Republicans in Congress understand a trojan horse when they see one. Why not let individuals buy health insurance across state lines? Why not try to let market forces do their thing? Well, clearly if a provision opening up the market for individual health insurance were in any reform bill coming out of Congress, it would undercut the premise necessary for the Democrat’s latest repackaging (“Opt-Out”) of their true love: the Public Option.
Opt Out … sounds sort of like those free 3-issue magazine trial offers where you sign up, get three free issues, then you are billed UNLESS you call and cancel. Except, Harry Reid’s vision is a bit different. You cancel that magazine trial and you stop getting those magazines … but you also won’t have to pay anything. Harry Reid wants the allure of “opting out” of the public option, nice Obamamarketing, but paying for it … well that is a different story. Don’t think you won’t have to pay … pay you will. It may take a few days to get this bill out from behind those closed doors it was hammered out in, and available publicly, but it is in there – make no mistake. Harry Reid and the Dems in the Senate seem to be using the strategy that if people are put-off by the “public option,” let them opt-out of it at the state level, and give those on the fence some “feel good” .. but in his world, Harry’s World that is, you can’t opt out of paying your it. And eventually, who likes to pay for something and get nothing,,, may as well get yours … it will be easier than the hoops necessary to opt out. So … in the end, what will be left?
1. Large entitlement that all taxpayers across fifty states will have to pay for.
2. A public option trojan horse, albeit with an ambiguous and confusing opt-out provision when the legislation was drafted and voted on … but alive in all states upon passage.
3. Undefined and non-articulated process for opting out at the state level … who has the power? Governor, Legislature, Ballot Proposal?
4. That magazine keeps coming, their toll-free number is either busy or has an hour wait-time to cancel, and since your card was already billed and you are too busy … well … someone will read the magazine so just take that “cancel magazine” off of your to-do list.
Bottom line: the damage will begin immediately upon passage .. with the first few years consisting of everyone paying for this huge new government program with no tangible benefits coming out for the first few years. Meanwhile, the damage will begin to take place : a still segmented health insurance industry with very low profit margins (apx 2%) operating in 50 individual state markets taking it on the chin from the referee-and-competitor … Uncle Sam. Opting Out sounded good when you signed up .. but now that you are paying for it … each of the 50 states have had their credit card billed … how many of those 50 states will want to jump through all those hoops, the waiting time, etc to cancel that subscription … to opt out .. especially when the payment has been tendered and can’t be refunded? That magazine subscription and the “public option” will be here to stay. Like everything else ‘Obama-esque” …. clever marketing. Nice sales job. Republicans need to get to “nice try” … and forget about the free trial.
Democrats clearly need to position and advertise the “short term” and avoid the discussion about the long term effects of taking over 1/6th of the entire U.S. economy. If they don’t, people ask questions, people brainstorm less intrustive market-oriented solutions, and November of 2010 looms closer. This latest strategy to get to their end game .. the public option … is all marketing. People don’t like getting the wool pulled over their eyes .. the messaging and analogizing needs to be blaring from the GOP bullhorns asap. Get ready for a fight .. the next few weeks will be an all out battle and that trojan horse needs to get burned to the ground.