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Now a chance for real reform ...

October 28, 2009 - Lee Smith
Two groups — one small and one large — deserve a great deal of credit for preventing the federal government from taking over the health care industry. (By the way, it's not a health care "system." It's an industry.) One group is the Blue Dogs, a large collection of moderate to conservative House Democrats. The second is a little group of moderate Democratic senators, including Evan Bayh of Indiana, Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas.

All of these are honest people who do not fall for new liberal rhetoric about a "consumer option" that is just another way of saying government takeover. They also know the consequences of such a takeover. These include medical technology stagnation, health care rationing by bureaucrats and the always unresponsive attitude of big government.

The power of these two groups is made real when their stands are added to the strength of Congress' minority party, the Republicans, who generally have even less interest in government involvement in the economy. Together, moderates and conservatives have the opportunity to fashion true health care "reform," which could include knocking down barriers to selling insurance across state lines, as well as capping jury awards in medical malpractice cases.

One could hope that they would also start talking about personal responsibility for one's health care decisions. To aid those decisions, Congress could create tax credits for medical savings accounts, encouraging low-premium, high-deductible catastrophic plans. These plans cover people in dire emergencies, but create disincentives to visit the doctor for every little ache, pain and cough.

Given liberals' clear failures to convince people that government knows best, it's time to move on to real reform.


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