Video: Dem wants to eliminate private health insurance altogether

posted at 12:55 pm on August 18, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) returned to the ObamaCare battle on MS-NBC’s Morning Joe today, preaching the public-plan gospel just as he did yesterday on CNBC. However, this time, Joe Scarborough goaded Weiner into a little more honesty than he’s offered on the effort to “reform” health care. Declaring that “health care is not a commodity,” Weiner says his aim is to eliminate all private insurance — which is why he will not yield on the public-plan option:

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The key points come at 2:31, 4:44, 5:15, and 7:15, but the 5:15 is when the light dawns for Scarborough. Jazz Shaw transcribes the moment:

S: It sounds like you’re saying you think there is no need for us to have private insurance in health care.

W: I’ve asked you three times. What is their value? What are they bringing to the deal?

S: Again… I’m astounded by your question. It sounds like you’re suggesting that there’s no need to have a country that’s run on free market principles.

W: Time out. Let’s focus on one thing at a time. This isn’t a commodity, Joe. Health care isn’t a commodity.

S: You’re saying that health care is different than everything else.

W: Health care is not a commodity.

S: But you are making the conservatives’ point. You are making the point of the people at the town hall meetings who say this is Barack Obama’s opportunity to get rid of private health care and turn it completely over to the government. I’m sitting here stunned, saying Oh My God, you’re making the point of the health care protesters.

W: If Barack Obama doesn’t want to do it, I want to do it.

Of course health care is a commodity. Weiner wants to use this populist pet phrase, which goes along with the notion of a “right” to health care, but it’s absurd. Food is a commodity, water is a commodity, clothing and shelter are commodities. Until cap-and-trade came up in the House, air was not a commodity, but carbon dioxide will shortly become one, even though life itself cannot exist without it. People have to produce the goods and services that comprise the health-care industry, which means that the supplies are finite and they expect to get compensated for their work. That makes it a commodity, regardless of Weiner’s socialist rhetoric. Anything with a cost is a commodity, by definition.

Anyone who doesn’t understand that much about economics has no business creating policy.

What do insurance companies do for health care? Weiner asks this question repeatedly as if there is no answer, but it’s as obvious as the fact that goods and services are commodities. Insurance companies provide risk pools for consumers that allow them to indemnify themselves against catastrophic health-care costs. It’s that simple. By paying a few hundred dollars a month in premiums, customers can get access to a wide range of goods and services in health care when needed. Insurance companies or private-sector co-ops attempt to calculate the risks to set the premiums at a point where customers find the pricing acceptable, investors in the risk pool can get a profit from its creation and maintenance, and providers get adequate compensation for their goods and services. The more these insurers compete against each other, the better pricing consumers get and the more efficient they become at controlling costs.

Anyone who doesn’t understand that much about economics has no business creating policy.

Weiner has a single goal in mind, which he announces at the end:

S: So, Anthony, I figured it out over the break. You actually do want the federal government to take over all of health care.

W: Only in the sense that the federal government took over health care for senior citizens 44 years ago.

S: You want to expand that for all Americans.

W: Correct. I want Medicare for all Americans.

Weiner wants to destroy the private sector insurance market, which accounts for 15% of the American economy, in order to have government control health-care decisions. At least, as Jazz says, he’s honest … for what that’s worth.


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