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starbucks4ever (86.36)

Terrified of competition



August 20, 2009 – Comments (12)

The opponents of "socialized medicine" look like that boxer who calls his rival a weak girly man but then sh.ts his pants at the suggestion of being paired against him in a boxing match.

If socialized medicine is as bad as they claim, then they have no reason to oppose it. Nobody save a handful of masochists will sign up for a government option that provides inferior service vs. HMOs. Opposition to the government option by HMOs is by itself an admission of their vulnerability to competition. What it means is that they see any government plan, even the one run by such an incompetent government as obama's, as more efficient and offering more bang for the buck. And while displaying their partiotism and requesting that we write them a fatter check in the name of ideological orthodoxy, they have no illusions about it: they understand that if a cheaper option becomes available at 12am, then by 12pm the last flag-waving patriot will become a rational consumer.

"Mr. Obama says the public plan would keep insurers honest, but Republicans say it could eventually drive private insurers from the market, leaving consumers with fewer choices."

"But there are profound disagreements on other proposals, including the Medicare cuts, tax increases to pay for the subsidies, and the public-plan option, which virtually all Republicans oppose and which insurers regard as a threat to their existence." 

12 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On August 20, 2009 at 4:30 AM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

So you're telling me that this public option won't receive any subsidies in any way right?  Subsidies that might tilt the playing field just a tad.  Like, oh, say subsidies for government hospitals, the post office, amtrak, and just about anything else that capitalist companies are terrified to compete against........

Yeah, ok.  Weakest. Argument. Ever.

David in Qatar

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#2) On August 20, 2009 at 4:49 AM, DaretothREdux (51.78) wrote:


If the gov't wants to create a public "option" from private capital from private investors and make that "option" availible to anyone who chooses it, then that's fine with me. As long as the moment they run out of money they don't ask for more or take any from taxpayers...

Oh wait...that's called a free market....that's clearly not what the gov't is suggesting. They are suggesting that they be allowed to steal tax payers money and then compete with private insurance companies who can't print their own money or force it away from taxpayers....

Yeah...I be scared to compete with that too cause that's not competition...that's like saying hey would you like to box Mike Tyson while your in shackles and he has free reign to punch you anywhere he sees fit?

If you want...I could set up that match for any "gov't option" propents that think they would stand a chance...


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#3) On August 20, 2009 at 5:13 AM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

Oh no Dare, he's certain that the private options are run by evil unregulated greedy men, determined to extract every last penny from the poor souls who happen to be lucky enough to shine the capitalist's penny loafers.  So it's only fair that the government be allowed to level the playing field you know?  After all, it's for the common good.

Ok I almost got through typing that whole paragraph without laughing, but I can't help it.  Socialists are funny.

David in Qatar

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#4) On August 20, 2009 at 8:18 AM, devoish (65.08) wrote:

Oh no Zloj, David's certain that the public options are run by evil unregulated greedy men, determined to extract every last penny from the poor souls who happen to be lucky enough to shine the Government's penny loafers.  So it's only fair that the private interests be allowed to keep the playing field you know?  After all, it's for the common good.

The United States pays $7500/capita to handle its healthcare. Gov't managed systems do it for half that.

Me, I would like the more succesful healthcare that Government managed systems deliver, and to keep the extra $3500/year with no risk of rescission.

David's willing to pay a lot to keep the current system unchanged, and that is a surprisingly unselfish choice.


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#5) On August 20, 2009 at 9:23 AM, starbucks4ever (86.36) wrote:

Truth is, the government option would be earning its money from premiums just like a private insurer, so it will be very easy to tell if they're competing honestly or kept in business by a taxpayer subsidy. Instead of trying to kill the competitor, why can't you just insist that they don't get unfair subsidies and then let the market decide which option works better? 

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#6) On August 20, 2009 at 10:00 AM, rofgile (99.29) wrote:

The US currently spends more on healthcare as a percentage of the total GDP, more per capita, and more total than all those socialized medical countries.

And, when a person actually gets sick or injured after paying their insurance premiums - the insurance finds the best ways to disqualify the insuree or block paying for the treatment.  

How is it insurance - when after making your payments for years, you can't trust it to actually be there for you at the end?  And how can you, as an insuree, hold them accountable?  Answer- you can't.  The insurance companies will have much bigger pockets to win any lawsuit you bring against them about being disqualified.  You have no representation.  A free marketeer could argue that then you would choose a better company - but at this point, you are broke and your life is ruined because your insurance didn't cover your life threatening disease or accident (treatments run in the hundreds of thousands for cancer, a single emergency room trip to check for a broken bone can cost you $2000 - not a good option).

Just give me the public option of insurance.  It might be crappy insurance and all the free marketeers can make fun of it for decades - but I want the option.  With a public insurance plan, if the plan finds some exception and refuses to pay for a treatment - I can complain, I can bug my congressmen/senators/etc and say - this isn't fair.  I have a voice.  That would be a nice improvement.


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#7) On August 20, 2009 at 12:09 PM, QualityPicks (58.52) wrote:

I'm for the public option as long as it is allowed to fail just like a private company and thus, they have to at least break even.

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#8) On August 20, 2009 at 12:17 PM, starbucks4ever (86.36) wrote:

Fair enough, QualityPicks. They should be subject to the same anti-monopoly laws as everyone else.

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#9) On August 20, 2009 at 1:14 PM, 4everlost (28.83) wrote:

Here we go again.  Take a step back and a deep breath.  Think about this for just a minute.  If your automobile insurance company is greedy and monopolistic and providing lousy service at an unfair price what would you do?  I know I would shop around at any of the 1000s of other options I have.  The greedy insurance company with lousy service would soon lose their customers and be forced to change their business model or go broke.  In addition, auto insurance companies can charge a driver with multiple DUIs more than a driver with a perfect record or say "no thanks" to his business.

Due to gub'ment regs, health insurance companies are restricted from doing anything similar to the car insurance companies.  So your options are limited to the insurers that have met the regulatory requirements and are willing to take every individual that wants health insurance at the same cost as every other person.  This is what drives the cost of healthcare to $7500/capita.  Let's solve this problem; we can do it quickly, inexpensively and the citizens would support it.  Costs would go down.  This a much simpler approach than a government option.

I'm not opposed to making health care more cost efficient and available to everyone, which is the end game of Obamacare.  Just like most of the citizens in the USA I trust the federal gub'ment less than I trust the health insurance companies.  I can speak for Dave or Dare but i suspect that they wouldn't have aproblem with improving the health care and health insurance industry, just not with the gub'ment doing it.

No rec.

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#10) On August 20, 2009 at 1:45 PM, 4everlost (28.83) wrote:

Ooops: I can't speak for Dave or Dare but i suspect that they wouldn't have a problem...

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#11) On August 20, 2009 at 7:02 PM, devoish (65.08) wrote:


By regulations you mean Insurers having to have enough capital to pay claims, unlike AIG which wasn't regulated and didn't.

If you want to remove the capital requirements, then remove the Federal guarantee standing behind their obligation to pay your health care claim.

You said Insurers cannot charge more for high risk customers because of Gov't,  yet they are and they do because it is legal.

You suggest that insurers that are overcharging and not delivering on their promises woud go out of business, because you would find another one. Read Consumer Reports testimony before Congress, there is no competition and you like the rest of us have no idea what you are buying from your insurer.

Welcome to the real world.


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#12) On August 23, 2009 at 6:22 PM, caterpillar10 wrote:

I'm a hard core capitalist and i like a lot of dave's stuff, he seems very well read 2me.... here's the BUT.

As a retired medical claims examiner (multiple operations - all private sector) I say the boxing analogy is not that weak (as long as the ring has a good referee). It reminds me of the old Vietnam argument xcept in that case you simply give the one crying 'girlyman' a billy club and he beats down the opponent back in the locker room and throws his ass in jail.

Most every competent adjuster and underwriter I ever worked with was of the OPINION that either all or all individual coverage would EVENTUALLY go single payer. I respected many of these but never bought completely into that view - I wrestle w/ the issue to this day.

I can tell you this:

1) The underwriting, excluding, 'endorsements' (policy changes that go into effect 30 days after notice) provider contracting, ect that it takes to sustain a private, individual health insurance model is ultimately non sustainable and badly screws with peoples lives including those cut-off from group coverage thru no fault of their own, their children, and babies.

Sure, some are the authors of their own demise and/or parasites - that's what risk management and fraud units are for. Find a way to make all coverage group coverage and I will wave my flag again, and be the 1st to put a bullet into 'single payer'.

2) The whole private vs public argument is NOT AT ALL CLEAR. Any debate w/o the following fact will never achieve any clarity at all.

Aside from a few bean counters, no government employee works 'for' medicare. There is no Dept. of Medicare. It is an act of congress. Just like ERISA - Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1970somthin'. It defines Health & Welfare plans like unions or large self-insured PRIVATE Co.s like Motorola for example. Xcept for a few HMS wonks no Motorola employee works for the Employee/Retiree Benefit Plan.

All of this stuff is run by private insurers and TPAs (third party administrators) many of which are subsidiaries of insurers. Depending on the risks involved and how they are managed, contacting can be just as lucrative and usually more stable than underwriting the stuff yourself.

I'm sure there was a 3) but I'm getting old dammit. Maybe I'll do my own blog later when these helicopters get out of my head.

Its easy to wave the flag when you're not sick and cut off. Since democracy & capitalism are the way to innovation and a life actually worth fighting for, and communism is doomed to collapse under its' own false premise, why crawl around in boiling stink in the 1st place. History nicely bore that one out; nothing left to wrestle w/there.

peace y'all    



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