The president and his team like to say that the “public option”, a government run health insurance plan, will “keep the insurance companies honest” and “make them compete.” This highjacking of capitalist rhetoric may fool some people, but not me. If you want to know what government-run enterprises really think and do about competition, read this article by Stephen Spruiell at National Review Online.
I have been interested in Hawaii because my family vacations there frequently. It is a more rural, poorer state than most people imagine. Its citizens are not often served well by the paternalistic government. The state of Hawaii, you may remember, attempted to control gasoline costs last year, resulting in shortages almost immediately. They also tried to create a “public option” in health insurance, and soon discovered that instead of covering poor children, they were covering middle class people who dumped their private insurance for the free state policy. The cost skyrocketed, and they abandoned the program. Now it seems they are saddled with taxpayer costs because they refused to allow a permit for private investors to bear the risk of investment in a new hospital on Maui, where the state hospital enjoys a monopoly — entirely on the grounds that it would compete with the state run hospital!
Obama has no intention of the government merely competing with private insurance companies — he wants to destroy them.