The weak link in the “ObamaCare” argument

US District Court Judge Roger Vinson just handed the Democrats a victory with his ruling against the Affordable Care Act (ACA). So did Judge Henry Hudson of the Eastern District of Virginia with his ruling on the individual mandate earlier.

Stay with me folks. I haven’t jumped to the red side of the force.

The Democrats in the House should immediately draft a bill repealing the clause requiring every American to purchase health insurance. You are right, Mr. Speaker, the 111th Congress did indeed overstep its authority. Mea culpa, mea culpa. Here, let’s fix this thing.

The Republicans would have to vote for it in light of the recent rulings in their favor. It is their central argument against the ACA and the Democrats are willing to concede they are right. Then it goes to the Senate where the Democratically-controlled body would pass it and off to the president’s desk where he would sign it.


Without the individual mandate clause, insurance companies could not afford to be in the insurance business. All the other parts of the Act would remain intact, including covering pre-existing conditions, no life-time cap, etc, etc. Shareholders would bolt from the stock and the industry would collapse. That would leave the door open for a Medicare-for-All, single-payer system based on health rather than sickness, driving down the cost of care as there would be no third-party profit motive behind medical care. Hospitals would still get paid as would doctors and drug companies.

The only industry harmed would be the for-profit insurance industry. What value do they really have now anyway, other than being in the middle collecting and distributing payments? Besides, the Federal Government could hire them back as contractors to process the billings at about 1/10 their current staff levels. That is one thing they are really good at and it would be a shame to let that go to waste.

The more elite, well-funded insurance companies can set up shop to provide expensive health care in private clinics to an exclusive client base who don’t want to mingle with the common folk. Heavily taxed and regulated, of course.

The logic of group coverage is the larger the group, the cheaper the premiums. The Republicans use this argument to justify selling insurance across state lines, another point the Democrats could concede. What bigger group can you assemble in The United States than all 300 million citizens? And we already have a universal way of billing for and collecting premiums called the IRS.

But this won’t happen because the health insurance companies need the mandate more than the Democrats do. For the Republican state’s attorneys general who are bringing lawsuits against the ACA based on the Constitutional commerce clause, the argument is short-sighted. But they’ve already committed to the path. If they win in the US Supreme Court, the insurance industry loses and collapses. They will win every battle, but lose the war.

The health insurance industry will not let that happen.

If the Democrats thought a bit faster, they could put every Republican — especially the Tea Party-backed ones — in a very uncomfortable position of having to vote against the Individual Mandate Clause repeal.

That alone would make an exciting November 2012!


We are creating our own nanny state and them is us


The photo above in the Wall Street Journal caught my eye this morning and sent me into a tizzy. For the record, I am a bit upset at the direction the health care reform bill is taking. It favors the preservation of the insurance company system by forcing us to buy the same crap that got us into this mess and rewards job-holders (folks who choose security) over entrepreneurs. In short, it is re-establishing a job-based, status-quo economy instead of an entrepreneurial one where innovation and risk produces growth. I am very disappointed at the turn of events.

But the point that is sending me over the edge is the fifth “right” that says you have a right to stay on your parents’ health insurance policy until you are 27 26. I say it here now and when MSNBC starts saying it, you know you heard it here first.

The unintended consequence of this provision is insurance companies will not provide health insurance to anyone under twenty-six who have living parents. But an even worse consequence is the expansion of a parent-sponsored nanny state in our culture as a whole.

A quick conversation with my 24-year old son reveals that most of his friends with freshly-minted college degrees expect to be able to move back with their parents and live there rent-free and guilt-free indefinitely.

The FAFSA will not allow anyone under twenty-four to get financial aid without parents disclosing their financial resources. Despite almost no benefit to the parents, they are expected to pay a large chunk of an inflated tuition bill by leveraging the equity in their homes.

Almost all landlords in college towns will not rent/lease to a student without parents co-signing, even though the students are over eighteen and legally able to enter into a contract AND be sued in a court of law.

And now insurance companies and the Federal Government want to strap parents even more by obligating them to provide for health insurance for their kids until they are 27, nine years after they have legally become an adult.

What they should do is obligate kids to accepting and embracing their adulthood at eighteen. When parents have no legal right to their children, they should also have no corresponding legal responsibility. Either these kids are adults or they are not.

If they are, start treating them like adults. They should have a right to their own health insurance when they turn eighteen, not the obligation to be parasitic for the next nine years. And parents need to start expecting they act like the adults they are, regardless of how painful self-reliance is.

Health care reform my puppy butt

Yesterday, Keith Olbermann had a one-hour special comment about health insurance and health care in America. He has recently had a first-hand experience with his father.

I don’t know how much it cost to produce one hour of Countdown nor do I know what the lost opportunity costs are from insurance ad revenue MSNBC will probably never get because of this and having Wendall Potter as a frequent guest, but I do know how much influence this hour will have on moving the health care debate.

Zip. Nadda. Nothing.

If Keith Olbermann’s celebrity and MSNBC’s money and reach can’t even blow a little breeze into the health care debate in this country, what chance do any of us have of being heard? Exactly.

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Kill the beast! The public option in health care reform

The title of this post is taken from the lyrics of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and explains what the right is doing with the so-called public option of health care reform. Love or hate him, Robert Reich explains the public option clearly, at least to us who laugh at the notion of “competition” with insurance plans. In Ohio, there really is none and opening up competition across state lines would do little to change that.

We don’t like what we don’t understand and in fact it scares us, and this monster is mysterious at least.
Bring your guns, bring your knives, save children and and your wives, so save our village and our lives!

Chris Matthews is brilliant

Chris Matthews had John Velleco from the Gun Owners of America on Hardball yesterday. The interview was all about people bringing loaded weapons to presidential events, but he did something probably ad lib at the end of the interview (10:50 or so) that was brilliant. He asked an off the cuff question about whether or not Mr. Velleco was a “birther,” expecting a simple yes or no.


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What if Matthews did the same thing with health care reform? Every one of his guests should be asked, “Who is your insurance company?” “How much did you pay in premiums last year?” I’ll bet most of them would stumble around, revealing to the average American how little these pundits know about the real issues surrounding the health care debate.

I know nothing, but let me tell you about it anyway

Few things make me more upset than “journalists” who have no knowledge of the facts of a story, write about it or get on television, answering phantom questions about hypoteticals. Then the anchor or host treats their answers like they relate to the story at hand. Then they guide the reader or listener through the “facts” of a story based on the answers to these hypothetical questions as if they are relevant. Unless you are paying attention and reject the entire story when this occurs, you will get the facts of the story all wrong. Is it any wonder Americans are so ill-informed about so much?

The latest example of this type of “journalism” can be found right here in my local newspaper, the Dayton Daily News. Not only does the writer start by asserting an unsubstantiated “fact” (…dying from [a seizure] is rare) but early in the article she states:

Medical specialists who did not treat the boy told The Associated Press on Tuesday that while Kawasaki syndrome is poorly understood, it’s extremely unlikely the disease had anything to do with the teen’s death.

Let me repeat: “medical specialist who did not treat the boy told…” And, AP, why are you lapping this up? What kind of journalism institution are you anyway?

And now, we have Dr. Sanjay Gupta, the worst offender of them all*, slated for the Surgeon General. Has he not done enough damage with his glib, over-arching generalizations of the American health care scene at CNN? I’m sure Dr. Gupta is a competent doctor, but it is unethical and immoral to lead people down a path that is so generic as to be dangerous to their health. Whatever you believe about Dr. Gupta’s competence, his words have weight.

I attribute this “fact-filling” as a desperate attempt by media to be the first on the scene and to fill 24/7 airtime with breaking news stories. Here is a bit of advice from the the old school: If you have nothing to say on the matter, just shut up before you start sounding like an idiot.

*No, I have no supporting evidence he is the worst, but go to YouTube and sift through the video.