The Washington Post Endorsed a Government Rate Setting Bill. Why Did Some Republicans, Too?

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In a shocking twist to absolutely no conservative, Amazon’s Washington Post endorsed a bill that would have the federal government—with help from insurance companies—set fixed healthcare rates. In an editorial this week, the WaPo editorial board supported the Pallone-Walden bill, which some lawmakers claim will protect patients from surprise medical bills.

Except, the bill doesn’t actually do that. Rather, like Obamacare, the bill serves as a logical intermediary step towards Medicare-for-All and other socialized healthcare schemes, which require the government to be the star that the entire healthcare industry orbits. Under this system, bureaucrats, the same people who couldn’t create a functioning website for Obamacare, would be in charge of your healthcare.

I don’t think anyone really wishes for this. Polls have shown that the public doesn’t want government-run healthcare, as it would hike taxes and limit access to doctors and quality medical care. But the opinions of ordinary Americans don’t concern our liberal elites, like the WaPo editorial board. They think they know better than we do.

The WaPo says the Pallone-Walden would “use regional averages to set rates.” This translates from newspeak to bureaucrats would set fixed, mandated prices on medical services. This doesn’t, however, address the elephant in the room: insurers ducking their responsibility to patients. At the heart of this issue is that insurers created a confusing in- and out-of-network distinction that helps them penny-pinch and increase their profits by making patients pick up the tab.

On the other hand, the WaPo wrote that a plan by Representatives Richard Neal and Kevin Brady to create an independent arbitration mechanism would “result in mostly similar outcomes to direct rate-setting” and that their plan is “pretty close” to Pallone-Walden bill. To borrow a phrase from the president, this is fake news at its finest. The Neal-Brady bill would let doctors and insurers negotiate an out-of-network medical bill under the watchful eye of an arbitrator, while patients can relax knowing that they aren’t on the hook for thousands of dollars in surprise medical costs. This is fair to all parties involved.

I expected big-government liberals—in both Congress and the media—to support a plan that would have the government expand its footprint over a private industry and that would help insurance companies boost revenues (like when Obamacare increased Big Insurance’s profits). What remains a mystery is why so many Republicans are on board with the Pallone-Walden bill, too.

Representatives Greg Walden, R-Or., and Ann Wagner, R-Mo., cosponsored Democratic Rep. Frank Pallone’s bill. The bill is considered bipartisan, but I don’t know how Republicans contributed to it. When did our party abandon its free market principles and become in favor of government price-fixing?

I hope the Senate’s most principled, independent voices, like Senators Thom Tillis and Ben Sasse, prevent this bill from passing Congress and instead support the Neal-Brady bill to allow the private sector to handle this problem. They can fix it better than bureaucrats.

Americans have drowned under a tsunami of out-of-network medical bills. We can end surprise medical bills without compromising our principles and giving Democrats the keys to socialized healthcare.

Katlyn Batts is the Chairwoman of the Wingate University College Republicans and an employee of the Jesse Helms Center.

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