Tag Archives: Reform

Taking His Ball and Going Home

17 Dec

So now Howard Dean and Markos, at the Daily Kos, want to kill Obamacare. It seems that, without a public option, they no longer are concerned with helping all those poor folks dying because of a lack of insurance. I never believed they gave a damn about those people, but I’m glad they could confirm it for me. For the far left, it was never about reform and improving access. Instead, it was all about bigger government and more control over people’s lives.

If Howard Dean really cared about people, he’d call for the current bill to be rewritten, rather than scrapped, so that it reflects the free market reforms that have been put forward by many opposed to Obamacare. Those reforms would pass and they wouldn’t benefit the insurance companies, unlike the current bill which mandates coverage. Even if Dean didn’t believe those free market reforms would help, they certainly wouldn’t hurt. Unlike Obamacare, allowing insurance to be sold across state lines, encouraging health savings accounts and allowing employees to take their plans with them when they change jobs, would not negatively impact coverage or add to the deficit.

Unfortunately for the American people, progressives don’t really care about the poor and uninsured. Sadly, they’re only interested in using those people in order to guilt you into supporting a bill that you know is bad policy. It’s not unlike the left and their exploitation of the troops during the Iraq War. They didn’t really care about bringing the troops home, but they did want to use the deaths of troops to attack Bush; that stopped being an issue for them once a Democrat started sending those soldiers to war. Now the left is exploiting the uninsured in attempt to win another political victory. This is a chance to use the left’s words against them to push real free market reforms that might actually help reduce costs. If they don’t pass those free market reforms, but do pass an insurance mandate, it’s clear that their concern for the uninsured is just as disingenuous as their concern for the troops.

Cross-Posted at The Anticrat
Cross-Posted at Feed Your ADHD

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Free Radical Thought on Health Care

17 Aug

free radical thought

The government run insurance option will enjoy the benefit of not having to operate like a real business. Like all government programs it will be able to supplement its continued operation through tax payer subsidies. This will put private insurers at a disadvantage and will eventually put them out of business.

Any federally run insurance option will likely run a mild deficit at first, but this early drain will be nothing when compared to the massive costs that will result when private insurers are no longer able to operate. At that point there will be 300+ million people under the government insurance program and it will not be able to sustain quality coverage. The costs will simply be too high, like they are for European nations and Canada, which will result in cost savings measures. These cost saving measures will include rationing of health care services, because government programs never cut the superfluous jobs of union protected bureaucrats.

Once cost savings measures are required there will be increasing push to standardize universal care in order to reduce costs. This is dangerous in medicine, because health care is highly personal and runs contrary to cold impersonal touch of government run bureaucracy. With private insurers driven out of business, there will be no alternative to those who are victimized by the new system. Without the US, where will victims of Canada’s health care system go to as a last resort?

Quality of health care will decline, because the high cost of going to medical school will not be worthwhile if the doctor turns out to be no better than a civil servant. This system will all but guarantee that the only individuals who can afford to be doctors in the US are those who were educated in developing nations. There are talented doctors from overseas, but it is naive to think there wont be a noticeable differences. This has been demonstrated in the UK where they increasingly rely on foreign doctors and nurses to provide health care services for their population. Obama’s plan to subsidize education costs is a horrible response to this situation, because it does nothing to reduce the actual cost of an education. It simply redistributes the burden of paying for that education. This doesn’t put pressure on schools to operate more efficiently and keep costs down. It’s no coincidence that as we’ve seen government backed grants and loans explode, so has the cost of a college education.

Compared to the US, the UK and Canada are rather healthy. This is due to their lifestyles, which differ greatly from ours. If the UK and Canada, with largely healthy and homogeneous populations, cannot successfully operate a nationalized health care system then it is certain that the US, with our rather unhealthy and heterogeneous population, cannot.

None of the above implies that the current insurance industry is functional. There is not enough competition in medicine and far too much overhead. There needs to be greater flexibility for insurance providers to operate in all states and significant pressure on the broader insurance industry to stop using government regulation to undermine competition.

Health care reform is not complicated. A simple reintroduction of free market forces into the insurance industry is all that is required. Currently the insurance industry has utilized government regulation to protect their profits and undermine sources of competition. This has been a role that government has been far too comfortable playing for far too long. If legislators were interested in driving down health care costs, they would take a page from organizations like CATO and REASON. These groups would recommend returning insurance to its proper role as a protector against the costs of catastrophic care. By limiting insurance to this role, it would return consumers to their rightful position as the force that pressures health care providers to reduce costs and improve efficiency. In order to retain their customers, and their bottom lines, health care providers would be forced to become efficient, innovative and responsive. This would make routine medical care more affordable, which would increase access for more Americans.

The same forces could be used to accomplish the goals of reforming the insurance industry. By forcing insurance companies to compete with rivals in other states, the market for insurance would expand and efficient practices would gain broader adoption. With the adoption of efficient operation and reduction in the bureaucratic burden, health insurance would become more affordable and available to lower income Americans. A segment of the population would likely remain that would be unable to afford care and this could be addressed with vouchers that would allow the individual to shop for their own insurance, while not disrupting the market.

These reforms do not require the creation of a new government bureaucracy or regulatory agency. As a result, they will likely not be adopted. Legislators know that the way to gain support from influential unions is to expand their ranks by creating more bureaucrats. This can only be accomplished by establishing new government agencies that can employ workers via bloated administration structures. The most effective lobbyists these days are government agencies and those they employ. It’s little wonder that no federally operated government agency ever accomplishes the task it was created for and shrinks. At the most, they simply change their name periodically. The health care reforms Democrats have proposed are largely concerned with creating busy work rather than actually improving the health care system and expanding health insurance coverage. Real reform isn’t complicated, but it takes courage to do what’s in the interest of the American people rather than the insurance industry and unions.