This week I've been asking the question: "Do you believe in the free market system?" I know politicians say they do, but their actions don't seem to match the words.
The president and other Democrats like to say the health care bill will just add more competition; they also complain that opponents don't have a better solution. Well, since they love competition and the free market so much, here's my plan that will add some "competition."
Imagine you were the CEO of a company. (Mr. President, I know this is a stretch for you. Maybe you can imagine you are organizing a really important community or something.)
The company is not doing well. You are playing your usual morning round of golf when you get a call on the Blackberry. One of your employees says he's got it: He can turn the company around. It's a super-expensive plan and risky, but if it works it could save the company. If not, the company goes under.
But there's a big problem: Only 35 percent of the people in the boardroom want to go ahead with the plan because it would also fundamentally transform the company into something it wasn't designed to be.
What do you do?
(No, Mr. President, you can't just give a speech or hand out more Trapper Keepers.)
A good CEO might suggest trying it on the weakest of the 50 entities and seeing how it works. If it fails, you only lose one not the whole business. If it works: Great, we'll start spreading it around.
I think that's what the president should do with his health care plan.
Let's take a weak state — like Massachusetts — and see how it works. They can't get much worse, right? They are currently being decimated by another government-run plan.
Premiums are growing at a much faster rate than the rest of the nation. Wait times are up. The situation is so dire that they are starting to cut back services (aka rationing) and they even have group doctors visits.
So let's put Obama's health care plan in that state and the plan doesn't kick in till 2013 anyway, so it'll give us something to do in the meantime.
At the same time Massachusetts attempts yet another government program, let's try something radically different to Obama's plan in another state. Say, Texas. It's based on "free market" ideas, innovation is encouraged, government would be completely hands-off, out of the way. Private industry would come up with the ideas.
So, a little competition. I'll support whichever does better. May the best plan win.
Although, I have a hunch which plan that might be. I've seen the results of government systems (like $60 billion per year in fraud under Medicare) and I've also seen what happens when towns opt-out of government systems.
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