Friday, September 4, 2009

Snowe’s Trojan Horse?

Speculation abounds that Maine Senator Olympia Snowe will be the kingpin in any health care/insurance reform enacted into law this year. (With Ted Kennedy’s passage, her vote might be needed to reach the magic number of 60 to shut off Senate debate in the event of a Republican filibuster.) Her proposal is that a public option be included in the law, which, after a specified period of time, would be triggered on the failure of private insurance companies to lower costs and improve coverage. As of this posting (September 4, 2009), that time period has not surfaced from conversations she has been having with the White House.

It’s ironic that a "trigger" would ignite the public option. Trigger was Roy Roger’s horse and a Trojan horse enabled the Greeks to destroy Troy.

If and when a trigger-law is enacted, Congress is likely to subsequently lower the bar for ignition. The time period will be reduced in the face of charges that insurance companies are dragging their feet on reform. New onerous conditions will be imposed on insurance companies that will be increasingly hard to meet.

The pros and cons of health care have obscured the politics behind the debate. Universal insurance and care will disproportionately benefit Hispanics. Even if legislation explicitly excludes illegal aliens, Congress will likely insert that provision in the law at some future date, and/or the courts will rule the exclusion unconstitutional. Adding ten-plus million Hispanics to the voter rolls should insure Democrat majorities for years to come, mirroring Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s long-governing coalition of Jews, Blacks, and Catholics.

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