Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Coulter Care

This is an excellent article that is a rebuttal to Ann Coulter's column defending RomneyCare. Honestly, I can not understand Coulter's defense of socialized medicine.

The writer of this piece, Peter Ferrara, compares RomneyCare to ObamaCare and because of that we learn they are one and the same law. He also stresses the fact that Mitt Romney is a liberal and, if elected, may be worse than Obama.

Romney must be rejected as the Republican nominee. - Reggie

Schooling Ann Coulter on the individual mandate.

Sorry, Ann. I have adored you as a commentator, as you know, and appreciate your kind words about me in the past. But in discussing the individual mandate in your piece last week, "Three Cheers for RomneyCare," you honestly don't know what you are talking about. In the process, you are transgressing on my own work and past policy achievements, and grossly undermining the policy and political case against Obamacare. Read on, and I will explain in full.

It was me, working for and with conservative health policy guru John Goodman, who first rang the alarm bell for conservatives over the individual mandate in the early 1990s. As I  explained recently in this space, it was we who led the fight to kill the Heritage Foundation health bill at that time.

That bill had been introduced by Sen. Don Nickles (R-OK) because he thought it was the conservative alternative to HillaryCare. Leaving Heritage over the matter and working for Goodman's National Center for Policy Analysis, I went through the bill line by line and wrote up all the conservative objections, which primarily stemmed from the individual mandate. I then got my critique signed by 37 major conservative leaders.

It was the only time you could find Phyllis Schlafly and Ed Crane signing on to the same document. Others who signed included Paul Weyrich, David Keene, and Grover Norquist. It was a Who's Who of conservative leaders.

When I delivered the document to Nickles' office, he had the good sense to pull the bill. Stuart Butler was furious with me, and it has ruined our previously close friendship to this day. I received awards for this work from the American Conservative Union and the Eagle Forum. That is because the Heritage health plan with its individual mandate was detested throughout the conservative movement, and there was broad approbation for my work in practically figuring out how to pull them back.

Why the Individual Mandate Equals Socialized Medicine

Here is why the individual mandate inevitably leads to full-blown socialized medicine, as it has with Obamacare: When the government mandates that you have to buy health insurance, then it has to specify what health insurance is required to satisfy the mandate. This means politics is involved in deciding what must be included and covered by that insurance.

And once politics is involved, that means you can't leave anything out, as that would be taken as an offense and a slight to both the consumers and the providers of the excluded service. Mental health benefits and counseling, drug rehab, maternity benefits (even for men and seniors), abortion -- everything must be covered. We will see that when the final regulations are issued for Obamacare by the Supreme Dictator, Kathleen Sebelius (who looks and acts the part of a villain from an Ayn Rand novel). We are already seeing that the mandated services must include sterilization and "morning after" pills, which even Catholic institutions will have to pay for in regard to their own employees.

That means the mandated health insurance will inevitably be extremely expensive, as we are just starting to see with Obamacare. To make such a mandated expense politically palatable, the government must provide extensive welfare subsidies well into the middle class and beyond, again as we see with Obamacare. The biggest expense there is not the explosion of Medicaid, as bad as that is. It is the entirely new entitlement program providing benefits (subsidies) for the purchase of the mandated insurance for families making up to $88,000 a year to start, indexed to grow to over $100,000 in the near future.

But there is still another shoe to drop. As the costs to the government, taxpayers, and others for this mandated health insurance skyrocket, the government will decide it must step in to control costs. That means more than just price controls on health insurance, which can't repeal the mathematics of needing enough revenue to pay for the covered benefits. It means the government deciding what health care will be paid for and for whom, and what will not. In other words, rationing. After all, if the government is ultimately paying, then just being careful stewards of public funds means the government must ultimately decide what health care gets paid for, and what doesn't. This reasoning is how the public comes to accept such health care rationing in the countries with socialized medicine.

And so starting with the individual mandate, we inevitably get to full blown socialized medicine, with the government and swarms of new bureaucracies to control health insurance and health care, including Sarah Palin's death panel. This is why even the Heritage Foundation finally realized its error years ago, and has now turned around to oppose the individual mandate, even filing Supreme Court briefs against it.

And this is why all the leading conservative health care experts have so vociferously opposed the Obamacare individual mandate, from John Goodman, to Betsy McCaughey, to Grace Marie Turner, to Sally Pipes, to myself.

Coulter's Fallacies

Now, Ann, don't get mad at me because I have to extend this analysis to explain in particular your fallacious reasoning. Perhaps if you had called one of the above leading experts to do basic research beforehand, you would have written a better piece. And I am sorry, but it is not my fault that you didn't.

Coulter writes, "The only reason the 'individual mandate' has become a malediction is because the legal argument against Obamacare is that Congress has no constitutional authority to force citizens to buy a particular product... The hyperventilating over government-mandated health insurance confuses a legal argument with a policy objection."

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