Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Government’s Something for Nothing Health Care Reform


I’ve nearly given up attempting to explain why Health Care Reform has nothing to do with lowering the cost of health care, why it has no relationship with health care insurance offered by the private sector and why folks who don’t understand will never understand; as the line from City Slickers so aptly stated, “The cows will get it before you do.”

That having been said, Obama and the progressives are pushing their Health Care Reform package as if it were a way of lowering the cost of health care and a means of getting health insurance for those supposedly unable to afford health care insurance from those greedy private sector companies more interested in making a profit than taking care of those in need. I’d intended to write that last sentence in all capital letters, shouting at the top of my lungs; but it hasn’t worked in the past and, as I’ve found, only acts to annoy those attempting to read; the folks who insist on something for nothing probably can’t read to begin with so why waste my time shouting at them?

Neil Boortz posted an article about pre-existing conditions which illustrated why insurance companies can’t insure folks who already have something which will be a drain on the insurance company; as he put it, “If you call Geico and try to insure your car after you've wrecked it, you're unlikely to get coverage for that wreck.” Why would health insurance be any different? The answer, it isn’t; which is why pre-existing conditions make it difficult on folks attempting to obtain medical insurance.

Many folks suffer under the delusion that everyone should be eligible for insurance; health care is a right according to progressive reasoning. I should note the use of such an oxymoron, progressive reasoning falling into the same category as military intelligence, jumbo shrimp and honest lawyers; I know, that was a cheap shot. Again, Boortz summed it up, “To claim a right to health care you are claiming a right to the time and property of some other person.” No, this isn’t a right, it may well be a worthy goal; but it is not a right.

Insurance is a business based on percentages; the purpose of any business is to make a profit by offering a product or service which the public will purchase. Businesses which are able to make a profit stay in business while those who fail to understand this principle become government employees or run for office. I may have read that in one of Heilein’s books; either that or I’m becoming profound in my own right.

I wrote an article a while back about a woman who expected something for nothing as pertain to my locksmith services; asking me to make her a key that would fit her door lock, a key which she didn’t have, and at the same time expecting me to repair a pre-existing condition, the internal workings of her door had been broken. The entitlement mentality when applied to an entire society will bankrupt the treasury very quickly.

I found a quotation from the French historian Alexis De Tocqueville which many would prefer had never been recorded.

“The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.”

Now, add to that another thought which he wanted everyone to remember.

“The Indian knew how to live without wants, to suffer without complaint, and to die singing.”

America’s founders could have written into our framework a means of preserving itself beyond historically inevitable self destruction through irresistible temptation to continually dip into the public treasury in order to satiate the entitlement mentality of so many. Our founders failed to include a provision to halt in its tracks the ability to elect weak or corrupted/corruptible representatives whose only way of getting elected is to squander the public treasury through bribes, paybacks and pork barrel spending. We need to make it more difficult for the leeches in our society to vote.

Think about how the leadership of our cities, states and national government would be if folks knew that being on the dole meant they couldn’t vote. Those seeking office would have to pander to those who paid the bills rather than those dependent on their neighbors. Instead of demanding entitlements, those on the dole would ask for generosity; quite a bit of difference between demanding and asking for consideration. Did I mention that I believe in Santa, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny?

We should be grateful our government has, at its most important elected and appointed positions, men and women who are aware of the American legacy of self reliance and honor our constitution, a divinely inspired document to limit government abuse and protects individual rights. If such were not the case we’d be in serious trouble, having spent money we don’t have on entitlement programs paid for by taxing hard working industrious individuals and businesses; sure glad nothing like that could happen here in America.

14 comments:

Steve Farrell said...

Great column T.F!

Steve Farrell said...

PS. I know I've said this before, but ever you are interested, I'd love to have you as an associate editor at The Moral Liberal with "at will" posting rights (that is you just self post -- cut and paste from your site -- any old thing you feel like posting in a few designated sections) and live links back into your place.

T. F. Stern said...

Steve,

Thanks for the ego trip, send me an email with particulars.

MK said...

"...health care is a right according to progressive reasoning."

Yep, a right that must be provided by and paid by others. Everywhere socialized medicine has been tried, it's failed, the result is lower quality, less access and spiraling costs. It's the same everywhere, the only difference is the slight variations of screw-up, that's all.

And you are 100% right, no point trying to explain it to the dumb, they cannot get it. You saw the post i did today, they just won't get it.

T. F. Stern said...

I'm old enough to understand how folks get stuck in a mindset and from that point on, regardless of reason, they will not change their ways.

This is particularly troubling when I see how Congress and Obama's administration are pandering to the weakest segment of society promising entitlements which can only be paid for by the strongest, those whose constitutional rights must be violated in order to accomplish the entitlement programs.

This is not to say that previous administrations and Congress have not done the same, only that the scales are being tipped toward collapse of the system which has generated such prosperity as to accommodate, what had been minor annoyances and petty theft, has now become so large as to destroy the provident in favor of entitlements; it makes no sense.

The probligo said...

TF, I strongly suggest that you include in your daily prayers fervent thanks for the fact that you do not have any "pre-existing" conditions.

Then you might also pray for the future; that you do not suffer a long-term debilitating condition that prevents you from earning or continuing to enjoy your current life. Think of anything from alzheimers to arthritis.

Then you might pray thanks to your ancestors; that they did not suffer or carry an inheritable condition such as haemophilia, cancer (some are an inheritable trait), or worse.

In the meantime, those who suffer from congenital conditions (of which my mitral valve prolapse is one of the more minor but more common) and the after effects of childhood illnesses will just have to live as best they are able without the level of health care you have in your privileged position.

T. F. Stern said...

Probligo, Sorry, I misplaced my miniature violin and even had it been near by I don't think I remember how that old tune goes.

We are talking about the business of insurance, a business which expects to make a profit; not some church or welfare handout. Folks who need to be helped get helped here in the US, one way or another; maybe not the same as CEO's who make millions; but they do get help.

The probligo said...

And, TF, that is exactly why there are so many in your "fair" country who cannot get, have no hope of ever getting affordable medical insurance.

And, TF, that is exactly why there are so many in your "fair" country who queue for the occasional free treatment circuses provided by the one or two charitable institutions who care enough.

And, TF, that is exactly why I suggested that you include my suggested fervent prayers.

Dear laddie, should you or Lucy ever require help and assistance for a debilitating medical event such as alzheimers, or a major cancer, or rheumatoid arthritis, or any of the other aging diseases, you will suddenly find your insurance becoming prohibitively expensive or will just refuse continuing cover.

But of course that could never happen.

Could it!

T. F. Stern said...

Probligo, I don't suppose it will do any good; but this one last time I will attempt to explain that Health Insurance is a business and has nothing what so ever to do with what has been proposed as Health Care Reform.

Health Care Reform, as it has been proposed by the progressive element, is an attack on capitalism and individual liberty here in America.

If you wish to read some other commentary on this form of perversion of the medical arts I suggest you visit a site call Stop the ACLU where today there is an excellent article exposing the flaws of such a system and one of the reasons I have no desire to have it imposed on Americans.

A key part of America has to do with Choice, that being an individual's ability to express the Agency given all men/women by our Creator. Governments tend to ignore such Agency in favor of imposed tyranny, as is the case with our current administration and congress.

I suggest you enjoy the entitlement you have been granted by your fellow "down unders" and count your many blessings. All the same, what you claim to be as insurance is nothing more than nationally issued welfare supported through wealth redistribution.

The probligo said...

"We are talking about the business of insurance, a business which expects to make a profit; "

How does an insurance company make a profit TF? By charity?

No. It makes it profit by betting on how many of its customers are going to get sick.

Any group or client that costs more in cover than its premiums can expect either their premiums to increase or the company to refuse to renew the policy.

Are you trying to tell me that would never happen in the US?

T. F. Stern said...

Probligo, This discussion has now turned into something which would better be covered by a course in college. I took such a course when I was at Sam Houston State University. We studied many aspects of the insurance business to include statistics, what you refer to as betting.

May I suggest, since my simple explanation has tweaked your curiosity, that you take such a college level course. There you will find out how such a large scale BUSINESS is able to weather the economic storms.

No, insurance companies are not in the business of providing charity. If you will take a moment to separate one idea, providing humane treatment for the needy, something which is carried out through a variety of processes; separate that thought from the folks who make a living off the medical industry, to include anyone who takes home a pay check for mopping a hospital floor, sewing up a cut after they went through a plate glass window, sells them Tylenol to take away the pain, builds the clinic where they are treated or even sells them insurance as a means of paying for such treatment without dipping into their savings account.

It is so easy to lump the two thought processes together as if the Second Coming had already happened and we were living in a society where money was only in a history book, something like the Star Trek series.

In short, in your mind you are living in Fantasy Land.

T. F. Stern said...

Probligo, This discussion has now turned into something which would better be covered by a course in college. I took such a course when I was at Sam Houston State University. We studied many aspects of the insurance business to include statistics, what you refer to as betting.

May I suggest, since my simple explanation has tweaked your curiosity, that you take such a college level course. There you will find out how such a large scale BUSINESS is able to weather the economic storms.

No, insurance companies are not in the business of providing charity. If you will take a moment to separate one idea, providing humane treatment for the needy, something which is carried out through a variety of processes; separate that thought from the folks who make a living off the medical industry, to include anyone who takes home a pay check for mopping a hospital floor, sewing up a cut after they went through a plate glass window, sells them Tylenol to take away the pain, builds the clinic where they are treated or even sells them insurance as a means of paying for such treatment without dipping into their savings account.

It is so easy to lump the two thought processes together as if the Second Coming had already happened and we were living in a society where money was only in a history book, something like the Star Trek series.

In short, in your mind you are living in Fantasy Land.

The probligo said...

TF, your "course" might well tweak the interest at the very ld out why American accounting and economics is so different in your mind.

How much do you pay in medical insurance? It costs me about $3,200 p.a. for a mid-level cover.

How much are your annual medical costs? Our claims usually reach or exceed the insured limits for the lowest claim categories. Overall we claim probably $2800 to $3000 per year.

If the premiums are greater than costs then what happens to the difference? It goes to administration costs and profits? Yes, after you have paid a contribution towards those whose costs are greater than their premiums. In my case it costs about $300 a year more - my annual contribution to the profits...

At that point I have to ask, why do I not save myself that $300 and self-insure?

T. F. Stern said...

Probigo, You've exhausted my desire to respond as the discussion moves further away from topic of my original posting. Time to ether move on or let someone else take over at this point.