 

Yesterday, the Sunday papers announced that the White House is going to "retreat" on the so-called "public option" -- i.e., a government healthcare option to compete with the private insurers. Instead, they are getting bipartisan support for establishing a publicly funded healthcare "co-op."

But this is no "retreat." The co-op arrangement is simply the public option by another name, and by a more circuitous, stealthy route -- with the same ultimate objective: nationalized healthcare.

Understand that the "co-op" would be funded by the government (i.e., the taxpayers). More importantly, to get admission into the co-op, insurers would have to abide by the new governmental regulations regarding coverage, treatments, premiums, etc.

Ah, but this still would be "private," right? Not according to Health and Human Services Sec. Nancy Sebelius.

Here is her "money quote" from that article about the co-ops, which gives away the White House’s game:

"I think there will be a competitor to private insurers," Sebelius said. "That's really the essential part, is you don't turn over the whole new marketplace to private insurance companies and trust them to do the right thing."

Make no mistake, then: This is no liberal "retreat" from governmental healthcare. The new "co-op" is explicitly intended to be "a competitor to private insurers." While ObamaCare would inject this new government entity into the healthcare marketplace, it simultaneously would  

  • impose onerous, costly new mandates on private insurers,
  • mandate participation by unwilling individuals and small businesses, under penalty of whopping fines,
  • outlaw any private insurers that refused to adopt the new government-imposed rules, and
  • compel taxpayers to fund the arrangement.

Eventually, inevitably, the only private insurers that could survive this arrangement would have to operate like branch offices of the Medicare program -- simply administering government "mandated" coverage, services, treatments, medicines, etc.

Rather than "single payer" socialized medicine, then, this would be more like fascist medicine: a merely nominal "private" system, in which a handful of big healthcare insurers and providers took their marching orders from the federal government.

Adding an 800-pound governmental gorilla into the healthcare marketplace, under any name, is still a net, enormous loss of your healthcare freedom and choice -- not a gain. We need to stop this fraud in its tracks. Contact your congressman and spread these facts far and wide. ESR

Robert Bidinotto is former editor of The New Individualist and an award winning journalist who can also be found blogging here.


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