Wednesday, October 30, 2013

One More Example of How Screwed Up Obamacare Is

My brother and his wife both just had their policies dropped, policies with which they were perfectly happy. When they asked why and were informed that the policies were now "non-conforming." The new policy, which will be significantly more expensive, will be required to have things like "pediatric dental care."

They have no young children.

This hell-born law was written by a legion of congressional staffers and lobbyists, who all stuck in goodies they wanted. I doubt more than a small handful of people ever read its 2000 pages. Certainly none of the Democrats who voted for it did (remember "We have to pass the bill to find out what's in it?"), and certainly not Obama. The details didn't matter. It was a huge muscle flex, a message that Democrats could do something "big," and not the least, a major f*** you to the Republicans. We are now bearing witness to the fact that it's impossible for any good to come out of a process like that. This just may be the worst piece of legislation in U.S. history.

One wonders when the rioting will start.


  1. Scott: I have not had my policy dropped, but it has been severely compromised: Only two-year coverage for catastrophic events, a higher deductible, and so forth.

    Although there should be riots in response to the massive screw-up that is Obamacare, the American "public" no longer gives the impression of thinking--rather they go through a series of emotional states scripted by the media.

  2. You understand how insurance works, don't you? This is a bit of a simplification, but you pay a premium for x,y, and z, hopefully you don't need any of those, but the premiums go into a pool, and hopefully if someone makes a claim for z there is enough money. Doesn't matter that this particular premium payer may never make a claim for, or need, z.

    It is easy to complain about things. Good on Obama for trying to fix something that is clearly broken. Main problem here is that medical care is too expensive, and by extension that means too many people can't afford it.

    What is the right way to fix the problem? In your opinion, and to the extent the Republican party has a coherent and cogent view, what is that?

  3. I do understand how insurance works, but apparently you might be a bit confused about one aspect of it. If I need say, fire insurance, I get fire insurance. It is put into a pool with lots of other people who need the same thing. Since we will not all have fires simultaneously, the risk is spread out - THAT'S what a risk pool is.

    We get insurance for only what we want. If I live on a mountaintop, no one holds a gun to my head and says I must also get flood insurance and pay more because of it. That is Obamacare, in a nutshell.

    Republicans have been proposing good solutions for years, it's just that you won't hear it on MSNBC. Tort reform has been proposed for decades, but Dems won't hear it since trial lawyers are a huge constituency. Being able to buy insurance across state lines is another big one. Lastly, making insurance deductible (in the form of health savings accounts) for individuals and not just corporations has been getting proposed ever since I can remember. Any three of these would drastically bring down the cost of healthcare, which is the fundamental problem.

  4. I don't think I am confused.

    Insurance risk pools are not always for a single risk. In your fire insurance example, most people get that as part of a homeowner's policy that protects against a number of risks. Including for example damage from the weight of snow and ice. A homeowner in Florida probably doesn't need that coverage, but is likely forced to pay for it. Kind of like your childless brother and his wife. But if it is dumb to have pediatric dental coverage in a health care policy maybe that will get changed. You have to start somewhere, and again, good on Obama for doing something to try to fix a system that is clearly broken.

    And amazing that he managed to get anything done given the current state of things in Washington. You seem to be a Cruz fan. I thought what McCain had to say about his recent stupidity was spot on, something along the lines of explaining that in vote in a democracy the majority normally wins.

    Back on fixing the health care system, this is worth a watch if you have not already seen it:

    On your three Republican ideas, two are nits, and the state line thing is maybe a larger nit. You are right that cost is the fundamental problem, and the institutional health care providers, insurance companies and hospitals, have private pricing deals and insanely opaque billing systems, they are in bed with each other, and with big pharma. The market has not been free, but it is closer to free than socialized, and intervention is required, our system is a joke compared to the rest of the developed world.

  5. No, a homeowner in Florida is absolutely not required to carry snow and ice protection. You are correct that insurance is often bundled, but this is for convenience sake, so we don't have to carry fifteen different policies. But they DO NOT bundle (and force us to pay for) things we don't need. This uniquely stupid idea is the province of Obamacare.

    And those ideas are hardly "nits." Tort reform alone would reduce costs significantly. Think of how many procedures are recommended right now that are pointless, but the MD has to play defense in case he is sued. Put a couple of drinks into any doctor you know sometime and you can get them to admit how massive a practice this is.

  6. I have a house in Florida but I don't have the policy handy. You seem to be a confident fellow, maybe you are right, but I think you have your blinders on. I do have the policy for my primary residence handy, and it has coverage for watercraft, but I don't have a boat.

    Fellow in the link I posted said tort reform is worth 2% of the total cost. I am thinking he did some homework. Do you disagree with his number? 2% is a nit. The larger problem is that like the failed experiment of rolling back regulation of and bailing out financial institutions, the hands off approach with the insurance companies, hospitals, medical equipment providers, pharma, is allowing them to take the country to the cleaners.

  7. Yes, I disagree with that number, because it only sites the frontline costs, i.e. the costs of the settlements and insurance. The much larger cost is defensive medicine, where a frightening number of unnecessary procedures are performed each year simply to avoid getting sued later. This number isn't cited because it's incalculable. There's another cost, too: how many people are deterred from becoming doctors because of the liability costs? A brain surgeon, for instance, pays hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in insurance premiums. As a result, the supply of doctors is reduced, and scarcity always drives prices higher. Obamacare, I might add, will exacerbate the problem of doctor supply enormously.

    P.S. I also have a house in Florida, and I am not forced to carry snow/ice insurance, or any other insurance I don't need.