Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, who played a major and highly controversial role in the health reform debate last year, published her response to the Obama plan on her Facebook page yesterday. In the spirit of debate, THCB is republishing the full text of her remarks.
The President has wrestled control of the health care debate away from Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid by finally introducing his own plan. Unfortunately, the White House’s proposal includes everything we found untenable about the old Senate bill – only this one is even more expensive! This is what you might call putting “perfume on a pig.”
What’s in this “new” proposal? It has the unpopular (and arguably unconstitutional)individual mandate that forces people and employers to purchase health insurance – only this time with much harsher fines on employers who choose not to go along with another expensive government mandate. It has provisions that will make employers think twice before expanding their workforce. It has cuts to Medicare Advantage, a popular program which allows seniors to pay a little more money out of pocket for better coverage. And, of course, it still has sweetheart deals – only this time they’ve been extended even more.
We don’t know what the final long-term cost of this will be because the Congressional Budget Office hasn’t had a chance to calculate costs. We do know that the White House recognizes that its proposal will cost tens of billions more over the next ten years than the already-expensive $2.5 trillion Senate bill. The Presidentpromised last July that he won’t sign a health care bill if it “adds even one dime to our deficit over the next decade.” But he’s now proposing a health care bill withuncertain fiscal repercussions that could lead to endless deficits.
The rising cost of care has driven the entire health care reform debate. So how does the President’s proposal address this central issue? Price controls. That’s right: Washington, D.C. wants to give a panel of bureaucrats the power to cap insurance premiums and prices. As Michael Cannon of the Cato Institute notes, “artificially limiting premium growth allows the government to curtail spending while leaving the dirty work of withholding medical care to private insurers.” This leads to rationing. Any economist worth his salt – including the White House’s own Larry Summers – will tell you that price controls lead to all sorts of negative unintended consequences. It’s another step towards government controlled health care and away from the real solution: free market, patient-centered reform.
With a government-growing proposal this bad, it’s no wonder the President wants bipartisan cover for it in an election year. Thursday’s health care summit is already being revealed as little more than a photo-op. The Obama administration still denies the existence of the House Republicans’ health care plan that offers alternative solutions to health care challenges – even though the White House website links right to it.
The President’s proposal doesn’t include pro-free market ideas like allowing people to buy insurance across state lines, giving individual buyers the same tax benefits as those who get insurance through their employers, or instituting real medical liability reform. Despite the “kumbaya” rhetoric, Democrats are making plans to ram this bill through the Senate using a partisan procedural maneuver that will bypass the normal bipartisan debate process.
Sarah Palin is the former governor of Alaska and widely consider a leading contender for the GOP nomination in 2012. Her opinions can found online on her facebook page, where this post first appeared. .