Taggart – Govt’ will run healthcare about as well as Amtrak

Jere, you obviously have too much time on your hands.

Your post trying to bait Republicans on so-called health care reform did get my attention, though. There, you issue the following challenge: “Republicans: just tell the country the government has no business making health care affordable and available.”

Clever, that, since it is only by reframing the debate as you have attempted to do that the current Administration can pull the fat out of the fire on President Obama’s pet issue of taking over the nation’s health care system.

The fact is, the federal government is no more capable of running the nation’s health care system than it has been able to run a railroad (Amtrak), or will be able to run a car company (GM). The only reason Amtrak still runs is that it has a monopoly and the taxpayers heavily subsidize it. In the case of General Motors, the government will either run it further into the ground, or, since the government doesn’t have to make a profit like real businesses do, will run competing auto manufacturers out of the United States and force the taxpayers to subsidize it for the rest of time.

And so it is with health care finance. If President Obama is smart enough to take Jere’s change-the-debate advice, he might just get the power to run the nation’s entire health care finance system. But I’m optimistic that the American people are onto the disaster such a step would represent in American history. So when members of Congress come home in August, the message they are more likely to hear, Jere, is “Democrats, the government has no business taking over more of our lives!”

The Clarion-Ledger