The Farce of the "Level Playing Field"

The Democrats are committed to the idea of a public (read “government”) option for health care payment.  When Republicans and Libertarians counter that such a program is just a stepping stone to universal, government-provided health care, Democrats start talking about the “Level-playing-field,” the idea that the government will compete fairly with private insurers.

This is a farce:  The Democrats know that such a level playing field is not possible.

In order for there to be a level playing field, the government must have the same incentives as private insurers.  It does not.  The government does not have a profit incentive.  The government can lose as much money as it likes, and it can simply borrow or print more to cover the shortfall.  Private business simply does not have this option.

Even if the government “breaks even,” that is, neither loses money nor makes a profit, this is not good enough for business.  Businesses that “break even” cannot expand, cannot invest, cannot create more jobs, build more buildings or develop new products and services that people desire.  Governments that “break even” or even lose money can continue to expand by increasing taxes, borrowing or printing money.

Let us imagine, however, a “public option” that does have a “level playing field.”  Like private insurance, it is not only expected but required to make a certain return on the investment.  This public option must maintain a certain profitability, which must in-part be returned to the government in the form of dividends–that is, the profits must be used to pay back the government’s original investment.  This would be wonderful, wouldn’t it?

There’s just one problem:  If the government were to actually build such an entity, then the private sector could already provide such coverage, and we need not invest taxpayer money in the enterprise.

This idea that a government option would exist on a “level playing field” is so farcical that it beggars the imagination that elected politicians would need this concept explained to them.  If such explanation is required, clearly these elected officials have no business writing or voting on laws that will affect the economy and the status of health care.  If they do understand these concepts, then the politicians are lying.

That few in the press, especially among the economically literate, have even questioned the concept is a sad statement on the state of the Fourth Estate.

The the Republican and Libertarian Parties cannot make a coherent argument to the American People indicates change is desperately needed in the leadership of those parties.

Indeed, this is a farce.  Unfortunately, it is also reality.