American Elephants

Democrats Don’t Understand the Principle of Insurance. by The Elephant's Child

When Sandra Fluke appeared at a hastily arranged pretend congressional testimony event to demand that taxpayers pay for birth control for all deserving young women,  many were offended at the idea that all young women were going to have premarital sex as a matter of course and we were supposed to pay for it. Many were a little embarrassed, and glad that it wasn’t their daughter making such a public claim. Attention quickly turned to Rush Limbaugh who suggested that she was a slut, and then to shrill claims that there was a “War on Women.”

This falls under the “full of  storm and fury signifying nothing” category. Democrats, who consider Feminists as one of their major support groups, always overestimate feminist numbers.  Nevertheless, they are apparently planning to organize their entire convention around the “War on Women.” Barbara Boxer, always ready to fight in that war, is delighted.

Ms. Fluke’s impassioned plea for free contraceptives so all young women will be free to be sexually active without consequence, spoke of bills for $35 and $45 and more a month. It was quickly determined that discount pharmacies had the prescriptions for no more than $9 a month, which would seem to be affordable.

The idea of insurance is protection from catastrophic events by spreading the potential cost to many people, which will pay for the rare catastrophe. Actuaries, people good at math, do studies to determine how frequent and how expensive catastrophes are. The federal government apparently doesn’t have actuaries, and just wants everybody to pay for whatever free stuff the politicians want to give folks in exchange for their votes. This really isn’t how insurance is supposed to operate. And that is the point.

You don’t expect your car insurance to pay for replacing your wiper blades, replacing worn tires, changing your oil.  You expect it to be there when you get in a wreck, because your car cost a lot, and if somebody sues you it will cost a lot, and you are not prepared to keep that amount of money set aside for the disastrous event.

Ms. Fluke is wrong, Barbara Boxer is wrong, and there is no silly “War on Women.”

Same problem, different event. Obama is bragging about fixing Medicare. He has eliminated the “donut hole” in the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan. There is a lot of criticism among Republicans of the Bush administration for passing it. No one, as far as I can tell, has attempted a serious study of the extent to which the plan is saving lives, for many seniors have their lives extended with new drugs. I understand that the Democrat Congress was going to pass the Drug plan anyway, but Republicans managed to insert the so-called “donut hole.” This  is a major incentive inserted in the program to get seniors to participate in keeping costs down. And it has worked spectacularly.  Bear with me, I know it’s insurance talk but I’ll be brief.

Seniors may choose from a number of different plans. There is a monthly premium and a yearly deductible. Once the deductible is met, there is a co-pay for drugs, high for brand name, low or free for generics. Once  the senior and the plan have spent $2,930 for covered drugs, she is in the “donut hole.” As it was, the senior then had to pay her own costs until she had spent $4,700 for the year— when her coverage gap ends, and she pays only a small co-pay till the end of the year. Lots of incentive to avoid the “donut hole” where she has to pay for her own drugs — using generics whenever they are available, using mail-order pharmacies. Most will never reach it. If they needed help during the donut hole, it was available. That incentive made the drug plan come in far below estimates of what it would cost — a novelty in government programs. They never cost less than estimated.

Democrats, however, have a different understanding of insurance. Republicans believe you spread the cost to protect against catastrophe. Democrats believe that insurance means they give you free stuff and make the taxpayers pay for it.

The left could not stand the “donut hole”— it was so mean. So they are working on getting rid of it entirely.  But what they are removing is the incentive to keep costs down.

Democrats don’t understand incentives, and it always shows up in their policies.

8 Comments so far
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Many were a little embarrassed, and glad that it wasn’t their daughter making such a public claim.

Re-read the transcript, for cripes sake:

(a) Fluke concentrated on medical consequences of women not being able to afford birth control; and (b) said from that start that she was speaking on behalf of others, not about her self.

There is certainly plenty of scope for a debate on whether women should pay for their own contraception. Slandering women who testify on the topic by calling them sluts, however, is beyond the pale.

The outrage over the wing-nit response was not “full of storm and fury signifying nothing” but a proper and proportional reaction to a breathtaking display of insulting ignorance.


Comment by Subsidy Eye

Fluke was wrong.There is no problem with women being unable to afford birth control. Even people with very limited funds can afford $9 a month. I watched the “testimony” which was not a congressional appearance. I was embarrassed and glad it wasn’t my daughter, and I wasn’t alone. When someone chooses to be a public figure, they may get comments they don’t like. Happens to all sorts of public figures. Rush apologized promptly. The storm and fury were on the Democrat side, and remain because Democrats want to make a big deal out of it, because they desperately want to have a “War on Women” because they can’t talk about the economy, foreign policy, or health care. She is to be a featured speaker at their convention, though she has no claim to fame or interest other than that Rush called her a slut and apologized for it. Sorry, “breathtaking display of insulting ignorance” isn’t in it. Get over yourself.


Comment by The Elephant's Child

Forget about it being my daughter… I’m just glad it’s not someone I know personally (though I am a bit annoyed that she attends Georgetown, where I got one of my Masters). I can tell you from experience that she knows full well Georgetown’s position on birth control not being provided to students, since she had to sign the handbook acknowledging it. And she may have said that she was speaking “on behalf of others”, but the anecdotes she used (she did not and will not provide any names of these “others” she was speaking “on behalf of”) are all identical to ones that the Law Students for Reproductive Justice (of which Fluke was the president) use in their promotional materials and flyers.

And to be perfectly honest with you, what I find insulting about all of this is still the idea that she pushes, that she has some sort of Constitutional “right” to contraception, that the Catholic organization she attends should provide it, and that it should be a requirement for all taxpayers to subsidize it.


Comment by Lon Mead

Besides calling Fluke a “slut,” Rush Limbaugh also called her a “prostitute,” said that he wanted her to make sex tapes and post them online, and speculated that she only had a problem paying for contraception because she was having “so much sex.”

Then he “apologized” after several days had past (not “promptly”), claiming that he “did not mean a personal attack on Ms. Fluke.” Sounds to me and most other people that he most definitely meant to launch a personal attack on her. Perhaps his apology sufficed for the lawyers, but it did not suffice for the large number of people who were shocked by his comments.

It is not I who brought up this attach, Child, but you, and downplaying it as “full of storm and fury signifying nothing”. If you really think it was just that, then I suggest you have a tin ear. The fierceness and the inappropriateness of the attacks by Rush and his ilk made a big impression on many people, especially women, that I know. The Republican Party lost votes in future elections as a consequence.

Other than that, I agree that Fluke exaggerated the cost impact of not covering birth-control pills, and that she knew what Georgetown’s policy was when she enrolled. If she wanted to fight that policy internally, fine. But I can understand GU being pissed off about making the dispute public.

See? It is possible to have a civil discussion about Fluke’s testimony and arguments without invoking the kind $%#^!@ that emanates from the orifices of people like Limbaugh.


Comment by Subsidy Eye

Sorry, Subsidy. I stand by just what I said. Sandra Fluke is a feminist activist, and her intent is to stir up controversy, and get attention. I understand that you think poor pitiful Sandra was horribly abused with Rush’s humorously intended comments. Ms. Fluke had no intention of fighting a battle with Georgetown internally, her intent was to make it public. The appropriate congressional committee refused to have her as a witness, so Pelosi and Boxer cooked up something that would look like committee testimony. I stand firmly with Georgetown’s right to make their own rules, and Boxer and Pelosi are simply embarrassing. Don’t include “most other people” with your own personal opinion — because you have no idea what “most” other people think. The “large number” who were “shocked” were the Liberal media and their useful idiots. The Feminists were the instigators and constant proponents of the sexual revolution, and the damage they have done to our society is incalculable. Storm and fury signifying nothing remains, as far as I am concerned, an apt description.


Comment by The Elephant's Child

You just don’t get it. I am not arguing with your take on Fluke’s campaign, whether her testimony was “real”, that Georgetown can make its own rules (as long as they don’t violate the law), etc. I am saying that to dismiss Limbaugh’s remarks as anything but outrageous and completely inappropriate, is to defend the indefensible. Limbaugh could have made the same points that you are making without resorting to the most insulting, incendiary comments.

And, no, it wasn’t just the “the Liberal media and their useful idiots”. I continue to be shocked that you, a woman, would do anything but distance yourself from his vile, hateful remarks.

I can think of analogously offensive remarks that somebody could make about somebody else that I think that you would agree could never be defended, nor forgiven. But I won’t.


Comment by Subsidy Eye

You are being indignant over a Democrat publicity stunt. Rush has had an ongoing battle with the “Feminazis,” as he calls them. The “outrage” was ginned-up because Democrats are desperate to find things with which to attack Republicans, because everything their candidate has done has been a disaster. You can hear or read far more offensive things any day from Democrats who, short on facts, have only invective as a weapon. Rush apologized long ago. End of story.


Comment by The Elephant's Child

“You are being indignant over a Democrat publicity stunt.”

I can read things myself, thank you. And when I read what he said, and compared that with Fluke’s testimony, I saw absolutely no justification for what he said. None. Your continuing defense of his remarks is simply astonishing.

If others have said offensive things, two wrongs don’t make a right. But you are the one who initially made reference to Rush’s comments, not me. You didn’t need to; you could have stuck simply to the substantive issues.


Comment by Subsidy Eye

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