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The choice

If Hillary's plan is enacted, be prepared to wait

Issue: "Survivors," Sept. 29, 2007

In her latest plan to transform the American health-care system, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton invokes a word she usually reserves for abortion: choice. It sounds good, but like all things Clinton, you have to look behind the façade to discover reality.

There are some elements of Sen. Clinton's health-care proposal worth considering, especially the idea that if you like your current health insurance, you can keep it. And she says this isn't about another big government bureaucracy. Really? Then why does she acknowledge it will cost $110 billion annually and require tax increases for those making more than $250,000? She doesn't need a "new" bureaucracy, but can use the present dysfunctional one.

Can Hillary Clinton be trusted to do what she says? Yes, when it comes to the tax increases she will impose on "the wealthy," as one way to fund this nonbureaucratic bureaucracy. As U.S. News and World Report's James Pethokoukis wrote, ". . . raising income taxes on Americans making $200,000 will bring in only $50 billion or so, which is already being spent several times over by Democratic presidential candidates."

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On ABC's 20/20 last week, reporter John Stossel devoted one hour to health care. Stossel showed what happens when prices for goods and services are forced lower or offered for free. Demand increases, adding to wait times and lower quality in order to control costs. When government pays for health care, people wait. "In the United Kingdom, one in eight patients waits more than a year for hospital treatment," noted Stossel, "and the British government recently set its goal to keep wait times to less than 18 weeks. . . . In Canada, almost a million citizens are waiting for necessary surgery and more than a million Canadians can't find a regular doctor."

That's the future in America once government establishes a firm foothold in health care. When the costs get too large and the taxes too high (even for liberals) the only "choice" then will be who gets care and who doesn't.

-© 2007 Tribune Media Services, Inc.

Cal Thomas
Cal Thomas

Cal, whose syndicated column appears on WORLD's website and in more than 500 newspapers, is a frequent contributor to WORLD's radio news magazine The World and Everything in It. Follow Cal on Twitter @CalThomas.

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