Bill and Hillary's Health-Care Grab

Article excerpt

According to a leading political analyst who has looked at the health-care issue, "Whatever bill is passed eventually, Bill Clinton will get credit for it." He reflects the conventional wisdom that President Clinton is due acclaim for bringing health care to the table.

I disagree. The Hillary plan, if enacted, would be a farrago of bureaucratic inefficiencies, economic dislocations, rationing, declining quality and corruption.

And even if the chances of such a bill passing are remote, the Clintons deserve censure for forcing sensible people to marshal forces in opposition to it.

Bill and Hillary Clinton think they can play with the American economy the way children play Monopoly - except that they have less understanding of economics than the average Monopoly player.

They argue that (1) we cannot tolerate the existence of the 37 million uninsured; (2) we are spending too much money on health care, and (3) we can reconcile the first two problems. In fact, that is impossible without imposing the strictest rationing.

The Clintons hotly deny that their plan would require rationing of care as other countries with socialized medicine do (in Great Britain, no one over the age of 55 can get kidney dialysis under the national health plan), but after a close reading of the bill, scholar Elizabeth McCaughey, writing in The New Republic, has conclusively demonstrated that it would.

She points to language in the bill requiring the plan to "reduce the amount of payments otherwise made to providers . . . in such a manner and by such amounts as necessary to assure that expenditures will not exceed budget." That means the squeeze will be put on doctors and hospitals if costs are running high in any given year. If providers don't get paid, they will not work. But perhaps Bill and Hillary skipped that class at Yale.

Under the Clinton plan, every American would receive medical coverage, but the government - not you and your doctor - would decide which treatments are available and which are not. McCaughey has been smeared by the White House as a liar for asserting this in print, but she has responded with spirit and specificity. …