Republicans have done more this summer than just take pot shots at the economy-reorganizing plans coming out of Democrat controlled committees.
From the Chicago Tribune (h/t Scott L.), hardly a bastion of conservative, Republican-friendly commentary:
Over the summer and fall, Republicans in the House and Senate have introduced six -- yes, six -- health care reform proposals. You didn't hear? Well, those plans didn't produce much of a ripple because Democrats dominate the Congress.
We don't agree with everything in these bills. But the GOP proposals contain smart ideas to increase choice and competition in the health insurance market -- a powerful Republican counterpoint to the Democrats' expensive plans. The ideas include:
--Let insurers sell policies across state lines. That would loosen the strangling state-by-state regulations and unleash competition to drive premium prices down.
--Give people who buy insurance in the private market the same tax breaks as those who get it through employers. Now, employers that offer coverage get a tax break on the premiums they pay for employees. And employees don't pay taxes on the value of the coverage they receive. People who want to buy insurance in the individual market should get the same tax breaks. That would help millions of people acquire coverage.
--Expand the ability of small businesses, trade associations and other groups to set up insurance pools to offer coverage at more attractive rates.
--Control health costs in part by reining in the medical malpractice system that raises insurance premiums and forces doctors to order tests to protect themselves from lawsuits. Limiting certain kinds of damage awards would reduce spending on health care by about $11 billion in 2009, or about one-half of 1 percent, the Congressional Budget Office estimates. Think about that in human terms: Reform would save millions of patients the expense and trauma of unnecessary tests and procedures.
These excellent ideas could expand coverage for the uninsured without cratering the federal budget or curbing the competition and innovation that drive the U.S. health care system. Republicans should keep pushing them -- and ruling Democrats need to give them a full and fair hearing.
Look, if leftist Democrats' real goal were to insure health care for the 5% of the US population that remains uninsured and to lower the costs for the remaining 95%, they would at least consider the Republican plans.
But it's patently not their goal.
Some of them, maybe, are open to conservative, non-socialist solutions.
A few more don't care about the relative efficiency of the system or the inherence loss of liberty in a government-run plan.
The ones who really bother me are those who want more power and more control over their fellow Americans. These are the ones to whom I frequently refer whose condescending attitude knows no bounds.
They think they know better. Yet, they willfully ignore the lessons of the failure of the command & control economies of the 20th century (USSR, &c.). For these leftists, the plan always failed because the right people weren't in control or because the plan just needed to be tweaked or given more money.
But that's the problem with these grand social plans: The right people don't exist and eventually you run out of other people's money.
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