Monday, March 22, 2010

A (Not So) Hidden Agenda, and a Political Blunder?

By no means do I always agree with Mr. Denninger, but unless I am missing something, his thesis, which I have heard him discuss before, seems sound. What I don't understand is the following: if his thesis is correct, Hell, even if it isn't, why didn't the Republicans make this the centerpiece of their argument against health care reform legislation? Had they convincingly portrayed the legislation as merely a stepping stone to a totally socialized medical care system, as opposed to what it appears to be now-which is a short to intermediate term bonanza for health insurers- they might have had more success opposing it. A different problem with Mr. Denninger's thesis is, given that the health care lobby was integral to writing this legislation, why would they cobble together something that spells their doom.

Of course, by the time this health care reform is supposed be fully implemented the condition of the U.S. economy will likely be so poor it will preclude it from functioning.


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Anonymous said...

Edwardo, I'll repost the reply I made to your comment over at my place (also I'll add, I agree that this will all likely be rendered moot by economic degradation; for example, the reason I supported single-payer isn't because I think that's likely to long be sustainable either, but just because having such a structure in place could have done somewhat to help lessen the suffering during energy descent):

That’s an interesting take. I hadn’t heard about a ban on catastrophic coverage, though I could have figured as much.

Of course I reject the notion that this is some master plan to get single payer by stealth. Are we ever going to be finished with this “11-dimensional chess” idiocy? Obama and the Dems are a combo of greed, corporatist ideology, and cowardice. Go with that and you’ll probably never meet with contrary evidence.

But most of all I agree completely on this: Screw the government. They created this hideous situation, and any of us has a right to act in self-defense.

I’ve said right from the start that individuals should reject with extreme prejudice the propaganda that it’s possible for us to be “free riders” in a system wholly devoted to the profits of a purely parasitic racket.

So long as that massive, systemic free rider exists, the very concept of “free riding” is not available to the system as a moral imprecation. And all individuals are freed completely of any such moral bonds. The system has abdicated. (It’s the same as with individual strategic defaults.)

Hobbes himself, the great philosopher of autocracy, agreed with all this.

So just as I and others have encouraged underwater borrowers to act according to the same “rational” standards as the rich, so I agree with Denninger here that we as individuals should be rational (“ruthless”, in the jargon) vis this racketeering system.

Our communities are among ourselves. There is nothing between us and the feudal system or its gangland masters.

DED said...

Maybe the Republicans thought that the "socialized medicine" slant was more powerful and an easier meme for the public to grasp.

As for the insurance companies, maybe they thought that the threat of fines would have an impact on the independent insurance buyers' psyche. Or the fear of "what if something happens to my children" consuming parents. Yes, I seriously doubt they would "cobble together something that spells their doom."

As for the employers that are required to buy insurance, are the fines (different than individuals) steep enough for them that it's cheaper than providing insurance to their employees?

But I don't buy the notion that you can just buy insurance after a catastrophic event has occurred. Heart attacks will set you back $50,000. You can't submit a bill after the fact to the insurance company. It's not a pre-existing condition. It's a one time event. This idea of his only works for illnesses that require long term treatment, like cancer.

Edwardo said...

Ded, that is exactly the gamble one will be taking if one does not buy insurance, that something will not occur that requires hospitalization before one can buy coverage.

One could make provisions for that by setting money aside for such an event in advance. Someone in their mid thirties might, for example, start setting 5 to 7 K a year aside in a trust, and were they to have a stroke or heart attack at 55, they would likely able to pay all or most it. After twenty years of not paying into the insurance scheme they would have saved a substantial amount of money in any case so paying for such an event should, should, mind you, be that much more possible.

At this point it is worth doing an actuarial on oneself, because the entire proposition is ruinous.
And that is because Insurance is a dreadful racket anyway you slice it, and the fact that the PTB have constructed this monstrosity where (one has to engage in planning to do the aforementioned tap dance) within the matrix of the insurance industry gives the lie to the very notion that they have "reformed" anything.

Thai said...

You guys, the bonanza in this bill went to the hospitals.

And DED, we sign people up for insurance while they are in the hospital right after admission. We do it for Medicaid patients all the time.

And Edwardo, here is your mortality calculator.

Edwardo said...

You are quite right, Thai. It has to be for hospitals since now they will always get paid. In the meantime, it's the insurers who make out like the bandits they are. So how is flipper feeling about this? Wink. And thanks for the calculator.

Thai said...

You know that's a good question.

I guess that to the extent we use resources to keep people alive a few extra days and not use them to grow more babes, flipper is very very happy... But I need to think this through a little more from flipper's viewpoint before I have a definitive position. ;-)

You talked with flipper about how (s)he feels?

Edwardo said...

Ms. Flipper is unsure about the entire proposition. However, she is concerned, as you can imagine, that while prolonging life is, in the main, a very good thing, in certain cases, it's advisable to allow for the other, far less sanguine, outcome.

DED said...

DED, we sign people up for insurance while they are in the hospital right after admission. We do it for Medicaid patients all the time.

But, why?