Axelrod: Any Health Care ‘Reform’ Must Favor Government Over Market Solution

The health care reform debate has been pretty one-sided in much of the media coverage: Democrats are presented as wanting to reform a broken system; Republicans represent “the party of no” standing in the way of necessary reform.

Yet most Americans have been pretty consistent in their rejection of the Democrats’ proposals.

The media-generated narrative there has been that the “extreme right” has tainted the debate with distortions and lies.

As a result:

The second quarter 2009 cable ratings show Fox News prime-time ratings jumping an unheard of 34%. The prime-time segment includes Fox’s “The O’Reilly Factor.”During otherwise normal viewing hours, Fox News averages 1.2 million viewers on average, more than twice as many viewers as CNN which shows an average of 598,000 viewers. As for MSNBC – Obama’s favorite TV channel – Fox’s ratings more than tripled MSNBC’s pitiful average of 392,000 viewers.

Maybe that has motivated CNN to get out of the Obama tank and actually get something out of their interviews besides serving as propaganda mouthpieces for the Democrat agenda.

In a recent interview, Wolf Blitzer pushed David Axelrod to come up with a reason why Democrats weren’t allowing health insurance companies to compete across state lines as a market-based means of increasing competition and thereby lowering costs and even increasing quality.  Axelrod whiffed horribly.

BLITZER: Including what they call the cooperative option, a series of health insurance cooperatives that wouldn’t be the public option, but would be some — something in between?

Is that — is he going to get into a detail like that and say he likes that idea?

AXELROD: He will acknowledge the fact that — that there is that idea. There’s the idea of putting a trigger on the public option so that it goes into effect at some date when it’s clear that — that a market is uncompetitive. There are a number of ideas.

But what is very important is that we have the kind of competition and choice that will help consumers. In many states in this country, there’s one insurer that dominates the entire market. In Alabama, one insured dominates 87 percent. In North Dakota, there’s one insurer that dominates…

BLITZER: So why not break down…

AXELROD: …the market almost completely.

BLITZER: Why not break down the state barriers and let all of these insurance companies compete nationally without having to simply focus in on a state by state basis?

AXELROD: Because we are trying to do this in a way that advances the — the interests of consumers without creating such disruption that it makes it difficult to…

BLITZER: Why would that be…

AXELROD: …to move forward.

BLITZER: …disruptive? If Blue Cross and Blue Shield or United Health Care or all of these big insurance companies, they don’t have to worry about just working in a state, they could just have the opportunity to compete in all 50 states?

AXELROD: But insurance is regulated at the — at this time, Wolf…

BLITZER: But you could change that. The president could propose…

AXELROD: …state by state.

BLITZER: The president could propose a law…

AXELROD: That is not…

BLITZER: …changing that.

AXELROD: That is not endemic to the kind of reforms that we’re proposing or that…

BLITZER: Why not?

AXELROD: …that…

BLITZER: Why not?

AXELROD: …we think — we’re proposing a package that we believe will bring that stability and security to people, it will help people get insurance, it will be — it will lower the costs and that can pass the Congress. And that has to be the test. We’re not into a symbolic expedition here. We’re trying to bring real relief to hardworking middle class people in this country. We believe the plan that we’ve outlined will do that.

BLITZER: Because I want to move on, but if the president wanted great competition — greater competition — he could say let’s change the law and let these health insurance companies compete nationally.

Axelrod begins to make his case by saying we need competition and choice.  Everyone would agree with that.  And then he moves to demonstrating that that ideal is not happening: for example, in Alabama and North Dakota, one insurer basically dominates the market.

And then Blitzer throws the monkey wrench into Axelrod’s entire argument.  He bites on the need for competition and access, and proposes a solution (GASP) from a free market perspective: why not allow insurance companies to operate in all 50 states?

Axelrod says that would be disruptive (because a massive government takeover via a ‘public option’ wouldn’t be, you see…).  And Blitzer explodes that simply by asking the question, “Why would it be disruptive?”

Axelrod has nothing.  Well, nothing but the assertion that “insurance is regulated at this time, Wolf.”

In other words, we can’t allow the private market to operate and solve the problem because the government is in the way.  And what we therefore need to fix all the problems the government has created is – of course – a whole lot more government.

The idea of getting the government out of the way is not even an option.  They are looking at this with walleyed tunnel vision.

These people are statists.  More, they are statolatrists; they literally worship the government, and will not even consider abandoning a big government solution as an article of faith.

David Axelrod said it himself.  We need competition and access in order to improve our health care system.  And many states don’t have such competition and access because of government regulations.  Alabama and North Dakota only have one insurance company; massive California only has six.  To anyone but a statist, the obvious solution would be to open up the market by reducing the government’s role and allowing insurance companies to compete with one another.

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