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Can somebody please tell me why we need Health Reform?

February 4th, 2010

My friend Brad posted the following on his facebook today:

Bought health insurance today for $80/month. That’s $20 less than my cable/internet bill and $20 less than a cell phone plan with unlimited talk, text, and web. Can somebody please tell me why we need Health Reform when something so important is cheaper then two non-important items?

Brad and I are for the most part on the same page when it comes to politics. Worst-case, we’re at least reading the same chapter of the same book. So I’d be preaching to the proverbial choir if I were to explain to you in detail the many valid cases reform (and by “reform” I really mean “repeal”). Here’s a short list to get you started:

  1. National Health Care will raise taxes on the middle class. Nobody likes higher taxes. Therefore, nobody should be in favor of national health care. Truth.
  2. Saying that no one should die because they can’t afford health care is the logically brain-dead equivalent of saying “nobody should ever die”. A fundamental, objective fact is that resources are scarce and they need to be allocated in one manner or another. This is basic metaphysics, people.
  3. Speaking of rationing vs. allocation
  4. And let’s be honest; the “debate” about health care reform isn’t really a debate at all.

With all that out of the way… When Brad says “reform” in this context, he’s clearly addressing a broader population, many of whom are under the impression that the current market for health care and related industries is a wild-west free-for-all of a marketplace that needs reining in, oversight, regulation, and control by the government in order to achieve some nebulously vague form of equity. Straight-talk, he’s using “reform” the way Pelosi et al are using the word “reform”.

Straw-man comments came in, like: “Some people cannot afford 80 bucks a month!” OK. Is this a means-tested $80 that they can’t afford? Are those people paying for cable TV, beer, a vacation house in Petoskey, waterskis, etc.? Or are they legitimately needy. Let’s cut the crap and call a turd a turd, OK. I want you to always think about how many people “can’t afford” health care (or whatever) and then ask yourself whether they really can’t afford it, or whether they’re choosing not to purchase it in lieu of something else. This is important, it will come up later and it will be on the final exam.

Continuing accusations suggest that the only reason Brad got such favorable premiums is because he’s in very good health (because he does the P90X workout a lot – he’s actually a P90X rockstar!), or that he couldn’t have gotten that rate with a pre-existing condition, etc., culminating in the absolute and total endarkenment of “Too bad for them, I guess they don’t deserve insurance anyways. I guess they will just die.” (cf., point 2, above) Anyone who makes this sort of statement is clearly not interested in discussion (cf., point 4, above).

Let me re-iterate what is probably the single, most important rule of insurance: it’s not “insurance” if you’re buying it after you’re affected. You don’t buy home insurance after your house burns down (or after someone lights it on fire), and if you’re talking about “insurance” in the context of someone who hasn’t taken it upon themselves to get insurance before they get sick or roll off a motorcycle, then you’re talking about welfare. Plain and simple.

Insurance is bought in advance, to protect against the risk that you might eventually fall ill or seriously injure yourself. If you do not buy insurance in advance then you are asking for welfare or charity and you are rolling the dice with your own well-being.

There is simply no justification for making me (or anyone else, for that matter) pay for your gambles.

I’ve talked about solutions to this problem before, but honestly folks, if you refuse to recognize the problem, then I just can’t talk to you any more.

Comments

7 Comments

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  • Don says on: February 4, 2010 at 11:05 am

     

    First off, the gov’t has messed up the nomenclature to where nobody knows what they are talking about and all sorts of assumptions are being made and very little in the way of fact.

    Second, why in the world would anybody pay $80 a month for something like that? Seems like all this *health* related stuff has become majorly stylish over the past 20 years or so and everybody wants to be on the catwalk.

    My parents never had insurance on themselves or any of us 5 kids, I have never had insurance on myself or my son, who is now 30, and never figured out the reason for it.

    Was looking over this thing yesterday http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/health_insurance/9189/adultbasic_benefit_chanages/646477 and came to the conclusion that most of the stuff I consider routine self-maintenance a lot of other people have been trained to believe is a necessary thing to hire other people to do or have been brainwashed into thinking they need to have it done by somebody. A yearly physical exam? Come on. Who has the time or money for such silliness? I’m 55 and haven’t had one since I left the army in 1978.

    I’ve got all kinds of working solutions for all this “health care” nonsense but I won’t litter this blog with stuff that every grown up should already be aware of concerning self maintenance issues.

    Suffice to say, the Rule of 8 applies here, when the gov’t gets involved the costs skyrocket and quality plummets, just like it always does and herd members are delusional idiots.

    And please, spare me the *what if* situations.

    Everybody wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die…..

  • Brad says on: February 4, 2010 at 2:13 pm

     

    Its funny how the other daily things I put up on my FB never get any comments until the health care one went up.

    @ Don – The policy I bought is a little more than catastrophic so it covers me in case of emergency. Dave and I go skiing out west every year in some wicked terrain. So its merely to protect myself in case I make a wrong turn and fall off a 30 foot cliff and wreck myself. Another reason is because I saw my buddy get bitten by a Copperhead Snake this year and the ambulance alone was $500. On a day to day basis I don’t need more than that. I’m actually thinking about getting the one under that and just paying for Dr. visits.

    Dave – I guess I needed to use a different word then reform. I’m still learning how all of this stuff is connected. I’m no expert but at least I’m willing to learn unlike my Uncle who flat out told me to F off when I told him to read just one of the books I’ve read which makes me think how I do now. Like you said, if you refuse to recognize the problem then I can’t talk to you. It becomes a “your too young to understand” thing where basically he throws up on my FB page without any solutions to the problem.

  • David Z says on: February 4, 2010 at 4:47 pm

     

    @Brad – no, using “reform” in the context you used it, and directed at the broader (non-libertarian) audience, I think is fine, because you were asking the Dems/Rep why we need (their particular brand of ) health “reform”. It’s a valid question especially directed to that audience.

  • Don says on: February 4, 2010 at 5:16 pm

     

    @Brad, if you can afford it and find value in insurance I have no problem with that. What I have a problem with are the crybabies that go running to the emergency room when their brat has a bloody nose and expect others to pick up the tab.

    I shot a 16d nail between my ring and little finger last summer and have a knee that comes out of joint sometimes, necessitating I pop it back in joint, from an 800 ft parachute fall back in 1975. I do dangerous stuff too but never felt the need to pay for insurance. I guess I’m just oldskool.

    Back in 1992 our son was diagnosed with scoliosis and the Drs. told us to hook up with the Shriners who will pick up the tab for the $90k operation to route out both sides of his spine and install steel rods. No way. We found a Dr in Louisiana that could fix him without surgery but the Shriners wouldn’t go for that and we had to pay the $40k cost from our own pocket. We didn’t whine and we didn’t beg. We circled our wagons, cinched our belts up a notch and paid the thing off in 2 years. We did the same thing 5 years prior when our son needed $3k worth of dental work. Thats how grown ups act and serve as direction for their children on how responsible people live.

    We now live in a world full of children of all ages.
    And the politicians act like the drunken step fathers.

    BTW: When I was single and used to fly internationally I’d buy that $500k policy from the American Express kiosk in the airport, assuring the plane wouldn’t crash and make my mother rich.

  • Chris says on: February 4, 2010 at 10:59 pm

     

    Thanks for pointing out that it’s “not insurance, it’s welfare.” I wrote a 1000 word letter to my “Public Policy Economics” professor last year explaining why unemployment insurance (as it is now anyway) is not insurance, but rather welfare. Needless to say, she wouldn’t budge. If there’s no risk hedging, there’s no insurance. Plain and simple. I don’t even care about the welfare that much when Orwellian doublespeak is just mind numbing.

  • Rights says on: February 6, 2010 at 4:26 am

     

    Good article. It’s also important to interject the ethical side of the argument and repudiate the morality of need at its root. No man has a moral claim upon my life. A person’s need is not a claim upon my mind, body, or property and I am not obligated (outside of a voluntary association eg., a fiduciary contract) to serve the needs, concerns, wishes, and wants of others.

  • Dan Z says on: February 6, 2010 at 9:08 pm

     

    In my current job I work with the dregs of society for a large portion of it, the majority of the ones I deal with on a daily basis are on medicaid and a slew of other government programs, collecting unemployment, bogus disability etc but sure as shit if I call the TV is on cable Im sure and when I call their cell phone numbers they have ring backs etc. These people afford all that shit, plus new shoes more often than not etc, brand name clothes but cant afford the necesseties if you see insurance to be one. Not sure what my point is here, mainly that this crisis is one of peoples own making for a large part of it I guess…

no third solution

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