My two cents on health care

How about Nancy Pelosi ranting against health insurance companies, calling them “immoral” and “the villains” in opposing a government takeover of health care (while of course keeping up their saintly and righteous campaign contributions to her). Details here. This is the “big lie” style of demagoguery that Democrats are adopting more and more.

The big lie in this case is Pelosi’s and Obama’s misdirection of blame. The biggest villains in our massively screwed-up health insurance industry are the federal and state governments and their lobby-driven tax policies, mandates and restrictions regarding what kinds of coverage the insurance companies are permitted and not permitted to offer, plus the market distortions resulting from Medicare and Medicaid and the requirement that coverage not cross state lines. The politicians have assaulted health care economics on all fronts for decades, and now they want to finish it off.

Let us recall how this state of affairs came to be.

During the severe labor shortage of World War II, the federal government enforced wage and price controls in an attempt to control inflation. Companies that wanted to hire workers could not legally attract them by offering higher wages. However, there was a loophole: companies could legally offer “benefits” such as free or subsidized medical coverage that was a tax-deductible expense for the companies.

This was the origin of the widespread practice of third-party payments in medical care, the gradual disconnect between medical supply and demand, and the dangerous idea among so many citizens that someone else should pay their routine medical bills.

But this was just the beginning. Insurance in other areas of the economy works reasonably well. It required much more massive government intervention than this to mess up the works in the health insurance field.

Imagine that the various levels of government regulated home insurance the way they regulate health insurance today. You couldn’t buy basic, high-deductible (and affordable) fire insurance, as you do today. You would be required to have flood insurance, earthquake insurance, mold and mildew insurance, broken toilet insurance, roto-rooter insurance, faded paint insurance, broken window insurance, and muddy-feet-on-the-carpet insurance.

Thus your costs of insurance would become unreasonable, maybe even unaffordable. But more importantly, your incentive to maintain your home yourself would disappear, and you would come to believe that your house is not your responsibility any more; that the greedy insurance companies are trying to screw you because they have an army of expensive bureaucrats to examine your every claim, and they don’t send someone to fix every little thing that goes wrong with your house. You and the insurance company would blame each other, while the true, unseen culprits were the politicians who set you in unseemly opposition to one other.

Thus the severe problems with health insurance spring from the bowels of the government, which now wants to take dictatorial control over all aspects of your health care, your body and your life.

Our American ancestors would have tarred and feathered the arrogant b******s.

The solution is to go in precisely the opposite direction: bring government regulation down to a halfway reasonable level, such as with home insurance, life insurance and auto insurance, where we don’t have government-caused “crises”.

But also, retire every last politician in Congress from either party who arrogantly presumes to vote for this outrageous “health care” bill.

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