The Left’s False Alternative on Health Care

Since the passage of Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, opponents have vowed to “repeal and replace ObamaCare.” But the far Left, which has never been happy with ObamaCare, has its own plan for what to replace it with: “Medicare-for-all” (which predates Obama’s election).

The latest incarnation of “Medicare-for-all” was introduced in 2009. Though the plan, H.R. 676, was quickly eclipsed by the debate and passage of ObamaCare, it is still simmering just below the political surface. Ray Stever, president of New Jersey One Plan One Nation Coalition, provides an indication of where the Left will take the healthcare fight next:

What did . . . Obamacare nationwide achieve? As Obama explained, Obamacare isn’t a government takeover of health care. It is the largest expansion of private insurance. In other words, Obamacare provided a major boost for the insurance industry.

The “better . . . more efficient . . . alternative”, says Stever, is to cut out private insurance altogether:

[W]e must build a nationwide movement to expand and improve Medicare to cover everything for everyone. We need to pass HR 676, the U.S. National Health Care Act. Under HR 676, all Americans would be enrolled in Medicare, which would cover all necessary medical care. That means doctors’ bills, hospital bills, prescription drugs, mental and dental, eyeglasses, hearing aids, home health care assistants, nursing home care. The whole enchilada.

That is certainly a clear and explicit plan for the complete government takeover of health care. But it is important not to let the forthrightness of this plan shroud the meaning and danger of ObamaCare.

ObamaCare does empower a “government takeover of health care,” through virtually complete control of health insurance. One example of this is Obama’s controversial birth control mandate, which compels all health insurance plans—including employer-provided plans—to include women’s contraceptive coverage, at no out-of-pocket cost to women, for all related FDA-approved products, including sterilization and “morning after” abortion pills. Another is the pre-existing conditions mandate, which “necessitated” the individual insurance mandate, which requires every individual to purchase a government-approved health insurance policy or face a special “tax” (i.e., a fine). As Scott Gottlieb recently noted, “ObamaCare empowers a host of new boards and committees to arbitrate over what insurance will pay for, and what remains uncovered. They’ll rule over not just health plans sold inside the ObamaCare exchanges, but even private insurance.”

The Left offers a false choice between two different versions of a government takeover of health care. The only moral alternative to either is a fully free market, under which the rights of all individuals—including the rights of patients, consumers, insurers, doctors, and other providers to contract voluntarily with each other—are respected and protected by government.

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