One of the most intriguing facts ABC’s John Stossel likes to cite about health care is this: the cost of laser surgery is going down, while the waiting rooms become nicer and quality of the surgery better. This is because laser surgery is something Americans pay for out of their own pockets.

IWF’s Carrie Lukas was early out the gate with an excellent item comparing Hillary Clinton’s take on health care to Stossel’s (here are Senator Clinton’s remarks introducing her new plan).

There are a number of good critiques out there today. Rich Lowry’s urges us to, “be afraid:”

Clinton’s plan would make this ramshackle system worse. She proposes more regulations on insurers and a mandate on large employers to provide insurance coverage or pay a tax. The regulations will make insurance even more expensive, while the employer mandate would only augment the current senseless system of people getting insurance through their jobs.

This means that the private-insurance market would, in all likelihood, continue to break down. And, of course, government will be there to keep increasing its market share. As Michael Cannon of the Cato Institute points out, Clinton proposes widening the availability of every government health-care program at hand — Medicare would be extended to the nonelderly; the S-Chip program for poor children would be extended to the middle class; and the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan would be extended to all. And all without the taint of a ‘radical overhaul.’

Back in 1993, the burden of proof was on Clinton to prove the necessity of her health-care ideas. Now, the burden of proof has probably shifted to her opponents, and she benefits from the fact that Republicans have endorsed some of her specific proposals (including an ‘individual mandate’ that everyone get insured). In short, she re-enters the health-care debate from a position of strength.

Lately, Republicans like President Bush and Rudy Giuliani have gotten into the game, offering forward-looking ideas to try to create a health-care market where individuals can buy their own insurance.

Karl Rove also doesn’t think that the Democrats necessarily have the issue wrapped up:

As the latest government-heavy plan announced by Hillary Clinton yesterday once again shows, the answers politicians offer on health care highlight the deep differences between liberals and conservatives. This is a debate Republicans cannot avoid. But it is one we can win–if we offer a bold plan. Conservatives must put forward reforms aimed at putting the patient in charge. Increasing competition will ensure greater access, lower costs and more innovation.

Liberals see the concerns of families as a failure of private insurance, and want the U.S. to move toward a government-run, single-payer model. This is a recipe for making problems worse. Socialized medicine inevitably leads to poor quality, inefficiency, rising taxes and rationing. The waiting lines and poor care that cause people from other countries to come here for treatment are not the answer.