From the Charleston, S.C. Post and Courier — Originally published Monday, May 18

President Obama hailed the health industry's announcement that it will reduce costs by $2 trillion over the next decade. But the enormity of the nation's health-care problem was underlined when Mr. Obama noted that this huge savings, if realized, would cut those costs by a mere 1.5 percent a year.

The health industry hopes that those reductions can hold new government intervention at arm's length. But costs still will rise. ...

Mr. Obama thinks giving government a larger role is the right way to further reduce costs. But government already has a very big voice in deciding how the nation's health-care system is run. ...

Between government programs and employer plans, most Americans have limited discretion in how their health-care dollars are spent. They are the third wheel in the system.

Government has not exercised its influence wisely. ...

Mr. Obama's proposed new government insurance program for working Americans would increase the scope for politically determined price-setting. That is the wrong way to solve the nation's health-care cost crisis.

... The most important health-industry reform issue is how to encourage greater efficiency and value for consumers.

The best evidence suggests it should be through market-based decisions ...

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