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Friday, June 19, 2009

Health care "reform," Big Business, and the Harry and Louise myth

As the health care reform debate progresses, I've dedicated my Friday Examiner column to puncturing a favorite myth of the pro-regulation side:

Democrats pushing for a health-care overhaul today say they've learned their lessons from the failure of HillaryCare in 1993: This time they are ready to fight back against the HMOs, and to take on "Harry & Louise," the fictional couple that insurance companies used in TV ads opposing HillaryCare.

Alternatively, other Democrats say they've learned their lesson, and this time they're sitting down with the HMOs so that the Big Businesses doesn't torpedo the reform as they did with Harry & Louise.

But this narrative of reformers-vs-Big Business was as false in 1993 as it is today. In both battles, Big Business has sided with Big Government, the pugnacious rhetoric of the pro-regulation side notwithstanding.

The HMOs in 1993 broke away from the smaller insurers, because the big guys knew HillaryCare would be profitable. Big Government would funnel customers into these HMOs more efficiently than the market would.

And today, the insurance industry and the drug industry, which have been at the table crafting the "reform," stand to profit handsomely--at the expense of taxpayers and consumers--if the right plan becomes law.

Read the whole thing here.

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