Mar 032010

Holman Jenkins points out how President Obama and the Democrats are desperately avoiding the one reform that might actually do something to bring down health care costs and make health care insurance available to more people. They are rushing to enact the worst possible system before people get it into their heads to enact the reforms that would create the competition for health insurance companies that Democrats claim to want (but don’t really). Such reforms could have been part of a grand compromise, but Obama and the Democrats don’t want a health care system that the people would want:

Here, Mr. Obama squanders the opportunity his presidency represented. For it’s entirely possible to visualize incorporating this insight about the proper role of insurance with a system of guaranteed coverage and individual mandates à la ObamaCare, and indeed back when Mr. Obama was believed to be smart, we would have guessed this was the direction in which he would head.

But Mr. Jenkins is slightly off target. I don’t think it’s really the case that President Obama lacks intelligence. True, he’s acting rather unintelligent about this issue, but I think it’s just an act.

The problem is that Democrats feel threatened whenever people make their own choices. They are desperately afraid that people will find out that markets can accomplish most of our health care objectives, so do what they can to disable them or corrupt them to keep them from working.

They dislike choice, whether it’s a grandma who apprehends an armed rapist instead of letting the police handle it, or customers who want to buy fresh food from their Amish neighbors, or parents who want to choose the schools for their children. They especially dislike the idea of people making important health care choices. Those are especially dangerous decisions to allow people to make, because they are consequential decisions. (At one time I thought there was an exception to this rule. I thought they wanted people to have the right to choose when it came to abortion and drugs. But with the Sarah Palin candidacy we learned that their idea of abortion choice was limited to only one choice. I’m not sure about recreational drugs. Maybe that’s still an exception to the rule.)

If there are Ten Commandments of the left, here is Commandment #1 (with apologies to Martin Luther’s Small Catechism):

  • Thou shalt have no other gods before the Great God, the State.
  • What does this mean? We should fear, loathe, and distrust markets above all things.