Democrats Prepare to Lay Foundation for Goverment-Run Health Care - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Democrats Prepare to Lay Foundation for Goverment-Run Health Care

In order to calm liberals who are angry that the Senate leadership appears to be dropping the public option and Medicare expansion idea to win over Sen. Joe Lieberman and pass a health care bill before Christmas, Democrats are arguing that this bill is merely a start.

“What we need to do is lay a strong foundation,” Sen. Ron Wyden said in an interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow last night. “A foundation that we can build on in the years ahead. We are not going to get everything we want in round one, but we are going to get a foundation that we are going to build on in the years ahead.”

Sen. Jay Rockefeller told the New Republic “that liberal advocates could try again another year to push for the reforms that didn’t make it into the current bill.” He said, “You know we’re going to be back next year, and the year after that, and the year after that.”

Yet this argument is precisely the one that free market critics of Obamacare have been making all along. President Obama is a self-described proponent of a single-payer, or government-run health care system, but he’s pragmatic enough to know that he couldn’t get there with one attempt because the country isn’t ready. Instead, the strategy was to move the ball as far down field as possible so that it could be advanced further by future Congresses.

This battle hasn’t merely been about what is in the current health care bill itself, but what infastructure it puts in place for future lawmakers to expand the role of government even further. That’s why the whole discussion about whether this current bill is a government takeover is not as important as whether it represents progress toward a government-run system.

The public option would have gone further toward a single-payer system than the rest of the bill, but what remains still moves the ball significantly down the field. It expands Medicaid by 15 million people, forces individuals to purchase insurance or pay a tax, moves the individual insurance market to a government-run exchange in which people are given government subsidies to purchase government-run plans, and it imposes so many restrictions, mandates and regulations on the rest of the market that it cannot be described as “private” in any meaningful sense of the word. Once fully implemented, the federal government will have its stamp on every insurance policy that is bought and sold in America.

“Let’s make sure folks know what we are going to get,” Wyden reassured liberal activists. “We’re going to get 30 million people covered. We’re going to get these insurance reforms, lifetime limit protections. We’re going to get a real foundation. I don’t want people across the country – activists who have worked for months to months — to understand that we are getting everything that we have sought, but I think we are going to get enough to say that this is a foundation. We’ll be able to send a message to those activists that their hard work has paid off.”

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