Peter Schweizer, Breitbart News’s senior editor-at-large and head of the Government Accountability Institute, discussed the state of healthcare reform and the growing presence of Chinese billionaire Jack Ma in Washington on Thursday’s Breitbart News Daily with SiriusXM host Alex Marlow.
Schweizer said the failed Senate healthcare reform bill is “a classical example of being halfway pregnant.”
“You cannot have a repeal of Obamacare that really retains half, at least, if not more, of the fundamentals of Obamacare,” he elaborated.
“Here’s the problem with what goes on in Washington, DC, today: you’re not going to get enough support in a lot of instances for major reforms that are going to cost large corporations a lot of money,” he said.
“In this particular case, one of the big myths that’s spread by the left, for example, is that the big healthcare companies didn’t want Obamacare. That’s false. Many of them lobbied for it and supported it. The health insurance industry did, for example. If you look at the bill, it kind of makes sense, right? Who would not, as a businessman, who would not want a law that required people to buy your product, that said you have to buy health insurance?” he pointed out.
“That’s the problem with the repeal, and there’s some pretty clear evidence here that one of the chief headwinds that Republicans ran into were health insurance companies who were opposed to the reforms in this bill,” Schweizer said.
“Look, I think that this bill was a terrible one. I think that it would not have done nearly enough to reform the system, and I think you have to put before Congress and the American people the opportunity to have a healthcare system that is robust, that is free market-based, that meets the needs that people want. We have not had a truly free market in healthcare economics in probably 40 years. We need to have one because that’s where we’re going to have the best health care,” he contended.
Schweizer disputed the conventional D.C. wisdom that “you can’t make the perfect the enemy of the good,” and passing any bill was better than passing nothing.
“In some cases, that’s true, but I think when you’re talking about the healthcare system and the fact that people have so much widespread corruption within it, I don’t think you can approach reform that way,” he said.
“You’re really only going to get one chance to fundamentally correct this system that is going off the rails. If you passed this bill and this bill became law – it’s marginally better than Obamacare, no question about it, but the problem is in the eyes of most people then, ‘Okay, the issue is solved. We don’t have the time or the inclination to go back and make other major reform.’ And, of course, the problem is, with these reforms the problems would not be solved. They would be marginally better, but you’re still dealing with a fundamentally flawed system that does not have a free market,” said Schweizer.
“The only way you can have a free market in health care is if you allow, for example, people to buy and companies to offer high-deductible insurance,” he continued. “If a 25-year-old says, ‘I want to buy a health insurance policy that only offers catastrophic care,’ they need to be able to buy that because the only way you keep costs down is by allowing multiple types of insurance policies to be offered. If you say to insurance companies, ‘You all have to offer health insurance that includes all these bill of goods,’ that’s not really a free market, and it’s not going to effectively keep costs down. That’s the problem.”
Marlow turned to the provocative Washington Post article about Jack Ma, executive chairman of Amazon.com’s Chinese competitor Alibaba and one of the richest men in the world, who has been meeting with people in the White House after investing in a project with President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner.
Noting that the Washington Post is owned by Ma’s rival Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com, Marlow asked if there are real concerns about corruption in Ma’s contacts with the Trump administration or if the story is a cynical attack on Ma and Trump by the Bezos organization.
“It is a legitimate story,” Schweizer replied. “The fact that it’s broken in the Washington Post is certainly curious and interesting. I think it’s an opportunity for them to, in a sense, needle one of their rivals, but it is a real and legitimate story.”
“A lot of this comes down to the simple fact that if you are a Chinese investor, whether the Chinese government or Jack Ma, if you want to buy assets in the United States – whether that’s real estate, whether that’s certain major U.S. corporations – those deals have to be approved by something called CFIUS, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States,” he explained. “For example, the Uranium One deal that we remember, that Hillary Clinton approved, that had to be approved by CFIUS.”
“Well, Jack Ma is looking to acquire assets in the United States. He wants to acquire a company, for example, that a lot of U.S. troops use to send money to their families. There are national security concerns, legitimate ones, that if a Chinese company owns that, certainly, there could be a lot of intelligence garnered by that,” he said.
“A guy like Jack Ma and others are going to be looking to do deals with connected people in whatever White House it is – the Trump White House, if it had been a Clinton White House, the Obama White House,” Schweizer observed. “So a lot of the deals that are taking place between Jack Ma and Jared Kushner, I’m sure there are other ties that he’s looking to develop, are based in part in the fact that they are looking for political allies that are going to help them get these sensitive deals approved that require approval by the federal government.”
“It is a very troubling development. CFIUS is supposed to be there to prevent foreign governments and foreign nationals from acquiring sensitive assets. I would say its track record in doing so is pretty poor, and it is in serious need of reform,” Schweizer said.
Breitbart News Daily airs on SiriusXM Patriot 125 weekdays from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. Eastern.