Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Freedom, Health Care, Progressivism, Regulation | Tags: Can't Tell What Free People Might Do, Fear of Freedom, The Left Demands Control
The late Milton Friedman had a way of clarifying the subject. Contrary to “conventional wisdom — health insurance does not make health care more affordable. Perhaps you have noticed.
In his masterpiece Free to Choose, Milton Friedman wrote of four ways to spend money.
- Category I — You spend your money on something for yourself. Here you are very careful, because it is your money, and the good or service you are buying is for you.
- Category II — You spend your money on something for someone else. Here you have the same incentive as in Category I to economize, but since you are buying something for someone else, you are not quite as meticulous when it comes to the purchase meeting the needs or values of the recipient.
- Category III — You spend someone else’s money on something for yourself. Here you are not concerned about how much you spend, because it is not your money. But because you are spending on yourself, you make sure you are getting what you want.
- Category IV — You spend someone else’s money on something for yet another person or persons (This is what we ask our legislative representatives to do every day.) Here you are the least incentivized to economize, or to buy something that meets the needs or values of the recipient.
Third party payers operate under Friedman’s Category IV — think Medicare and Medicaid. When the government buys goods or services for other people with other peoples’ money, special interest pleading, politics and cronyism run the game. And “leakage” of money through “waste fraud and abuse” is a given.
Private insurance companies are also spending other people’s money — the premiums paid into a risk pool — on medical services for other people. When they negotiate compensation schedules with providers and facilities, they don’t have to bargain hard enough to reach the best price possible. They just have to reach a price that is good enough — one that allows them to charge premiums that compete well with rival insurance companies. They pass on the difference between what they could have negotiated and what they actually negotiated to the customers who pay the premiums.
People who negotiate direct payment from providers get better deals than the insurance companies get. When health care providers give discounts for direct payment they don’t lose money on the process, or they wouldn’t do it. To keep from losing the direct-pay patient they need to keep their prices acceptable to those paying the bill.
The foregoing is from an article by Dr. Jeffrey A. Singer. It should give you glimmerings of how health care insurance could be better done. Health savings accounts, where tried, have been both extremely popular and extremely effective.
Here’s another example of how medicine can be more affordable and more effective. Competition improves everything. And that goes for insurance too. With stiff competition, insurers will bargain harder to get good prices. When insurance policies have to compete on a national basis, and policies are sold across state lines, costs will come down significantly. There are hundreds of good ideas from Republicans. Keeping costs down doesn’t have to be slashing payments to doctors and hospitals, increasing deductibles to astronomical levels — that’s a command and control theme, where the left is always stuck. They just can’t give up control.
A small company called 23andMe offers a genetic-testing kit. It consists of a tube into which the customer spits and returns to the company. The actual test is conducted at a lab that is regulated by another agency. The FDA has chosen to go after 23andMe aggressively for marketing a “medical device” even though the only “device” is a plastic tube, and the client cannot cannot undertake further action on the test result without consulting a health care provider. This kind of device is part of the new economy, favoring the free flow of information. It is completely at odds with the old paternalistic model, in which regulators and the medical establishment control what patients may learn.
Liberals place great faith in the perfectibility of politics. They believe that the next law or the next regulation will make up for imperfect human nature. Freedom, to be sure, is frightening. There is no telling what values free people will hold, or even what they might do. That’s why they are so frightened by the Tea Party. They must be controlled.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Election 2014, Health Care, Law, Politics, Regulation, Taxes | Tags: Defending the Indefensible., ObamaCare Lies, Zeke Emanuel Medical Ethicist?
On the Sunday shows, host Chris Wallace interviewed Obama health care adviser Ezekiel Emanuel. He asked about the oft noted Obama lie about “If you like your health insurance, you can keep your health insurance.” and “If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor.” Emanuel responded that the promise was true enough — providing you’re willing to pay a lot more.
Lucianne Goldberg was, like many of us, disgusted, and today she delivered the killer response on Twitchy.
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Economy, Health Care, Law, Regulation, Taxes | Tags: $5000 More Next Year, The Health Insurance Tax (HIT), United States Health Risks?
Is it fairly clear out there that people really aren’t very enthusiastic about ObamaCare? So is it a popular idea to increase the damage the failed law is doing? One would think not. Silly me. Over the Thanksgiving weekend the administration finalized the ObamaCare Tax ( the Health Insurance Tax (HIT) Love the acronym). This is a provision in ObamaCare that will cost nearly $60 billion over the next five years and raise health care premiums by 3 percent.
The final rule, published on November 27, imposes a fee beginning in 2014 for health insurers with premium revenues over $25 million per year. Can’t have any of the dreaded insurance companies making too much money. The tax is levied for “United States health risks,” and is hidden from consumers since it is directly levied on health insurance companies.
But of course the insurance companies don’t pay the tax, you do. It will be added to the cost that you are already shocked by. It will disproportionately fall on small companies. The American Action Forum found that premiums for small businesses and household will increase as much as 3 percent over the next ten years or roughly $5,000 per family over the next decade. That’s all you need — another $5,000 added to your bill. The taxes don’t even go to fund new health care benefits, but goes right into the Treasury.
They can’t help themselves. More control, more regulations, more taxes and then they simply cannot understand why the unemployment rate stays so high. They are unable to grasp that there is a relationship between increased regulation and taxes and control and employers’ reluctance to hire. They are cheering the unemployment rate’s move from 7.3 % all the way down to 7 %. That it should be around 3 % by now never seems to occur to them.
Filed under: Domestic Policy, Freedom, Health Care, Regulation, Taxes | Tags: An Encounter With Health Care, My Day, Taxing Medical Devices.
Hot on the trail of ObamaCare’s tax on Medical Devices, I spent the day in outpatient surgery. Doctors and nurses remained remarkably cheery, were unfailingly kind, and used all sorts of medical devices in my care.
The tax is unbelievably stupid. Some small companies have gone out of business, others have laid off large numbers of employees. Economics 101 — if you want less of something, tax it. Fewer choices, less innovation, fewer splendid ideas will reach the marketplace. Everybody loses.
The administration pronounced vast improvements in the website,trying to pretend they had met the Dec. 1st deadline, but customers were still having a hard time signing up. Liberals seem not to understand that even if the website were working perfectly, ObamaCare would still be a disaster. They fail to understand human nature in hot pursuit of do-goodism. They do not understand health care, and they don’t understand basic economics. Other than that…
Long Day, need sleep. I’m fine.
Read the previous post. It applies here.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Economy, Election 2014, Health Care, Regulation, Taxes | Tags: Notable Quotations, Robert Heinlein, The Nanny State
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Economy, Health Care, History, Progressivism, Regulation | Tags: The Kennedy Assassination, The ObamaCare Debacle, The Republicans Fault?
ObamaCare’s failures can be partly blamed on the failure of Republicans to applaud it enthusiastically enough. The Washington Post writes:
President Obama on Tuesday sought to redirect some of the political blame for the botched rollout of the federal health insurance exchange to Republicans, characterizing GOP lawmakers as rooting for the law’s failure. …
Obama said that fixes to the HealthCare.gov Web portal are underway and that the exchange will function for a majority of people by the end of November. But the president said staunch opposition from congressional Republicans is inhibiting the law’s implementation.
How does that work? Republicans can do no more than speak out against the law and the fallout from its implementation. The problems are a direct result of the failed rollout, Obama’s continuing lies to the public, and public recognition that the law is for the most part disastrous for them. It really isn’t failing because the Republicans say it is junk insurance. It is junk insurance.
Well, yes. The Affordable Care Act passed with no input from Republicans and every Republican in the House and the Senate voted against it, because it is a fraudulent law and will do great damage to the country and the people. Management of the Act has been beyond incompetent. Millions of people have lost the insurance they preferred and are stuck with junk insurance with higher premiums and deductibles for coverage they did not choose. You expected a Republican cheering section for a bad law that you consistently lied about?
So naturally Obama is going to “pivot to the economy” again. Expect infrastructure talk. Unfortunately, the economy is not improving. Businesses are hiring for the wrong reasons. U.S. News notes:
Businesses have increased the hiring of compliance officers in recent years to help manage the growing number of complex federal rules and regulations. While increased hiring is generally welcome news in the current labor market, it’s important to realize that a regulatory system that prompts the private sector to bring on employees whose sole purpose is to evaluate conformity with laws and regulations reduces productivity, raises the cost of production and has a negative impact on the economy.
Unfortunately, proposed government regulations often ignore the economic cost of job loss in the regulated industry. For instance, if an agency adopts a regulation that increases the costs of energy production, energy companies have to either lower production, raise prices, hire fewer workers or consider some combination of the three.
With the 50 year retrospective of the Kennedy assassination this week, the New York Times and the Washington Post each published pieces by two different authors who attempt to implicitly blame “the right-wing extremist environment in Dallas in 1963 for the Kennedy assassination on that environment. The Washingtonian is more explicit, “The City of hate had, in fact, killed the President.” The Left has long refused to accept the idea that JFK was killed by a Communist, who was committed to the communist cause, who had defected to the Soviet Union, and would have gone to live in Cuba.
The blame game never ends. The ideology of the Left promises a glorious future. They cannot admit the failure of ideology, so they blame Republicans. Fifty years later and they still cannot admit that JFK was killed by a Communist.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Economy, Health Care, Liberalism, Politics, Progressivism, Statism | Tags: "Doc Shock", Administration Incompetence, It is Known as ObamaCare
The White House knew all along that the “you can keep your policy if you like it” was pure hogwash. But perhaps the worst slip-up was the president’s admission that— gee, he didn’t know. He wasn’t informed that the website would not be working the way it was supposed to. Is this simply the usual “don’t blame me” evasion, or to what extent was he simply uninformed — and uninformed is not an acceptable excuse.
Reporters have been caught with their journalism degrees tucked safely away in some drawer, and they are beginning to realize that they didn’t ‘read the bill to find out what is in it’ either. Nancy Pelosi said no one ever told her that they liked their health care policy. Funny, it has never come up in my conversations with friends either.
Some few reporters are beginning to realize that they have been had, along with the rest of us. Some are free-lancers and are learning about ObamaCare first hand. So there are new revelations daily. We have learned that Obama seldom attends his intelligence briefings. We have learned that the White House staff is also inept. Their job is to keep the president informed about everything. The Chief of Staff is supposed to keep things faultlessly organized. Any president needs a team of competent people to can keep him and his projects humming along faultlessly. Not only are there serious questions about that signature initiative, but there are serious questions about the competence of the White House.
The White House is spinning like mad, attempting to find better vocabulary, to sell the unsaleable. ObamaCare will no longer be called “Obamacare” but referred to only as the Affordable Care Act. Dennis Miller tweeted that’ he would call it the Affordable Care Act when Obama changed his name to Barack Affordable.’ Most people will call it Affordable when it becomes affordable.
Democrats point to examples of people who have gotten cheaper premiums through the ACA. But lower premiums are the result of restricting provider networks. Pundits are calling it “Doc Shock.” We are already hearing stories of patients who are surviving their cancer because of specific treatment from specific doctors — and under ObamaCare are losing those doctors. Here in the Northwest:
In one closely watched case, Seattle Children’s Hospital has filed suit against Washington’s insurance commissioner after a number of insurers kept it out of their provider networks. “It is unprecedented in our market to have major insurance plans exclude Seattle Children’s,” said Sandy Melzer, senior vice president.
A number of the nation’s top hospitals — including the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, and children’s hospitals in Seattle, Houston and St. Louis — are cut out of most plans sold on the exchange.
Those who are defined as “poor” are being funneled into Medicaid, but most doctors will not accept Medicaid patients. Newly minted doctors avoid general practice, and train for a specialty. The problem is that Democrats view doctors as part of “the rich,” and Obama’s all-encompassing share the wealth ideology believes that :
Fat cats” and “corporate jet owners” have preyed on the body politic. Profit-driven doctors have unnecessarily lopped off limbs and yanked out tonsils. In a more philosophical vein, Obama advised that an individual should recognize a point beyond which he need not make any more money. The subtext is always that in this zero-sum world, personal success comes not through the individual’s efforts, but at the expense of someone else.
The multimillionaires in Congress and in the administration are, of course, different. They are doing “public service” and helping to transform America. They get raises. Patients on Medicaid will have trouble finding a doctor, will have long waits to see one, and will soon be assigned to nurse practitioners rather than physicians. Ignorance of basic economics keeps them from understanding that increased regulation means hiring more people to keep up with the paperwork requirements.
The Affordable Care Act was not intended just to extend health insurance to the uninsured or to decrease premium costs. Indeed, so far Obamacare has had the opposite effect of raising costs and increasing the numbers of the uninsured. Aside from growing government, increasing federal jobs, and limiting free choice, Obamacare federalized healthcare to ensure Americans fairness, defined as the economic equality of result as technocrats decide who had wrongly acquired too much healthcare, who unfairly had access to too little, and so on.
Victor Davis Hanson, as usual, is spot on in his essay about “The Politicization of Everything.“ Do read the whole thing.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Election 2014, Health Care, Media Bias, Politics | Tags: Changing Opinion, Insurance v. Health Care, Non-Governmental Health Care
Well, finally, the American people are sitting up and taking notice of the health care debacle. ObamaCare not only dominates the news cycle, but all the late night comics are trying to outdo each other in making fun of the website disaster and cancellations of everyone’s insurance. When you have lost Country Music and college football fans, you are in trouble.
So now what? A majority of voters say the federal government shouldn’t be involved in the business of healthcare according to a Gallup survey released on Monday.
The poll found that 56 percent say making sure people have health insurance shouldn’t be a government responsibility, against 42 percent who say that it should be. Those who say the government doesn’t have a responsibility to guarantee citizens have healthcare has reached the highest point ever among Democrats and Independents.
A record 30 percent of Democrats say the government shouldn’t be involved in healthcare, and 55 percent of independents now say the same. For Republicans, those against stand at 86 percent, down from 88 percent in 2012.
The post from Gallup was not clear about whether they distinguished clearly between government provided health care and government provided health care insurance. This is a distinction that has really confused most commentary.
ObamaCare is health insurance, but dips far into who you can see, what treatment you may have, what medicines you can take, and where you can go for care. They have chosen to offer a large array of (unnecessary) services—many that should not be paid for by insurance— but that add enormous cost to the insurance. The high cost must be offset by greater control of remuneration for doctors and suppliers, but control was what they were after in the first place.
What terrifies me is the possibility that they will try to “fix” ObamaCare. What we most need is to get government completely out of the health care business. They are no good at it.
Democrats expected to have to “fix” ObamaCare, and the improvement would be more control. Doctors would become government employees. the hated insurance companies would be ended and we would arrive at their long-desired single-payer, government-run care that other countries are trying to figure out how to escape.
Here’s an example of the turn of opinion, and the slow death spiral of ObamaCare from Saturday Night Live.