Let's talk about specifics. In his Times op-ed, the president argues that the Democrats' proposals "will finally bring skyrocketing health-care costs under control" by "cutting . . . waste and inefficiency in federal health programs like Medicare and Medicaid and in unwarranted subsidies to insurance companies . . . ."
First, ask yourself whether the government that brought us such "waste and inefficiency" and "unwarranted subsidies" in the first place can be believed when it says that this time it will get things right. The nonpartistan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) doesn't think so: Its director, Douglas Elmendorf, told the Senate Budget Committee in July that "in the legislation that has been reported we do not see the sort of fundamental changes that would be necessary to reduce the trajectory of federal health spending by a significant amount."
Now look at one way Mr. Obama wants to eliminate inefficiency and waste: He's asked Congress to create an Independent Medicare Advisory Council—an unelected, largely unaccountable group of experts charged with containing Medicare costs. In an interview with the New York Times in April, the president suggested that such a group, working outside of "normal political channels," should guide decisions regarding that "huge driver of cost . . . the chronically ill and those toward the end of their lives . . . ."
Given such statements, is it any wonder that many of the sick and elderly are concerned that the Democrats' proposals will ultimately lead to rationing of their health care by—dare I say it—death panels? Establishment voices dismissed that phrase, but it rang true for many Americans. Working through "normal political channels," they made themselves heard, and as a result Congress will likely reject a wrong-headed proposal to authorize end-of-life counseling in this cost-cutting context. But the fact remains that the Democrats' proposals would still empower unelected bureaucrats to make decisions affecting life or death health-care matters. Such government overreaching is what we've come to expect from this administration
Instead of poll-driven "solutions," let's talk about real health-care reform: market-oriented, patient-centered, and result-driven. As the Cato Institute's Michael Cannon and others have argued, such policies include giving all individuals the same tax benefits received by those who get coverage through their employers; providing Medicare recipients with vouchers that allow them to purchase their own coverage; reforming tort laws to potentially save billions each year in wasteful spending; and changing costly state regulations to allow people to buy insurance across state lines. Rather than another top-down government plan, let's give Americans control over their own health care.
Palin does an excellent job of using objective resources to combat many of the president's claims. She, on more than one occasion, referred to things the CBO found about the president's plan that was in conflict with the president's plan. Palin also referred to a study by a group called Watson Wyatt Worldwide by Steven Nyce and Syl Schieber that measured the wage impact of the Democrats' health care proposal.
Palin proposed the standard conservative free market solutions: tort reform, health savings accounts, and buying insurance across state lines. These three have become the mantra for conservatives, like Palin and myself, and so while there's nothing new here, we'd say that's because these reforms would work.
I have no problem with any part of the op ed. In fact, it's the best she's written. What I have a problem with is that Palin's role in health care reform has been on and off. She made some waves with several Facebook postings. Then, she went quiet for a while. Now, she's resurfaced with another op ed. This is the number one issue of the day, and Palin said she wanted to fight for conservative, free market principles. There's no better platform than that of health currently. She's been a supporting player rather than a leader. She could have gotten deep in the fight. She could have made a major speech. She could have done interviews on the subject. She's chosen to make a few Op Ed's and postings, but not many. I think if she wants to be taken seriously she needs to lead in the debate and not simply add some background noise. I'm still hoping for more out of Palin on health care.