One of the great bamboozlements of the last couple of years has been the success of special interests in convincing ordinary Americans that health care reform was an attempt by Big Government to purloin their personal freedoms.
The strategy can be encapsulated in the simplistic, bumper-sticker slogan, “Do you want a government bureaucrat making medical decisions instead of your doctor?”
Not only is this an inaccurate scare tactic, it conveniently ignores the reality that private insurance company bean counters are already making life-and-death decisions that should be made only between you and your doctor, and have been doing so for decades.
The fear strategy was so successful that candidates who voted to pass the legislation⎯rather than taking credit for their vote⎯have been shying away from it in the 2010 election campaign.
And maybe they should. Once the public option was dropped in order to get the bill through Congress, the future law was rendered toothless in terms of its ability to contain private rates through competition.
Sure, there are a few things we can be happy about (elimination of the pre-existing conditions restriction, for example), but those yearning for true reform might also want to use the pejorative “Obamacare,” in this case, to describe what might have been but wasn’t⎯by a long shot.
Think I’m wrong on this public option thing? Americans with employer-provided health plans are currently in the middle of their open enrollment periods for next year’s coverage, and what they’re seeing ain’t pretty.