From today’s editorial:
The six Senate Republicans seeking a “bipartisan compromise” on President 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 senators 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 S. 391, the Healthy Americans Act introduced by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-OR, which includes some attractive features but at its heart is an individual mandate. Individuals and fFamilies would be fined as much as $3,800 annually for not buying approved health insurance.
Snowe made headlines when she told “Face the Nation” on Sunday that a health bill containing a public option (government-run health insurance) would never get out of the Senate because of unanimous opposition by Republicans. She hinted at possible Republican support for a proposal floated by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus that would set up a system of non-profit insurance cooperatives instead.
But as the Examiner points out, co-ops plus the individual mandate equals a public plan by another name:
[T]he 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.
Plus, Baucus’s compromise plan is only marginally cheaper than the 1,000-page House proposals with their full-blown public option: $900 million as opposed to $1.6 trillion for the House plan. So what’s the point of compromising?