Barney Frank: Yes, a public plan will lead to a government takeover of health care

I’m not overly worried. The GOP’s closing the gap on the generic ballot and seeing a surge in strong recruits for congressional challenges, which means the current Congress is probably as blue as it’ll be for awhile. If they don’t have the votes to make us choke on single-payer now, they likely never will. Even so, that’s what the liberal wing is planning, as our friend who helped ruin the subprime industry is candid enough to admit here. No wonder the House wants to backload the costs of ObamaCare. That’s obviously designed to give the left a chance to say “it’s working!” during the first five years while expenses are low and use the momentum to push for expansion.

And what if the final bill ends up dropping a public insurance option altogether? Don’t celebrate just yet:

If Obamacare is enacted without a new surtax, its immense costs will lead to tax increases soon enough. If it is enacted without a public plan, the federal government will nonetheless be paying a bigger and bigger share of a larger and larger number of people’s health-insurance bills. What we have here, in other words, are amendments that change the speed rather than the direction of the legislation.

And it is premature to celebrate even a modest victory. The public option may yet resurface in a new guise. Senate majority leader Harry Reid, in his usual bumbling way, has previewed the subterfuge: “We’re going to have some type of public option, call it ‘co-op,’ call it what you want.” Changing the name on the government-run option will not make it any less government-run. Conservative arguments have made great headway in making the Democrats defensive about a public plan. But removing a single objectionable feature from Obamacare does not make the overall package any less intrusive or ineffective. It’s still a pig, even if the Democrats have started taking out their lipstick.

The co-ops are just a trojan horse towards Frank’s end. Make sure everyone knows it.