A former Bush aide, Karl Rove, has an article in today's Wall Street Journal advising Republicans on "How to Stop Socialized Health Care." His big concern is preventing the Obama administration from offering a "public option" as an alternative to private insurance for consumers or businesses.
"a public option will undercut private insurers and pass the tab to taxpayers and health providers just as it does in existing government-run programs. For example, Medicare pays hospitals 71% and doctors 81% of what private insurers pay," Mr. Rove writes. "Fixing prices at less than market rates will continue under any public option."
In the next breath he writes: "the public option is far too expensive."
It seems quite a straddle to argue simultaneously that a public option would (1) fix prices at "less than market rates" and therefore "undercut private insurers," i.e., be too cheap and (2) be "far too expensive" at the same time. If 71% is too expensive for the government, why shouldn't 100% be too expensive for individuals and businesses. I'm not an advocate of socialized medicine, but if Republicans or anyone else is going to block it from advancing further than it already has already in America, they are unlikely to succeed in doing so by arguing that it would simultaneously be too cheap and too expensive. Mr. Rove's article doesn't mention the word "quality," which is in some ways a more powerful word when it comes to health care than "expensive."