John on June 14, 2010 at 8:24 am
The New York Post has an analysis that goes a bit farther than I did last week. It seems HHS is using the power contained in the new law to create a top down system in which everything is determined by rules set by the HHS Secretary:
Ultimately, these rules force consumers to buy one of just four health policies — which vary mostly only by trading off higher co-payments for lower premiums, while offering essentially the same actual benefits. In arguing for passage of the law, ObamaCare’s defenders claimed the rules were aimed at health plans sold in the “exchanges.” Oops: Now Sebelius is applying them to employer plans. Eventually, this would force all but the very wealthiest Americans into a single government-designed insurance scheme.
Here’s where it gets really interesting. It seems the bill was written vaguely enough to please those in the White House who wanted “competition” in the health exchanges, but it is also vague enough to be read another way:
The HHS crew favored a one-sized government plan with tight federal regulation over benefits.The law itself didn’t explicitly side with either school — but it did leave the writing of the implementing regs to those same HHS wonks. Unfortunately, those more moderate White House economists are now leaving the administration, including the rumored departure of widely admired businessman and health-care expert Robert Kocher.
Washington insiders refer to this HHS team as “true believers” — a group of earnest, left-leaning activists who’ve long favored a single nationalized health plan. They are massaging the law’s vagueness to give themselves the tight federal control over health care that will bring their vision into practice.
I think the Post is a bit too kind to the White House. After all, the HHS Secretary isn’t going to do anything the President hasn’t approved, at least tacitly. Obama always wanted a path to complete government control. What we’re seeing now is just a continued effort in the same direction.
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