My Obamacare Debate With Nearly Every Democrat

SCENE:  Mitch BERG is cutting brush with a sawzall.   Avery LIBRELLE walks through the alley and catches BERG unawares.

LIBRELLE:  Hey, Merg!

BERG:  Er, hey, Avery.  I’m kinda busy…

LIBRELLE:  The GOP’s Obamacare repeal will throw people off their insurance policies.

BERG:  Nah, that’s what the subsidy and tax cuts and medicaid are for

LIBRELLE:   You won’t lower bills!

BERG:  Well, that’s what the free market is for.

LIBRELLE:   But you’ll throw people off their insurance.

BERG:  Nah, that’s what the subsidy and tax cuts and medicaid are for

LIBRELLE:   You won’t lower bills!

BERG:  Well, that’s what the free market is for.

LIBRELLE:   But you’ll throw people off their insurance.

BERG:  Nah, that’s what the subsidy and tax cuts and medicaid are for

LIBRELLE:   You won’t lower bills!

BERG:  Well, that’s what the free market is for.

LIBRELLE:   But you’ll throw people off their insurance.

BERG:  Nah, that’s what the subsidy and tax cuts and medicaid are for

LIBRELLE:   You won’t lower bills!

BERG:  Well, that’s what the free market is for.

LIBRELLE:   But you’ll throw people off their insurance.

BERG:   You realize you’ve  just repeated the same recursive series of denials three times?

LIBRELLE:  Misogynist!

BERG:   Er, are you a…er…

And SCENE

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41 thoughts on “My Obamacare Debate With Nearly Every Democrat

  1. SCENE: Mitch BERG is cutting brush with a sawzall. Avery LIBRELLE walks through the alley and catches BERG unawares. Mitch instinctively sweeps with a sawzall turning white rose bushed into red. And SCENE

  2. The main reason that health insurance plans are expensive, of course, is because medical care is expensive, and the GOP bill doesn’t do anything about that either.

    There is the problem. Healthcare is not really a free market product. In order to be a free market product the consumer must be able to walk away from the product. Give that a try the next time you go for chemotherapy, need kidney dialysis or, say, rupture your spleen. Rather than spending time doing the medical equivalent of window shopping which is more appropriate for elective procedures. In most cases, the transaction between the patient/buyer and the provider/seller is coerced. That is, when you’re sick, you can’t simply walk out of the market. You have to buy care from someone—or else.

  3. Emery, that’s the best example I can find of your Liberal mindset: there is a problem, there must be an immediate solution, and everyone must use that solution, like it or not.

    When my favorite cousin’s brain cancer came back, she said NO, she wouldn’t go through it again. She chose palliative care alone. Bravest woman I’ve ever met and I miss her every day. They had great insurance, she could have gone through the treatment, but she walked away, preferring to spend the deductible and out-of-pocket money they would have spent on doctors to go on a trip with her husband.

    You’re talking out of your *** again. It shows.

  4. Shakespeare was WAY ahead of you: “Nothing is good or bad but thinking makes it so.”

  5. The main reason that health insurance plans are expensive, of course, is because medical care is expensive, and the GOP bill doesn’t do anything about that either.

    And why is medical care so expensive? Why, it is because doctors are sooooo greedy! Every word you say proves it has to come from your *** since there is no cognitive thinking involved, not that you are capable of any, other then regurgitating Marxist talking points du jour.

  6. Auto insurance can be expensive, too, and you’re required to buy it. Yet somehow the insurance companies find a way to compete on everything from price to customer service to witty commercials. In California in the ’80s, though, the government got involved in it and all of a sudden it cost an arm and a leg – if you could find an insurer, that is.

  7. Look at what the Free Market has done to the price of Lasik Surgery and Boob Jobs. God Bless America!

  8. My sympathies to you and your family regarding your cousin. And I apologize for not including this in my initial response.

    It seems to me the only reasonable choices are:
    a) Everybody pays the same regardless of their health.
    b) Everybody pays a fraction of their own costs, or
    c) Everybody is entirely responsible for their own healthcare.
    Nobody is prepared to adopt option c, so public policy is limited to choosing either option a or some degree of option b.

    Because of the complications and distortions of the healthcare market, a monopsony is one way to effectively force doctors and hospitals to reduce costs and increase efficiencies. You have to be willing to use your monopsony to pay the doctors, pharmaceutical companies, and hospitals a lot less. The trick is to not just screw them with your monopsony power, but encourage them to become more efficient by paying higher margins on efficient courses of treatment, than inefficient ones. Otherwise we’ll still be paying the premium for all those over-priced pharmaceuticals that we’re not legally permitted to buy for one tenth of the price in Canada or Europe.

  9. “Look at what the Free Market has done to the price of Lasik Surgery and Boob Jobs.”
    Again, those are elective procedures.

  10. Nobody is prepared to adopt option c

    I am. An I am sure most of the visitors to this blog, as well as other untold millions in the flyover country ignored by the elites you take your direction from. But I cannot be sure if it is 10, 20 or 100 million people. I cannot be that precise. But since one is more then “Nobody”, consider your argument logically destroyed. As all your arguments usually are. BTW, how is that prediction of yours that Article 50 will not be invoked holding up? Just pointing out that you are almost always wrong. But never, ever have you admitted that. EVER. Proving you have no capacity to learn. And to learn you require cognitive ability. Which proves you have none. Moving on…

  11. Everyone is aware of this, it was tongue in cheek. As it is in all humor, it’s grounded in truth.

    “Look at what the Free Market has done to the price of Lasik Surgery and Boob Jobs.”
    Again, those are elective procedures.

  12. The purpose of insurance is to spread risk.

    The purpose of Obama/Ryan Care is to spread cost.

    Two completely different things.

  13. Regarding Emery’s notion that one cannot “walk away” from healthcare, neither can one “walk away” from one’s need to get food, clothing, housing, or really for that matter transportation or work. So taken to its logical conclusion, Emery’s idea would more or less jettison all of economics for anything besides truly discretionary spending–which is not that much of my budget, to put it mildly.

    Sound economics–as opposed to Emery’s version–addresses that reality by noting that some commodities are substitutes for others. In medical care, I personally substitute exercise and diet for a strong statistical likelihood that I’d need insulin, cholesterol drugs, and a very early triple bypass and stents in various places otherwise–some indicate depression drugs, too. I substitute sunscreen for therapies for melanoma, and chastity for STD treatments.

    Estimates vary widely, but even conservative estimates suggest that hundreds of billions of dollars of the annual medical bill could be saved with basic good health habits. Others (e.g. Joe’s cousin) think through end of life care and ask “is it worth it?”.

    Overall, the key is that the cost be brought home to the person receiving the product–that’s why, after all, car insurance and life insurance are affordable. You pay extra when you speed, drive drunk, get in a crash, or whatever. Why shouldn’t people pay extra when they’re fat, smoke, sleep around, and such?

  14. BB: I agree that the one of the key points about health care reform should be creating incentives for beneficial behaviors. I exercise strenuously every day, I eat only healthy foods (no processed junk ever) and I don’t smoke. My premiums and deductibles have risen the way it has for others.

    Why? Because I/we have to cover the costs of obese smokers. If you are a low-income individual you get a subsidy to smoke, eat too much, and never exercise. And where does this subsidy come from? It comes from you and me.

    Which is frankly insane. We know that half of all health care spending is a direct result of people making atrocious lifestyle choices. And the ACA encourages such poor choices because people like me, and companies with health care plans, have to pay for them. It would obviously be far more rational, and drive health care costs down instead of ever-upward, for insurance plans to penalize people for bad lifestyle choices and reward them for good lifestyle choices. This would ultimately result in a healthier society where genuinely sick people could get good treatment. Today the cash is spend on ameliorating the consequences of eating too much and exercising too little (or, more realistically, not at all).

  15. According to a couple of lawyer friends, overall healthcare costs would go down by 60%, if Congress had the stones to pass tort reform. Eliminating the contingency and limiting damages to a maximum of $3M for everything, would do it. Of course, I think that their 60% estimate is a little aggressive and we all know the likelihood of elected lawyers, improving the profession by doing so, has two chances of happening; slim and none.

    From what I’ve been able to ascertain, in the countries that have socialized medicine, malpractice and product liability suits are rare and if they go forward at all, damage awards are minimal.

    Everyone wants to live forever, but when the drug that is supposed to do that, doesn’t work on a few people, someone wants to get paid to make it all better.

  16. It’s easy to get depressed looking at the healthcare mess when all you’re seeing or hearing about is a variation on this unworkable model enforced on us by government intervention (going back to WWII, not the beginning of Obamacare). When the government gets involved you’ll only end up with whoever’s in charge making sure certain people/groups benefit at the expense of others (essentially the definition of “politics”).

    Nevertheless, I’m very excited by what I see happening (that is not being covered by the Fear-Stream Media). First of all, understand that healthcare and health insurance are not going to go away. People WANT it – and the market has a way of seeing that they get it, despite the encumbrances of government. There are many disruptive technologies and capabilities already in play locally and globally that are going to completely change the game over the next several years. What’s being learned in the areas of microinsurance and blockchain capabilities are laying the foundation for direct, distributed solutions that don’t require everything to run through the hands of an 800 lb. gorilla. When we look at the current U.S. and global “socialized” systems it’s easy to believe the world is run by brain-dead bureaucrats focused on turning everyone into brain-dead sheep. There are, in fact, many, many brilliant and clever people and companies that are working on ways to deliver what we want, when we want it, in an affordable manner. The current format is going to auger into the ground, and I say, “Godspeed.” What is already taking place, however, augurs well for a better future.

  17. Emery Incognito wrote:

    “In order to be a free market product the consumer must be able to walk away from the product.”

    False. Write less, read more.

  18. “Because of the complications and distortions of the healthcare market…”

    Switch to the Swiss system or something similar. All subsidy comes out of the treasury not premiums.

    Get people to manage fat deductibles. Catastrophic coverage.

    The problem is we are way late in the game to fix this without all of that Leftist monopsony crap E is talking about plus death panels.

    Government started this in WW2. The ACA made it way worse. This is going to be brutal.

  19. So taken to its logical conclusion, Emery’s idea would more or less jettison all of economics for anything

    Ding, ding, ding, we have a winner. The only good world order is the Marxist-soci@list one for the likes of e. Nothing less than Central Control and 5 year plans.

  20. The Sen. Michele Benson interview on Up And At Um is 1000% must listen. Same with Twila Braise on the bob Davis podcast.

  21. Peter Schiff had two extreamly good ones on health insurance, too, recently.

  22. My Obamacare debates are somewhat different.

    Reprobate Leftist: You Trumpkins will kill millions of children if you repeal the ACA.

    Swiftee: Suck it, scumbag. Go make me a sammich.

  23. I’ve always had the mental image that Avery Liberelle was female……..hence the misogyny.

  24. “I am going to replace it (ACA) with something terrific that is so much better, so much better, so much better. Americans will have great healthcare at a fraction of the cost. I am going to take care of everybody, I don’t care if it costs me votes. Everybody’s going to be taken care of much better than they’re taken care of now.”
    Donald J. Trump 2016

  25. Emery, concede the bigger point; health care is a market like any other, and bad things always happen when government pretends it can adjust the supply and demand curves. Just like rent control in New York, just like milk and corn subsidies. Always.

    And as NW notes, the end is coming for this simply because it’s not sustainable. The question is not if, but when, and whether we’ll do it gracefully, or whether we’ll do it with a catastrophe.

    A great start would be to equalize the tax treatment of employer paid health costs/insurance and those personally paid, and then go on to allow health insurance companies to ask the same questions that your life insurance company has been asking all these years. Smoking, dangerous hobbies and careers, sexual preference and habits (look up the cost of treating HIV if you doubt this, it is huge), lipids, height, weight….yeah, give this a try and watch the left scream a hissy fit. But it’s what’s needed to get these costs in line.

  26. “A great start would be to equalize the tax treatment of employer paid health costs/insurance and those personally paid, and then go on to allow health insurance companies to ask the same questions that your life insurance company has been asking all these years. Smoking, dangerous hobbies and careers, sexual preference and habits (look up the cost of treating HIV if you doubt this, it is huge), lipids, height, weight….yeah, give this a try and watch the left scream a hissy fit. But it’s what’s needed to get these costs in line.”

    Let insurance companies price risk. Don’t force ANYTHING into premiums other than risk.

    Concierge GPs can be as low as 50/ month per adult and the kid is $10. No kidding. Fat deductibles.

    Cut checks to the low income and people with preexisting conditions.

    Employer groups, the VA, Medicare, Medicaid, it’s all evil. Now we pay.

  27. I think that there is a consensus that government should see to it that every American has basic medical care. If you break your ankle you should get it taken care of wothout having to declare bankruptcy, regardless of whether you are poor or rich.
    One the biggest problems with the idea that everyone should carry their own weight is that the people most likely to engage in behavior that increases their health care costs are the least likely to be able to afford to pay for their health care, and the least likely to care that they can’t afford it. Unless you are a hardcore Libertarian, you aren’t going to look at someone who is overweight and has broken their hip and tell them that they are going to be left to die in agony.

  28. “I think that there is a consensus that government should see to it that every American has basic medical care.”

    This is so much harder to manage than it sounds. Plus you need a good economy to afford it no matter how you do it. Generalized prosperity.

  29. It depends on what you mean by “basic medical care,” TFS 🙂
    The reason the Left opposes government healthcare for everyone + private insurance is that you end up with a two tier system. Nice, white teeth for those that can afford to pay for them, cast iron dentures for those that can’t. It’s cheaper to pull teeth than to fix them.
    When you add in the fact that wealth in America has a racial dimension the problem looks even worse.

  30. “When you add in the fact that wealth in America has a racial dimension the problem looks even worse.”

    This is why I keep pushing you guys to pay attention to David Stockman. Woodrow Wilson really f’d up the structure of the economy. it’s a regressive inflationist war- oriented asset bubble system that sort of worked for a 100 years but it screwed more and more since about 1971. The way it equalizes is ***VOTING*** and ***GOVERNMENT***

    Now the government is out of money and the Fed is out of bullets.

    This is why I think we have to do something like an Americanized Swiss system, but after listening to Sen. Michele Bensen on up and at um, I can see how damn dangerous this type of thing is for the Republic. You give the Left an inch and they will take a mile by any means necessary. They have a millions of useful idiots to support ANYTHING they want to do.

    I think the big issue is, since we have the reserve currency we can borrow like crazy to paper over ineffective socialism and graft. Switzerland and Singapore have the insurance system I’m talking about and they can’t do that it works naturally by that force. Plus they have different cultures and Switzerland is far more federalized than we are.

    All modern central banking does is borrow from the future by creating debt. It makes government look good until it all collapses.

  31. Lately I’ve seen Leftists say they could have done a straight up or down on single payer instead of the ACA, as if the country would buy that. What bullshit.

  32. The insurance model’s purpose is to provide protection from the low likelihood but high impact events. Actuaries price it based on the risk (cost) of the event x the likelihood + administration and profit. Yes I said PROFIT since they are in business to make a profit.

    If you use insurance to pay for things that are assured to happen, then you’ll pay a higher cost than just paying for the thing itself. Insuring for events with a probability of 1 or close to 1 is just as silly as insuring for an event with a probability of 0 (ie: pregnancy coverage for men).

    Take for instance a flu shot. Its covered under insurance but why? Its $25 for me to get it at Minute Clinic – if I pay cash, we’re done – if we do insurance, I pay nothing now, but the cost of that service plus the processing is well north of $50 – likely $100 or more because of all the paperwork and people involved. That cost has to be paid from somewhere, and thats in the form of high premiums.

  33. “We have to cover the costs of obese smokers.”

    Obese smokers? Not innocent children, but fuming gluttons?

    We HAVE to? There is no other earthly alternative to paying for them?

    WE have to? Not the people whose lifestyle caused the problem, but us?

    The Communists have won.

  34. I think that there is a consensus that government should see to it that every American has basic medical care.

    No, there is no consensus. It is absolutely NOT the role of the government to provide. Basic medical care is not a “right”. It is a personal responsibility. Free, tort-reformed market would assure that the costs would be competitive enough that if you break an ankle, you will not go bankrupt. I should not be forced to pay a higher premium for somebody else’s broken ankle. Period.

  35. justplainangry: IMO, our system is too messed up for that, and politically they will never get it reformed enough. Mistake after mistake. Government is worthless.

  36. For my part, I’m happy to help pay for care for the poor as long as it’s a disease they didn’t clearly “earn.” In other words, cancer treatment for a kid? Sign me up and bill me. I’m not so keen on paying for lung cancer or HIV treatments, knowing that it’s “earned” 99% of the time.

  37. Sign me up and bill me.

    And still, it should be voluntary. Not under the muzzle of an IRS gun. And make it tax-deductible, like it should be. But who will administer such a program?

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