I’m Not a Doctor, But I Play One in Congress

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Right now, the hot debate going on in Washington is repealing and/or replacing Obamacare. Democrats are saying the current efforts will throw people off their health insurance and put them out on the streets where they will be attacked by roving gangs of cannibalistic mimes or something like that. (The scariest thing about cannibalistic mimes? You’ll never hear them coming.) Republicans are doing their best to walk the tightrope between full repeal and partial repeal after campaigning solely on repealing Obamacare, mainly because they want to keep their jobs and not have to go on Obamacare or, horror of horrors, get a real job. While the debate wages on, there’s an important question that is going unanswered.

What role does the federal government have in health insurance?

The Left and the Right currently have the same solution, just a difference of how much control the government should have. The Left is pushing for the government to have more power, which is their answer for every social ill. The Right is pushing for a hybrid of government and private control, allowing for the federal government to act like an insurance company in the marketplace. But in the end, they both use the same excuse: we have to do something to protect the most vulnerable, and the government is the only entity with enough money and power to do that.

A great emotional appeal, to be sure, but it sets up a dangerous precedent that can literally cost American lives. A government large enough to gives you everything is large enough to take it all away, health insurance included. If you doubt this, ask the parents of Charlie Gard.

The important thing to remember about the federal government is they have little to no concept of market forces, mainly because they are the ones who print the money. He who prints the money can drive private interests out of business because he can print however much money he needs to compete and survive. That makes a hybrid of public and private options difficult at best because the government will always hold the monetary card, while running up the debt in the process. Brilliant!

The Left’s option is not much better: Medicare for everyone. Their logic is that Medicare for all is a) single payer, and b) gets the insurance companies out of the decision whether a procedure is covered. Let me deal with the second part first. Do you know what insurance entity currently denies the most claims? It’s the federal government. That’s right, kids. If you want your insurance claim denied, you’ll be more likely to be denied by the government than you will be from the evil insurance companies. But at least you won’t have to fill out forests of forms, right. Oh, wait…

As far as single payer is concerned, it’s a non-starter for me because it leads to the same problems the public/private hybrid referenced above have, but with an additional twist: it completely cuts out insurance companies. As cool as that sounds to some people, it ultimately reduces choice, which eliminates the incentive to offer new products. Let’s say you own a lemonade stand. (Hey, that would be a great idea for a computer game! Maybe someone will take this idea and run with it.) If your neighbor also has a lemonade stand, you have to keep innovating to make your stand successful. The more players in the lemonade market, the harder you will work to bring people to your stand.

Now, let’s say you are the only lemonade stand in the area. With nobody to take away your business, the only incentive you have to do better is whatever you decide to put into it. Let’s just say the federal government isn’t known for having the best and brightest in their ranks. Any institution that has had such intellectual lightweights as Sheila Jackson Lee and Joe Biden doesn’t exactly scream competence.

So, let’s go back to my original question. What role does the federal government have in health insurance?

None.

There is no overwhelming need for the same federal government that can’t seem to pass a budget, balanced or otherwise, to become Big Brother Insurance Agency. This trumps any and all arguments for government supplied health insurance. Granted, the VA is an example of single payer that works, but it doesn’t work all the time. You know what would work? Getting government out of the insurance business and letting people buy what they wanted or needed.

You know, the way it was before Obamacare?

There are some parts of Obamacare I would like to keep, namely the part concerning pre-existing conditions. But that’s not enough for me to throw my support behind any government-run health insurance program. What would tip the scale for me would be if there are major reforms to the concept of government run health insurance, including an enforceable mechanism that would ensure the government treats every patient the same and with the utmost care. But since government run health insurance works like the DMV, it’s going to take a lot to get me to support it.

You know what does work in health insurance and health care? The free market. It’s not perfect, but it’s the best system we have. And you know what isn’t in the free market? The government as a competitor.

And if you’re still convinced government run health insurance will work, let me point out one final fact. Our government can’t balance its checkbook. What makes you think they can handle something more complex than not spending more than we make?

Health Insurance is not Care

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The debate in the US Senate is not about health care. What was passed last month in the US House was not about health care. Even the Affordable Health Care Act, commonly called ObamaCare was not about health care either.

None of these bills or laws have to do with health care. They are all about health insurance. And there is a huge difference between health care and health insurance. The terms cannot be used interchangeably.

Neither ObamaCare or TrumpCare are good for the American people, the economy, or even the insurance industry. Both are only about health insurance reform disguised as health care and falsely labeled as such. It is a discredit to the American people to claim either of these acts as health care. And both really don’t address the health insurance situation correctly.

To seriously address health insurance reform the insurance companies need to operate in a completely free market. Congress needs to end the patch work of laws across the several States as they now exist. Allowing insurance companies to operate across those state lines.

This will open up the available pools for both the corporate and individual health insurance markets. Thus driving premiums down and services will increase as competition grows. It is a win-win for all parties concerned and it is also the American way of doing business.

Congress also would need to address the stranglehold of regulations that plague the insurance industry as well. Some regulations are of course necessary to protect the consumer as well as the issuing company. But there shouldn’t be any more than what is necessary. This too will allow insurance rates to decline as the insurance companies can devote such resources out of government compliance departments and into services offered.

I will make note that preexisting conditions needs to be discussed in the health insurance reform. However, providing for preexisting conditions is not insurance. It is welfare. And people should be covered with preexisting conditions. If one has a preexisting health condition and no laps of coverage in their insurance it should be simply covered by insurance. If there has been a laps of coverage then it becomes a welfare issue.

With health insurance, there should be no mandate necessary with the operation of allowing insurance companies to cross state lines. There is no need for subsidies or penalties. And there is no reason to have coverage for something one would never use … like birth control by men or prostate exams for women. Forcing these coverage’s is truly a sign the situation is out of control.

Once this becomes law and health insurance reform has taken effect and is working. Then Congress will need to address health care reform. But would need to get input from patients and the medical practitioners as well.

The Numbers Game

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With the Republican health insurance proposal being bandied about, the Left has done what it usually does when Republicans actually act on a real or perceived need: they panic. Technically, they do more than panic (like lie about the proposal, slander Republicans, and get their astroturf protesters out in farce…I mean force), but at the heart of their initiatives is panic. The Left’s great fear is that someone else will come up with an idea that is better than anything they could cobble together, and that it might actually work.

In this case, the idea they’re trying to save is Obamacare. After years of ignoring Republican alternatives and claiming the GOP had no ideas, we finally have Trumpcare/Ryancare/RINOcare/whatever other-care name is being used. (Personally, I prefer Flaming Train Wreck 2: Electric Booglaoo.) In response to the plan, Leftists are using statistics to create a narrative, specifically that under the plan put forth, 24 million Americans would be without health insurance and how that would lead to them dying a horrible painful death.

Yes, dear readers. The Left is sending them to see Yoko Ono in concert.

Whenever any politician uses numbers, I get a little suspicious because it’s very easy to sway opinion when you throw numbers around. Numbers have a heft to them in discussions because most people believe them without question. After all, who would use numbers to create a false narrative? It’s not like any political party swore up and down we would all get $2500 savings by going on a crappy government-mandated health insurance plan, right?

Anyway, the 24 million Americans without health insurance statistic seems pretty solid…until you do some digging into how that number is derived. Turns out a decent chunk of that 24 million would be people opting out of Obamacare since, you know, it sucks more than a nymphomaniac porn star at the center of a black hole working straight commission. Say, that gives me an idea for a movie! Maybe later; I have a blog post to finish.

So, what does this mean? One, I have a weird sense of what turns me on, and two, the 24 million number is misleading at best. For one, it assumes the people who would opt out of Obamacare would be unable to get insurance through another means. It may not be that much of a stretch, but it’s far from a guarantee. Plus, there is always the option to take your chances and pay as you go, thus bypassing the insurance companies and the government altogether. There are also religious organizations, GoFundMe pages, and other means to help patients pay bills.

But somehow the Left wants us to believe these 24 million Americans are doomed to die.

Another question that hasn’t come up yet is how many of the 24 million might be illegal immigrants. I won’t go into a long diatribe about illegal immigration here, but suffice it to say the pitch for Obamacare included illegal immigrants in their numbers to show how many Americans didn’t have health coverage. Remember, the bigger the lie, the bigger the number used to give it the ring of truth. And the 24 million number being tossed about is big enough to be questioned as to its accuracy. When you consider the people screaming about it are Leftists, well…

Regardless of how you feel about the Republican proposal, it’s important not to get caught up in false details designed to make you feel a certain way and ignore your common sense. Dig deeper, find the truth, and stand by it even under the most intense scrutiny.