Among the fallacies in Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s health care bill is the
pretense that bureaucrats are smarter than the rest of us. An unelected
bureaucrat would be given czar-like control over our lives, our health,
and our pocketbooks. Even super powers.
This new all-powerful “health choices commissioner” would be
entrusted with more power than most superheroes. The laundry list of
that special power is proof that it’s a government takeover of health
This presidential appointee will both control the new government-run
insurance plan AND decide how private insurance companies are to
operate, by creating the standards for their coverage and enforcing
compliance. Likewise, employer-run health plans would answer to
In other words, this health czar will control both the government
plan and all of its competition. So much for claims about a level
Rather than having Medicare dictate payment amounts to doctors and
hospitals (as Pelosi originally intended), her new 1,990-page bill says
the czar will “negotiate” rates. That will take an an awful lot of
staff. America has 788,000 active doctors and 5,708 hospitals.
But that’s not all. The new czar would also:
- Oversee the millions of Americans who would qualify for insurance subsidies
- Audit the country’s 1,300-plus health insurers
- Have power to collect whatever data the office deems necessary, which could involve review of medical records
- Assess fines
- Define our terms for us. This commissioner/czar would dictate all
the definitions used in health insurance policies. After all, if you
control the language, you control the debate
- Appoint a national health ombudsman to examine consumer complaints, but only in “a linguistically appropriate manner”
As we pointed out about the earlier version of the House bill:
“The House health care reform bill would establish a new entity
called the Health Choices Administration, headed by a presidential
appointee to be called the Health Choices Commissioner. Sounds
wonderful, right? A government official whose only job is to make sure
you have health care choices, right?
“No. If you read the bill, . . . it turns out that the Health
Choices Commissioner’s job is, essentially, to make your health choices
The new super-bureaucrats may not be able to leap tall buildings in
a single bound. But they can put a lot of tall barriers between each of
us and our doctors.
Among the fallacies in Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s health care bill is
the pretense that bureaucrats are smarter than the rest of us. An
unelected bureaucrat would be given czar-like control over our lives,
our health, and our pocketbooks. Even super powers.
About the author: Ernest Istook is a former Oklahoma congressman and is now a Distinguished fellow with The Heritage Foundation.