Robert E. Moffit
President Donald Trump’s key debating point on health policy is substantively correct: Former Vice President Joseph Biden’s health proposal would progressively eliminate Americans’ private health insurance and back Americans into a “single payer” system of government-controlled health insurance.
No need to take Trump’s word for it, either. Weeks ago, the Biden campaign team confirmed that Trump’s assessment is correct. According to an NBC News report, Biden campaign officials have already said that Biden’s public option — a specially advantaged government plan to compete against all private health plans — would “pave the path” to a single-payer program.
This latest version of the “public option” is the fruit of former Vice President Biden’s recent policy collaboration with socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) Their “Unity Task Force” recommendations call for the creation of a robust “public option” — a new government health plan — that would be deployed in competition against all private health insurance.
The target of this joint effort would include the employment-sponsored health plans covering approximately 156 million Americans — roughly half the country.
This is an old proposal. Initially a provision of Obamacare, the “public option” has been a staple of progressive health policy for almost two decades. Today, six major congressional bills meticulously detail the key components of this approach. Like the Biden-Sanders proposal, these bills would deliberately rig the health insurance markets to guarantee the new government health plan advantages denied to private health plans.
Why? Because government health programs generally cost more than initially advertised. And taxpayers can expect to pick up the tab, one way or another, to cover any financial losses incurred by the new government health plan.
Forget “fair” competition on a level playing field. Like the congressional bills, the “Unity Task Force” proposal is a progressive political engineering project to distort health insurance markets; it is designed to erode and eventually eliminate America’s private health plans.
This “Unity” proposal, for example, would create new taxpayer subsidies for enrollment in the government plan, eliminate deductibles for primary care and impose government payment schedules on doctors, nurses and other medical professionals. These government enforced provider payment reductions would enable the new taxpayer-backed government health plan to undercut private plan competition with artificially low premiums.
The proposal would thus set in motion dynamics to crowd out health plans in the nation’s individual markets and encourage employers to dump millions of workers and their families out of their existing job-based health coverage. It’s not about expanding coverage; it is about expanding federal control.
The supreme irony of the “Unity” proposal is that it would also destroy the…