PERRY, Iowa — Barack Obama’s health care plan is less intrusive than that of his Democratic rivals, because it doesn’t include an individual mandate. This has brought him under attack from the left, with Paul Krugman even accusing him of echoing right wing talking points on health care. But while he may not exude the arrogance of Hillary Clinton or the smugness of John Edwards, conservatives should be under no illusions as to the big government impulses of Obama.
At an event here this morning, Obama was asked a question about health care, and explained that he would invite HMOs, private insurers and drug companies to the negotatiating table. His twist is that he would televise the hearings on C-SPAN so that the public can be involved. But if his conception of how those talks would go is any indication of how he would wield the power of the presidency, it’s scary.
Here’s what Obama said:
“If during the course of negotiations, the drug companies say, ‘You know what, we can’t negotiate for the cheapest available price for drugs, because we need these profits to invest in research and development’–that’s the argument they always make–then I’ll say, ‘Okay, let’s call in our health care expert, Dr. Smith.’ He’ll come out, and I’ll ask him, ‘Is what the drug companies say true?’ And he’ll say, ‘Well, you know, they do invest some of their profits in research and development, but a lot of those profits are actually going to marketing costs for TV ads…’
Beacuse it is public, we can enlist the American people in the process…If the American people know what the choices are, know what is at stake, know who’s representing who and who’s looking after who, that will shame Congress into doing the right thing.”
The idea of putting corporations through public inquisitions by government appointed “experts” to micro-manage private industry, and fan the flames of populist anti-business rage, has hauntingly Stalinist undertones. It’s especially off-putting that this is coming from a man who claims he wants to bring people together.