Friday, January 22, 2010

More Hubris in Action

Great editorial from yesterday's Investor's Business Daily

Dems Double Down

Posted 01/20/2010 06:53 PM ET

Health Care: Will the administration seize the moment of Scott Brown's victory to work out real solutions, or will it follow Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid over the cliff? Or is it just about government control?

Before Sen.-elect Brown became the Scott heard 'round the world, House Speaker Pelosi was asked what his victory in the bluest of blue states would mean. "Certainly the dynamic will change depending on what happens in Massachusetts," she replied in a bit of an understatement.

The dynamic has changed, yet the Democrats, as the country song goes, apparently don't know when to hold them and when to fold them.

"I heard the candidate in Massachusetts, the Republican candidate, say 'Let's go back to the drawing board,'" Pelosi told reporters in California on Monday. "There is no back to the drawing board. . .. We will have health care one way or another."

After the 1994 GOP tsunami, largely due to the failed attempt at HillaryCare, President Clinton wisely chose to work with the people's representatives. Rather than fight ideas that weren't his, he co-opted them, such as welfare reform.

He went on to a second term and, in cooperation with a GOP Congress, had budget surpluses on his watch.

Somehow we doubt this administration will choose the course of cooperation and go back to the drawing board, as it should, and open the closed door. There should be no Cornhusker Kickbacks to the Ben Nelsons or reprises of Mary Landrieu's Louisiana Purchase. Those lawmakers sold their political souls to be the 60th vote to close debate and now there are only 59. They lost Tuesday along with Martha Coakley.

Polls show that Americans have seen the future of the medical overhaul and know it won't work. Government-run, single-payer health insurance hasn't succeeded anywhere on this planet. They ask why their government is pushing solutions it must know can't work, slicing and dicing monster bills just to get something that will pass.

Perhaps it's because it's never been about health care. It's been about nationalizing one-sixth of the economy and making as many people as possible dependent on government. After all, the idea of a health care overhaul began with a lament about the uninsured, whose numbers changed with the political wind, and ended with a 2,000-page, $2.5 trillion hash that would leave millions uninsured.

We were never told why exactly the finest health care delivery system in the world had to be destroyed to insure those who choose not to buy coverage or can't afford it. What about lowering insurance costs by letting people buy plans across state lines? University of Minnesota economists showed that interstate insurance sales could cover an additional 12 million Americans.

Mandates on insurance plans also increase costs, and the average state imposes 38 mandates, according to the Cato Institute's Michael Cannon . These mandates have made private insurance too expensive for many. The Congressional Budget Office says state regulations boost premium costs by 15%.

There are simpler ways to deal with health care issues than through the Democrats' proposals. We could use health savings accounts to provide portability between jobs and create a financial incentive to stay healthy. We could enact real tort reform as some states have done, in the knowledge that lawsuits cure no one.

Pelosi et al. might try to ram the Senate bill through the House, but it's doubtful many wavering congressmen will fall on their swords. Let's address the doable, one issue at a time, such as the uninsured. Let's go back, as Scott Brown says, to the drawing board.

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