Over the last year, the American people have said repeatedly and emphatically that they object to the federal government taking control of their health care. President Obama’s “new” health care proposal is nothing more than a rebranding of the same big-government ideas that the Congress has already passed and the public has already repudiated.

Instead of moving away from government control of health care, President Obama’s plan includes even more regulation. Creating yet another agency, a new Health Insurance Rate Authority, would provide “oversight” of rates. In recent years, the Texas Legislature has moved away from allowing government agencies to set consumer prices. Artificial price controls have never proven effective for very long, and there is no reason to believe that would change now.

In another surprise move, the pledge that “If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan,” appears to have been broken. The “grandfathered” plans will have a plethora of new mandates and restrictions that will most assuredly not leave the plan as it is today.

Texas has shown that capping non-economic damages is essential to reducing frivolous medical malpractice lawsuits and increasing access to health care. The absence of damage caps in President Obama’s plan demonstrates a lack of seriousness on the issue of tort reform.

President Obama’s plan includes no free market ideas and no elements that promote competition among health insurers and health care providers. The token items that the President claims to have included from his critics were already in the Senate’s bill.

In fact, nothing in the substance of President Obama’s plan gives individuals more control over their health insurance. The only part of his plan that mentions more choices for consumers is the headline on the White House website. That does not count for legislative change.

– Arlene Wohlgemuth