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December 30th, 2009 6:20 pm
Tom Harkin, the Heath Care Homebuilder

If there is anyone still clinging to the notion that Democrats have relented in their pursuit of a single-payer healthcare system, yesterday’s op-ed by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) should help to pry those fingers free.  Among the shinier pieces in his gleaming collection of fool’s gold is this nugget:

I think of the current health reform bill as something of a “starter home.” It is not the mansion that some might want. But it has a solid foundation, giving every American access to quality, affordable coverage. It has an excellent, protective roof, which will shelter Americans from the worst abuses of health insurance companies. And this starter home has plenty of room for additions and improvements.

Earlier in the article Harkin gives some examples, like promising to eventually ban the current practice of refusing to cover people for pre-existing conditions.  Forget the fact that insurance companies are businesses that make profits by insuring low risk patients.  The more companies pay out in medical expenses means there is less money there to pay employees and shareholders.  For Harkin though, solving the problem of profitability means prohibiting sellers from choosing their buyers.

But the health care “reform” bill does more.  It also requires every American to purchase health insurance.  It is aptly named the “individual mandate”.  If the goal of reform was to end up with a government-run, single-payer health care system, but such a plan didn’t have the votes to achieve it directly, one way to get there would be to require both buyers and sellers to contract with each other.  Next, remove the incentive (then the ability) to make a profit.  Finally, declare that since the private health insurance companies “failed”, it’s time for the federal government to step in and take over.

It’s curious that Senator Harkin would liken the Democrats’ “reform” bill to a housing project being readied for additions and improvements.  After all, when most Americans hear “government housing project” they think of areas overrun with crime, corruption, and poor quality.  If Democrats pass their bill into law Senator Harkin may live long enough to complain about the shoddy locks, paper-thin walls, and lack of central heating in his dream home for other people.  That is, assuming his golden years aren’t cut short by a government cost-control panel.

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