February 22, 2010

Obama "rolls out comprehensive legislation to revamp the nation’s health care system."

Why is this happening now? Congress has been working on this matter for many months (obviously), and what about the summit that's supposed to give Republicans a forum for presenting their ideas? As the NYT puts it:
The president’s legislation aims to bridge differences between the bills adopted by the House and Senate late last year, and to frame his debate with Republicans over health policy at a televised meeting on Thursday.
Does that make sense? Well, I never understood how the summit made sense, and the Congress has certainly gotten itself in a tangle, so why not?
By focusing on the effort to tighten regulation of insurance costs, a new element not included in either the House or Senate bills, Mr. Obama is seizing on outrage over recent premium increases of up to 39 percent announced by Anthem Blue Cross of California and moving to portray the Democrats’ health overhaul as a way to protect Americans from profiteering insurers.
Oh, the fat cat theme! An Obama favorite. Is the idea to monitor "profiteering" or to drive private insurance companies out of business so the long-awaited single-payer solution will be the only thing left?

AND: For the annals of childishly dumb magazine illustration, here's a screenshot of The New Republic's coverage of Obama's proposal:

147 comments:

former law student said...

Is the idea to monitor "profiteering" or to drive private insurance companies out of business

Why do individual policies cost so much compared to group rates? My friend the solo could not afford health insurance until he hired a secretary. With two on the policy he was eligible for a group rate.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Why do individual policies cost so much compared to group rates?

Individual policies are individually underwritten versus group policies which are underwritten on a group basis which means they pool the group. I'm surprised that with only two people the insurer would classify that as a 'group' policy. Most insurers to my knowledge will still individually underwrite 'groups' if they only constitute a few people.

Peter V. Bella said...

They are trying to make dog food taste like cat food. Obama needs this bill, even though the people, the voters and tax payers are against it.

He needs his legacy to be written in stone. His-Story must be made.

He seems to think this will help the Democrats in November. He is not looking at the polls. 60% of the American people are against this initiative for diverse reasons- extreme progressive to extreme right wing.

If the bill is passed, the Dems will commit political mass suicide. Of course His-Story will be made. No one- even extreme Right-wingers will have the political courage to repeal the bill.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Again, HCR probably could have been passed had Obama pushed a Federally funded cat coverage program. Many 'universal' health care countries are actually cat coverage (you're covered for catastrophic care) and you pick up a supplement for basic/routine care.

The problem with our health care system is we insist on a 3rd party to pay everything from cat care to a routine physical. That is the problem that needs remedy. Letting the Fed government foot the bill doesn't fix the underlying problem but rather transfers the financial responsibility to another 3rd party payer.

Maguro said...

Ah, price controls. Another bold, progressive idea that takes us back to the early '70s. Time to break out the Obama is like Nixon tag again.

David said...

:Is the idea to monitor "profiteering" or to drive private insurance companies out of business so the long-awaited single-payer solution will be the only thing left?"

Why, yes indeed that's the idea. They will deny it. Fools and knaves.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I was surprised to learn that the California doesn't regulate rate increases. In conservative Indiana any insurer rate increases have to be approved by the Department of Insurance, not to mention be actuarially justified.

ricpic said...

This fucker has to be stopped. Cold. And if the Republicans don't stop him ordinary Americans will have to march on Washington, this time with rifles. That's right, let the beautiful right thinking people stand back aghast at what the proles have to do, the proles will save the bacon of the bien pensants despite their above-it-all fecklessness.

AllenS said...

Nothing says group, like two people.

WV: ickeque

Quayle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
traditionalguy said...

Basic facts: Profits cause effort and customer friendly workers...Fascist regulation of business produces true fat cats picked by the Party, plus no effort applied and a war with the customers/jerks. Why work and be nice when the rewards are the same as for not working and being hostile?

Hoosier Daddy said...

This fucker has to be stopped. Cold. And if the Republicans don't stop him ordinary Americans will have to march on Washington, this time with rifles.

Yeah, that's a great idea.

AJ Lynch said...

Obama is a serial demonizer. Next, he will promise to cap hikes on your cable bill, gasoline prices and public school spending!

Heh- I threw that last one in there to see if you were paying attention.

wv= trutbleg = what Soupy Sales & Ralph did

Peter V. Bella said...

Dave,
Ill. Rep.(D) Jan Schakowsky is quoted several times stating the aim is to put the insurance companies out of business.

She, an elected member of the House, sworn to uphold the Constitution, has called anyone who protests health care or is against the bill deplorable, despicable, and detestable. So much for freedom of speech and redressing grievances.

master cylinder said...

Yall are sick fucks. rifles.....really?
Why dont you try paintball on the weekends, that is if you old pieces of shit are still ambulatory.

Michael said...

It is so discouraging to have someone so clueless at the helm. It is sickening to think that his hatred of fat cats and desire to impose price controls (!) on insurance companies reflects his view on how to "fix" something. The more I see the more I am convinced that his grades, standardized test scores and IQ are sub-par.

The California insurance company that raised rates so alarmingly did so because they were subject to the same inane ideas that the administration is trying to implement. So this is how we will get more for less: compel people to charge at a loss. Great idea.

AJ Lynch said...

Althouse;

Consider that this rate hike just happened and Obama grasped a straw from it.

It is evidence there is no long-term thinking or planning going on in this White House. It's just "we should nationalize as much industry as we can somehow".

Hoosier Daddy said...

The California insurance company that raised rates so alarmingly did so because they were subject to the same inane ideas that the administration is trying to implement.

They also did so because they knew they could.

Again, if providing coverage to the uninsured is the goal, simply provide coverage for catastrophic care, or, even set a minimum out of pocket maximum, say, 20% of gross income for health care that the Fed will pick up. That means few will go bankrupt over a broken leg, cancer etc and I bet you could get a bi-partisan vote on that fairly easily.

Problem for liberals is it doesn't give them carte blanche control over the whole system and there will still be a need for insurers.

This really isn't that difficult and issue to fix if the extremists on both sides would pull their heads out of their ass.

Peter V. Bella said...

Um, mastercyliner:

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

EDH said...

Funny, I didn't hear a peep out of the White House when last year Deval Patrick signed a 25% increase in the Mass state sales tax.

former law student said...

There are enough talented artists connected with the blog, that the professor could have a contest to replace the New Republic's STOP sign.

PatCA said...

Step 1: Mandate a multitude of coverages.

Step 2: Watch with glee as carriers raise premiums or go out of business.

Step 3: Pass federal takeover of health care.

AllenS said...

Instead of a STOP sign, how about DANGEROUS CURVE AHEAD.

Lem said...

Mr. Obama is seizing on outrage..

A telegraph that either the NYT still believes we believe whats in their paper, or more convincingly to my point, they just don't care.

If I've learned anything about our president, in his one long nightmarish year in office, is that Obama will seize Banks, Car Companies and Health Care (if we let him).. not something so revenue neutral as outrage.

Working for the private sector Obama would have made a good repo man.

former law student said...

Funny, I didn't hear a peep out of the White House

Did Obama run on a platform of sales tax reform?

Have people been bankrupted by sky high sales tax bills?

Do the self-employed pay higher sales tax rates than people working for giant corporations?

rhhardin said...

Price controls have a perfect record.

Not many government policies can claim that.

Jason said...

fls: Why do individual policies cost so much compared to group rates?

You know, this illustrates the problem precisely: The ignorant libtard class is railing against profiteering insurance companies, yet, like drooling toddlers asking why do objects fall to the earth, these fucking idiots can't even spell adverse selection.

And yet they're so fucking sure of themselves they think they can restructure and impose price controls better than the actuaries who do this stuff every day.

At least a toddler is trainable, though. A libtard isn't.

former law student said...

Jason was unable to provide a useful answer to my question.

damikesc said...

EDH, everybody knows that the government doesn't raise taxes for anything but the most altruistic reasons.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

Jason was unable to provide a useful answer to my question.

Actually, he did: Adverse selection. I assume (despite his harsh language, which I'll agree was over the top) that he assumed that you were smart enough to understand what that means.

You do understand the concept of Adverse Selection, don't you?

- Lyssa

damikesc said...

So, fls, as long as something shafts everybody and not a small group , then its ok?

Jason said...

Yes, I did, chucklehead. You were just too thickheaded to pick it up. The answer to your question is adverse selection.

Henry said...

Krugman had a recent column on the big rate hike in California recently. While trumpeting the government's ability to fix the problem he couldn't bring himself to specify how.

You even out big rate hikes by making healthy people pay for coverage they won't use.

Period.

TRO said...

"Yall are sick fucks. rifles.....really?
Why dont you try paintball on the weekends, that is if you old pieces of shit are still ambulatory."

Hey, lefties had a nice protest this past week where they carried pitchforks and real torches.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Have people been bankrupted by sky high sales tax bills?

Funny you should mention that. Prior to the property tax cap passed in Indiana, there were people who were actually being forced to sell their homes because they could not afford the property tax increase.

Jason said...

No, I don't think my language is over the top. Perhaps there was a time when libtards deserved something beyond sneering contempt. Not anymore. What's over the top now is the combination of libtard ignorance and hubris.

That's going to be true as long as libtards continue to trample on individual liberties and attempt to restructure entire industries by fiat.

Hey, look on the bright side. Harsh language is better than torches and pitchforks.

TRO said...

"Jason was unable to provide a useful answer to my question."

Well, it was kind of a stupid question. I figured you were just joking myself.

Hoosier Daddy said...

You do understand the concept of Adverse Selection, don't you?

In case he doesn't it means waiting until your house is on fire and then purchasing homeowner's insurance.

AllenS said...

fls is on a roll this morning. Thanks for the laughs.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Why do individual policies cost so much compared to group rates? My friend the solo could not afford health insurance until he hired a secretary. With two on the policy he was eligible for a group rate.

You really don't understand the concept of insurance do you?

Individual plans generally cost less across the same age band than the pricing for a group.

This means (without looking up real quotes which I can do later when at work) that IF (BIG IF) your friend is in good health and is 35 years old, his premiums will be less than the 35 year old in a group. IF>>>>>>>your friend is NOT healthy then his individual premiums will be higher because as Hoosier said, his policy will be individually underwritten based on the risk he presents to the insurance company.
In a group, the people are pooled and the actuarial assumptions are that a percentage of the group will not be health.....ergo.....the premiums for the group are priced higher so that the healthy people will subsidize the entire group.

If the group has previously high claims or is in an occupation that has a history of expensive claims, the group will also be rated.

Now....try to wrap your mind around this concept and extrapolate that to what will happen to the cost of insurance AND the cost of claims paid when Obama forces the insurance companies to take ALL of the completely UNINSURABLE risks. Do you think that costs.....just might go up? Do you think that premiums will stay low.

Try to think about it.

Also, try to think about the difference between the concept of insurance and just paying for everyones medical CARE.

Medical care is not insurance. Two separate concepts.

Jason said...

have people been bankrupted by sky high sales tax bills?

Yes.

I have one client, a merchant, whose bank account was frozen over a 150 dollar dispute with state collectors over sales tax. This was her operating income. As a result, although she had plenty of funds available, several of her payroll checks were returned, causing a good deal of hardship to her employees.

It's still playing out, but it looks like she's going to win her dispute with the state department of revenue. It seems to be a clerical error on their part.

That doesn't help her employees much, does it?

That's the spillover effect from clumsy and ham-handed government.

Why is it libtards never seem to know very many small business owners?

lyssalovelyredhead said...

re: Jason and harsh language.

I agreed wholehartedly with your overall point (people who can't figure out the most obvious of unintended consequences shouldn't be making the rules) and I get the frustration you expressed completely, but you really had to sort through the language to actually get to your point. It makes it easy for people to just turn off and tune out.

Also, I object to the word "libtards" because of the retards connotation; I just don't like that insult. (with full exceptions, of course, if the word is followed by "pirate whore".)

In other words, Jason, your rant was only going to get through to the people who already think like you. Nothing will convince FLS and people that think like him, of course, but for those that are closer to the fence, you're just not going to bring them over like that.

- Lyssa

Joan said...

Price controls have a perfect record of failure..

FIFY.

Adverse selection doesn't answer the question. There is no reason why the insurance companies can't risk pool based on population demographics rather than employer demographics. They haven't had a reason to, but that doesn't mean they can't. There is no reason to think that a self-employed software engineer (like my husband) is any more of a risk than a huge-company-employed software engineer (like all of my husband's co-workers.) Yet we pay probably double (including the employer-paid portion) what those huge-company-employed guys do.

The real problem is that health insurance isn't insurance. For the most part, it's a discount plan. Reverting to consumers paying for routine health care costs and using insurance to cover hospitalizations and catastrophic care coverage would do a lot towards getting costs in line and making insurance (not a discount plan) more affordable.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I'm surprised that with only two people the insurer would classify that as a 'group' policy. Most insurers to my knowledge will still individually underwrite 'groups' if they only constitute a few people.

@Hoosier.

Yes, insurers will write a two person group. They don't particularly like to do so and you have to prove that you are a legitimate business group; not just a family trying to get an uninsurable person insured. And if they do the premiums are rated higher than if it were a group of 50.

For many of the family farms in my area, which are LLCs or Corporations, we write groups of 2 to 8.

master cylinder said...

Can any of you seethers articulate any specifics regarding the trampled liberties that threaten you?
There's no there there.

master cylinder said...

All the libtards I know-including myself ARE small
business owners. We're not all dirty hippies.

Joan said...

Individual plans generally cost less across the same age band than the pricing for a group. (emphasis added)

What insurance company prices their policies like this? I'd like to give them a call. My husband has been self-employed for the last 9+ years and our health insurance costs contradict your statement. Is it because we have a family plan?

AprilApple said...

It's all a march towards single-payer government-controlled tax-payer-funded health care.

AllenS said...

seethers, low-brows, hillbillies...

Alex said...

I want to see the poll that Americans want government to regulate private insurance rates.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

There is no reason why the insurance companies can't risk pool based on population demographics rather than employer demographics.

I agree with reservations.

However, much of what the insurance companies are allowed to present as policies and coverage is controlled by the State Insurance Commissioners. BY LAW. This is why from State to State there are different policies and different prices.


The groups by demographics or by occupation for independent operators (all stock brokers or accountants) across the country would be a good idea.

However, to group people by demographics geographically is problematic. All people in Utah, who are generally Mormon and who lead very healthy lifestyles, lumped in with folks from Mississippi, who don't lead healthy life styles as a rule. How would you like to live in East Los Angeles and take on the risk category of that group?

Jason said...

Ok. I hereby apologize to the developmentally disabled for comparing them to progressives. It's unfair to the developmentally disabled population, and they don't deserve to be sullied by association with people who are not-technically-handicapped-but-truly-fucking-stupid.

Then again, nobody in their right mind could possibly read the term 'libtard' as a slur on the mentally handicapped. That's really stretching for some PC points. I can see the offense with the word 'retard,' but not with 'libtard.' Everyone knows exactly who I'm referring to. So why the unga-bunga-bunga?

Alex said...

Obama is committing political suicide UNLESS he can get a fact on the ground of insurance regulation in time for the election. There's nothing people love more then an existing entitlement program.

Alex said...

DBQ - insurance discrimination based on lifestyle if prohibited by the 14th amendment. At least that's the next tack by the lefties.

Akiva said...

(AP) The law that President Barack Obama signed last May shields card users from sudden interest rate hikes, excessive fees and other gimmicks that card companies have used to drive up profits....

During the past nine months, credit card companies jacked up interest rates, created new fees and cut credit lines. They also closed down millions of accounts. So a law hailed as the most sweeping piece of consumer legislation in decades has helped make it more difficult for millions of Americans to get credit, and made that credit more expensive.


Oops. That's the problem with a free market, it rarely does as it's told - rather it does what each business determines is best for it.

Looking how well the credit card thing turned out (they canceled 1/2 my cards and cut my credit by 75% - because I had NO outstanding balances), I sure have lots of faith they'll do well with health care (NOT).

Consumers will save at least $10 billion a year from curbs on interest rate

lyssalovelyredhead said...

Master Cyl said: "Can any of you seethers articulate any specifics regarding the trampled liberties that threaten you?"

First and foremost, each of us who work gives up part of our lives to do so. We give up our time, other opportunities, and even accept some risks to work. We are compensated for giving up that part of our lives.

Government is the only entity that has the legal right to take property from you and me, property that we have rightfully earned through the giving up of parts of our lives, under the threat of force.

Every dollar the government takes from me, it is taking some portion of my life and liberty that I gave to earn it, at the point of a gun.

There are things for which I think this is acceptable, as they are necessary to live in a civilized society and protect the rights of others. This adminstration (as did the last although to a far lesser degree) is doing a lot of things that go far beyond that necessity.

- Lyssa

Henry said...

In a political sense, Obama's proposal (and his media applauders) is pathetic. A rate hike in California makes the news and immediately Obama's brave new Health Care plan is to respond to that news event.

Now that Anthem has withdrawn their rate hike, will they go bankrupt? Perhaps they will. And that will justify Obama's brave new Health Care plan next year.

Jim said...

1) If people want to actually deal in facts rather than attempt to rewrite history, they will remember that the EVIL George Bush tried to get Democrats to allow small businesses to band together to create smaller risk pools. But Democrats refused because they wanted high insurance rates as a campaign issue so they could push through single payer. Now, all of a sudden, we're supposed to believe that Democrats are really looking out for small businesses? LOLOLOLOL They had that chance a decade ago and decided that single payer was more important...kind of like today. Imagine that.

2) As far as writing "group policies for 2 people," there are various states which mandate the issuance of a group policy for businesses with 2 or more people. Some insurance companies may write them voluntarily, but you'd have to look at your own states' insurance regulations to know for sure.

Jim said...

lyssa -

If master cylinder can't look at a federal health insurance mandate and not figure out which liberties are being trampled upon, then he is either too ignorant or too dishonest to even be included in the conversation.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

Jason said: Then again, nobody in their right mind could possibly read the term 'libtard' as a slur on the mentally handicapped. That's really stretching for some PC points. I can see the offense with the word 'retard,' but not with 'libtard.' Everyone knows exactly who I'm referring to. So why the unga-bunga-bunga?

You may be reading me as making a bigger unga-bunga-bunga than was intended. I only originally included the line about harsh language because your original post, if read literally, indicated that FLS didn't know what adverse selection was, so I wanted to acknowledge that, but state that I don't think that was your intent. In other words, I think we both know that FLS is intelligent enough to grasp adverse selection, even if he chooses to avoid looking at it, which is why you didn't explain what it was in your post.

As for "libtard"- it's not so much a slur as just a reference that I think is rude and crude. Why do you have to compare people that you disagree with politically with people that, through no fault of their own, are mentally handicapped? It's not going to ruin my day or anything (I only addressed it because we were discussing the harsh language issue), but it just rubs the wrong way.

- Lyssa

Jim said...

akiva -

Consumers will save at least $10 billion a year from curbs on interest rate

Because they won't have been able to get credit at all...But the rich don't need to worry about things like credit cards, so the true Democratic base will be able to feel very good about themselves as they sip cocktails in a Manhattan penthouse while furiously patting each other on the back for their altruistic nature.

Alex said...

the entire internet has dissolved into hurling libtard or rethug insults back and forth. Let me know when it ascends to something else.

master cylinder said...

LLR, thanks for that. It's just weird to me that after so long being dormant, the "concern" is suddenly flaming
such that "rifles" are being touted....it doesn't pass the smell test.

master cylinder said...

So Jim, you can't tell me?
That is my point dude.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

Jim said: "If master cylinder can't look at a federal health insurance mandate and not figure out which liberties are being trampled upon, then he is either too ignorant or too dishonest to even be included in the conversation."

Yeah, you're right. Sometimes I just get a little too hopeful. (sigh)

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Yall are sick fucks. rifles.....really?
Why dont you try paintball on the weekends, that is if you old pieces of shit are still ambulatory.


Master Cylinder actually made a good suggestion.

Years ago we had a neighborhood dog that would ravage the garbage cans. After many times of telling the owner about it and his reaction..."hardy har har..dogs will be dogs", we got a paint ball gun and the next time his dog was in our yard....it returned colored purple. Our garbage cans were purple for a while too.

PETA Disclosre: We shot from a large distance, because we didn't want to hurt the dog and those paint balls can really really hurt.

I think we should shoot paintball guns at our so called representatives. I would love to see them color coded. Plus it would be fun.

HEY....we could even extend it to government employees who have all those cushy benefits that we are unable to afford for ourselves and that we are taxed to the eyeteeth to provide. I suggest a nice shade of green for them.

Jim said...

lyssa -

I have to agree with you about the use of "libtard."

While it might be satisfying emotionally to type it, it really isn't any better than the moronic idiots who type things like "Rethuglicans" or the like.

It immediately signals there what follows is an emotional argument, not an intellectual one. It's very hard to expect the point you're making to be taken seriously, when you're not being serious about how you make it.

As you pointed out, there are good points which are being made which would have been made far more effectively just by changing "libtard" to a more accurate "Leftist" or other such formulation.

If your goal is simply venting, then "libtard"-away. But if you want to make a point, there are better ways to do it.

AprilApple said...

Come on you seethers, just give in to the glory of forced theft. The glory of government controlled health care "reform".
You hillbillies.

The CBO assessment of the bill tells the appalling story. We are going to raise taxes by half a trillion dollars over the next ten years, increase spending by more than a trillion dollars, cut Medicare by $470 billion but use that money to fund a new entitlement rather than to fix Medicare itself, bend the health-care cost curve up rather than down, insert layers of bureaucracy between doctors and patients, and compel and subsidize universal participation in a failed system of health insurance rather than reform or improve it. Indeed, this bill will make it exceedingly difficult to fix our health-insurance financing system in the future, since it sucks dry the potential means of such reform but leaves the fundamental cost problem essentially untouched (and, in some respects, worsened.) After all the back and forth, pulling and tugging, it is hard to see what is left in this bill that any member of Congress, liberal or conservative, would want to support.

hey - Feel the progressive math:

"When the Democrats took control of Congress in 2007, the debt held by the public was 36.2% of GDP. It rose to 40.2% the next year. This year it will be about 63.6%, next year 68.6%, then 77% of GDP in 2020. And the Obama administration's budget estimates 218% in 2050.

Over 61% of this seething nation are opposed to the left's egregious trampling of our freedom and liberty. Stupid Seethers - you clearly don't know what's best.

Alex said...

Jim - you wrongly assume that most people want the non-emotional argument.

Jim said...

master cylinder -

FEDERAL....INSURANCE....MANDATE...

That you can't understand it disqualifies you from further discussion on the topic.

Come back after you understand the concept.

Alex said...

Althouse hillbillies heart for-profit industries instead of the little guy.

former law student said...

Two words do not an argument make. I did not realize I had to make the arguments for both sides here. I had always been told conservatives pride themselves on their individual effort, but I will fill the gap if necessary. Don't blame me for misrepresenting your side, however -- you had your chance.

Group policies cover a mix of the healthy, the unhealthy, and the inbetween, with a variety of ages from newborns to people in their 60s.
As I understand how adverse selection affects individual health insurance prices, as prices rise healthy people drop out, causing prices to rise further and faster, causing the remaining relatively healthy people to drop out, to the point where premiums are the same as expenses, with a processing fee added.

Now the free market solution would be to lower premiums to the point where as many people as possible bought them, figuring their risk made the premium a good deal.

The non-free-market solution to insurance cost control is to mandate that everyone buy health insurance.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

Master cyl said: "LLR, thanks for that. It's just weird to me that after so long being dormant, the "concern" is suddenly flaming
such that "rifles" are being touted....it doesn't pass the smell test."

OK, so I'll take back my post to Jim a minute ago. Thanks for a polite and reasonable response, MC!

WRT your point, I see where you are coming from, but all movements go like this. They start, then most of them fizzle out, but if they do pick up steam, they build on each other in an upward spiral. If you look at the revolutionary war, for example, the actual inciting factors were pretty small, they just built on each other and added up.

Add to that that people are paying more attention now than they ever did, and there are a lot more resources to do so (internet, blogs, etc) than there used to be, allowing the movements to get more attention, therefore allowing more people to get involved, leading to more attention, and so on.

It's not that complicated, really. (BTW, I get the whole tree of liberty and blood of tyrants argument, but I think that it's probably not a good way to talk, even when just in blog comments, at this point. Revolution needs to come from the ballot box and vigorous free speech; arguing for violence just looks bad.) (Jeeze, I feel like blog mom today- Harsh language! Threats! Watch your mouth, young commenter!)

- Lyssa

Jim said...

fls and alex -

Or you could allow small businesses to create risk pools in order to lower their premiums which current regulations prohibit.

But Democrats opposed it a decade ago when Bush proposed it.

When Democrats had a chance to actually stand up for the little guy, they refused to do so. When Obama wanted his health care reform, he cut a deal with PHRMa to get $80 billion in advertising to support it.

So if you REALLY cared about the little guy and not supporting for-profit industries, you'd be screaming at Democrats for cozying up to special interests and standing in the way of useful health reform for so long.

That you're not tells everyone just how sincere your arguments today really are. Not at all.

master cylinder said...

We all need moms at some point!

AJ Lynch said...

FLS said:
"Two words do not an argument make".

Sez you!

Hoosier Daddy said...

Two words do not an argument make. I did not realize I had to make the arguments for both sides here. I had always been told conservatives pride themselves on their individual effort, but I will fill the gap if necessary. Don't blame me for misrepresenting your side, however -- you had your chance.

Actually I explained it fairly succinctly in my 8:43 response. Don’t blame me because you can’t grasp the concept.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

Re: Jim, Alex, and emotional arguments.

Jim, thanks for your support there. I can't speak for others, but one of the reasons that I come to Althouse is that I see more intellectual, as opposed to emotional, arguments here, and both AA and many commenters generally have a pretty good bullshit detector.

So I try to avoid the folks spouting "libtards", "demoncrats" or "rethuglicans."

(BTW, I'd love to find some more intellectual over emotional sites, particularly one with more left-leaning commenters. Anyone have any suggestions?)

- Lyssa

AprilApple said...

Sweet seething money-gob.

Word is a summary of the White House proposal is $75 billion bigger than the Senate bill.

We better shut up and take our medicine. Big government and big-industry, rule. So what if it costs more?

master cylinder said...

Jim-
WHAT IS WRONG WITH THAT?
THE OLD PEOPLE LOVE WHAT THEY HAVE, Right?

AprilApple said...

Sweet seething money-gob part II:

"The new White House's proposal would cost $950 billion over 10 years, more than the bill approved by the Senate but less than the House measure. It was posted on the White House Web site Monday morning.

The proposal increases penalties on business that fail to insure their workers and individuals who fail to get health insurance, as would be required under the new law.

The Obama plan calls for giving the federal government authority to block insurers from making premium-rate increases. A new Health Insurance Rate Authority would lay out what it viewed as reasonable rate increases, and those considered unjustified could be blocked."
[Wall Street Journal]

This will be GREAT for our economy.

former law student said...

you'd be screaming at Democrats for cozying up to special interests

Half the commentariat warned that if US patients did not continue to pay high prescription prices, much higher than countries with single payer systems pay, that pharmaceutical research would come to a standstill. Do you really want to give Obama a club to beat big pharma with?

I can't find any reference to the Bush proposal you mentioned. Only a plan by Bush to abolish employer-paid health insurance.

AprilApple said...

"....A new Health Insurance Rate Authority would lay out what it viewed as reasonable rate increases..."


oooo that doesn't sound Mussolini /Hitler/Stalin at all! We need more official _______ fill-in-the-blank government "Authorities" if you ask me.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I can't find any reference to the Bush proposal you mentioned. Only a plan by Bush to abolish employer-paid health insurance

Reference that then. I don't believe you have read and comprehended the proposal.

former law student said...

http://select.nytimes.com/2007/01/22/opinion/22krugman.html

rhhardin said...

I wonder if Biden can take the keys away from Obama now on grounds of mental incapacity.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Thank you fls.

but...broken link :-(

edutcher said...

This is why Barry didn't do much as a Senator, state or Federal - no real ideas except for communist rhetoric.

Notice how the resident Lefties have felt obliged to return to the 'Althouse Hillbillies' ad hominem; mc (another of Montagne's accounts, doubtless) thinks paintball references and yall are sooo subtle.

Ann said...

Is the idea to monitor "profiteering" or to drive private insurance companies out of business so the long-awaited single-payer solution will be the only thing left?

There was a video on the web about 2 weeks before the election showing The Zero in his state senator days telling an interviewer that, yes, single payer was his goal. Too bad people were too busy fooling themselves to be thinking about what he said.

traditionalguy said...

Alex...Profit industries are the only industries that work and also respect their customers and their employees as free persons. The non-profits are narrative scam producers who must be obeyed/served instead of giving real service. Please spend a year in non-profit Cuba and report your findings.

RobertL said...

That's right, Folks. The most financially irresponsible enterprise on the planet, the US Government and its agents of fiscal responsibility, the President and Congress, are going to make sure those evil insurance companies don't do anything as foolish as remaining financially viable or the black. They are going to make sure that nobody dares to break the mold of underfunded Social Security, Medicare, and Public Pensions - just to prove who is really in charge of the public "welfare". Good luck with that.... (and we can now shoot all the actuaries, because now they have become little more than a nuisance)

Oh, Happy Day!!!

rhhardin said...

I wonder if Biden can take the keys away from Obama now on grounds of mental incapacity.

Rush just brought up the same thing, I assume independently.

former law student said...

dbq: I'm having real trouble with links. The one I posted in html last night disappeared, although I thought I checked it.

It's the Krugman column in the NYT for that date.

Rich said...

former law student said...


Why do individual policies cost so much compared to group rates?

Because individual policies are enforceable insurance contracts. Group plans are unenforceable illusory imitations of the real thing. In an individual policy the insurer has to live up to its promises or face the consequences in court. With a group (i.e. employment-based) plan there are no meaningful consequences in court for anything up to and including fraud and wrongful death.

Comrade X said...

here you go fls:

hyperlinks

Alex said...

tradguy - I double-dog dare ye to go in front of a crowd and say "I heart profit industries".

lyssalovelyredhead said...

I'm not Traditional Guy, so even without a dare, I heart profit industries. I heart the jobs that they create, I heart the services that they provide, I heart the innovations that they encourage and the amazing quality of life that they provide me.

Profit is a great thing.

- Lyssa

Alex said...

I'm not Traditional Guy, so even without a dare, I heart profit industries. I heart the jobs that they create, I heart the services that they provide, I heart the innovations that they encourage and the amazing quality of life that they provide me.

Profit is a great thing.


Even when it pollutes the air, water, dumps toxic wastes in our soils, exploits illegal aliens doing the dirty jobs we "better" Americans won't do? Interesting how you pick & choose!

Dust Bunny Queen said...

tradguy - I double-dog dare ye to go in front of a crowd and say "I heart profit industries".

Depends on the crowd, doesn't it.

A crowd full of uninformed idiot leftists (note...didn't use leftards) who are conditioned to think that government is the answer and that business is...eeeeevviiiilll. Who haven't the slightest clue about economics. I wouldn't waste my breath.

OR.

A crowd of my clients who invest in for profit companies and enjoy the dividend income and growth over time.

OR

A crowd of people who work for a company that is in business to make a proft. If your company isn't profitable, you don't have many job prospects with that company.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Even when it pollutes the air, water, dumps toxic wastes in our soils, exploits illegal aliens doing the dirty jobs we "better" Americans won't do? Interesting how you pick & choose!


That is a stupid arguement, even for you.

All companies who make profits are not doing those things.

Try again.

Alex said...

All companies who make profits are not doing those things.

Except I don't hear Rethuglicans calling out those industries. Oops, that's because they're bought and paid for by K-street!

Jim said...

fls -

Here.

I just did a quick Google and that was the first hit I found. I'm sure there's plenty more as this was an integral part of Bush's platform in 2000, and one of the primary reasons I cast my vote for him then.

AJ Lynch said...

"I heart for-profit companies" is actually a very good litmus test to discern whether someone understands basic economics.

How good would restaurant food be without the profit motive? Jeez you'd wait forever for a drink in a bar if the bartender was not motivated by a good tip.

Jim said...

Isn't it funny how the very same people who want to complain about how businesses "exploit illegal aliens" are the very same ones opposing the use of e-Verify and beefed up workplace raids by INS to prevent just that.

They're also the ones who oppose closing our borders to cut off the supply of illegal aliens.

They're also the ones who insist on 39 cent heads of lettuce harvested by those same illegal aliens.

You can't have it both ways despite what Obama told you.

rhhardin said...

Reduced costs from polluting don't go to profits. They go to the consumer.

Society decided in the 50s that they'd start paying more for stuff to stop rampant pollution, and that's what happened.

The companies don't care, so long as everybody plays by the same rules, what the rules are.

You only profit by polluting if you're the only one doing it.

DADvocate said...

I can't wait for single payer health care run by the government. We'll have no choice in coverage and when they want to raise premiums they'll just raise our taxes. Government run doesn't mean cheaper and definitely doesn't mean better.

Why is it that the only choice liberals believe in is abortion?

Alex said...

How good would restaurant food be without the profit motive? Jeez you'd wait forever for a drink in a bar if the bartender was not motivated by a good tip.

Bartenders probably make good money, but the average food server gets paid only $2.19/hour and has to rely on tips to even make a half-way living wage. Basically they're slave labor. Yeah keep "hearting" for-profit industry.

Alex said...

Isn't it funny how the very same people who want to complain about how businesses "exploit illegal aliens" are the very same ones opposing the use of e-Verify and beefed up workplace raids by INS to prevent just that.

Because it's selective and racist.

They're also the ones who oppose closing our borders to cut off the supply of illegal aliens.

Because closing the borders is racist and evil.

They're also the ones who insist on 39 cent heads of lettuce harvested by those same illegal aliens.

All the liberals I know shop at Whole Foods and buy romaine lettuce for $2.50/head.

Jim said...

alex -

Except I don't hear Rethuglicans calling out those industries. Oops, that's because they're bought and paid for by K-street!

Your talking point is long past its expiration date. Or do I need to remind you that it was Obama who was having the secret meetings with industry CEOs and cutting backroom deals and cutting the legs out from your precious health care reform?

It also was Obama who decided that "no lobbyists in my administration" meant "only lobbyists I like" and "only lobbyists as I try to redefine the word."

Your K-Street nonsense needs to be directed at the White House. But the fact that it's not shows that you don't really care about K Street so long as its Democrats who benefit from their dealings with them.

Oh yeah...and guess which year was the most profitable one for K Street in recent history? Yeah...that would be the year after Obama claimed he was going to change the way they do business.

Well, he certainly did just that. He managed to send their business through the roof. Congratulations on that.

Hoosier Daddy said...

but the average food server gets paid only $2.19/hour and has to rely on tips to even make a half-way living wage.

I see. So I should be paying 2-3x more for a dinner date with my wife so the averae food server can have a 'living wage'.

Sounds great. Think I'll just stay in and cook myself.

Alex said...

I see. So I should be paying 2-3x more for a dinner date with my wife so the average food server can have a 'living wage'.

Well if you don't do that, you'll end up paying for them on welfare. Pick your poison.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Well if you don't do that, you'll end up paying for them on welfare. Pick your poison.

Sorry, I didn't pay attention to the name before posting my earlier reply.

bagoh20 said...

Profit is basically what it's called when something is worth doing. The financial version is no different.

Controlling Profit is like controlling the level of harvest after the sowing and growing season of work. Why would anyone want that. Less profit means less pay increases, less benefits, less job security and less art, freedom, leisure investment and progress. Why the hell would you want to repress profit.

Of course, nobody is ever against their own profit, even socialists.

This repeatedly failed ideology never lasts more than about 3 generations (~70 years). Then the collapse from the natural drive of humans to not be livestock, living minimal lives, carefully corralled within reach of their parasites.

Henry said...

@FLS -- I'm not sure how you can read that column and not wince. Krugman excoriates Bush for suggesting that "gold plated" plans drive up costs. I guess Bush should have said "Cadillac" plans.

Krugman also mocks Bush's proposal to provide incentives to purchase insurance. What Obama proposes instead is to punish people and businesses who don't purchase insurance. That sounds like an incentive to me -- it's just a negative one.

The only takeaway from this column is that it shows, once again, that Krugman has no integrity. If he did, he would republish this column tomorrow, but with his attack leveled at Obama.

The core of Krugman's polemic is an attack on the idea of catastrophic insurance. Krugman never uses that term, but in his insistence that health care is different than homeowner's insurance, that is what he is talking about.

This is a perfect example of something that Megan McArdle points out, the fact that 'people are emotionally invested in first dollar coverage' despite its secondary relationship to the problem of covering the uninsured. And there it is, the premise lurking behind Krugman's harangue.

Now Krugman had a column this week about the rate increases in California that I mentioned above.

Here is the link.

Even ignoring Krugman's ignorance of the responsibility of California's regulatory apparatus in driving up rates, he continues to practice the same political gamesmanship we see in the piece about Bush.

He claims that the Feds will fix problems like those in California. He carefully avoids explaining how.

But it's obvious. You even out rates by forcing people to buy coverage they don't need and can't afford. If they don't comply, you fine them.

Alex said...

bagoh - it has not failed in the former Soviet Republics. Most people still prefer socialism.

joewxman said...

the insurance company that moved on the rate hikes had to know that would be outrage about this which makes me wonder whether the insurnance companies want this packaged passed. Maybe thats why there stock prices are at or near 52 week highs.

E.M. Davis said...

but the average food server gets paid only $2.19/hour

Can you please back that up with some sort of source?

Alex said...

Here's the evidence that food servers only get paid $2.19/hour:

Evil Restaurant Employers

bagoh20 said...

"bagoh - it has not failed in the former Soviet Republics. Most people still prefer socialism."

Not failed? Those republics are better off than when they were communist, but still not as well off as their European neighbors who are freer, who are still less well off compared to the average American who is freer still.

The fact that they think they prefer socialism to something they never experienced (well organized free markets) is not surprising. After a lifetime of care in the corral, most livestock hasn't got the spirit left to leave.

Still, I bet most would leave their relative socialism for our relative capitalism in a second. There are not a lot American brides selling their lives in the Ukraine. Nor is anyone else struggling to get from free markets to socialism in great numbers, yet we do have the reverse in droves.

AJ Lynch said...

Alex:

Your link shows one waitress who averages almost $100 per shift. That is $12 per hour. Another waitress said she makes $150 per shift.

That sounds OK to me.

Mark said...

Krugman also mocks Bush's proposal to provide incentives to purchase insurance. What Obama proposes instead is to punish people and businesses who don't purchase insurance. That sounds like an incentive to me -- it's just a negative one.

Conservatives generally believe in the principle that you can lead a horse to water, but he has to want to drink. Liberals believe this neglects the ten-feet-of-hose-and-a-pneumatic-pump option.

Pogo said...

As rhhardin noted, price controls have failed everywhere they have been tried, dating back 4000 years. That Obama suggest a tactic that has never ever worked suggests either idiocy or criminal behavior.

Forty Centuries of Wage and Price Controls.

"The book outlines the unqualified failure of price controls from ancient Egypt forward. Consider what happened when the Pharaohs, under the guise of preventing famine, tried to control the wheat supply. Over time, control gave way to direction and direction to outright government ownership. Farmers, with no profit motive left, produced less and less wheat until -- surprise! -- famine set in. The economy collapsed, workers abandoned the cities and, finally, in about 3000 B.C., the reign of the Pharaohs ended.

The Roman emperor Diocletian tried wage and price controls in an effort to right the market after earlier price controls had failed. In the fourth century B.C., the Roman government bought corn and, in times of shortage, re-sold it at a low fixed price. In 58 B.C., it went further and granted every citizen free wheat. Farmers began streaming into Rome because they could live and eat without working. By the time of Julius Ceasar, one in three Romans was receiving government wheat.

Americans haven't been able to resist the lure of price controls, either. From the time of the Continental Army, when price controls nearly brought a ruinous end to the American Revolution, to the 1970s, when President Nixon attempted to overcome creeping inflation with wage and price freezes, American consumers have taken their lumps from these failed policies.
"

bagoh20 said...

The average food server who works for tips makes more in 1 hour from tips than their whole days wages, so the hourly wage means little. Often, it's the last thing they ask about the job when looking for one..

Pogo said...

BTW, which Alex face is being shown today?

Titus the socialist?
Or Titus the faux conservative?

Jason said...

but the average food server gets paid only $2.19/hour and has to rely on tips to even make a half-way living wage. Basically they're slave labor.

That is infinitely more than my hourly guaranteed wage. Cry me a river.

The good food servers WANT to rely on tips. If the leftist twits have their way and put everyone on minimum wage, the good servers would wind up with a huge pay cut. It would be a massive transfer of wealth from good, skilled, hard-working food servers to the lazy clockwatchers.

I'd much rather tip the good ones well than pay 30-50 percent higher menu prices.

And no, they are not slave labor. It's been a while since I've done a fact-finder on a waiter, but clients who are good waiters in busy restaurants are banking, BANKING nearly a grand a week.

Hell, they had more cash flow than anyone I knew for a while. Certainly more than a lot of business owners last year.

Take your 'slave labor' violin and fiddle somewhere else. I'm not buying it.

AJ Lynch said...

The socialist Titus today.

Pogo said...

Alex is Janus, plus loaf-pinching.

bagoh20 said...

"That Obama suggest a tactic that has never ever worked suggests either idiocy or criminal behavior."

Well, since I've heard ad nauseam how smart he is, there is little question. Unless, it's just super smart pragmatism. Then it's genius!

Bruce Hayden said...

I don't think that President Obama can have it both ways - rolling out this comprehensive legislation, but then going to the Republicans for input. He has basically said that this is the bill he wants, and did that before "listening" to the Republicans. So, he is going to have little defense if this passes, and when the elections roll around this fall, the Republicans talk about "Rahming" through a completely partisan bill that a growing majority of Americans oppose. This would seem to be a strong indication that any pretense of bipartisanship on the part of the President were pretextual at best.

Comrade X said...

of course alex is free to open a restaurant and pay his wait staff $1000 a week salary, but I'm not sure how well turd-themed dining would go over. maybe guy fieri would visit it on his new show DooDoos Dookies & Dung

lyssalovelyredhead said...

Re: Alex and servers- It's always cute when liberals (or fake arguing trolls like Alex) jump all over jobs that they never had to lower themselves by doing.

Not being the product of wealthy parents and not willing to go into a large amount of debt, I waited tables through most of college. I was paid 2.15/hour from the restaurant (when on the floor- I also did some other jobs there which paid me more.) I averaged 8-13 dollars an hour in tips alone (and that was working a less profitable shift at a place that offered (shudder) free kids meals). I was not a slave and could leave anytime I wished.

Believe me, good servers want to work for tips, because they reward you for actually working.

I'll say it again: Huzzah for profit motivations!

- Lyssa

Hoosier Daddy said...

Not being the product of wealthy parents and not willing to go into a large amount of debt, I waited tables through most of college.

Which is what minimum wage jobs were supposed to be relegated for, students, part time workers, etc. Now there's some unrealistic expectation that one should be able to raise a family waiting tables at Denney's or bagging groceries at Kroger.

c3 said...

fls;
Your questions are appreciated. As someone who is "in the business" these are not uncommon questions. I won't address your very first question since its been answered. As for this one:

Now the free market solution would be to lower premiums to the point where as many people as possible bought them, figuring their risk made the premium a good deal.

Hopefully you meant that the free market would solve this by companies offering lower priced premiums. You can't "force" the free market by mandating a lower price. Companies in fact do offer lower premium health plans. However, the purchaser of said plan is typically the employer who pays for much of the private health care coverage in America. Believe me, they do pick and choose what benefits to put in that plan based on their perceived employee demand and the resources they have. On the individual market there are definitely lower priced-premium plans. But as already mentioned, since its insurance and not pre-payment its much harder to assess the risk.

Also as mentioned before, the new Obama proposal suggest price controls. If fully enforced they can keep down prices but inevitably a "black market" will appear along with scarcity. We see that in several states with Medicaid, limited availability of providers with resultant over-usage of the ER or foregoing medical care.

We can't solve healthcare until we seriously address costs. We can't seriously address costs until the consumer is an ACTIVE (meaning "paying") participant.

The same issues are big in Europe. Its just they aren't as "high up" on the cost curve as we are.

PS We spend 50% more per person than the next highest country (Switzerland). So to get to the Swiss level we would need to spend 33% less than we presently do. Administrative costs (including insurance company profits) constitute about 7-8% of all dollars spent. We could eliminate it ALL and still be spending over 33% more than the next highest country. Doctors and hospitals constitute ove 50% over all health care dollars spent.

Pogo said...

"Administrative costs (including insurance company profits) constitute about 7-8% of all dollars spent."

It is nigh impossible to determine the actual administrative costs in Medicare. Many are hidden, because they are tasks forced upon patients, insurance companies, and providers. Others are hidden and never counted, such as the collection of fees, which is attributed to the IRS and not Medicare.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Here's the evidence that food servers only get paid $2.19/hour:

Evil Restaurant Employers


That's it!! Your proof that restaurant workers get paid $2.19 is from an over 2 year old post from a worker in South Carolina, which is the only one of the few States that doesn't have minimum wage laws.

That's it? That's your lame broke dick proof?

You are so full of bullshit you probably have brown eyes.

Minimum wage in California is $8.00 and I can assure you that a good restaurant in SF pays more than minimum wage...plus the tips are pretty nice.

Even if you are working cleaning toilets in McDonald's you are making $8.00 an hour.
Try again.

c3 said...

Pogo;
It is nigh impossible to determine the actual administrative costs in Medicare
that's a fair point. I'd probably describe is as It is impossible to determine ALL of administrative costs in Medicare

Medicare is an "apple" comparison to a, say, CIGNA "orange." Now one could argue that some of the costs that CIGNA has (i.e. prior authorization, continuing stay review) don't reduce costs so are "rightly" avoided. (I don't believe history bears that out) but its worth discussion.

I personally have a hard time imagining how you avoid administrative costs, particularly if you're trying to reduce costs. And that should be the measure (distasteful as it may be) What's your ROI? For every $1 spent on administrative cost to reduce health care expenditure did you reduce health care expenditures by more than $1 Otherwise its a waste of everyone's time, an unnecessary hassle and maybe worse.

AJ Lynch said...

If you remove the locks from doors, you tempt honest people to become thieves or burglars.

Similarly, internal controls or what you call admin costs discourage the honest from attempting insurance fraud. Take that away and benefit payments will soar. I guarantee it.

Scott M said...

@Alex

Have you ever actually worked in a restaurant or bar? If you gave those "slaves" a choice on whether or not they would rather have $2.19+tips or a set hourly wage minus tips, they will take tips every damned time.

Further, whether you know about it or not, if their tips+2.19 don't equal the current minimum wage in a given pay period, the employer is obligated to make up the difference. Or weren't you aware of that?

Joe said...

What about the issue of Obama rolling out a plan BEFORE his vaunted forum where ideas would be shared and a plan created? Obama has no intention whatsoever of reaching a consensus on anything.

AJ Lynch said...

Obama's domestic policy actions are very predictable. He views the country as unfair and the game is rigged.

Therefore he is all about wealth re-distribution. Some of us knew this long ago.

It will be fun to watch libs scream when Obama proposes a tax on the big endowments of the many non-profits in the USA!

Methadras said...

Uh, will beer be involved at this summit? Because the last time this man held a summit beer was there.

AprilApple said...

Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R., Mich.) says:
"it will be very difficult for anyone to be convinced that this health-care summit is an honest attempt to negotiate, and whether, from a principled basis, we can accomplish anything, especially when we keep hearing about reconciliation.” The debate process with Democrats, he says, has become “dysfunctional.”

“The White House has its own plan, the House and Senate have a couple of bad plans, and this seems to be an attempt to meld them all together,” McCotter says. “They prefer the government-run statist model that has been outdated since the 1970s. We’re living in a globalized world built upon innovation and a communications revolution. The dinosaur of big government, a Lyndon Johnson model, can’t be applied without detrimental effects. They need to scrap their plan and work with us on a new plan that adopts free-market principles.”

What about President Obama? Will the summit be his moment to bring everyone together? “No,” McCotter says. “It is a bit disingenuous to walk into a room and have Democrats on one side and Republicans on the other, with President Obama sitting front and center, trying to seem above the fray he initiated. It’s staging. It’s an attempt to get more free publicity for the same old plan they’ve tried to jam through the Senate.”

former law student said...

What about the issue of Obama rolling out a plan BEFORE his vaunted forum where ideas would be shared and a plan created? Obama has no intention whatsoever of reaching a consensus on anything.

Why should Obama keep his ideas secret until the meeting?

Or did you think hashing out a healthcare plan would be a simple brainstorming session, with Obama armed with flip chart and magic marker? "Now let's go around the room. Mitch, you've been quiet so far. What do you think should be part of universal health care?"

Because using that process would take until the heat death of the universe.

former law student said...

I'm not sure how you can read that column and not wince.

I did think it was a bit intemperate. But then I thought, why not? Krugman's still got that Nobel Prize luster, like Milton Friedman.

former law student said...

Hopefully you meant that the free market would solve this by companies offering lower priced premiums.

Right. Once the death spiral starts, bye-bye individual health insurance policies. Similarly, the life insurance would not be sustainable if only people over 90 bought it. (Ignoring tax and other considerations.) But life insurance companies convince people even in their 20s to buy policies, by making the price attractive compared to the risk of dying without insurance.

There has to be an operating point or points on the risk/affordability continuum where people who are not deathly ill want to buy health insurance.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Or did you think hashing out a healthcare plan would be a simple brainstorming session, with Obama armed with flip chart and magic marker? "Now let's go around the room. Mitch, you've been quiet so far. What do you think should be part of universal health care?"


Why not use that committee process? It has worked for Fortune 500 companies that actually have a profit....unlike the US Government which is running in a defict so deep that our great great great grandchildren will still be serfs to the 'company store' that we sold their souls to.

I'm of a mind that if you sat a group of advance placement 8th graders at a table and gave them the problem, that they could hash out a better plan that would actually work than all those over paid bloviating assholes in Congress.

And they would still have time for pizza and a video game.

vw: hilinga.....not sure...but I think Blogger is cussing at me in Spanish.

Hoosier Daddy said...

But life insurance companies convince people even in their 20s to buy policies, by making the price attractive compared to the risk of dying without insurance.

Unless you're chronically ill in your 20s then you're highly rated or declined. Kind of like health insurance.

Other than the 20 somethings who signs up on his employer's heavily subsidized group life plan, few of them are out purchasing life insurance, even term. Life insurance is about the hardest type of insurance to get people to buy.

Christine said...

In all the talk about health care reform, I don't feel like there's enough discussion about understanding the real costs of health care. Why don't we ever know the costs of health care procedures and treatments? I got a kick out of this fun, short video. Check it out. It makes you wonder why our health care system is set up the way it is.
www.whatstherealcost.org/45secondstoshare