Sunday, July 8, 2007

Edwardscare: an elegant, laudable Trojan horse

Slate Magazine: By Timothy Noah
How socialistic? As I explained above, the 'health markets' component is a Trojan horse (a very elegant one) to replace existing private health insurance with government funding. That's what I like about it. Obama's plan has a Trojan horse, too, a public health-care plan limited, as Edwards' is, to people who do not receive health insurance, or adequate health insurance, through their employers. In both instances I think the mere creation of these programs would create a stampede by companies to stop insuring their employees. For some reason, Obama's senior economist, Austan Goolsbee, chooses not to believe this about Obamacare, possibly because he figures the private-but-regulated health-care plans in Obama's National Health Insurance Exchange would be more generous than Obama's public health-care plan. (It's not clear to me that anyone in Obama's campaign has thought this through.) Edwards' 'health markets' should be less susceptible to this sort of unraveling because the whole idea would be to set up a competition between public and private plans, and how could government compete if it were forced to limit what benefits it offered?

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