Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Arnold Schwarzenegger's "universal" health-care plan

WSJ reported Arnold Schwarzenegger's "universal" health-care plan died in the California legislature on Monday, in what can only be called a mercy killing. So let's conduct a political autopsy, because there are important lessons here for the national health-care debate..... The centerpiece of the Schwarzenegger plan was the "individual mandate," which is also the heart of HillaryCare 2.0. Such a law would compel everyone to acquire insurance, with subsidies for those who couldn't afford it. But the individual mandate incited a liberal revolt. Many Democrats and some unions argued the subsidies weren't generous enough to cover lower-income families, and it wasn't fair to penalize them for coverage they couldn't afford. One state Senator called the plan "a knife in the throat of the working poor." So the plan failed because it was too expensive -- and because for some Democrats it wasn't expensive enough.
That sounds like Democrats, give them more and more money, but where does the money come from. Your pocket and mine.
Opposition also arose because the plan didn't do enough to punish the left's health-care villains. While it greatly expanded regulation of insurers -- requiring them to accept all applicants, and prohibiting premium differences based on health status -- it didn't cap how much they could charge consumers, or regulate their profits.
Dems just hate free enterprise.
Democrats also complained that the taxes the plan imposed on business, as high as 6.5% of payroll, weren't high enough. Business disagreed.
They thought they were too high.
All of which is to say that while the plan was opposed by nearly all Republicans, it died at the hands of Democrats. Mr. Schwarzenegger was a collaborator in that he went out of his way to assail and thus alienate fellow Republicans for opposing tax increases to pay for the plan. But if Mrs. Clinton or Barack Obama want to push a major health-care reform through Congress, they will have to find a way to appease their own left-wing while not alienating business and taxpayers.

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