healthcare-combo– Brian Lee Crowley is the founding president of Atlantic Institute for Market Studies (AIMS), a public policy think tank in Canada (pictured left) and Valentin Petkantchin is director of research at the Paris-and Brussels-based Institut économique Molinari. The views expressed are their own. –

President Barack Obama’s package of heathcare reforms – mandatory health insurance, public health option and increased federal government financing – is being sold as preserving independent high quality care and choice for patients while keeping down costs. Taxpayers and patients in both Canada and France know better.

Unfortunately, our experience is that once the government gets its nose in the healthcare tent, not only is spending not contained, but health care professionals lose their freedom to practice. Left with few choices, patients face shortages and waiting lists.

Washington’s proposed new public health insurance option, while not imposing Canadian-style single-payer monopolistic public health insurance immediately, will almost certainly lead to that result in the end.

One of two things will happen. If doctors prove reluctant to accept patients covered by the public option and it is thus unable to compete successfully with private insurers, the politicians will not stand idly by.