In the past few weeks, Congressional Democrats have implemented an old recycled strategy to help them pass H.R. 3200 - one of the most perilous bills ever written. As is often the case, liberal ideology cannot be successful without a villain. Liberalism needs a villain for two reasons; first, it needs to distract the public from focusing on issues liberals feel might hurt their ideological agenda. And second, it needs a villain to generate enough frustration to oppose the progress of conservatism. There are many examples of such vilification. For global warming, they vilify big industry polluters. For high gas prices, they vilify wealthy oil execs. For the housing market meltdown, they vilify greedy Wall Street. For the current recession, they vilify George Bush. And the most recent vilification is, well, the profitable insurance companies. Oh yes, expect wealthy insurance execs to testify before Congress concerning their record breaking profits.
Recent polling data by Rasmussen has indicated that H.R. 3200 (the Public Option) is not sitting well with the public. Albeit, those who oppose the bill are a slight majority (48% to 35%), the intensity at which they oppose the Public Option has created quite the stir across the nation. As a result, Bloggers on certain Wisconsin websites are already starting to vilify citizens who oppose the bill. Those who have practiced their constitutional right to let their voice be heard are now dubbed as an “angry right wing mob.” What these bloggers don’t seem to understand is that recent polling data indicates that 80% of those who have health care insurance rate their coverage as either good or excellent. And only 28% are willing to pay more taxes to extend health care coverage to everyone. Clearly, they are barking up the wrong tree.
In an Op-Ed entitled, “A Closer Look at Paul Ryan’s Health Plan”, Kelly Gallaher initiates the same tactic of creating a useful villain. Instead of publishing an investigative report on the abounding problems with Obama’s socialized “Public Option,” Gallaher decides to demonize Congressman Paul Ryan, the only Republican that has authored a substantial free market alternative to ObamaCare.
In the H.R. 3200, there are provisions that provide free health care coverage for illegals, gives the government access to our bank accounts, pays ACORN to recruit recipients for government health care, and restricts the type of treatments received by those in their “end of life” stage. These provisions don't even include how the bill virtually rapes doctors in terms of capping their income and restricting their ability to practice medicine. There are over a 1,000 pages to digest in the new proposal (enough to keep all of us busy), and instead of investigating the most important legislation to hit the halls of Congress in decades, Gallaher thinks it’s important to go after Paul Ryan’s free-market alternative. No agenda there, hey?
Gallaher's biggest criticism of Ryan’s “Patient’s Choice Act” was that his refundable tax credit for individuals and families isn’t sufficient to cover the entire costs of current insurance rates. There are two problems this assumption. First, Ryan’s plan is not supposed to cover the entire costs of health care. If it were, it would create a serious mandate to increase our taxes and substantially add to our national budget deficit. This would defeat part of the reason why Congress is considering health care reform in the first place, that is to stop the trend of skyrocketing costs.
Her second assumption is that health care premiums will stay at the current rate even after Ryan’s alternative is implemented. Unlike the “Public Option”, the entire purpose of Ryan’s plan is to reduce the costs of health care. The Patient’s Choice Act, through refundable tax credits, empowers individuals to select plans that are individually crafted for them, which will reduce health care costs for individuals tremendously. This means that men in their 20’s will not have to pay for a plan that covers irrelevant tests “for them” like mammograms, hip replacements, pacemakers, and erectile dysfunction medications.
Kelly Gallaher complains further that Ryan’s plan would “significantly weaken employer-based coverage because individuals receive the credit and employers no longer have an incentive to contribute.” By making this statement, Gallaher demonstrates an ignorance of how employer insurance plans work. Employer plans are intended to meet the health care needs of a wide array of employees. By doing this, younger and healthier individuals are paying an inflated price for coverage they don’t need. By empowering individuals to break away from superfluous coverage and enter the insurance marketplace with refundable tax credits, insurance companies will have to compete for their investment and loyalty. A new market will open up to insurance companies that really haven’t existed before – at least not like this.
Now granted, Ryan's Patient's Choice Act will not be the end all to health care reform, but it's a significant start. By empowering individuals, rather than employers, it creates more consumers for insurance vendors to compete over. And the greater the supply of consumers, the lower the demand of product. Prices will decrease and product quality will increase as a result. Again, this will not be the answer for everything. There is a difference between government regulation and government control, and right now we need better regulation of the insurance industry. We need our representatives to engage in serious Tort Reform, and we need our citizenry to confront their Senators and Congressmen with vigilance.
And lastly, I think it's important to address an egregious comment Kelly Gallaher made about Congressman Paul Ryan. Gallaher said, "It is clear that my U.S. Representative, Paul Ryan, intends to play no role in helping to shape this historic legislation." This is exactly how liberals play the game. If you don't jump on board with what they consider to be real reform, then you are labeled an obstructionist or the "party of no" even though you have authored alternative health care reform legislation. In Paul Ryan's case, he's made a solid effort to get his plan some recognition in Congress, but Democrats have largely ignored him because they currently have the power to do so. Right now, it appears that Democrats are the "party of no" since they've repeatedly said no to Congressman Paul Ryan.