Tag Archives: health insurance

Quick Thoughts on the Health Care Ruling

The Supreme Court upheld the health care bill, as you’ve no doubt heard by now. Over at the Daily Caller, I add a few quick thoughts about how Randy Barnett’s Commerce Clause argument also applies to Congress’ taxation power, on the Court’s reluctance to check the other branches’ excesses, and how happy rent-seeking insurance companies must be right now.

Read the whole thing here.

Intentions Are Not Results

Understanding the Health Care System

One of the worst parts of the current health care system is its sheer complexity. Because most of the payments are made by third parties, the paperwork burden is enormous. Co-pays, deductibles, ever-shifting networks, and so on. Unfortunately, that complexity is about to get a lot worse because of this year’s health care bill. Check out this flow chart of what the health care system will look like once Obamacare is implemented:

You can also download a PDF version of the chart that allows you to zoom in more closely. It’s worth taking a few minutes to look at all the agencies and bureaucracies in greater detail.

This chart was released by Rep. Kevin Brady, a partisan Republican. But whatever your politics, you should be wary of any scheme as grandiose as Obamacare. This represents a re-ordering of one sixth of the American economy.And not only is the government tasked with making this flow chart flow smoothly. It is also tasked with fighting two land wars in Asia. With delivering the mail. With developing new energy technologies. With overhauling the nation’s entire financial system. No organization can do all those things and do them well. Doesn’t matter how talented and well-meaning the people behind it are. It is beyond the limits of anyone’s ability to plan.

As Dan Mitchell points out, real health care reform would have just two parties to most transactions: buyer and seller.

There are two other things I’d like to see. One is that health insurance should not be linked to your job. Under both the current system and Obamacare, if you lose your job, you lose your insurance at exactly the time you need it most. This can be done by treating employer-provided insurance exactly the same as individual insurance in the tax code. Employer-provided insurance is currently given special treatment.

Real reform would also fundamentally change the way we use health insurance. The purpose of insurance is to insure against unexpected risks. Your annual physical does not fit that description. Having insurers pay for routine, expected expenses is like using your auto insurance to pay for a tank of gas and a car wash. No wonder premiums are so high. Health insurance isn’t really insurance. It’s pre-paying for your health care. And it also has one whopper of a principal-agent problem that explains a large portion of why health costs are so shockingly high.

How Do These People Avoid Cognitive Dissonance?

Supporters of the health care bill spend a lot of time attacking health insurance companies.

The health care bill, by the way, would legally require people to give a lot of money to those same insurance companies. A lot of money. It would be the largest corporate gift Washington has ever given out — as much as $1.5 trillion over ten years by one estimate.

Health insurers’ loudest detractors are actually their best friends, and they don’t even seem to realize it. Apparently, regulatory capture is not always a conscious process.

This Guy Gets It

Today’s quotation of the day from The New York Times daily email:

“I’m a middle-of-the-road kind of guy. I want the Democrats out of my pocket and Republicans out of my bedroom. The one word I would use for what’s going on in Washington is embarrassing.”

RON VAUGHN, who provides health insurance to his 60 employees at Argonaut Wine and Liquor in Denver.

Is Cognitive Dissonance an Insured Condition?

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Rep. Diana DeGette is, without any apparent cognitive dissonance or trace of irony, proposing:

1) Require, by law, that people buy health insurance.

2) Remove health insurers’ antitrust exemption. But only after legally requiring everyone to buy their product.

You figure it out. Insurers are set to receive one of the largest coroporate welfare grants in history. No wonder so many firms are salivating over this year’s health care legislation. But they may pay an antitrust price for their legally mandated windfall.

Perhaps this is a warped Washington version of what one hand giveth, the other taketh away.

What Makes Someone Right or Wrong?

The Editor, New York Times
229 West 43rd St.
New York, NY 10036

To the Editor:

Much as I enjoy conservative-bashing, I was disappointed in Paul Krugman’s October 5 column, “Conservatives Are Such Jokers.” He almost reflexively assumes that people who disagree with him have checkered motives. He comes off as reluctant to argue policies on their merits, in this case the SCHIP children’s health insurance program.

Why so quick to question his opponents’ motives? SCHIP opponents have put forward arguments that are either right or wrong. Motives have nothing to do with whether those arguments are right or wrong.

SCHIP opponents don’t like the program because they don’t think it will improve childrens’ health outcomes. The disagreement is a question of means, not ends. Does anyone actually favor having sicker children?

While Mr. Krugman clearly favors expanding the SCHIP program, he doesn’t really say why. I invite him to make his case – on the merits.

Ryan Young
Arlington, VA