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The Quarterback of Obamacare Doesn’t Like the GOP Senators’ Alternative

12:22 PM, Feb 3, 2014 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
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Ezekiel Emanuel—Rahm’s older brother and the man who, as far back as 2009, current Nebraska Senate candidate Ben Sasse warned was “quarterbacking the details” of Obamacare—has authored a New York Times op-ed in which he criticizes the proposed alternative released last week by Senators Coburn, Burr, and Hatch.  Emanuel, a rather feisty fellow (see his Fox News exchange with Jim Capretta—during which he admitted that, under Obamacare, the “individual market is going away”), has written some, well, provocative things about what he calls the “allocation of scarce medical interventions.”  For example, he’d prioritize the lives of the young over the old, but would nevertheless prioritize the lives of adolescents over infants.  That’s because adolescents “have received substantial education and parental care, investments that will be wasted without a complete life.  Infants by contrast, have not yet received these investments.”  Yes, that’s who designed Obamacare, with all of its central planning and government control over Americans’ health-care decisions and their lives. (Feel better now?)

Emanuel’s musings about the relative value of distinct human lives might make one think of Obamacare’s unelected and largely unaccountable Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), one of the myriad notorious features of Obamacare that Americans would be freed from under the Coburn-Burr-Hatch alternative.  Others include (to list just a few) Obamacare’s job-killing employer mandate (which President Obama, at his whim, has lawlessly refused to execute as written); its war on doctors (Obamacare bans, for example, the building or expanding of doctor-owned hospitals); its taxpayer-funded bailout of big insurance companies; and, of course, its historically unprecedented individual mandate, which says that—for the first time in United States history—private American citizens must buy a product or service of the federal government’s choosing.  In comparing and contrasting the senators’ proposed alternative with Obamacare for readers of the New York Times, Emanuel curiously forgets to mention any of these parts of Obamacare. 

He does, however, find space to mention his concern that, in the absence of Obamacare’s 2,700 pages, insurers might lose people’s paperwork.  He asks, “What if the paperwork you filled out is ‘lost’?”  Seriously?  That’s why we need a government-orchestrated overhaul of American medicine?

Another thing that Emanuel fails to mention is the senators’ embrace of “high risk” pools—a key part of their solution to the problem of expensive preexisting conditions.  Emanuel writes that, under the senators’ alternative, if people with preexisting conditions are uninsured but want to buy insurance, “health insurance companies could charge more or refuse to cover them.”  In truth, however, the senators call for generous federal funding for state-run high-risk pools, through which anyone could purchase partially subsidized insurance—and no one could be turned away because of a preexisting condition. 

That certainly beats Obamacare’s method of dealing with preexisting conditions, which is to mandate that insurers cover all comers at the same cost (subject only to age and geography), thereby causing health costs to spike for everyone else while also incentivizing people to wait under they’re already sick or injured to get “insurance”—which in turn causes costs to spike still more.  In other words, the Coburn-Burr-Hatch way of dealing with preexisting conditions would ensure that everyone has access to coverage while saving everyday Americans a lot of money.

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