kgautreaux/blog

An ocean of noise

Translation from Libertarian-speak to English of selected portions of Mandates are not the answer by David Gratzer

Original article available here.
 <  Teddy Roosevelt Hat=On > 
Insurers call them “young invincibles”: twentysomething hipsters who will spend $4 on a café latte or $80 on a monthly gym membership but won’t buy health insurance.

People under 30 are idiots and should get off my lawn.
“Health insurance wasn’t even an option,” 24-year-old aspiring designer Andrew Ondrejcak told the magazine New York in March 2007. “I was flying through my savings, trying to get a career started. . . . The last thing I’m going to do is spend $300 or whatever on insurance, you know?” Ondrejcak’s personal health plan: running, yoga, and vitamins. The cost: acute appendicitis and a $37,000 hospital bill.

All young people care about are double syrup half-caf Venti double tall lattes and trudging around on my goddamn lawn!
Liberal proponents think of mandates as social insurance.

Nothing provides a better safety net than handing over your healthcare to a multinational conglomerate with your best interests in mind.
But both the liberal and conservative arguments are less persuasive than they seem at first glance. Health-insurance companies pool risk in much more complicated ways than most people assume. Americans cannot be classified into one group for insurance purposes; every health-insurance company has numerous pools, dividing people by state, size of employer, and many other characteristics.

They don't employ actuaries to maximize profits, they're there to make sure everyone can afford health insurance.
Further, evidence shows that costs are influenced much less by mandates than by consumers’ ability to buy a broad range of competing health-insurance products.

Trust me, there's evidence, I'm just to lazy to cite it.
An insurance policy for a single male resident in mandate-enforced Boston, for example, costs five times more than a policy for his identical twin in mandate-free Tucson.

We should all move to Tucson! Also, correlation DOES equal causation.
This cost disparity is due in part to the Bay State’s many insurance regulations, which limit the types of policies that consumers can buy and drive up prices.

Just like passage of the Gramm-Leach-Billey Act allowed JP Morgan Chase to pay bottom dollar for Bear Stearns, so too will deregulation allow magical butterflies to dance around and make us all immortal.
As for the responsibility argument, uncompensated care costs federal and state governments roughly $40 billion a year—in a health economy that tops more than $2 trillion annually. That’s a very small percentage of the total expenditure and certainly doesn’t amount to a hidden tax of $900 per person.

Money is falling from the sky!
A third of uninsured Americans have family incomes greater than $50,000; 17 percent have incomes in excess of $75,000. They are opting not to buy coverage because they think that paying thousands annually, while perhaps not seeing a doctor for years on end, is a bad deal.

If people don't buy insurance because they don't think they'll need it, obviously making it cheaper will change that, right? Later I will confuse you by saying preventative care is important.
Rather than handing out more government subsidies, we should inject more competition into markets by allowing people to buy health-insurance policies across state lines.

Enron represented the best of power deregulation when it sold energy to California across state lines at only a 200% markup. Cancer is this year's rolling blackout. Also black is white, up is down, and telco deregulation is really solving that last mile problem.
An even bolder approach would be to end 60 years of bad tax policy and scrap the employer deduction for health benefits, replacing it with a tax credit for every individual and family. Notably, these are all ideas that John McCain, not known for his focus on domestic policy, has embraced.

Remember when John McCain stated in public that there was "strong" evidence of a link between vaccines and autism? Let's put that health science genius in charge!
Rather than mandate participation in a broken system, Washington should concentrate on basic, sensible reforms and then let markets experiment.

I am high as a kite.