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President Obamas Post Office Comparison to Health Care

The Heritage Foundation argues that the proposed health care bills public plan will lead many employers to drop private health coverage for their workers and push many of them toward the public plan, just as many employers in the 1990s pushed their workers into cheaper managed care plans. The result? Individuals will lose their existing coverage and private insurance would be crowded out of the market by the government.

Yet, liberals continue to argue that the public plan will add competition to the market, and serve to drive down costs. In fact, a few weeks ago President Obama defended the notion that his government-run public health care plan wouldnt crowd out private insurers by referencing the symbiotic relationship between UPS, Fedex and the Post Office. Ironically, four days earlier, the New York Times Business Section had actually called for the privatization of the post office amid staggering losses, and had even said it was in General Motors territory.

Here are some questions to consider about this analogy:

1) The U.S. Post Office is the only entity allowed by federal law to deliver first class mail to your mailbox. In fact, Fedex and UPS are strictly prohibited from delivering non-urgent letters. If the government can fairly compete and is setting fair rules, wouldnt the post office be open to competition at your mailbox?

2) If Americans were offered free postage paid for by massive government spending and tax hikes, would Fedex and UPS still exist?

3) The Post Office is on track to lose a staggering $7 billion this year alone. How will a government-run health care plan manage taxpayer resources more efficiently?

4) Postmaster General John Potter says he lacks the tools necessary to run the Post Office effectively like a business. Would a government-run health care system have the tools it needs to run as effectively as the private sector entities it is replacing?

5) On the one hand, the President remarks how great his public health care plan will be. On the other hand, he notes it wont be good enough to crowd out your private insurance (hence, the Post Office comparison). So which is it Mr. President? Will it be so great that private insurance disappears or so awful that it isn’t worth creating in the first place?

6) Seeing how the Post Office is run, and based on your past experiences with the Post Office, are you confident enough in the federal government to give them control of your health (and ultimately, your life)?

The most frightening line from Joe Noceras New York Times piece is this: As for Mr. Potter himself, while he may want more freedom to run the Postal Service like a real business, he, too, seemed surprisingly wedded to outmoded ideas about mail service in America. This country needs to have and to protect universal service, he said. It seems even the Postmaster General prioritizes protecting universal service at the expense of cost, innovation, and quality of care.

Health care can not be solved by a one-size-fits-all policy, and Americans and American businesses should not be forced to buy a government designed plan they do not want and lose their existing coverage. Instead, the government should work to expand optionsmore access to doctors, and less interference from insurance companies and bureaucrats. Check out Heritage’s latest research here to learn more.

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