Willie Brown Health Care Plan

Commentary by Pete du Pont

Host intro: Those who don't understand history are condemned to repeat it. And Pete du Pont of the National Center for Policy Analysis says San Francisco mayor Willie Brown should read some history - fast.

Bill Clinton tried to socialize the entire health care sector with what came to be called "Clinton Care." It was a fiasco, and even members of his own party bailed out on him when they realized the plan would be disruptive, expensive and was a cure for a problem that didn't exist.

Now mayor Brown has a plan for city health care, and it's Clinton Care all over again, a plan that would provide "access for every resident and comprehensive coverage ." Individuals or employees would purchase a plan from the city, and the city would reimburse health care providers.

City officials estimate that $3 billion is spent on health care annually in the city, and that there's enough to pay for the brown plan if the money's just handed out differently. But this ignores the fact that the city doesn't have access to lots of that money - at least not yet. Most people have insurance through private plans or Medicare. That's money the city can't touch

So who joins the city plan? People who can't afford insurance or who are sick they can't get a policy. Inevitably, either premiums or taxes will go up to pay for it. Businesses won't be able to afford the plan. They'll drop out.

In response, the city could put eligibility limits on the plan, but this would only undermine the notion of insurance for everybody.

Brown says he wants to provide the national model Clinton couldn't, but he's fallen in the same trap the president did: fixing something that isn't broke, and going broke in the process.

Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA, we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont, and I'll see you tomorrow.

Host outro: Tomorrow, Pete du Pont has a plan to - no kidding - soak the rich.