The six Senate Republicans seeking a “bipartisan compromise” on President Barack Obama’s proposal for a government-run health care system are flirting with a provision — an individual mandate to buy government-approved health insurance — that runs counter to everything the GOP stands for.
This “gang of six” includes Sens. Olympia Snowe of Maine, Charles Grassley of Iowa, Robert Bennett of Utah, Lindsay Graham of South Carolina, Mike Crapo of Idaho and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee. Snowe has been covertly negotiating with Obama for weeks while Grassley supports the concept of a health care insurance co-op. The other four are co-sponsors of Senate Bill 391, the Healthy Americans Act introduced by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., which includes some attractive features, but at its heart is an individual mandate. Individuals and families would be fined as much as $3,800 annually for not buying approved health insurance. An individual mandate should be anathema to all Republicans for two reasons.
First, the individual mandate is the fulcrum of cooperation between government-run health care advocates and the big health insurance companies that would profit immensely if it’s approved. As the Social Security Institute’s Larry Hunter observed, the big insurers “desperately want an individual mandate passed and will accept anything short of having their CEOs pushed out of an airplane door to get it.” Such a “public-private partnership” will work no better for health care than it has in the mortgage industry with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Second, the approach makes a mockery of individual freedom of choice because it forces everybody to buy a government-approved health insurance plan from a government-approved insurer with oversight by government bureaucrats.
Finally, because of the intensive government regulation involved, mandated rationing of health care is just as inevitable under this approach as it is under Obamacare. And bureaucrats will be just as likely to make treatment choices that ought to be made by doctors and patients. Supporting such legislation will mark Senate GOPers as Republicans In Name Only (RINO) enablers of the Democrats’ long-sought government takeover of health care.
Senate Republicans are fools if they think they can safely get away with sprinkling some “bipartisan compromise” pixie dust on any government-run health care bill. Among the August recess lessons is that people, unlike most members of Congress, are reading the bills as never before and they aren’t going to be fooled by flowery rhetoric.
That is why surveys appearing this week make clear that Obama’s much-ballyhooed address last week to Congress was no game-changer, contrary to predictions from the White House and the liberal media. It’s also why the people will know RINOcare is just another way of saying Obamacare.