Jacob Hacker Lies to NewsHour

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Jacob Hacker, perhaps best known as the man behind the "public option," and a longtime proponent of single-payer care (who famously said that the public option would lead to single payer), was on NewsHour this week.

Hacker said that there's "three B's" of the public option: a "backup" for people who don't have secure coverage, a "benchmark" for private insurance plans, and a "backstop" for cost controls.

Unfortunately for Hacker, he needed to lie about the latter two, at least.

He says it is a "benchmark" because it will provide competition. He said he thinks that the public option should not get any subsidies so it will compete "on a complete level playing field." But that's not remotely possible. The public option will require massive taxpayer funds to get off the ground. And even apart from that, the people who run the public option will also be controlling the playing field, and will force the private insurers to play the game on their terms. It won't be -- can't be -- level, unless you have different people writing the rules than playing the game, and unless you somehow get private funds to bootstrap the public option.

And there's no evidence it will control costs, either. Hacker's only evidence for this is that the "per capita" cost of health care has been held down, due to Medicare. But Medicare has not led to a decrease in cost in care for people outside of Medicare. And inside of Medicare costs have been kept down by underfunding the care, so much so that many doctors have stopped accepting, and sometimes even dropped, Medicare patients. And on top of it all, Medicare is going bankrupt, which is going to require decreased services or increased taxes (or both).

This is not, in any sensible examination, an actual decrease in the cost of care. It's a combination of reducing care, and artficially reducing costs through price controls.

As to Hacker's "backup," it will only be such if it does the same as Medicare: artificially controls market prices or uses increased tax revenues to enable them to cover everyone who needs it.

Hacker also lied by omission when asked about supporting single payer. He responded, "Well, all I can say is that I think that, for most people who work for larger employers, the private health insurance system works pretty well. ..." Yes, it does, but the fact is, he is a strong supporter of gradually moving this entire country to a single-payer system, and away from that private health insurance system that works pretty well. And as shown in the verumserum link above, he believes that the public option is part of the process for getting us there (he even thinks it's obvious that it is so -- and I agree with him on that).

The real goal of Hacker is to get everyone covered through -- eventually -- complete government control of the health care system. As Hacker himself has said, the "eventually" part is explicitly designed to get people to go along with small apparently innocuous changes over time, so they won't be scared by Hacker's desired result.

Read or listen to the whole interview (and the versumserum link above). It's very instructive, seeing the lengths the far left will go not only to deceive people into jumping on board their plan, but also to hide their true motives. [UPDATE: the next night, NewsHour interviewed an opponent of the public option, who made many of these same points, and some other excellent ones.] slashdot.org

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