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Monday, June 15, 2009

Obama Proposes "Public Option" For Health Coverage to American Medical Association

Photo by jmtimages (CC)

As usual, Obama's speech today- to the 158th annual meeting of the American Medical Association- consisted of flowery, vague rhetoric calculated to mask and obscure his statist agenda.

His policy proposal- which he called a public option- was not one that the AMA (or liberty-loving patriots) wanted to hear:

The AMA agrees with Obama on the need for health care reforms but has reservations about the creation of a "public option" paid for by the government to ensure coverage for the 46 million uninsured Americans.

The Cato Institute's Michael D. Tanner, a foremost expert on U.S. entitlement programs, responds here:

In his speech to the American Medical Association today, President Obama repeatedly denied that he supports “socialized medicine” or “government-run” health care.

But what is important is not the terminology, but under the proposal supported by the president, government would control more and more of our health care decisions. Government would compel Americans to purchase health insurance, controlling its content, how much we pay, and the relationships between insurers, doctors, and patients. Government bureaucrats would determine whether Americans receive certain medical services.

There may be no better salesman than Barack Obama, but his product is deeply flawed. The so-called “Public Option,” or government-run plan, that President Obama supports would slowly but inexorably lead to the destruction of the private insurance market and the imposition of a government-controlled single-payer system.

But the problems with Obamacare go well beyond the Public Option, which the AMA opposes. The mandates on businesses and individuals, taxpayer subsidies, insurance regulation, and government interference in private medical decisions pose serious threats to American businesses, taxpayers, and most importantly patients.

That’s bad medicine, no matter what you call it.

(Read THL's interview with Michael D. Tanner last month)


  1. The bottom line on Health care is that $43 Billion in unpaid services were provided in 2008. These unpaid services were given to the under insured and uninsured patients.

    We can either continue to pass this cost on to other consumers, not provide the care at all or force people to have enough insurance.

    Forcing people to have insurance and subsidizing it is what Obama is looking to do. Personally, I would prefer to just not provide the services.

  2. Absolutely- the government should not be in the business of providing health care.

    Not because health care is unimportant, but because it is too important to allow the government to control it.

    As for voluntary provision of unpaid services (Vanderbilt Medical Center, for instance provides millions of dollars worth of free service), that is okay by me!