Affordable Health Care discussion: is it the definition of insanity?

08/09/2017

Hillarycare toon

Einstein has been quoted as saying “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result”.  For the last 7 years we’ve been laboring under the notion that the only way to get medical expenses down is to involve the government in a way that caps various costs in the medical industry.  This is otherwise known as price controls and it didn’t work for Roosevelt in the 40’s or Nixon in the early 70’s.  So a couple questions come to mind; First, when has the government taken any industry and made it better or more efficient and at a lower cost?  Second, we’re pumping lots of money into the whole medical industry through various instruments and expecting them to be incentivized to not use all the money we’re giving them and operate more efficiently.  How’s that working????

During HillaryCare and before ObamaCare we had a system where insurance companies attempted to cover a large number of people in order to average out the cost of patients likely to require medical assistance with those who wouldn’t require much medical assistance, risk pools.  The answer from the Democrats is to force everyone to contribute to the insurance companies (non-governmental businesses) to keep the premiums low.  Didn’t happen because 1) people didn’t sign up and 2) no effort was made to lower actual medical costs, (as opposed to health care costs).  Because they already knew this was going to be a problem they expanded the Medicaid program to let lower income individuals join who didn’t previously qualify.  Then to “help” out the insurance companies some more, they increased the taxes on medical equipment.  Of course, by their way of thinking this was an “investment” not a tax, but this resulted in increased medical costs instead of reduced costs.  Hmmmm me thinks you’re going the wrong way there Buck-A-Roo.      

Recently Susan Collins Senator from Maine attempted to justify her vote against the GOP “skinny” repeal, and by association John McCain as well, by saying we needed to keep the “cost sharing” in place to help the lower income people afford the high cost of insurance premiums.  Then Jessica Tarlov from “Outnumbered” jumped in to say this absolutely wasn’t a bail out and that term was misapplied making it misleading to give the public the wrong impression.  The Washington Post gives the term “bailout” 4 Pinocchio’s.  Personally, I consider Jessica fairly astute and definitely an intelligent woman with a good grasp on societal interactions with causes and effects.  Although we disagree on most things she at least presents plausible arguments that attempt to include all the facts unlike other “experts” such as Dr. Austan Goolsbee or Jehmu Greene, but in this case, I just don’t think she understands the basic economic concepts and definitions involved.  The Washington Post definitely doesn’t understand or even attempt to understand since they gave an explanation that really doesn’t make logical sense, just a lot of spin, (I was a bit dizzy after reading it).

Because the Democratic party is so vested in Obamacare and the single payor system they want to confuse the issue by claiming the GOP is using mixed messaging.  The straight fact is they realize the American public is against bailouts for major corporations so they can’t use that term and instead call it consumer relief payments.  The only consumer getting these payments is the insurance companies, Medicare and Medicaid don’t receive a dime of it and you and I will never see it, hence the term bailout.  This is where the insanity comes in.  John Hickenlooper, from Colorado, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi all want to “fix” the problems of Obamacare by talking about different ways to fund a high risk pools for the insurance companies, or change the way insurance mandates are handled.  Good grief, no wonder the GOP wanted to discuss this mess without the democrats, the only thing they can think of is some form of the same technique which has been proven to not work.

Hillarycare gramps-grams over cliff toonIf you reach enough people someone or some group of people will probably come up with a great solution, that definitely won’t be the government.  But here’s a stab at it.  For all intents and purposes this is a government sponsored monopoly masquerading as free market since there are multiple insurance companies and an enormous lobby.  What if insurance companies could compete across state boundaries, then what if individuals could set aside tax free money into a health savings account, (HSA), that they could use to shop around for their own doctor, clinic or hospital and compare prices between services.  Now then, for those people in the poverty level or even slightly above that, what if the government provided funding in the individual’s HSA, a-la safety net.  So far, no mention of insurance companies, but it would be unrealistic to think that we or the government could handle all the costs by ourselves.  Being the consummate entrepreneurial country, I would expect some enterprising individual to come up with a scheme to make money by betting he could cover more healthy people than unhealthy people against future onset cancer or diabetes or HAE illnesses.  Furthermore, I’d bet he would incentivize those likely to get diseases like diabetes to lead a healthier life.  They might even give money back for healthy living.  What a concept, I’ll bet they could apply that technique to encourage drivers to be safer on the road.  So, if you hadn’t guessed this is my attempt to add a small flavor of humor to the discussion but here is where the insurance piece comes in.  They won’t like it because the cash cow is cut out of the mix for them and given directly to the people.  Obvious problems are the scams individuals will try to pull on the “dumb” government reviewers, (they’re not dumb, they just can’t know all the scams), to get more money.  They’ll likely try to manage their annual income to just be under the low income minimums or work the “gray market” for services rendered, but these individuals will always be there.  The point is to make it manageable.  There’s other problems to address, but for heaven’s sake it’s something different and relies on something proven to improve efficiencies in businesses, like free enterprise.  Don’t do the same thing over and over and expect a different result for some magical reason.  The “ALL KNOWING” Government is not the answer and never has been but it does serve its purpose, such as making sure drugs work correctly, doctors and clinics are safe, etc.  This is their wheelhouse, not business management.

This is just one idea, I’m sure if you tried hard you could come up something better or more efficient.  If you decided not to put any effort into it I firmly believe you could criticize this as just baloney – but don’t do that.  Either way thanks for taking the time to read this.  Your time is the greatest gift you can give anyone and you just gave me a few minutes.  Take a couple more and write down your thoughts.  Who knows, we might just come up with something.

2 thoughts on “Affordable Health Care discussion: is it the definition of insanity?

    1. Free market works, Socialism doesn’t and even Government approved monopolies only work marginally. How many times must we learn this

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