No Public Option?

Sources inside the House Democratic leadership are leaking the news that they are giving up on including a public insurance option in the final version of the Dems’ government medicine bill:

Senior House Democrats have largely abandoned hopes of including a government-run insurance option in the final compromise health care bill taking shape, according to several officials, and are pushing for other measures to rein in private insurers.

Instead of government insurance, the bill will incorporate top-to-bottom regulation of “private” insurance carriers. This is just one of many such regulations:

House Democrats want to require insurers to spend a minimum amount of premium income on benefits, thereby limiting what is available for salaries, bonuses, advertising and other items. The House bill sets the floor at 85 percent; the Senate-passed measure lowers it to 80 percent for policies sold to small groups and individuals.

So what is shaping up behind closed doors is classic National Socialist legislation. The government will not overtly take over the insurance industry (“seizing the means of production,” in Marxist terms). Rather, ostensibly private institutions will be left in place, at least for the time being. But those “private” institutions–the health insurance companies–will be subjected to top-down regulation that turns them into agents of state power. No meaningful competition will be permitted. The federal government will run health care, but will do so behind a facade of private enterprise. Mussolini would be proud of Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Reid.
Presumably this arrangement is only temporary. As we have noted before, the Left doesn’t really need a public option. President Obama has said that under his proposal, private insurance companies would be driven out of business over a period of ten to twenty years. At that point, there will be no such thing as private medicine, and the federal government will be able to come out of the closet. It will be illegal for you or members of your family to obtain medical treatment, except as permitted and controlled by the government.
Will America then be a free country? That’s debatable, but I would say, No.