The Great Debate

Is America ready for single payer healthcare?

diana-furchtgottroth–- Diana Furchtgott-Roth, former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor, is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. The views expressed are her own. –-

President Barack Obama has repeatedly said “First of all, if you’ve got health insurance, you like your doctors, you like your plan, you can keep your doctor, you can keep your plan. Nobody is talking about taking that away from you.”

But America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009, the bill under discussion in the House of Representatives, would result in the demise of private health insurance in America.

The 1,018-page bill would result in unprecedented regulation of America’s health sector. Among other provisions, it includes an 8 percent tax on employers who do not offer health insurance to employees, a mandate for everyone to have insurance, and requirements on whom insurers must cover, what benefits must be provided, the extent of variation in premiums, and how much profit is permitted—with excess profits returned to enrollees.

This would solidify government control of all health care in America, force most private insurance companies out of business, and lead to a single payer health system, like Britain or France.

Obama healthcare drive looking sick

James Pethokoukis – James Pethokoukis is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own –

What just happened to American healthcare reform?

The political prospects for major U.S. healthcare reform have taken a decided turn for the worse in recent days (at least from the point of view of many Democrats). And you don’t need to be some totally plugged-in Washington insider to understand that.

Just take a look-see at the stock market performance of industry players such as Aetna Inc, Cigna, UnitedHealth Group, and WellPoint. Shares have been trending higher of late. What’s been slowly dawning on Wall Street is that the legislative process in Washington is unlikely to produce a national public health insurance option that could eventually squeeze out the private sector.