A few more myths from the White House

posted at 12:16 pm on September 18, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

John Lott took a look at some of the details of Barack Obama’s arguments on health care, and decided to get into the suddenly booming business of mythbusting — or what we used to call exposing lies.  One of the big whoppers in Obama’s speeches have been that only one or two insurance companies operate in some states, leading to a lack of competition and abuse by insurance companies.  However, neither are true, which becomes obvious when one looks at how people get insurance within those states:

Two claims are made all the time in the health care debate: 1) that there is little competition among those providing health insurance and 2) that it is important to take the profit motive out of providing health insurance. Both are myths. It turns out that claims about too little competition are based on a misinterpretation of the data and that non-profit insurers are so abundant that the largest insurer in virtually every state is a non-profit.

You would probably never know either of these points from listening to the news. Proponents of government provided health insurance, such as President Obama, argue that such a government option is required to inject competition into the market. “Insurance companies and their allies don’t like this idea, or any that would promote greater competition,” Mr. Obama warned during a weekly Saturday radio address during the end of August. Even those who don’t support a government option are concerned about the lack of competition. “There is a serious problem with the lack of competition among insurers,” said Republican Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine. “The impact on the consumer is significant.” …

But they leave out the fact that for most people it is their employer, not the insurance companies, that pays for any bad health outcomes. The firm does so out of the company’s own pocket. The companies do what is called “self-insure” or “self-fund” their plans, and that occurs for around 55 percent of employees according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality with the Department of Health and Human Services.

Take Maine, Senator Snowe’s state, as an example. There, the two largest insurance companies appear to control 88 percent of the market. And Well Point Inc. makes up most of that, with 78 percent. But what isn’t made clear is that these numbers only deal with privately insured patients who are insured by insurance companies. Slightly over half of the privately insured in Maine (52.1 percent) get their insurance through their employers who “self-insure.” These companies merely hire other companies to handle the paper work. Well Point Inc. thus really provides primary or “full” insurance to 78 percent of the market not covered by self-insurers. Doing the math gives 78 percent x (1 – 52.1%) = 37.1 percent of the total market in Maine. The second largest insurance company has only 4.8 percent of the total market.

For Alabama, instead of the “almost 90% is controlled by just one company,” as the president claims, the correct number is 36 percent. The second largest company has just 2.1 percent of the market.

Self-insuring employers face competition — each other.  They compete for workers just as they do for customers.  Part of the competition includes medical benefits.  Employers who self-insure have the same competitive pressure that other employers do in the labor market in providing the best benefit package possible while keeping costs low.

Why don’t more people understand this?  Because self-insuring employers rarely identify themselves as such.  Their employees still work through insurance companies for claims and benefits but are rarely told that the insurer is only acting to manage the employer’s self-insurance program for a fee.  That way, employers do not have to directly face the end-users of the insurance for disputes on benefits and claims. I worked for two employers who self-insured and didn’t realize it in either company until I had access to the profit-and-loss statements for my units.  Employers like to keep that as quiet as possible, so that they can collect the premiums and assume the risk themselves — which usually helps keep their expenses low and makes their businesses more competitive.

This is part of the overall opacity between consumers and price that is the real source of the problems in the health-care industry.  Not only do most people not know what the actual cost of the services provided to them are, in many cases they don’t know who’s actually paying the bills.  Instead of creating more opacity, as ObamaCare would do, the real solution to this problem is to get insurance out of the health-care club business and back to indemnifying against severe losses.  Congress needs to bolster health-savings accounts (HSAs) instead of eliminating them and have providers start competing openly on price as well as quality.

The problem with health care isn’t a lack of competition.  It’s a lack of pricing transparency and consumer control over behavior.  If we want to solve the actual problems, putting government in charge is the worst possible direction we can take.  We need consumers to take charge by actually seeing the pricing and making rational decisions accordingly.


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Hey, whats a few more lies….

PatriotRider on September 18, 2009 at 12:20 PM

A few more myths lies from the White House

PrincipledPilgrim on September 18, 2009 at 12:21 PM

Very interesting. I did not know that.

mr.blacksheep on September 18, 2009 at 12:22 PM

A few more myths lies from the White House

farright on September 18, 2009 at 12:22 PM

Now all we need is free healthcare for illegal immigrant scofflaws, and the lazy who won’t actually seek an employer. Oh. Wait. That’s part and parcel of what they’re pushing down our throats. Nevermind.

.

Wow, Ed. Just how many elves do you have working for you?

Either that, or you’re a machine.

Good work Ed!

SilverStar830 on September 18, 2009 at 12:22 PM

You know, is this current generation capable of rational behavior regarding healthcare?

I sometimes wonder. I’m older, so I grew up in the days when you went to the doctor when you didn’t get over something in 5 days. *haha

Now, it’s just different.

I will say this. I’ve laughed at how doctors have turned the tables on demanding patients. They obviously gave up trying to talk to hypochondriacs unwilling to change lifestyle.

Now, they just say, “Yeah! I am scheduling you for the following painful, uncomfortable 12 tests.” It’s the patients bailing out. :)

AnninCA on September 18, 2009 at 12:23 PM

“Raaaaaaaaaaciiiiiiiiiiist,” -Jimmah Cahtah.

Akzed on September 18, 2009 at 12:23 PM

This administration is one big myth.

NoFanofLibs on September 18, 2009 at 12:24 PM

It’s never been about healthcare. It’s always about power and control, how to obtain them, how to increase them, and how to maintain them.

Christien on September 18, 2009 at 12:25 PM

…as if we need more…

right2bright on September 18, 2009 at 12:26 PM

It’s never been about healthcare. It’s always about power and control, how to obtain them, how to increase them, and how to maintain them.

Christien on September 18, 2009 at 12:25 PM

I don’t agree. That may be an underlying motive, but I don’t think that any of the gov’t political jobs are so juicy that everyone would skewer things that much to keep them. In fact, today, it’s downright dangerous. You’re likely to end up being broke from lawyer fees after having given service to an administration. That’s a real problem.

I think it’s just that the really good ideas require changing public use of services.

When is the last time people didn’t call up their doctor, with the diagnosis, and demand medication?

AnninCA on September 18, 2009 at 12:28 PM

First he lied about Physicians. Now it’s Insurance. What’s next? Hospital Environmental Services? Barry: “Hospital Environment Services should be using Swiffer Jets Only. Anything else Damages the Enviroment.”

kingsjester on September 18, 2009 at 12:29 PM

This administration is one big myth.

NoFanofLibs on September 18, 2009 at 12:24 PM

I wish that a myth was all that it is.

farright on September 18, 2009 at 12:30 PM

AnninCA on September 18, 2009 at 12:23 PM

Tread officially hijacked and derailed at 12:23 pm.

Knucklehead on September 18, 2009 at 12:30 PM

A few more myths fairy tales from the White House

Better.

progressoverpeace on September 18, 2009 at 12:31 PM

Knucklehead on September 18, 2009 at 12:30 PM

Thank you, ma’am, for noting the time. Quite predictable, huh?

kingsjester on September 18, 2009 at 12:32 PM

What’s the deal with Blue Cross/Blue Shield? Aren’t they non-profit health insurance companies that operate in most states? What are their premiums like?

rbj on September 18, 2009 at 12:33 PM

This administration is one big myth LIE
NoFanofLibs on September 18, 2009 at 12:24 PM

Sorry, HAD to fix that.

Chainsaw56 on September 18, 2009 at 12:34 PM

yeah, if you want an HSA, call me. I’m an expert. Click my user name and get the number.

ThackerAgency on September 18, 2009 at 12:34 PM

You Lie!

Oh, wait…

Dave R. on September 18, 2009 at 12:34 PM

You’re likely to end up being broke from lawyer fees after having given service to an administration. That’s a real problem.

AnninCA on September 18, 2009 at 12:28 PM

It’s a problem only if you’re a conservative Republican, the rest seem to get a free pass.

Tommy_G on September 18, 2009 at 12:35 PM

I’m shocked that this administration would lie.

txag92 on September 18, 2009 at 12:36 PM

AnninCA on September 18, 2009 at 12:28 PM

The Average Federal Employee makes TWICE as much as the Average Worker in America.

Many are also UNIONIZED.

See the connection yet?

Romeo13 on September 18, 2009 at 12:36 PM

yeah, if you want an HSA, call me. I’m an expert. Click my user name and get the number.

ThackerAgency on September 18, 2009 at 12:34 PM

Seriously? I need quotes for 5 employees in Illinois.

Knucklehead on September 18, 2009 at 12:37 PM

I vote for Ed to be health care czar! Totally agree with your suggestions, but you didn’t even mention Tort Reform.

kirkill on September 18, 2009 at 12:39 PM

This administration is one big myth lie.

NoFanofLibs on September 18, 2009 at 12:24 PM

There you go…

turfmann on September 18, 2009 at 12:40 PM

The Average Federal Employee makes TWICE as much as the Average Worker in America.

Many are also UNIONIZED.

See the connection yet?

Romeo13 on September 18, 2009 at 12:36 PM

You bet I do. I’ll earn my “Conservative badge” when we get to EFCA.

AnninCA on September 18, 2009 at 12:40 PM

Rick Tyler on Fox says Obama plans to pay for Obamacare with a Tax on Tampons

faraway on September 18, 2009 at 12:40 PM

I just finished reading Krauthammer’s latest up on Drudge detaailing Obama’s prevarications in his joint-session speech, it’s a doozy and I highly reccommend it.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/17/AR2009091703329_pf.html

Within it’s paragraphs, this is the money line, with small correction. “Obama doesn’t lie. He merely elides, gliding from one dubious assertion to another. This has been the story throughout his whole health-care crusade carreer.

FIFY

Archimedes on September 18, 2009 at 12:42 PM

Rick Tyler on Fox says Obama plans to pay for Obamacare with a Tax on Tampons
faraway on September 18, 2009 at 12:40 PM

There are so many quips there I dare not expound upon. Where’s HornetSting when I need her?

kingsjester on September 18, 2009 at 12:42 PM

What’s the deal with Blue Cross/Blue Shield? Aren’t they non-profit health insurance companies that operate in most states? What are their premiums like?

rbj on September 18, 2009 at 12:33 PM

They had a good reputation, established the 80′s. Then, they got into the ring about private competition. There are now horrible and numerous lawsuits.

They have turned into a mass marketer type, who will take your premiums and then scour for reasons to deny benefits if you actually dare to apply for them.

It’s dispicable.

AnninCA on September 18, 2009 at 12:42 PM

The REASON that we have over 50% of employees insured by employer self-insured plans is so that these employers can avoid providing state-mandated benefits, often ranging from the ridiculous to the absurd. The provisions of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA 1974) trumped state laws and prohibited mandating self-insured plans to cover these benefits. As the state mandates became more unreasonable, growth in self-insured plans took off.

This faux issue of “lack of competition” always comes back to states’ mandates.

DrStock on September 18, 2009 at 12:43 PM

All well and good, but my Connecticut based son, who is my dependent while he’s in school, and hence is supposedly covered by my health plan, still has to return to California for medical care if it’s to be paid for by my medical plan.

unclesmrgol on September 18, 2009 at 12:44 PM

What’s the deal with Blue Cross/Blue Shield?

I suppose it depends who is contracted with them. I get BCBS through my wife’s extremely generous employer, and under that umbrella there is coverage of things you didn’t even know existed.

Bishop on September 18, 2009 at 12:46 PM

He lyes. Self insured is still a way to healthcare. Amish are self insured. Lancaster Pa gives self insured Amish a 25% discount. Amish don’t make the hospital jump thru hoops and paperwork.
The big lie is denuied healthcare. They may reject giving it away but they will take people that pay. Car dealers don’t deny cars to people that pay.

seven on September 18, 2009 at 12:47 PM

A few more myths from the White House

SSDD

cmsinaz on September 18, 2009 at 12:47 PM

You’re likely to end up being broke from lawyer fees after having given service to an administration. That’s a real problem.

AnninCA on September 18, 2009 at 12:28 PM

Not if you’re a Democrat.

Del Dolemonte on September 18, 2009 at 12:48 PM

AnninCA on September 18, 2009 at 12:23 PM

Tread officially hijacked and derailed at 12:23 pm.

Knucklehead on September 18, 2009 at 12:30 PM

Just seemed like more incoherent babbling to me. Must be off her Meds – trying to save the health care industry.

kirkill on September 18, 2009 at 12:49 PM

What’s the deal with Blue Cross/Blue Shield? Aren’t they non-profit health insurance companies that operate in most states? What are their premiums like?

rbj on September 18, 2009 at 12:33 PM

I don’t know if they’re non-profit. I doubt it. I have BC/BS, my premium is around $225 a month, $1500 deductible, 20% co-insurance with a max of $2500 a year. So the most I can pay out of pocket per year is $4000 and that’s worst case scenario. They have never denied me a single request for service and this has included two surgeries.

angryed on September 18, 2009 at 12:50 PM

It’s a turning point. Is healthcare better managed through gov’t intervention?

Let’s be real. If the private industry had provided a good product at a fair price, there would be no window for this discussion.

There are huge problems. We all know it.

Time to knock off fantasy thinking.

AnninCA on September 18, 2009 at 12:50 PM

That would mean that people would be responsible for their own actions/decisions and have to live with the consequences. That is absolutely taboo in the left-wing world.

suburbanite on September 18, 2009 at 12:51 PM

All well and good, but my Connecticut based son, who is my dependent while he’s in school, and hence is supposedly covered by my health plan, still has to return to California for medical care if it’s to be paid for by my medical plan.

unclesmrgol on September 18, 2009 at 12:44 PM

Precisely the reason to get Da Guv out of healthcare, if not for Guv reg’s your policy would be transportable across state lines.

The constitution, that we’ve allowed politicians to subvert for too long, is only hope to bring this country back to sanity.

Once, and/or if, the investigations regarding ACORN, Obama and his minions is allowed to follow their course numerous illegalities (Some most probably of a constitutional nature.) we may find the basis for impeachment. Bet on it!

Archimedes on September 18, 2009 at 12:55 PM

Let’s be real. If the private industry had provided a good product at a fair price, there would be no window for this discussion.

AnninCA on September 18, 2009 at 12:50 PM

So, your very first thought was the government?

faraway on September 18, 2009 at 12:55 PM

That would mean that people would be responsible for their own actions/decisions and have to live with the consequences. That is absolutely taboo in the left-wing world.

suburbanite on September 18, 2009 at 12:51 PM

I don’t think people who fill out an application fairly, pay premiums, and then get purged are irresponsible.

Blue Cross has class-action lawsuits based on the most flimsy excuses ever for purging people who dare to really apply for benefits.

They are going to lose, too.

Assurant just lost a big one in South Carolina. Now, really. You tell me that state court is too liberal.

These are issues, in my opinion, that both liberals and conservatives SHOULD agree upon.

AnninCA on September 18, 2009 at 12:57 PM

Let’s be real. If the private industry had provided a good product at a fair price, there would be no window for this discussion.

AnninCA on September 18, 2009 at 12:50 PM

So, your very first thought was the government?

faraway on September 18, 2009 at 12:55 PM

Government is the problem, but lib-tards can’t see that. Did she bother reading Ed’s ideas? Can we not try those? Can we not remove some of the current government regulation? Have we tried health savings accounts? Noooo, so let’s just throw the baby out with the bath water, and give it all up to that umm, community organizer. That’s worked out so well with everything else.

kirkill on September 18, 2009 at 12:59 PM

Nice info, Ed. Many large companies will use actuaries to do cost comparisons between self insuring their employees versus paying health insurance premiums. As the number of employees becomes smaller the risks of self insuring become too great.

As individuals, most families decide how much risk they are willing to take in all insurance areas including deductibles. This includes auto, life, home, burial, pet, and health insurance. If a company finds that they can save money by buying the ‘government’ plan they will. Since so many companies are self insuring it can only be because it is cheaper for them to do so.

Once the government changes the rules the companies will adapt to the least costly requirements, and the assumptions made by the CBO will be out the window. The government (we the people) will be left holding the bag for a vastly more expensive program than any official group has yet projected.

GnuBreed on September 18, 2009 at 1:00 PM

Let’s be real. If the private industry had provided a good product at a fair price, there would be no window for this discussion.

AnninCA on September 18, 2009 at 12:50 PM

The only hinderence to the private sector to provide said product at a “fair” (the most mis-used word on the planet) price is GOVERNMENT!

Archimedes on September 18, 2009 at 1:02 PM

AnninCA on September 18, 2009 at 12:50 PM

Sigh… basic economics lesson.

Every Medical facility has overhead… Offices and such… and labratories… and salary costs for staff.

These add up to a certain amount…

They can only see SO many patients in a day.

Now, if some of those patients, by government fiat, pay LESS than what the shared cost should be, then you HAVE to pass that cost on to your other patients, or go out of business.

Medicare, Medicaid, and even Champus Prime, ALL pay way less for services to Doctors than charge the rest of their patients. They then HAVE to pass those cost on or go out of business.

TANSTAAFL… There Aint NO Such Thing as a Free Lunch… which is why OTHER peoples medical costs are increasing so rapidly… because Medicare and Medicaid lag further and further behind, and cover more and more of the Patient population as the Boomers age…

Thus, more and more of the patient pool, are paying LESS for their services, thus forcing costs up artificialy on those who still have “standard” insurance.

Artificial Price inflation due to GOVERNMENT policy.

Romeo13 on September 18, 2009 at 1:08 PM

Well, you guys can all assert that healthcare is just in fine shape, and liberals are proposing this only to take over and establish power, yadda, yadda.

But that’s not the real experience of RL people.

Healthcare is scary and needs reform.

It’s not enough to suggest it’s part of some nefarious conspiracy to take over power.

You need to address real people and real issues.

I wait to hear your ideas.

AnninCA on September 18, 2009 at 1:09 PM

AnninCa,

What you fail to take into account is that govermaental mandates have been found (Lewin Group) to be responsible for 20-50% of current costs of healthcare, varying state by state.

If you merely remove the Guv you save 20-50% off the top, if you add yet more count on an additional 20-50% , to our already govermentally inflated costs!

Reagan had it boiled down to its very core, “Government isn’t the solution to our problems, government is the problem.”

Archimedes on September 18, 2009 at 1:09 PM

Not a Myth!

HE LIED!

BigMike252 on September 18, 2009 at 1:14 PM

Precisely the reason to get Da Guv out of healthcare, if not for Guv reg’s your policy would be transportable across state lines.

Archimedes on September 18, 2009 at 12:55 PM

Not necessarily. If the law congress passed restricting competition were rescinded, there’s no guarantee that the policy would work across state lines.

There’s a heightened probability, but not a certainty.

In addition, there’s a “follow the money” issue here. Who exactly paid off Congress to restrict healthcare in this fashion?

unclesmrgol on September 18, 2009 at 1:17 PM

unclesmrgol on September 18, 2009 at 1:17 PM

Yeah, its interesting how the government is funding the consolidation of the Banking Industry, yet keeps all the various Health care companies seperated by State Boundaries…

If you look at Blue Shield, you find they are NOT a National Company, but that each State has its own BCBS company… which of course leads to varying results depending on who is running the show…

Romeo13 on September 18, 2009 at 1:23 PM

…in many cases they don’t know who’s actually paying the bills.

This is what is known in economics as “3rd-party payer.” When someone perceives that they are spending somebody else’s money, they are far less likely to know or care what the price is.

The answer is, as you say, HSAs. Even if the money funding them comes from some third party, when you know that you’re working with a finite amount and anything over and above that comes out of your pocket, you treat it like your own money.

Kafir on September 18, 2009 at 1:24 PM

Annin:

“Well, you guys can all assert that healthcare is just in fine shape…”

No we haven’t.

“I wait to hear your ideas.”

Try reading. Maybe start with Ed’s column above. How about start with Tort Reform? How about removing interstate regulations? How about expelling illegals and securing the border?

kirkill on September 18, 2009 at 1:25 PM

I don’t think people who fill out an application fairly, pay premiums, and then get purged are irresponsible.

The Democrats want to absolve people of having to make any and all decisions with regards to health care. The Democrats don’t want people to chose what health plan is best for them. They don’t want people to have to weigh the pros and cons of different insurance plans or even if they want insurance and have to fit those premiums into a budget. They don’t want people to even make their own decisions as to what care is appropriate.

I am not defending the current system because there is so much legislation hampering it. However, taking this decision making process away from the people is nothing but pure socialism. If people want health insurance, they should have to put in the effort to know what they’re getting and live with their decisions. This same attitude about absolving people of responsibility for their own personal credit decisions permeates left-wing thinking.

suburbanite on September 18, 2009 at 1:31 PM

I was a little concerned for a moment there but then I saw Barry O’s lips were moving so I knew he was lying.

TrickyDick on September 18, 2009 at 1:39 PM

The rationale of collectivists throughout history for the failings of their policies is forever the same. That is, that the only failure is that not enough people suffer it’s consequences.

Why is our healthcare broken after 80 odd years of implementing collectivist policies, not everyone is covered. Or as I would state it, not everyone is subjected to it.

Why did the collectivism of the USSR fail? It was unable the to accomplish it’s global plan and the evil individualists/capitalists got in the of it’s aspirations.
Put another way, some decided to “opt-out” of their grand design.

The reason collectivists must include everyone in their munificience, is to eliminate the possibility of someone’s circumstances being better by example. Eradicate examples of superiority and whose to argue that your ideology is inferior?

Collectivist’s mandated inclusiveness always results in authoritarian over reach. The totalitarian proclivities of the Obamas’ is evident for all to see in Michelle’s speech at USC…

“Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your divisions. That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zones. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed.”

Requiring , demanding and never allowing, are the heart and soul of authoritarian tyranny. And it is at the heart and soul of their plans for America!

Archimedes on September 18, 2009 at 1:40 PM

Rick Tyler on Fox says Obama plans to pay for Obamacare with a Tax on Tampons

faraway on September 18, 2009 at 12:40 PM

Oh, this will do wonders for his poll numbers!

ya2daup on September 18, 2009 at 1:42 PM

Let’s be real. If the private industry had provided a good product at a fair price, there would be no window for this discussion.

There are huge problems. We all know it.

Time to knock off fantasy thinking.

AnninCA on September 18, 2009 at 12:50 PM

That argument would make sense if we were currently working with a truly free-market system. We are not. By changing the tax laws in the 1940′s to incent companies to provide health care to their employees, Congress created the 3rd-party payer system we have now that lets prices get out of control. Then, to make matters worse, Congress introduced single payer in the 1960′s with Medicare and Medicaid. The resulting price controls caused costs to go up on everyone else.

Therefore, since government created the problem, the real fantasy thinking is that more government involvement is the solution.

Kafir on September 18, 2009 at 1:44 PM

Not necessarily. If the law congress passed restricting competition were rescinded, there’s no guarantee that the policy would work across state lines.

There’s a heightened probability, but not a certainty.

In addition, there’s a “follow the money” issue here. Who exactly paid off Congress to restrict healthcare in this fashion?

unclesmrgol on September 18, 2009 at 1:17 PM

The key word in this statement is “guaranty”, there-in lay the very problem. In life, there are no guarantees, none, nada, zilch! Collectivist ideology is always propounding that they can guaranty something. That despite the historical existence of Gallileo, Da Vinci, Espinoza, Einstien, Newton, Democritus and Disraeli to name just a few, it is they that are the geniuses that’ll suspend the laws of nature and enact a utopian paradise that no real person of serious intellect would ever presume.

This line of thinking is elitist, narcissistic and dangerous. And EVERY TIME we fall under the spell of their inflated we ego’s we pay a horrendous price!

Archimedes on September 18, 2009 at 1:52 PM

Precisely the reason to get Da Guv out of healthcare, if not for Guv reg’s your policy would be transportable across state lines.

Archimedes on September 18, 2009 at 12:55 PM

Assumming each state’s regs accepted the policy. And there’s the rub. Does the path to remove barriers require federalizing health insurance regulations? (The bills presently in Congress think it does.) Or should the states work through the issue?

ya2daup on September 18, 2009 at 1:52 PM

A list of lies needs to be documented and sourced and SENT CERTIFIED MAIL TO THE PRESIDENTS OF EACH MSM NEWS DIVISION AND TO EVERY ANCHOR AND REPORTER. We need to start documenting evidence of their systemic corruption.

marklmail on September 18, 2009 at 2:00 PM

Assumming each state’s regs accepted the policy. And there’s the rub. Does the path to remove barriers require federalizing health insurance regulations? (The bills presently in Congress think it does.) Or should the states work through the issue?

ya2daup on September 18, 2009 at 1:52 PM

The origial intent and pupose of the coommerce clause was to inure the free flow of commerce. To enforce the premise that states could not by law institute intra-state protectionism. Therefore, states can not bar insurance policies offered in one, in their own.

This demonstrates just how far our constsitution has been perverted by pols whose interests lay not with their constituents, but with special interests who fill their coffers.

Our salvation lies in our original (non-effing-living) constitution!

Archimedes on September 18, 2009 at 2:09 PM

Rick Tyler on Fox says Obama plans to pay for Obamacare with a Tax on Tampons

faraway on September 18, 2009 at 12:40 PM

Oh, this will do wonders for his poll numbers!

ya2daup on September 18, 2009 at 1:42 PM

Er..ah..hmmm..er..ah….well (slowly backing out of the room without saying the joke I was thinking) er..ah..well….

Jeff from WI on September 18, 2009 at 2:20 PM

If this crap passes, I’m going to let the vet be my new physician. It can’t be any worse than what we’ll face under this Obamacrap.

capejasmine on September 18, 2009 at 2:20 PM

I don’t think people who fill out an application fairly, pay premiums, and then get purged are irresponsible.
***
These are issues, in my opinion, that both liberals and conservatives SHOULD agree upon.
AnninCA on September 18, 2009 at 12:57 PM

You have a really, really good point here. Insurance is a weird product. The consumer has all the power in the insurance relationship when the consumer is buying his/her policy. But once the consumer buys the policy and then has to make a claim, suddenly it’s the insurance company holding all the cards. And they have you over a barrel.

Generally, my free market instincts tell me that insurance companies who behave badly would get negative reputations and would lose profit. But the historical evidence just didn’t show that to be true. The ability to drop a high-cost insured or to deny or delay paying claims was just too profitable. Casualty insurers (i.e. homeowner’s and car insurance), in fact, got so abusive that most states now have statutory or case law-created causes of action for unfair settlement practices. In my state, if a casualty insurer tries to screw you or drags its feet in paying a claim, you can sue and get punitive damages and your attorneys’ fees paid. Nowadays, people don’t generally get jacked around too badly on their car and homeowner’s insurance claims.

My point is that a better way to protect consumers against unfair insurance company practices is to regulate the insurance companies, NOT to have the government actually take them over.

Outlander on September 18, 2009 at 2:24 PM

If this crap passes, I’m going to let the vet be my new physician. It can’t be any worse than what we’ll face under this Obamacrap.

capejasmine on September 18, 2009 at 2:20 PM

I liked our vet too. I wonder if she’ll stock treats for me if I’m a patient.

Jeff from WI on September 18, 2009 at 2:26 PM

Assumming each state’s regs accepted the policy. And there’s the rub. Does the path to remove barriers require federalizing health insurance regulations? (The bills presently in Congress think it does.) Or should the states work through the issue?
ya2daup on September 18, 2009 at 1:52 PM

Due to ERISA, most health insurance regulation already does come from the federal government.

Outlander on September 18, 2009 at 2:27 PM

Ed: this is an excellent post.

This faux issue of “lack of competition” always comes back to states’ mandates.

DrStock on September 18, 2009 at 12:43 PM

Thanks for chiming in this comment.

For me, the healthcare issue goes beyond ideology. The problem is that I know the Dems’ expensive, government-control plan isn’t the answer and the GOP is only smart enough to get half the answer correct.

I don’t see how we can arrive at smart solutions when the correct information isn’t out there. State mandates and employer self-insurance are two important factors that few, if any, voters know anything about.

I really wish the GOP would boil the health insurance industy issues down to some talking points so that voters could understand what’s really going on. Otherwise, we’re going to wind up with the Dems’ Rube Goldberg solution that they’ll lay on top of two or three existing Rube Goldberg systems. And that’s not going to solve anything.

It’s time to prove that all the Dems are interested in is our enslavement.

BuckeyeSam on September 18, 2009 at 2:39 PM

Ed and all–there’s a very real problem with self-insured plans. If the company files for Chapter 7 (liquidation) bankrupcy or otherwise terminates its health care plan, both current participants and participants who would have or did elect COBRA are out of luck. They have no coverage.

Jimbo3 on September 18, 2009 at 2:42 PM

rbj
In Texas a former employee from BCBS received a $14 million award for mental stress from shredding customer letters and doctor claims. Even cancer patients who needed the help.

You’d figure the idiot would find her spine and not shredd the paperwork. But money makes everything better.

meMC on September 18, 2009 at 2:55 PM

All well and good, but my Connecticut based son, who is my dependent while he’s in school, and hence is supposedly covered by my health plan, still has to return to California for medical care if it’s to be paid for by my medical plan.

unclesmrgol on September 18, 2009 at 12:44 PM

–Uncle, most plans cover out of network services. Your out of pocket costs are just higher (and the percentage covered is lower). You might want to check on that.

Jimbo3 on September 18, 2009 at 3:12 PM

Not necessarily. If the law congress passed restricting competition were rescinded, there’s no guarantee that the policy would work across state lines.

There’s a heightened probability, but not a certainty

–So isn’t that why you’d want to set up the exchanges or co-ops. There’s a much higher chance of competition if they are involved.

Jimbo3 on September 18, 2009 at 3:18 PM

Excellent post.

When I heard that 90% figure for Alabama, I knew in my gut it was not true.

Now I know why.

I’ll bet the last company I worked at was self-insured working through BC/BS, although I don’t know for sure.

Just reinforces the problem of lack of incentive to save money since the insurance co. (or the co. using self-insur.)pays the damn bill and we never see it.

Of course we are gonna go for the healthcare service if we don’t have to worry about the cost.

God, I wish my past employers simply gave me all the money that would have cost them to insure me. Then I could have bought a catastrophic plan and saved the savings for investment or later use.

Sapwolf on September 18, 2009 at 3:45 PM

In the end, we need fierce, open competition in the insurance industry that crosses state boundaries.

There are many crap insur. companies that still are in operation because there is a lack of competition.

With full-blown competition, the bad companies will quickly get a reputation for sticking it to patients and doctors and they will go under.

Just give me that reform with my catastrophic plan / $5k deductible with my up-to-$5k deferred medical savings account with rollforward and tort reform and you now have the makings of REAL REFORM.

Sapwolf on September 18, 2009 at 3:51 PM

The problem with health care isn’t a lack of competition. It’s a lack of pricing transparency and consumer control over behavior. If we want to solve the actual problems, putting government in charge is the worst possible direction we can take. We need consumers to take charge by actually seeing the pricing and making rational decisions accordingly.

Reminds me of a caller I heard on Rush. She got a quote of like $200 or so for an x-ray from someone. She kept “shopping” and finally paid $20 for the same thing!

johnnybgood on September 18, 2009 at 4:19 PM

No surprise here – anything that comes out of that man’s mouth should be investigated as should anything spouted by his administration. I honestly don’t recall a more frightening president.

Sure looks like the ‘Road to Perdition’ to moi. . . .

karra on September 18, 2009 at 6:07 PM

Let’s be real. If the private industry had provided a good product at a fair price, there would be no window for this discussion.

AnninCA

Yes, let’s get real. Over 70% of insurance owners are happy with their plan. If private industry was screwing people over left and right in that fantasy land you call reality, they would have been out of business years ago.

If government promised to give people a million dollars for doing nothing, there’d be a window for that discussion too.

Time to knock off fantasy thinking.

AnninCA

You first, ms. clueless.

xblade on September 18, 2009 at 6:30 PM

If the company files for Chapter 7 (liquidation) bankrupcy or otherwise terminates its health care plan, both current participants and participants who would have or did elect COBRA are out of luck. They have no coverage.

Jimbo3

They can buy coverage whenever they want….most likely for less than COBRA would have been.

xblade on September 18, 2009 at 6:37 PM

“Hey everybody! Good to be here…what does self-insured mean? Huh? No, really…I don’t know. ”

Later….”then we’re gonna go after those evil self-insured employers, who steal money and accounts from the health insurance companies who are barely able to survive as it is and increase costs……”

BobMbx on September 18, 2009 at 7:02 PM

There’s an easy way to tell if your company is self insured. Look at how much time and money they spend on wellness, fitness and health initiatives. They don’t really care much about your health and wellness. They pretend to because your health impacts productivity and their insurance cost.

Stephen Macklin on September 18, 2009 at 7:24 PM

Assumming each state’s regs accepted the policy. And there’s the rub. Does the path to remove barriers require federalizing health insurance regulations? (The bills presently in Congress think it does.) Or should the states work through the issue?

ya2daup on September 18, 2009 at 1:52 PM

I think the states should work out this issue… at least some of the states will get it right.

There’s a reason why Kalifornia, New York, Illinois, et al have so many more unemployment, tax issues, and the like: they’re all leftist!

But if you live in Kalifornia, and you’re willing to change your views, a state like Utah or Idaho might be your ticket.

If the entire U.S. get’s screwed at once, where are we going to go? Canada? Mexico?

Some states are just going to screw around and bankrupt themselves because that’s all the leadership there is good at. Key word there is some. Not all state governments are so self centered.

Chaz706 on September 18, 2009 at 9:21 PM

Bozo the clown’s wife is pretty smart…liar, liar pants on fire.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_akfeFJ-v0

njpat on September 19, 2009 at 12:08 AM