Saturday, March 11, 2017

Seems Like This to Me

Lisa Benson's summary of the Obamacare story.
Like I said a couple of weeks ago (about "repeal and replace"): 
Why should we want to replace it?  Why wouldn't we just want to burn it to the ground and do everything we can to create a free market in medical care?   From what I can see, the problem with healthcare is over regulation and a thoroughly broken market because of it.  This brokenness has been building for over a hundred years.  Naturally, anything that took a hundred years to break is going to be hard to unscrew.
While I know the president is going through his campaign promises and ticking them off his "to do" list, Rand Paul is among the most reasonable voices in this whole mess.  Rand says repeal it now because everyone is in agreement on that part, then work on a possible replacement.   According to The Hill, Paul introduced a repeal bill on Thursday:
By introducing the new bill, Paul hopes to repeal the ACA without immediately rushing to replace it. He argued in a written statement that Republicans are much more united on repeal, saying:
The Republican Party is unified on Obamacare repeal. We can honor our promise right away by passing the same language we acted on in the last Congress."
Paul continued by pointing out that they could replace it later on, saying, “we can have a separate vote on replacement legislation that will deliver lower costs, better care, and greater access to the American people.”
John Hawkins at has a good summary:
Although Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and the rest of the Democratic Party are guilty of a multitude of sins against America, the worst one was Obamacare. The bill was never popular. In fact, it was so hated that it catapulted Scott Brown into Ted Kennedy’s seat in Massachusetts for a term. The bill was an albatross around the party’s neck and the results were devastating.

During the Obama years, the Democrat Party lost 12 governorships, 900 state legislature seats, 69 House seats and 13 Senate seats.

Why was Obamacare so costly to the Democrats? Because the bill wasn’t bipartisan. Because they sold it with lies. Because it was never popular to begin with. But most of all, they created a system that had a small number of winners and a large number of losers.
So popular, it drove the people in Massachusetts to give a seat that has been under Democratic control since the last ice age to a marginally competent rookie like Scott Brown. It has literally made the Democrats a marginal party.  All they can do is work at screwing up things. 

Look, I'm sure there's a subset of the population for whom Obamacare works.  Someone with an expensive existing condition, or was otherwise so broke and got such good subsidies that they got a winning hand would certainly be happy with it.  As many people have pointed out (including me); getting insurance for a condition you already have isn't the typical risk mitigation role of insurance, it's redistribution of the premiums.  On the other hand, most people were not in that small group and saw their deductibles and premium costs skyrocket.  Retirees are forced to pay for insurance for maternity care they'll never use; non-drinkers are forced to pay for alcoholism treatment insurance, and more.  They completely destroyed what little resemblance health care had to a market-driven system. 

Why should we want a replacement anything at all like Obamacare?  It was designed from the start as socialist income redistribution.  I could do (and have done) days worth of columns on this.  For example, way back in the first year of this blog, 2010, I wrote a piece on Donald Berwick, who had been given a recess appointment to be the Medicare/Medicaid czar in the early days of Obamacare.
Dr. Berwick is now in charge of a program with obligations of 95 trillion dollars (debt clock) - far, far higher than the GDP of every nation in the world.  As far as I can tell, he has zero experience with finances.
Dr. Berwick was not only an unabashed fan of "death panels", but of socialist redistribution of wealth.
"Any healthcare funding plan that is just, equitable, civilized and humane must, must redistribute wealth from the richer among us to the poorer and the less fortunate. Excellent healthcare is by definition redistributional," said Berwick. ...  Is health insurance redistribution?  I voluntarily pay into a system that will pay benefits to any member based on the money it collects from the members of the plan.  I fail to see that being socialist.  So if insurance isn't "just, equitable, civilized, and humane" what exactly is he advocating?  Taxing you to pay for other people.  Government, as Washington said, is force.  Try not paying your taxes, and if you're not a member of the administration (e.g., Timothy Geithner), how much do you want to bet that you eventually don't get a gun pointed at you?  No, this is not humane, it is theft.  
One of the architects of the law was Rahm Emmanuel's brother Ezekiel, who argued we should all die at 75 for a handful of egotistical reasons.  Another was Democratic street thug organizer and scumbag Robert Creamer, who came up with many concepts for Obamacare while in Federal Prison in the mid '00s. 

It is such a fetid cesspool of legislation it should be torn up from the ground up.  There's no reason to want anything like it at all.


  1. Obamacare needs to be gone.

    Medicaid will linger.

    Medicare is something that the government confiscates from every check, just like Social Security. It's a ponzie scheme, but do you favor its repeal as well?

    1. Considering that I'm facing having to sign up for that in a couple of years, I haven't thought very much about it. I suppose that's because I think it's such a piece of crap it's going to collapse. It's virtually in collapse already, with a substantial number of doctors refusing new medicare patients.

      On the other hand, I think the whole country is going to economically collapse, along with much of the Western world, so maybe I'm not the guy to ask.

      My view on SS probably applies to Medicare, which is that I was required by law - force of gun pointed at my head - to put money into a mythical account that those a**holes stole and misappropriated. Since this happened over decades it's hard to punish the responsible (just the way they want it to be), but it's not an "entitlement".

      I have a frequent commenter who drops by around here whose main thrust is that in not starting shooting, we're approving that theft. To borrow a quote, "such behavior is bound to get you talked about".

    2. Sorry - not enough coffee, so I forgot the main point.

      Medicare now is a festering sewer of corruption, fraud and waste, which is to be expected whenever the government is handing out checks. If we had a functioning free market, medicare would be obsolete. Setting up medicare was one giant step along the way to destroying the market.

      It's obviously true that as people age, they tend to get more conditions that require treatment. That doesn't mean that they should be uninsurable, or only insurable if the government pays for it with other people's money. If insurance underwriters claim otherwise, it means the market is broken.

    3. Don't conflate medicare and medicaid. Most doctors, clinics and hospitals accept medicare. Many are choosing to avoid medicaid. The politicians would like to conflate these two so that they can get their hands on the assets of medicare to use to fix medicaid which has no assets. This would be in much the same way that our government stole the gasoline taxes to subsidize alternative transportation and allowed the roads and bridges to deterioate. Now they want more taxes to fix the roads and bridges that they screwed up.

      Medicare may need tuning but it is not failing.

    4. No, that's medicare. My wife works as a volunteer in a clinic that provides free care for the uninsured. The statement that some local doctors are not accepting new medicare patients comes from the industry.

    5. When I lived in Monterey California I was warned that the doctors there didn't accept "insurance". And sure enough they didn't. You went, paid cash and file your own claim. Later in Oregon I experienced doctors who wouldn't "my" insurance but took most insurance. Now at age 73 I've been on Medicare for8 years. Yeah there are some individual doctors who don't want medicare patients in some markets. But almost all the clinics and ALL the hospitals want them. The money is dependable even though it is cost controlled. If a hospital or large clinic refused medicare patients they would lose about half their patients. They can't afford to do that. So you can find lots of people who will complain about medicare low payments and individual doctors who will decline them it is rare to find larger practices that will refuse them.

  2. The one name not mentioned in this piece is the POS Paul Ryan. Rand Paul is the kind of guy I would really like to see in the leadership position. He not only has common sense but strength of character to say what needs to be said.

    When you look at corruption, crony corruption, it is rampant in the FIRE industries, Finance, Insurance, Real Estate. These areas have so much corruption and I hope AG Sessions will go after it with the best of his staff. These are the people, next to the Federal Government thieves and the MIC who are ripping off the American people. It is not just our Foreign Policy. Domestically, there are players who have bought off these long term politicians (spit!), and be lying and cheating for way too long. Cleaning the swamp goes down the river that flows out of the DC quagmire.

  3. It comes down to just how distorted the healthcare
    marketplace is, due to government meddling.

    There are at a minimum five things keeping medical care so bad and expensive:
    o- Tax breaks for employers for providing healthcare
    o- High barriers to entry for the medical field
    o- Bad patent/trademark laws
    o- Government programs that provide money for healthcare
    o- Third party exemptions to privacy protections

    Getting rid of all of these will be nearly impossible, but tearing down at least two of the top four would have a salubrious effect on the marketplace.