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Jacob Hacker Responds to “Trojan Horse” Quote Published by VS

John on August 24, 2009 at 1:24 am

CNS News put this story up last week:

Trojan horseA liberal Yale scholar, widely regarded as the originator of the “public option” idea of creating a government run insurance provider to compete with private-sector insurance companies, told that he does not see the public option as a “Trojan Horse” that could lead the United States to single-payer, government-run health insurance.

“I do not see my ‘Health Care for America’ proposal as a route to single payer,” Jacob S. Hacker told in an email.

Hacker said that he hopes the public option, if adopted, would eventually lead to a government-managed system–but it wouldn’t happen overnight.

In a 2008 video obtained and aired by Fox News Channel (first posted by, Hacker not only suggested that his plan would lead to a single-payer system, but said it would do so openly, in a gradual way, he admitted.

“Someone once said to me, ‘Well, this is a Trojan horse for single payer.’ I said, ‘Well, it’s not a Trojan horse, right? It’s just right there! I’m telling you!’” Hacker said in the video, which was filmed at a July 2008 forum sponsored by the liberal Tides Foundation,.

“We’re going to get there (to a government-run system)–over time, slowly, but we’ll move away from reliance on employment-based health insurance, as we should.

“But we’ll do it in a way that we’re not going to frighten people into thinking they’re going to lose their private insurance. We’re going to give them a choice of public and private insurance when they’re in the pool, and we’re going to let them keep their private employment-based insurance if their employer continues to provide it.”

Hacker told in an e-mail that his 2008 statement was being misconstrued because he meant only to say that the public plan itself would not be disguised–or a hidden “Trojan horse.”

“It is not: The public plan is right out in the open, as it should be, since most Americans say they want the choice of a new public plan.” Hacker added.

I wanted to link it then but at the time the author was giving credit to Fox News for “obtaining” the video without mentioning that Fox obtained it from us. They’ve corrected it now as you can see and we do appreciate that.

As for Hacker’s explanation, he seems to be unclear on the concept. Let me see if I can explain it for him.

Translating “choice and competition” back into ancient Greek, you get “Look, what a pretty horse.”A Trojan horse is not called a Trojan horse because you can’t see the horse. You can. The horse is always visible. It’s always “right there” tempting you to drag it inside the city.

As Troy learned the hard way, it’s the stuff you don’t see that kills you, i.e. the Greek soldiers waiting for the right moment to spring out and take control of everything. That’s what a Trojan horse is about, using stealth to take control from the inside with minimal resistance.

In the case of health care, everyone can see the public option. It’s part of the plan. It’s “right there” as Hacker might say. What they don’t see is that inside the public option are the seeds of a government takeover, i.e. a single-payer system. What they don’t see is that this was Hacker’s plan all along.

Why don’t people see it? Because the President and his allies — Hacker included — never talk about it, not anymore at least. What they talk about now is “choice and competition.” It’s just one more plan, what are you so worried about?

But it turns out that translating “choice and competition” back into ancient Greek, you get “Look, what a pretty horse.” That’s just the packaging. It’s the part that’s meant to look good from the outside, good enough so you’ll succumb to it. And that’s all they want you to see right now.

Fortunately, several people on the left have slipped up and told the truth (many including Hacker did so prior to Obama becoming President), and we’ve been able to put together the video of those off-script moments.

In a way, what we’ve been about here at VS all summer is echoing Virgil’s words:

This hollow fabric either must inclose,
Within its blind recess, our secret foes;
Or ‘t is an engine rais’d above the town,
T’ o’erlook the walls, and then to batter down.
Somewhat is sure design’ d, by fraud or force:
Trust not their presents, nor admit the horse.’

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Category: Health & Education |

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