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The shape of things to come?
Posted by: McQ on Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Oh man,
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said the U.S. should help Detroit-based automakers pay for retiree health care while at the same requiring them and their overseas competitors to boost fuel efficiency and reduce tailpipe emissions.

The Illinois senator told the Detroit Economic Club today the U.S. can't afford to let health-care costs destroy jobs at General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler, even though the companies made the problem worse by investing in bigger cars and paying lucrative executive bonuses.

``So, here's the deal,'' Obama said in a speech. ``We'll help to partially defray those health-care costs, but only if the manufacturers are willing to invest the savings right back into the production of more fuel-efficient cars and trucks.''
Here's a better deal ... help enable insurance savings by a) dropping government insurance mandates (and states would have to do this as well) and b) paving the way for health insurance to be bought outside of the realm of employment.

That would be the best solution, not playing games with health-care costs and emissions.

And if that isn't enough meddling ...
In his speech, Obama also proposed expanded tax credits to help Americans buy fuel-efficient cars, including those with gas-electric ``hybrid'' motors.
... he'd like to use the tax code for a little additional social engineering.
 
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
Seeing that Obama will be such a good steward of my money - I mean I never would have thought to put it to such good use - I’m doubling my check to the IRS this year.

Jack*ss!

 
Written By: Grimshaw
URL: http://
Yeah! force emmision/fuel efficiency standards! How about you just make them meet what Toyota and other Japanese auto-makers are hitting... Lets screw the US makers even more!

Though soon it won’t matter... GM and Ford are on their way out, as is fitting.

Make crappy autos, and run your company like a drunken, retarded monkey, and you deserve to go belly-up.

When the COE fires HIMSELF, it’s a bad sign...
 
Written By: Scott
URL: http://
Here’s a better deal ... help enable insurance savings by a) dropping government insurance mandates (and states would have to do this as well) and b) paving the way for health insurance to be bought outside of the realm of employment.

This is why libertarian policy ideas are so rarely taken seriously. Putting aside the issue of whether Obama’s idea is a good one, your idea is a terrible one. The market is a wonderful thing and there are many areas where it should be left to work its magic without regulation or interference, but health insurance just isn’t one of them. This is so for any number of reasons that libertarians just ignore.

First, the distrubtion of health costs and health needs is so uneven that insurance companies will invariably try to insure only the healthiest people, and the people who need insurance the most won’t be able to afford it. Without the mandated coverage and large pools created by our current system (or a better designed universal system), many MORE people would not be able to afford insurance. Yes, the healthy might be able to pay less (until they get sick) but that defeats the whole point of pooled risk. The healthy and the sick have to be in the same pool or the system just won’t work.

Second, people are terrible judges when it comes to health risk. If left to individual choice, many people would elect to keep their money and not buy insurance (particularly people who don’t make all that much to begin with). These people will eventually show up in emergency rooms with conditions that could have been prevented for much less cost if treated early. These costs will be borne by everyone, because we’re not just going to let people die. This would lead to much worse health outcomes and much higher cost for everyone.

There are numerous other problems with this sort of approach to health care, but I don’t have the time. The point is, there are some areas where the market, if not regulated, leads to horrible inefficiencies and bad outcomes. Health care is one of those areas. There needs to be a market element to the system (as opposed to UK style socialized medicine), but the notion that the situation will improve if we just get rid of all these pesky laws is naive to the extreme.
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
AL, you must not know how/why medical care providers set their costs the way they do...
 
Written By: Scott
URL: http://
leads to horrible inefficiencies and bad outcomes. Health care is one of those areas.
AL, care to explain how Lasik and Boob Jobs are inefficient and offer bad outcomes, being market-based....
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Or maybe the UAW workers could step into the real world with the rest of us.
Hourly workers at GM currently have no deductibles and pay no monthly premiums but do have nominal co-payment charges. Overall, they pay about 7 percent of their health care costs; the national average is about 34 percent.

Washington Post
Wednesday, October 19, 2005;
 
Written By: Jay Evans
URL: http://
AL, care to explain how Lasik and Boob Jobs are inefficient and offer bad outcomes, being market-based....
Is that even an attempt at argument? Gee, what could possibly be the difference between standard preventive medicine and elective surgery?

And by bad outcomes, I wasn’t suggesting that doctors are or would be doing poor work. I’m talking about the difference between someone whose diabetes is treated early and cheaply and someone who has to have their leg amputated and spend the rest of their life in a wheelchair because their diabetes went untreated.

Is that concept really so hard to understand? Universal care reduces costs and results in better outcomes.
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
Is that even an attempt at argument? Gee, what could possibly be the difference between standard preventive medicine and elective surgery?
Gee ... the market?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
This is why libertarian policy ideas are so rarely taken seriously. Putting aside the issue of whether Obama’s idea is a good one, your idea is a terrible one.
Of course ... no one wants others to be able to buy only the insurance they need (and can easily afford) or to eliminate portability or pre-existing conditions.

Horrible.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Is that even an attempt at argument? Gee, what could possibly be the difference between standard preventive medicine and elective surgery?
Oh that one is covered by the vaunted HEALTH INSURANCE and is ever increasing in cost whilst the other as ELECTIVE and therefore not covered by health insurance also grows in volume, but not price...and yet provides services safely and effectively.

IN SHORT, THE MARKET, WHEN APPLIED, TO SURGERY AND HEALTH CARE DOES WORK.
Universal care reduces costs and results in better outcomes.
To whom, the society and to whom does it provide better outcomes, those who now have to wait for months for procedures?
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Of course ... no one wants others to be able to buy only the insurance they need (and can easily afford) or to eliminate portability or pre-existing conditions.
Well not those in favour of an American NHS, McQ.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
AL,

It’s been awhile since I’ve read such a superficial treatment of healthcare issues. Your response is why it’s hard to take the left seriously about all economic policy as its thoughts are nearly always level one thinking (see T. Sowell).

You don’t demonstrate any evidence that you understand how humans react to incentives or situations where they have no choice but to sink or swim (hint: most swim).

You do demonstrate your ignorance by stating "people are terrible judges when it comes to health risk." All people? Don’t be absurd.

You also clearly don’t have a clue about how insurance costs can be low for everyone if only the market was allowed to work (end of govt. mandates that drive the cost of insurance sky high - see NJ vs. IA, for example) AND people would take responsibility for themselves and buy the insurance when they are healthy.

The left doesn’t believe in letting people take responsibility for themselves however and that’s a big part of the problem. It’s easier to shrug off responsibility if someone out there is willing to spend someone else’s money to cover the negative outcomes of risky behavior. That’s the left in a nutshell. You’re part of a ideology that enables thoughtless risk taking. The incredible irony is that you think making it easier to be risky is the right thing to do.
 
Written By: Grimshaw
URL: http://
AL, having a health insurance policy, “universal” or not, doesn’t assure that a person will either seek or receive “good preventative medicine” any more than his lack of insurance means that he won’t or he can’t. Of integral importance in seeing that the “diabetes is treated early and cheaply” is the personal choice of the individual – as to whether or not to schedule that check-up or take the medications or follow the doctor’s advice or buy the insurance that helps with the cost.

Where the “bad outcome” of high treatment cost is the concern, should the government, in running a universal healthcare system, mandate regular check-ups and levy (more and higher) taxes for risky behavior and threaten jail time for missing one’s prescribed medications? In addition to trammeling what’s left of personal freedom, that sort of bullying could itself get rather expensive to administer.

If on the other hand the government stepped back and stopped coming up with new ways to apply taxpayers’ money to the “problem” of healthcare, whole fortunes could be saved and applied, individually and where desired, to the healthcare challenges that arise.
 
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://
In order for Detroit to compete with the rest of the
car manufacturing world they have to get out from underneath the legacy costs. Each GM car reportedly built has $1500 worth of pension and medical costs built into it. That’s 1500 bucks the Japanese and German manufacturers can put into engineering and materials in each car because they don’t bear those costs, their governments do. Obama is killing two birds with one stone with this proposal. As long as his healthcare proposal is sound he’s got a winner here.

Otherwise I suppose we could just concede the auto industry and kiss off millions of US jobs but I don’t see how that helps this country. If you feel that way then why do you hate America?
 
Written By: markg8
URL: http://
Or we could, as Jay Evans suggested, the UAW could join the rest of us mere mortals and pay some of the costs...

They pay almost freaking NOTHING on their healthcare/pension. The company pays for almost ALL of it. Perhaps they could, you know, pay themselves instead of ME paying for them?

I’m paying for my own retirement and healthcare. I refuse to pay for their’s as well simply because the people who run GM and Ford are god damn morons.

Ford fired HIMSELF from the job of CEO. You don’t think that suggests that even HE thought he was killing his company?

"Gee, I’m doing so badly my stocks are losing money... I better get someone in charge who knows what the hell they are doing..."

That’s what it says (to me at least). Why should I then pay a cost the workers should be covering? God knows they freaking MAKE enough...
 
Written By: Scott
URL: http://
... he’d like to use the tax code for a little additional social engineering
Well, it’s less deadly and costly than using the military for foreign social engineering like in Iraq...
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Less deadly and costly how?

This is medical care we’re talking about. Death and expense are inherent.

So how can you assume that using the tax code to manipulate people won’t be deadly or costly? And how can you compare and make a statement so confidently that it will be less so?
 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
"Well, it’s less deadly and costly than using the military for foreign social engineering like in Iraq... "
So as long as an idea isn’t as bad as the worst idea out there, go for it?
 
Written By: Grimshaw
URL: http://
Is that even an attempt at argument? Gee, what could possibly be the difference between standard preventive medicine and elective surgery?
Gee ... the market?
McQ, I know you’re not really this dumb. Look, the reason the market works so well in the area of elective surgery is precisely because it is elective surgery. It is unnecessary and therefore if doctors charge too much for it, people just won’t purchase it. No one needs a boob job. But when you need to have heart surgery, you need to have heart surgery, no matter what the cost. Most healthcare costs fall into this latter category. And that’s why we need insurance in the first place. Most people who get sick would not be able to afford to pay for the costs out of pocket. The only way healthcare is even remotely affordable is if risk is pooled and the healthy pay just as much as the sick. In other words, a system where necessary care is paid for ala carte like elective care could not possibly function. You’d realize this if you gave it five seconds of thought.

But unlike other risks that we cover by market-based insurance systems (such as fires and car accidents) healthcare risks are distributed much more unevenly and are much easier for insurers to predict. For instance, people diagnosed with certain conditions (e.g., diabetes) and risk factors (e.g. being fat or being African-American) are guaranteed to have higher lifetime healthcare costs than those without those conditions or risk factors. Left to their own devices, therefore, the insurance companies would weed all the high-risk people out of the pool or charge them astronomical rates, much like car insurance companies do with risky drivers. That purging process would reduce the costs for the people still covered, but it would entirely defeat the point of distributed risk and would leave large swaths of the population unable to purchase insurance (no companies would be willing to offer it to them). And while we don’t generally have a problem with the fact that some people can’t afford car insurance (it’s their fault for being bad drivers), most people do have a problem with allowing the unlucky to die or go bankrupt because they were unfortunate enough to be unhealthy.

That’s why our privatized health insurance system is so complex. That’s why it has so many mandates and rules. Without those rules, the system wouldn’t work at all.

These realities are basic to health care policy. They’re basic economics. But market-ideologues just refuse to internalize them. There are some situations (and non-elective healthcare is the prime example) where the market just doesn’t work on its own. It never will. Without regulation, the market would result in a system where the healthy could purchase insurance but everyone else would be SOL. The people without insurance would then become a burden on everyone else, particuraly when they keep showing up the emergency room to get treated for serious conditions that could have been prevented with a pill or some other form of cheap preventative care.
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
But when you need to have heart surgery, you need to have heart surgery, no matter what the cost.
Well, you’ll find a way to pay it then, won’t you?

Or die. Which you will anyways until the immortality treatments come along.
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
AL, having a health insurance policy, “universal” or not, doesn’t assure that a person will either seek or receive “good preventative medicine” any more than his lack of insurance means that he won’t or he can’t.
What absolute drivel ! A person who has to pay for something is less likely to do that thing than someone who gets it for free - what is it about that you don’t understand ? I would add that by standardizing the practice of medicine you make it communal - ie all kids get their jabs at the same age, and mums talk about it at the school gates etc. This makes people more aware of preventative medical practices and more likely to take part, raising the overall health level, minimizing overall health maintenance costs.
 
Written By: Blewyn
URL: http://blewog.blogspot.com
These realities are basic to health care policy. They’re basic economics. But market-ideologues just refuse to internalize them.
Amen ! Markets only work if their natural outcome is what society actually wants or needs, and in the abscence of external interference.

I say let the insurance racketeers have the market, and ONLY allow the exclusion of pre-existing conditions. ALL other personal details to be recorded AFTER the purchase has been made. We’ll soon see insurers advocating preventative medicine from the rooftops (as long as steps are taken to ensure the shareholders do not also have interests on the treatment end)..
 
Written By: Blewyn
URL: http://blewog.blogspot.com
Markets only work if their natural outcome is what society actually wants or needs, and in the abscence of external interference.
Spoken like a true collectivist who wouldn’t recognize the consequences of government intrusion in a market if he saw them.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
That’s why our privatized health insurance system is so complex. That’s why it has so many mandates and rules. Without those rules, the system wouldn’t work at all.
Interesting ... after calling me "dumb" you make an assertion like this with absolutely nothing to back it up except conjecture and we’re all supposed to say "ah, yes, of course".

We have no "privatized health insurance system" because government mandates have made it anything but. So again, until you have some sort of actual proof that a market based system wouldn’t work, you might want to refrain from calling others "dumb".
There are some situations (and non-elective healthcare is the prime example) where the market just doesn’t work on its own.
Such as ... with actual examples this time, please.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
We have no "privatized health insurance system" because government mandates have made it anything but. So again, until you have some sort of actual proof that a market based system wouldn’t work, you might want to refrain from calling others "dumb".
McQ, since you seem immune to logic on this point, I’m not sure what would qualify as "actual proof." Literally everyone who has even a rudimentary understanding of how markets and insurance systems work understands that the health care market needs to be regulated. As I explained in some depth in my previous comment, the natural market incentives in the field of health care lead to a system where a significant percentage of people are uninsurable. That’s just basic logic. Insurance companies make money by maximizing premium payments and minimizing payouts. This creates enormous incentives for them to purge or charge prohibitively high rates to people that they know are likely to consume more health care. And because there is so much data out there regarding conditions and risk factors, etc., it’s a fairly easy process to identify people who will be expensive to insure.

The whole concept of insurance is based on the idea of collectivized risk. We all pay home owner’s insurance and car insurance even though many of us will never need either. And, by the way, even in those areas mandates are necessary. You can’t just elect not to have car insurance.

The need for mandates in health insurance is even more stark because the insurers have so much more data at their disposal from which to weed out those who are the biggest insurance risks. But the healthy and the sick have to be in the same insurance pool for the system to work. That’s why so many laws and mandates are required. If you didn’t have them, the entire system would quickly degenerate.

This really is not a complicated or even disputed fact.
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
But when you need to have heart surgery, you need to have heart surgery, no matter what the cost.
Well, you’ll find a way to pay it then, won’t you?
Actually, what generally happens in this situation is that we all end up paying for it because the patient simply doesn’t have the money. There are very few people in this world who can afford to pay for heart surgery out of pocket. The same is true for most major health care costs. That’s why it’s in everyone’s interest to make sure everyone has some for of health insurance. Otherwise we all get stuck with the bill.

Secondly, as someone who claims to value the market, surely you understand that market incentives don’t work very well in situations where you have no choice whatsoever. If you have a heart attack, you go to the nearest hospital and they treat you. You don’t shop around for the best price. And whatever they charge, you have to pay. The market only works when there is competition and choice. This is, again, Economics 101. And it’s one of the primary reasons why market-based solutions don’t work very well in the health care context.
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
Private medical insurace could work wonderfully with just a few mandates:

Medical insurance fully tax deductible by individuals, and not deductible for businesses. This to make the market based on the actual consumer.

Insurance companies must provide "community-based" rates. That is the smallest actuarial group that could be used would be residents of a county within age-brackets of not less than 5 or 10 years. This to prevent "cherry-picking" by the insurace companies and forces the insurance companies to do what the are supposed to do, share risk.

And pre-existing condition clauses would not be effective, if you had coverage with any insurance company for the condition previously. This to prevent the consumer from working the system and only buying the insurace when they needed to make a claim.

 
Written By: Loren
URL: http://
That’s why it’s in everyone’s interest to make sure everyone has some for of health insurance. Otherwise we all get stuck with the bill.
Stop for a minute and ponder this statement. In any insurance plan, the claims are paid out of the pool of premiums. So, everyone in the plan pays the claims of those needing it — everyone gets stuck with everyone’s bills. If the government were to insure everyone, then all of us would be paying the claims. So, we all will get stuck with the bill.

Seems to me the current system is better. We all get stuck with the bill for those who can’t pay, and we don’t have an layer of government to pay for in between.
 
Written By: steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com/
Blewyn, quoting me:
AL, having a health insurance policy, “universal” or not, doesn’t assure that a person will either seek or receive “good preventative medicine” any more than his lack of insurance means that he won’t or he can’t.
What absolute drivel ! A person who has to pay for something is less likely to do that thing than someone who gets it for free - what is it about that you don’t understand ?
What is it about no such thing as a free lunch - or free healthcare - that you don’t understand? Do you, personally, have some way of producing the wealth required to procure immunizations for everyone?
Markets only work if their natural outcome is what society actually wants or needs, and in the abscence of external interference.
Society doesn’t want or need anything. Individual people do. And government is the Number One source of "external interference."
 
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://
Anonymous Liberal:
For instance, people diagnosed with certain conditions (e.g., diabetes) and risk factors (e.g. being fat or being African-American) are guaranteed to have higher lifetime healthcare costs than those without those conditions or risk factors. Left to their own devices, therefore, the insurance companies would weed all the high-risk people out of the pool or charge them astronomical rates, much like car insurance companies do with risky drivers.
Do you not think there would thereby arise a market for better rates for high-risk people that enterprising insurers, perhaps in concert with various medical specialists, would fall over themselves to serve? Were they not hamstrung, I mean, by miles of governmentally created baffles and impediments? Note that you refer to "the insurance companies" as though these are the only insurers that can ever exist, and that once they weed out customers they don’t want, the game is somehow over until government steps in with lots of loot to throw around. Why do you think it has to be that way?
 
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://
I can’t buy a Healthcare policy in this state (NY) without coverage for a whole bunch of things I neither need nor want. I’d be willing to have $5000 deductible coverage for catastrophic illnesses and pay everything else out of my pockets. You can’t buy it in the Poeple’s Republic of New York. They must cover vaccinations, mamograms, etc... So my share of my employer’s plan is probably $4000/year - double that for their share.

I need to pay for the people in the doctor’s office to fight the insurance company until they decide how much I need to pay for my share/deductible/co-pay of the "reasonable and customary" amount. Of course, I could price shop, like I do for cars, but how do I find out what things cost?

This isn’t a market, it’s government cheese.
 
Written By: MarkD
URL: http://
Do you not think there would thereby arise a market for better rates for high-risk people that enterprising insurers, perhaps in concert with various medical specialists, would fall over themselves to serve? Were they not hamstrung, I mean, by miles of governmentally created baffles and impediments? Note that you refer to "the insurance companies" as though these are the only insurers that can ever exist, and that once they weed out customers they don’t want, the game is somehow over until government steps in with lots of loot to throw around. Why do you think it has to be that way?
This is total nonsense. Yes, if there were no regulations whatsoever, some insurers would offer insurance to high-risk people. But they would charge an arm and leg for it. And most people who fit this category would not be able to afford it. Moreover, insurers would charge different rates for different groups. Because black people generally have higher life-time health care costs, they’d have to pay a higher rated. Ditto for obese people, people with childhood illnesses, people in certain lines of work, etc. And the people who need insurance the most would not be able to afford it.

You seem to think that new companies would spring into existance to offer health care to high-risk people. That’s crazy talk. It simply would not make financial sense for anyone to insure these people (at least at anything other than astronomical rates). It would be like car insurers offering insurance to the blind. It wouldn’t happen. It makes no economic sense.

It never ceases to amaze me that when people who claim to worship the power of market don’t understand basic market principles.
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
Seems to me the current system is better. We all get stuck with the bill for those who can’t pay, and we don’t have an layer of government to pay for in between.
Sigh. There are all kinds of problems with this statement. First, the cost of treating the uninsured is many orders of magnitude higher than the cost of paying to insure those people. People who have insurance get preventative care at much higher rates and therefore don’t show up in the emergency room (which is super expensive) with conditions that could have easily been prevented. In other words, by not insuring these folk, we all end up paying much more than need to.

Second, adding a "layer" of government is actually much cheaper than adding a layer of insurance company and hospital billing overhead. Something like 25% of what we pay in health costs in this country goes to fund the paper-pushers who handle the billing at both the hospital and the insurance companies. It’s all unnecessary overhead. When the government just pays for care, that overhead disappears. That’s why we pay WAY more in this country for health care that other countries do.

Our system is crazy and mind-bogglingly inefficient.
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
First, the cost of treating the uninsured is many orders of magnitude higher than the cost of paying to insure those people
No, AL, it’s not. The cost of treating them will be the same, just paid in a different way — and by the same people: the taxpayers. If you don’t understand that statement, then there’s no point in talking to you.

By the way, "many orders of magnitude" is a gross overstatement, at the very least. You’re effectively saying that the cost of treating the uninsured is 100,000 times more than inusuring them. (That’s assuming 6 orders of magnitude is "many". Personally, I think 6 is closer to "several" than "many".) There is no way your statement is true.
When the government just pays for care, that overhead disappears.
Supplanted by the government’s overhead. The devil you know may just be better than the devil you don’t know.

 
Written By: steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com/
No, AL, it’s not. The cost of treating them will be the same, just paid in a different way — and by the same people: the taxpayers. If you don’t understand that statement, then there’s no point in talking to you.
Steverino, you need to read closer. You’re totally missing the point. It’s not just a matter of shifting costs. Treating the uninsured is WAY more expensive that it would be to provide insurance for the simple reason that people without insurance avoid seeking care until their problems become acute. At that point, it is much more expensive to treat them than if they had received preventative care. This is especially true considering most uninsured folk show up at the emergency room, where doctors are notorious for ordering all sorts of unnecessary tests. Emergency care is WAY more expensive that routine preventative care.

You can quibble with the "several orders of magnitude" statement, but it is not even disputable that paying for the unisured cost a LOT more than insuring them.

Also, government overhead costs aren’t even close to private overhead costs. All you have to do is look at the overhead in countries that have universal payer insurance compared to our system.


 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
Treating the uninsured is WAY more expensive that it would be to provide insurance for the simple reason that people without insurance avoid seeking care until their problems become acute. At that point, it is much more expensive to treat them than if they had received preventative care
As has been pointed out, there’s no guarantee that giving insurance to currently uninsured people will make them any smarter or more willing to seek preventive care.

It’s certainly arguable that people with insurance are more concerned about their health and would naturally seek early care.
Also, government overhead costs aren’t even close to private overhead costs. All you have to do is look at the overhead in countries that have universal payer insurance compared to our system.
We’re talking THIS country. Government overhead in other countries really doesn’t apply here. Look at how many people are employed by the Dept of Agriculture versus how many farmers are in this country. Look at how much of welfare and other social aid spending is spent on government employees. Don’t give me any guff about how government overhead is much lower than private enterprise.
 
Written By: steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com/
AL, the Unknown Liberal, said re my comments:
Yes, if there were no regulations whatsoever, some insurers would offer insurance to high-risk people. But they would charge an arm and leg for it.
And somebody would figure out how to profit by charging just a little less – perhaps by working up deals with specific groups of physicians and hospitals or by limiting their coverage to maybe just diabetics or whomever. And the race would be on.
And most people who fit this category would not be able to afford it. Moreover, insurers would charge different rates for different groups. Because black people generally have higher life-time health care costs, they’d have to pay a higher rated. Ditto for obese people, people with childhood illnesses, people in certain lines of work, etc. And the people who need insurance the most would not be able to afford it.
First of all, I can’t imagine why you insist – twice - that all or even most of the “high-risk people” you list – people who are black, obese, afflicted with “childhood illnesses” or “in certain lines of work” – “would not be able to afford” insurance priced in accordance with their risks in an unfettered market.

Second, what exactly would be wrong with different groups of people paying different rates to fairly account for the risk they presented their insurers? And why do you think that people who believed they were being overcharged would never ever be able to drive their costs down? By, say, taking steps to lower the risks they could control, or by pooling their resources to retain doctors and build clinics specifically to address problems to which their conditions made them prone?
You seem to think that new companies would spring into existance to offer health care to high-risk people. That’s crazy talk.
I think that smart people would make money by bringing companies into existence that would provide health insurance and health care that high-risk people - millions and millions of them with billions and billions of dollars — could afford. I also think that, in many many instances where possible, people would adjust their risks to lower the health care costs that would come out of their own pockets.
It never ceases to amaze me that when people who claim to worship the power of market don’t understand basic market principles.
I would never “claim to worship the power of the market” but I don’t understand why some people believe that the way things are is the only way they could ever be, and that it’s forever and always time for government to tighten the screws and drive the bamboo further under the fingernails. For the common good.
 
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://

 
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