Sunday, March 21, 2010

No Insurance Company Left Behind

By buying off seven God bothering Democratic Party legislators, Obamacare has likely acquired the necessary support to push through passage. It seems only fitting that a few myopic "pro lifers" have given life to this Frankenstein monstrosity since the 2700 page bill in question is an appalling example of focusing on every bit of minute lint so as to avoid confronting the core reasons why health care costs in The United States are far higher- Exhibit no. 1: The insurance industry- than they should be.

The insurance rackets will, it seems, come under stricter federal guidelines, but they will still maintain their monopoly advantage, and then some, since they now will have approximately thirty two million more people paying them premiums either directly or via government subsidy. Of course many of the putative benefits will not take effect for years, though rest assured that will not delay the government levying taxes to pay for the promised changes well in advance of the delivery of service. It should go without saying, and should give no comfort, that many of the legislators responsible for this "reform" will be long gone, including, quite possibly, Obama himself, by the time this program is supposed to be fully implemented.

Finally, I hope it is clear that my objections to this so called reform have nothing to do with the furious assault waged by The Republican Party who, from the beginning, have been bad faith actors in this drama. Had they been in the position to deliver "reform" it would undoubtedly have been even more of a bonanza for the insurance industry and Big Pharma than what just passed.

27 comments:

Thai said...

What's up?

Edwardo said...

What's up is what are your views on Obamacare. I have a distinctly negative view of it.

DED said...

I'm not happy with it. While the insurance companies are no longer able to use the "pre-existing condition" excuse for dropping a person, I didn't see (though I may have missed it) anything that can stop the insurance companies from raising rates at will. Judging by the stock market, I'd say that Wall Street didn't either.

I'm also not happy about the mandatory insurance purchase requirements. I don't see how that's Constitutional. The fines will start at 1% max of your gross income and climb up to 2.5% over time.

And the additional taxing on those with sweet health insurance plans, why?

I can't help but think that this bill could've been better.

Thai said...

DED, I do hop you see how your comments are classic voter cognitive dissonance and violate all laws of thermodynamics and physics.

Edwardo, you know I personally think we spend way too much on health care, but the health care issue is most decidedly zero-sum so it is just my moral values vs. someone else's.

I have tried to remain relatively neutral on the actual bill (I am sure I have failed) since I readily admit physicians are not disinterested parties in this debate and it is VERY dangerous in my opinion to advise society a certain way when we financially stand to gain. Having said that, I repeat I think it a shame we are spending more but on the bright side, I have decided to put a new back porch on my home as a result so my wife is happy.

Society can spend more if it wants, but it should understand the consequences clearly. And at a time when we spend more than anyone else in the world in both absolute and relative terms and have a 10% account deficit, I think this very likely to accelerate this country's financial disaster.


And by the way, stop buying that tripe re: insurance and drug companies owning the system. The system is anything but unified. The insurers were in big trouble without this bill so in a way it helped them, but they were not the big winners and they are clearly scared either way. They are particularly afraid of the mandatory insurance purchases but minimal fine if you don't join till your sick as they are rightfully concerned healthy will drop and then sign up when they are sick and simply pay the penalty and if this happens, insurance rates will skyrocket.

And the drug companies were neutral in my opinion in this bill (i.e. neither big winners or losers). They already won big time with Medicare D under Bush.

The big winners in this bill were the hospitals.

Thai said...
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Thai said...
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Thai said...
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Edwardo said...

Thai wrote:

"And by the way, stop buying that tripe re: insurance and drug companies owning the system. The system is anything but unified. The insurers were in big trouble without this bill so in a way it helped them, but they were not the big winners and they are clearly scared either way."

It may not be "unified", Thai, but there are parties that are benefiting-at the collective's expense- from the current arrangement, whatever its structure (unified, not unified, define what you mean by "unified"?) may be. N'est ce pas?

Thai said...

But isn't this always the case?

If you consume energy in the system, or save energy for yourself at a later date, does that not mean someone else does not get to consume it?

We may be a collective but it is not at all clear what the collective's viewpoint actually is.

Which of course is why we have the tragedy of the commons in the first place.

Now you might rightfully say "enough"", but that becomes a moral judgment. And to the extent our morals differ and I profit at your expense, common ground becomes very difficult.

That is our medical tragedy of the commons bubble in a nutshell.

Yet bubbles always continue till enough people realize the tooth fairy does not exist.

Believe me, a lot of people still believe in the tooth fairy.

Edwardo said...
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Thai said...

But how do we go from scarcity to abundance? I agree that breaking thru this boundary condition would resolve the problem, but I have read noone that really does solve it.

I'm confused why you say I'm dodging you? That is certainly not my point.

Edwardo said...
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Thai said...
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Thai said...
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Edwardo said...

Thai wrote:

"...now imagine your are the ED physician stuck in the middle. What are you to do?"

Ah, yes, the old end of life with a senescent parent scenario. I have some familiarity with that at my not so tender age. Well, Thai, as my patient is the aforesaid senile old duffer and no one else. And as I (playing DA) make the determination that he is of mostly sound mind, if not (so much) body, I must give prerogative to his wishes This may not yield the best outcome for anyone concerned, but then we rarely know the outcome of such decisions, and, in any event, for a variety of reasons, that can not be a deciding part of my own decision.

Now let's take the doddering/sick parent scenario a step in a different direction, and be grateful that solutions to these oh so human maladies do no rest entirely, or even, if one wants to be really gimlet eyed about it, with the healing profession, or, for that matter, with any other institutional realm of society.

Edwardo said...

When I see that you have read my sterling response, I will delete the aforesaid comments.

Thai said...
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Thai said...

Remember how I told you hospitals were the big winners.

... And the rich just keep on getting richer.

As a lot of people already know

Edwardo said...

We live in a disaster capitalist system, Thai.

Edwardo said...

Well, there it is. The immorality, such as it is, rests more with the litigious and immature child who must have someone to blame for a set of conditions which only nature bears responsibility. People get old, turn frail, get sick and die. And the path to the end is very rarely smooth. And the anger of the child towards the parent, who rarely makes the end game easier, gets transmuted onto physicians and the medical establishment who are, for reasons we know only too well, easy and convenient scapegoats. Now excuse me, I am off to the doctor...for real.

Edwardo said...

Oh, and if you want to see some "side effects" of Obamacare look no further than here.

http://market-ticker.denninger.net/archives/2129-Consequences-Of-Health-Care-Valuations.html

The shit storm cometh.

Thai said...

Bravo

Thanks

Hold on to your hat, for when this bubble does eventually blow, it will be a doozy.

Thai said...

By the way, I hope your physician appointment went well.

Off for a bit over a week tomorrow morning so I must be off to start packing.

TTFN

Edwardo said...

Yes, it was a great success.

Edwardo said...

Enjoy your vacation.

DED said...

DED, I do hop you see how your comments are classic voter cognitive dissonance and violate all laws of thermodynamics and physics.

If I did, I wouldn't have typed them.

Thai said...

DED, I just got back from vacation and I'll respond soon.

Edwardo, Re: " Pardon my stepping off the Peak Oil platform for a moment and veering into a Marxist analysis, but I am of the mind that misallocation of resources is, in the aggregate, a bigger problem, planet wide, than resource scarcity."

We completely agree

I'm not a peak oiler either, other than I think we have always been in peak oil and always will be in peak oil.

I completely agree that there are tremendous misallocation of resources going on and the more time I spend on the blogs, the more I realize this.