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catoismymotor (38.90)

The Government Option

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September 08, 2009 – Comments (16)

Almost two weeks ago I claimed that the Obama administration is going after the insurance industry in a seek and destroy manner. At least one fellow Fool told me in response that I am not right in the head for thinking so. Well, today I was wasting some time on the net when I ran across the following rant by Neal Boortz, radio talkshow host and loudmouth. He seems to be of the same opinion as I am. It is nice to be ahead of the curve. Click HERE for the rant. Enjoy.

16 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On September 08, 2009 at 10:42 AM, ChannelDunlap (< 20) wrote:

What baffles me are the people who simultaniously insist that the gov't option will both (a) Suck and (b) Drive private insurance out of business.  If A is true, then wouldn't B be next to impossible?  People would do whatever they can to escape the gov't option, if it was really that bad.

I don't know if that applies to you, since the article seems to be pretty focused on B.  But you know what, I think I'm OK with gov't driving private insurance out of business.  I don't like 'em, never have. 

Can you name 3 good things thats private insurance does which gov't run would not or could not do?  I gave this challenge to a friend recently regarding GW Bush and watched him fail miserably. I'll tell you, I can name 3 bad things real quick - preexisting conditions, yearly & lifetime limits, and highly selective "in-network" doctors.

And it's called the 'public' option because the government is funded by the public.  I'm sure you knew that but the article seemed unusually hung up on semantics, so I thought I'd clear it up, just in case.

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#2) On September 08, 2009 at 11:25 AM, ChrisGraley (30.25) wrote:

They are afraid to call it by it's true name...

 

The bankruptcy option.

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#3) On September 08, 2009 at 12:26 PM, catoismymotor (38.90) wrote:

Can you name 3 good things thats private insurance does which gov't run would not or could not do? 

No. They are both bureaucracies. The advantage though with a non-government health insurer is that it will not charge me more and then threaten me with imprisonment if I don't comply. A real world example: I am charged by USPS, a government agency, 44 cents to mail a letter. I am later taxed by the government more money to make up for the multi-billion dollar shortfall of the USPS. It is easy for me to invision this senario with the "privately funded government" option. Plus I get the oogies when the government tries to help with anything but police, fire and military assistance.

As far as the Boortz rant goes; he is paid to stir the pudding. He does use inflamitory words, phrases and tones to cause a reaction. I have to admit that I am not as suseptable to that as I once was. I tend to be a calmer Libertarian than he. Do keep in mind he is a talk show host. When he is on the air or writing pieces for his site his goal is to maintain or increase his ratings.  

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#4) On September 08, 2009 at 12:51 PM, whereaminow (42.76) wrote:

ChannelDunlap,

What baffles me are the people who simultaniously insist that the gov't option will both (a) Suck and (b) Drive private insurance out of business.  If A is true, then wouldn't B be next to impossible? 

No, the government will subsidize the public option no matter how awful it is. The subsidies and regulatory red tape heaped on the private option will eventually put the private option out of business.

See the history of American hospitals and American railroads for exhibits A and B.

David in Qatar

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#5) On September 08, 2009 at 12:59 PM, leohaas (35.73) wrote:

Cato, I cannot believe that you as a government hater bring up the USPS as an example in the healthcare debate.

See, the USPS is a government agency with plenty of competition. FedEx and UPS are doing fine. They can focus on the profitable part of the market, and leave the non-profitable services to the government. Why would the government option in healtcare not work the same way: insuring the "uninsurable" with help of taxpayer money, while leaving the profitable part of the market to the commercials?

"I am later taxed by the government more money to make up for the multi-billion dollar shortfall of the USPS"

No doubt that that is the real reason why you hate the USPS and a potential government option in healthcare! All your other arguments are 100% phoney...

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#6) On September 08, 2009 at 1:12 PM, whereaminow (42.76) wrote:

leohaas.

No doubt that that is the real reason why you hate the USPS and a potential government option in healthcare!

I think that's a pretty darn good reason.  Why not have Bernanke just print the difference out of thin air?  Then you are your workers party revolution friends can run all the unprofitable government services you want.

Do you know why this is not an option?  If you can figure this out, I might actually be impressed.

David in Qatar

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#7) On September 08, 2009 at 1:22 PM, starbucks4ever (98.98) wrote:

"See the history of American hospitals and American railroads for exhibits A and B."

Most (or, perhaps, even all 100% - have to check my facts) hospitals suck and are private, and most railroads are also private and haven't been driven out of business by the government. In fact BNI still enjoys a 5-star rating in Caps.

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#8) On September 08, 2009 at 1:36 PM, nemaline (93.07) wrote:

leohaas,

 Your assumption in the above argument is that USPS provides services in the "unprofitable" segment of the postal service business. I believe that if it were not a monopoly, competitors could provide the "unprofitable" component cheaper and without burden to taxpayers. For growth, I'll bet both Fedex and UPS would want some skin in that game. But essentially, they are unable to even ATTEMPT to compete directly for same services, and govt. involvement precludes any direct competition for similar service providers.

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#9) On September 08, 2009 at 2:03 PM, catoismymotor (38.90) wrote:

leohaas,

"Cato, I cannot believe that you as a government hater bring up the USPS as an example in the healthcare debate."

My comparison is perfectly sound and just. I do wish you could see how correct I am in my comparisson. Please read my arguement again. And let me make this clear: I am not a "government hater". To call me such is silly. To someone like yourself "hating" something might be a viable option of how to go about your daily life. If I see something I do not like I set about changing it. To hate something is to throw fruitless emotion at it, a waste of time and energy. Hate begets hate. I am simply being the change I wish to see as Ghandi would have put it. To be labeled as a government hater you say that I am an anarchist which is a lie. I am a proponent of a smaller federal government. This hideous hose beast we are currently living with is too big, intrusive and powerful. She needs to go on a diet, I wish to change her.

Cato

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#10) On September 08, 2009 at 2:45 PM, 4everlost (29.50) wrote:

For all you pro-public option fans:

The real problem with a government run choice is that it won't have any incentive to keep costs lower than revenue.  And that is because the Fed gub'ment is always there with a helping hand (our tax dollars).  So if they don't have to run their "business" wisely and make difficult choices about how to allocate capital and when/where to expand and other real life business choices - and do it effectively - they will eventually be lower in price and larger than private insurers.  This scenario will kill private insurance and we will be left with only the public insurance option.

Don't even think of saying "Oh, no, they would never run the medical insurance program in a deficit spending-like model".  That’s total BS.  Remember, most politicians, regardless of party, aren't in DC doing what's best and right for their constituency.  They are there to get reelected and gain power.  They will do this in the public heath care option by filling the 100s of newly created positions that are created with their backers - irrespective of their competence.  In addition, any big projects that launching and maintaining such a large function requires will be given to companies that backed the polticos - regardless of cost or effectiveness.  

Let’s note that the following problems were created by politicians granting favors to their backers.  Everything that follows is an example of a regulation being passed that makes it easier for big insurance to drive smaller, nimbler insurance companies from doing business.

There are options that are not as expensive or intrusive as the public option one.  Look at this problem: private insurance companies are restricted from turning away prospective customers or charging higher fees for greater risk customers.  Suppose you have a pool of 1000 customers, 900 which are in great shape and healthy while the other 100 are obese smokers that eat Twinkies all day.  An insurance company has to add up the total risk for all 1000 and divide it by the number in the pool so everybody pays the same premium.  The relatively healthy ones will pay more than they ought to because gub’ment regs make them!  Let’s do away with those regs!  Car insurance companies can do it.  Drivers with DUIs/crashes/tickets on their driving record get charged a higher premium than ones with clean records.  Why?  Because the risk is higher for the drunk drivers!  Let’s apply the same principle to health insurance.  If you are saying “but there are people who won’t be able to afford insurance because of the high risk their condition mandates.”  The small, nimble insurance companies will develop plans to meet the needs of any market where they can make a profit.  Look at the market for car insurance for the really, really tarnished drivers.  They can get insurance.  Now there will be situations where a citizen seriously needs insurance for high cost procedures yet can’t afford it.  That is where we might want to consider letting the gub’ment step in.

Next, let’s open up competition.  There are gub’ment regs that restrict which companies can offer health insurance in different states.  This means that they only have to compete with 3-5 other companies for business.  If we removed the restrictive regs then any insurance could compete for the business.  The competition would force insurance companies to offer effective coverage at a reasonable price.  If they don’t their customers will leave.  Once again, that’s how car insurance works.  If a car insurance company is too expensive and/or offers lousy service their customers will go elsewhere with their premium $s.  Drivers have so many choices for car insurance coverage.  Why can’t we make health insurance companies compete in the same fashion?

Two of the reasons that health care and health insurance costs are high is because doctors can get sued for so much.  This means that the doctors are going to order every test and every procedure that could possibly be needed so they can’t be accused of negligence later.  It also means that medical malpractice insurance is incredibly expensive.  The cost of the insurance goes into the price of the doctors’ services.  Tort reform would reduce the costs in these two areas.

I trust my insurance company more than I trust the gub’ment.  (That’s a sad statement because I don’t trust my insurance company very much.)  There are strategies and tactics that we can use to make the entire health care and health insurance industry more cost effective and available to anyone that wants to pay for the risk they bring with them.

 

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#11) On September 08, 2009 at 3:02 PM, ChannelDunlap (< 20) wrote:

>> I trust my insurance company more than I trust the gub’ment

That is a sad statement.  I don't.  Government may not be the most efficient or intelligent force in the universe, but at least I know that ultimately they would be out to help people, not make a profit.

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#12) On September 08, 2009 at 3:10 PM, wolfman225 (70.76) wrote:

I still don't understand where the idea has come from that everyone has a "right" to have someone else pay for what they want.  Remember, any "free" government benefit comes down to, in the end, legalized theft.  Try going door-to-door telling your neighbors that they have a responsibility to subsidize your life.

How about a little "adult responsibility" for a change?  If you need health insurance and say you can't afford it, how about dropping the cable/satellite TV?  How about cooking at home vs eating out at restaurants? How about getting rid of the cell phones for your kids (do they REALLY need that blackberry or flip phone)?  PRIORITIES people.  We've all become so soft, so pampered, so unwilling to go without (for any reason).  I'm sure that the mere mention of going without any of these daily luxury conveniences has many shouting at their laptops ("How dare he say I need to go without!?  Who is he?")

After all, that's what ADULTS do, they set their priorities and make the tough choices necessary.  We could do with a few more adults and a few less whiny children. JMHO

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#13) On September 08, 2009 at 3:36 PM, danteps (29.61) wrote:

I am quite happy with my private insurance program . . . and I am not alone.  They have done a terrific job managing claims and providing reimbursement over the past 10 years.  THE GOVERNMENT OPTION scares me as the government has historically failed to effectively utilize tax payer dollars in a budget neutral fashion.  Some folks are disappointed with their insurance programs and we should work on constructive changes that address their issues without expanding THE GOVERNMENT OPTION.   

Social Security - collecting less than paying out, on the path to insolvency. 

Medicare - already adding to our national debt every day. 

USPS - adding to our national debt every day. 

Public schools - private ones are better 9/10 times. 

The list goes on and on.

Be open-minded and think about that one.  We spend more on education than any country on Earth, but we don’t deliver the best educated students.  Maybe we are just not as bright as people from South Korea or Finland, but my guess is that it has more to do with having a relatively poor system in place. 

If you believe we are somehow going to spend less and get more with THE GOVERNMENT OPTION, then you are hoping for a government first. 

We shall continue to fight against government expansion whether it be Democrat or Republican decreed.

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#14) On September 08, 2009 at 3:49 PM, catoismymotor (38.90) wrote:

danteps, wolfman225, 4everlost,

All good, valid and clearly stated points. All of which were made without calling me a government hater. :)

Cato

 

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#15) On September 08, 2009 at 3:54 PM, wolfman225 (70.76) wrote:

Well........after all, plagiarism is such an ugly word.  :D

Have a nice day, I gotta go drive to CT, then NYC.  Have fun, guys.

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#16) On September 08, 2009 at 4:18 PM, 4everlost (29.50) wrote:

"...but at least I know that ultimately they would be out to help people, not make a profit."

??????????

They are not out to help people!  They want more power and to get reelected.  They are going to help the businesses and donors that help them the most during elections.  Look at their voting records.  That comment reflects what so many people in America believe.  That is why so few people take action when the gub'ment screws us again and again.  In addition, when did trying to make a profit become so evil?  I peruse this site so I can find ideas that will lead me to profitable companies that will share that profit with me via dividends and/or share price appreciation because of their profits!  Why is it inhumane to try to make a profit? Someone explain to me why any one would hang around on an investment website and criticize companies for trying to make a profit!?

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