Saturday, February 06, 2010

Verizon Wireless Cure for Health Care Reform

"Sadly, neither version of the healthcare plans in front of Congress allow space for healthy competition. The various health insurance “exchanges” and byzantine combinations of subsidies and penalties that the proposed legislation contains will only further restrict competition. Restrictions force insurance companies to offer only those plans that meet government approval.

If a bill passes, the result would be the equivalent of forcing every American to buy a cellphone, even if they didn’t want one. Those who have phones would see their plan costs soar, spending more for features they don’t want and inferior customer service. Washington should seriously consider the success of the cellphone industry’s model. Making health insurers more consumer-friendly requires competition.

By changing tax law to break the link between employment and health insurance and by abolishing laws that prevent purchasing health insurance across state lines, Washington could turn a doomed system around. More competition would give consumers more options and enable them to switch providers more easily, which would create much stronger incentives for good customer service than just complaining to a monopoly.

The sooner Congress realizes that the prescription is not more government regulations but a dose of real competition, the sooner we can restore some health to the health insurance industry."


~Steve Horwitz in the Christian Science Monitor

MP: The chart above shows the percent change in the CPI since 1998 for all items (+34%) compared to the CPI for medical services (+60%, almost twice the overall rate of average price increase) vs. a -36.4% decrease in the CPI for cell phone services since 1998.

12 Comments:

At 2/06/2010 9:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Republicans could have fixed this when they were in power. Instead they gave us an unfunded give away to the pharmaceutical companies funded by future taxpayers.

Democrats refuse to do common sense reforms. They want to control the entire health care system. The ideal solution today is to open the Federal Employees Health Insurance Plan to any American who will pay the premium. We need to make health insurance premiums tax deductible for individuals, not just businesses.

This is a fixable problem and competition and free market capitalism will fix it. Tell your senator and representative that the system that is good enough for federal employees is good enough for the taxpayer who is paying for it.

 
At 2/06/2010 9:51 PM, Blogger sethstorm said...

Verizon is hardly the model for cell-phone companies. Neither are AT&T or Sprint for that matter. They already have abysmal customer service due to the idea that they can lock people in.


The Republicans could have fixed this when they were in power. Instead they gave us an unfunded give away to the pharmaceutical companies funded by future taxpayers.

That's called being business friendly.

 
At 2/07/2010 1:21 AM, Anonymous Lyle said...

Re Anon at 9:33 thats essentially Wyden Bennett. (Also what I thought should have been done years ago) Somehow using the government to negotiate on behalf of people is seen as bad. Actually what would happen here is to establish a minimum list of coverages, and go with it. The republicans in general seem to reject this logical solution and did so when they could have pushed it.

 
At 2/07/2010 4:02 AM, Anonymous Agosco said...

As much as I agree with your point, I wish you would not perpetuate the myth of unjustified inflation in medical costs.

First, there is a common conflation of expenditures with costs. Expenditures are increasing because of an aging population and many more drugs, procedures, and diagnostic tests than there was previously. It isn't merely quality which has improved, but the breadth of products and services available.

Second, if medical costs are going up it is because we are demnding more resources to be pumped into it. The Law of Increasing Costs applies.

Third there is the common confusion between costs and prices.

We have the best medical care system in the world. We only need to enhance competition, reduce tort costs, better monitor for fraud, eliminate nurse unions and AMA quotas, encourage retail care, mandate minimum catastrophic coverage, and allow charities to coordinate better to collect voluntary donations for the uninsured and for people with pre existing conditions.

I don't know where anybody sees a specified power in the Constitution to provide health care/insurance. Nor does an employment contract obligate additional insurance transactions; a perquisite has somehow become obligatory.

 
At 2/07/2010 11:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Republicans could have fixed this when they were in power. Instead they gave us an unfunded give away to the pharmaceutical companies funded by future taxpayers.

The Republicans tried on several occasions to push tort reform, interstate insurance competition, tax deductibility for the self-insured, wider adoption of HSA's, etc.

During Bush's first term Sen. Jeffords switched parties giving Democrats control of the Senate. And while the Republicans did eventually gain a Senate majority it was far short of the 60 votes needed to enact these changes. So, no, they could not have fixed this when they were "in power".

The Democrats strategy for more than 20 years has been to cripple the health care system by degrees, all the while claiming that the system was failing Americans. They have been quite open about their objective, which is to impose a single-payer system.

I agree that the Medicare drug benefit was senseless given the fact that the system was already bankrupt, but I find it interesting that leftists always cry about "give aways" to the pharmaceutical industry without ever acknowledging the governments continuing assault on the industry's property rights or the fact that millions of people benefit from drug company charity.

 
At 2/07/2010 4:18 PM, Blogger sethstorm said...


We only need to enhance competition, reduce tort costs, better monitor for fraud, eliminate nurse unions and AMA quotas, encourage retail care, mandate minimum catastrophic coverage,

That would be making it worse. Tort reform has largely meant that a doctor could buy their way out of a mistake with caps. Retail care is something that cuts a bit too many corners in the sake of cost-cutting.

That and it adds some "durr, I hate unions" with a Southern twang. Once you get rid of unions, you get rid of the industries/entities that have been used to eliminate/intimidate them, permanently. Once you get rid of the canary in the coal mine, it would make sense not to keep the bad air to kill the miners.

The only thing left that can be agreed upon is monitoring for fraud.


I don't know where anybody sees a specified power in the Constitution to provide health care/insurance.

Depends on how one interprets the general welfare clause. Would you agree on it allowing for an unblocked opportunity (as opposed to a specific plan)?


The Republicans tried on several occasions to push tort reform, interstate insurance competition, tax deductibility for the self-insured, wider adoption of HSA's, etc.

HSA's only work once. You're screwed the next time around when your account's been wiped out. That, and they encourage cost-cutting towards lesser-quality alternatives.

 
At 2/07/2010 5:17 PM, Blogger juandos said...

Obviously sethstorm didn't do any homework on tort reform before shooting from the lip...

"Retail care is something that cuts a bit too many corners in the sake of cost-cutting"...

Hmmm, a bit of an asinine statement unless you have something credible to back it up...

"Depends on how one interprets the general welfare clause. Would you agree on it allowing for an unblocked opportunity (as opposed to a specific plan)?"...

LOL! Now you are using the Steny Hoyer rationale...ROFLMAO!

I think you should take another look at the general welfare clause sethstorm...

 
At 2/07/2010 6:45 PM, Anonymous Finesse said...

The "general welfare" clause is in the PREAMBLE. Preambles are statements of purpose. They state, "The following document does..."

Preambles have now power or meaning on their own merit. They certainly can't be taken as a blank check to do anything and everything which could possibly be ascribed to it's general principles.

The Constituiton set up a government with limited specified powers. If that fact were not painfully obvious in the text of the Constitution, the 9th and 10th amendments make the point even more directly. The 9th amendment makes it crystal clear that the rights enumerated in the Constitution are not exhaustive nor more important than unenumerated rights. The 10th amendment makes it crystal clear that the federal government has ONLY the power specifically granted to it in the Constitution. This preserves for states what is known as "police powers" (which encompass but are not limited to what we think of when we hear 'police').

Health care is clearly not a specified power of the federal government but may fall under the rubric of police powers. It must not, however, tread upon individual rights including private property and free contracts.

Any politician pushing for more federal government action under the "general welfare" clause is a criminal who needs to be impeached and possibly jailed for attempts to exceed Constitutional authority.

 
At 2/07/2010 6:52 PM, Anonymous Lyle said...

Re #8 there was a little conflict essentially ultimatly over the 10 th amendment from 1861 to 1865, that changed how it is read. The south essentially would have read the 9th and 10th amendment to say that slavery should be extended to the territories because banning it in the territories deprived them of their rightful property, which in their opinion the federal government did not have the right to do. If you want to strictly construe the 9th and 10th amendments in that situation in addition the federal government is no where given the power to prevent seccession so the 10th amendment could be read to mean that the states reserve the power to seceed. The amendments meaning was modifed by 600,000 deaths, which changed it to mean that at least some powers are no longer reserved to the states. The original intent meme needs to take into account at a minimum extra-constitutional ways the meaning of the document is changed, at a minimum the civil war being one. Note that the civil war changed the notion of the US from plural to singular, i.e. these United States to the United States. A change at this level implies a very deep change.

 
At 2/07/2010 10:07 PM, Blogger sethstorm said...


Now you are using the Steny Hoyer rationale...

Note that I said opportunity not make it mandatory

That is a huge difference.

As for tort reform, you quoted something but forgot to have it be a part of the matter at hand.

 
At 2/09/2010 9:21 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"As for tort reform, you quoted something but forgot to have it be a part of the matter at hand"...

Still having a hard time with that whole reality thingie eh sethstorm?

 
At 2/09/2010 1:33 PM, Blogger Xavier Onassis said...

That and it adds some "durr, I hate unions" with a Southern twang. Once you get rid of unions, you get rid of the industries/entities that have been used to eliminate/intimidate them, permanently.

Sigh...Seth. Every time I read one of your posts, I get pissed off at myself. It's like looking at an animal that just got run over...you know shouldn't do it and it's probably going to make you feel ill, but you just can't resist. I just always feel dumber for having had the experience.

 

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