...Obama's plan is a blueprint for socialization in stages. It starts with a basically good idea -- setting up a truly national market (which we don't have now) for private insurance -- and stacks the odds against the insurers by putting a tax-subsidized plan in the mix.Plus if history is any guide, the collapse of the private insurers due to unfair competition from the government will be labelled a "failure of capitalism", and used to justify a complete government takeover of health insurance.
The private plans would have to be at least as generous as the public plan; this was stated explicitly by the Obama campaign. However, they would be denied its subsidy, so it would be impossible for them to match its benefits and still make money.
It would be like herding sheep into the fold and letting the wolf in. Or you can think of the public plan as a Trojan horse. Once allowed inside the gates of the health insurance market and given an unfair advantage, it will eventually out-compete its private rivals and gain monopoly power.
We've already seen this specious reasoning applied to the mortgage crisis, as George Mason University professor Peter Boettke noted:
If you bound the arms and legs of gold-medal swimmer Michael Phelps, weighed him down with chains, threw him in a pool and he sank, you wouldn't call it a "failure of swimming". So, when markets have been weighted down by inept and excessive regulation, why call this a "failure of capitalism"?Fortunately, publications like IBD are calling attention to this problem before it happens. Let's hope enough Americans are listening.
(Update: Fixed bad link to IBD piece.)