Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Barack Obama could have passed -- to many Republicans, anyway -- as an advocate of capitalism recently when he noted that, "UPS and FedEx are doing fine," as they "compete" against the US Postal Service. This he said while addressing a crowd friendly to his plan for health insurance "reform," but at a time when his congressional henchmen are being surprised across the country to learn that real Americans do not want said plan.
His remark is clearly intended to assuage the public, and to make his plan seem harmless to us. But other video, of earlier remarks by him and by Democratic members of Congress plainly indicates that he does not really believe his own words and that his plan is, in fact, a "Trojan horse," (as he once put it) for a goal he has repeatedly endorsed over the years: single-payer health care (i.e., government control of the medical sector of the economy).
It is nevertheless worth stopping for a moment -- before we report him for it -- to consider the full meaning of Obama's comparison of the plan he wants to foist on us with the Post Office. If it's going to be such feeble competition for the insurance industry, why implement it at all? And why would we want it? And why would Obama leave himself wide open to such a glaring policy failure?
To really understand any utterance, one must always step back and consider its full context. In this case, it might be worthwhile to consider the nature of the "competition" Barack Obama claims the Post Office is participating in. An old column by Edwin Feulner over at Capitalism Magazine will do us nicely:
We know we can count on private services such as FedEx and United Parcel Service to deliver on time. If they didn't, they'd go out of business. And we also know--many of us from bitter experience--that we always can't count on the post office.If you read the whole thing, it will become plain as day that the only reason there even exists a Post Office to "compete" is federal protection. It would be for similar reasons, as John Lewis recently indicated, that Obama's plan could exist. Here's just one example:
That's because the post office is a government-protected monopoly; 19th century laws make it illegal for anyone else to deliver letters. It's also exempt from state and federal taxes and free from most government regulations. That combination is a recipe for disaster.
By setting a minimum 70% actuarial value of benefits, the bill makes health plans in which individuals pay for routine services, but carry insurance only for catastrophic events, (such as Health Savings Accounts) illegal.For a similar reason you can't just post a letter for, say, a quarter, at FedEx (or even a Post Office that really had to compete), you won't be permitted to find more affordable health insurance than Obama's even if a free market could provide it. When the government disallows consumers the choice of less-expensive options, inferior enterprises like the Post Office become "viable."
And, as Lewis indicates further down the line for this plan, enough government aid to such an enterprise will artificially make it not just viable, but the cheapest "option" we will have. This is why, when you hear Obama say he wants single-payer coverage by the end of his term and when you hear him talk about his plan like it's a Post-Office-like "loveable loser," he seems to mean it both ways.
It is because, to him anyway, it is both ways: The Obama Plan is a sort of Medical Post Office -- but on steroids. Government protection will make it ineffective by shielding it from real competition, and put better options out of reach of the public.
Too bad he underestimates the intellect of the American people. I don't want, "The doctor can see you now," to have the same level of reassurance as, "The check is in the mail." That is why I don't want Barack Obama's plan, and I thank the President for making it clear from which direction that fishy odor is coming.
Barack Obama implies that his plan is "self-sustaining." If that is the case, why doesn't he just resign, slightly increase his "premiums," and make millions selling it on the open market? I'll even help his cause by demanding that the government stop strangling the insurance industry with regulations.