An Obamacare apology to Obama

It doesn’t take much to turn a hard working person into a charity case and send them down the road to homelessness and worse. Despite doing everything right, that happens.

Health is one of the single biggest causes of bankruptcy, and it doesn’t have to be with insurance that everyone can access. That’s why I found this story (click) by one person who to all appearances worked very hard and did everything very right compelling. To find yourself in a situation where you look at the choice you made between health insurance and keeping your house, and consider yourself having made the wrong choice, is just wrong.

Yeah yeah, it’s the nanny state again, I know. But so is your car insurance and your house insurance. So are mine and everyone else’s. Why stop at including health care for all just because of a few people’s ideologically pure ideas about what constitutes “freedom” from government?

Government is just how we do things. So are insurance companies. They’d be the same  in the health field except private insurance companies have more rules, are crueler, and cost more.

Insurance companies call it a “loss” when the pay for our health care. Not sure that’s the best attitude in an organization that we all hope will, someday, fund medical procedures that will save our lives.

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24 Responses to An Obamacare apology to Obama

  1. Jim Hutchins says:

    Thanks for the link to our blog, Charlie. The best spin I can put on it is that “medical loss ratio” is one of those unfortunate terms of art that accountants come up with.

    It hides a larger problem in that medical loss ratios are a lousy way of measuring whether an insurance company is doing their job, but now it’s part of the law.

    We saw what happened with a similar set of metrics in No Child Left Behind.

  2. Owain says:

    The government does not provide my car insurance. Neither does the government provide insurance on my house. What does that have to do with nanny government? Regardless, why should government provide me with health insurance? It is not a requirement for it to do so, no matter how much you desperately wish that it were so.

    “To find yourself in a situation where you look at the choice you made between health insurance and keeping your house, and consider yourself having made the wrong choice, is just wrong.”

    Logically, this sentence makes no sense, any more than it would if I were to say, “To find yourself in a situation where you look at the choice you made between an X-Box 360 and a Sony Playstation, and consider yourself having made the wrong choice, is just wrong.” It doesn’t even make a whole lot of sense grammatically.

    Life is filled with trade offs. If you can’t afford both health insurance and home ownership, then you have a budgetary problem, not an ‘insufficient government’ problem.

    • Interested Bystander says:

      @Owain,

      Under Obamacare, the government doesn’t provide your health insurance. It REQUIRES THAT YOU HAVE IT, just like states require that you have auto insurance and lenders require that you have homeowner’s insurance.

      Choosing between health insurance and home ownership (or rent) is not equivalent to choosing between an XBOX and a Playstation. Please do some reading so that you understand the problem that government is trying to solve and the (partial) solution they’ve created, before you make comments that demonstrate a lack of knowledge of either or both.

    • laytonian says:

      You talk like that, until “it” happens to you.

      Unless, of course, you’re one of the millions who decry “gubmint healthcare” but are govered by one or more government programs — THEN, “socialism” is alright with you!

      Medicare, Medicaid, Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, Tri-Care, VA benefits, State/City employee healthcare programs,
      etc.

      You’ve got yours – right?

  3. rls says:

    … the problem with health insurance is that it is a “for-profit” business …. health insurance companies work very hard to take in as much money as possible, and then to pay out in benefits as little money as possible … your good health is NOT the primary focus of your health insurance company, so it should be no surprise that your good health suffers under “for-profit” health insurance …. take out the profit motive, as government-paid health insurance would do, and the logical conclusion is that your good health would get a better shake …

  4. rls says:

    …. no, this person only wants health insurance executives to make the same money as janitors in a hospital …

  5. efialtis says:

    The problem as I see it:
    Where does it end?
    If the Government can force you to buy health insurance, can they also make you go on a diet? Can they force you to get a vasectomy or get your tubes tied? Can they force you to purchase “government approved” food, clothing, etc?

    The problem with comparing this to car or house insurance is that you aren’t forced to purchase them. You COULD be self-insured, or if you don’t have a car, not have car insurance at all.
    MANY of those people who do not have insurance DON’T NEED IT. They are otherwise healthy, or can afford to pay for the services they use without it.
    Sure, if you have a loan out on a vehicle or house, they require you purchase insurance, but that is a requirement of BORROWING money, not a requirement of BIRTH.

    There are much easier ways to fix the insurance thing…
    a) Yes, take away the “pre-existing condition” clause. But no, don’t sell people at risk the same insurance at the same cost…
    b) Tort reform.
    c) Have companies provide a minimum insurance (they do In Washington (state) and other places) that is “affordable” according to the demographics of the state.
    d) Allow insurance to cross state lines

    But, instead, we now lump everyone, high risk or not, into the same pool. Now all insurance rates must go up (and have and will) to cover the added risk. We haven’t done anything about lowering the cost of healthcare, and in fact, the new laws have increased the cost of healthcare and increased the tax burden to operate the new healthcare bill (we get hit TWICE)…
    There are other problems with the bill, and I think we have all discussed them, time and time again.

    • Interested Bystander says:

      @efaultis,

      Sure, take away all incentive to work harder and take risks… sounds like a plan…

      You clearly have never worked for an insurance company.

      Please tell me of a state that allows individuals to self-insure for auto liability. And what level of assets is required to do so. For all practical purposes, everyone who drives a car is required to purchase auto insurance by their state. For all practical purposes, everyone who owns a house (with a mortgage) is required by their lender to have insurance on the house (and possibly life insurance to pay off the mortgage).

      There is NO easy way to solve the health care issue. Otherwise, it would have been done already. This is a situation with serious market failure and significant externalites which make a market solution difficult (not impossible, but difficult).

      a. You can’t take away the “pre-existing condition” clause unless everyone has insurance. Otherwise people will wait until they have a condition to get insurance and then drop it when they are cured. Doesn’t work business wise.

      b. Tort reform – This is mostly an illusory issue. The biggest cause for the rise in malpractice insurance premiums is that insurance companies used to invest premiums to cover claims. They’ve had a hard time getting good short term returns in the past few years and have had to raise premiums as a result. Show me evidence of out-of-control damages or even punitive damages at a scale that affects premiums. I don’t think you can.

      c. Require that insurance companies provide minimal policies that are affordable, based on the demographics of the state. This could help. In Washington, how much has it decreased the uninsured rate?

      d. First of all, I don’t think everyone is lumped into the same pool. Secondly, if everyone IS lumped into the same pool, all the newly insured young people are likely to cause the rates to go DOWN, rather than up. It’s also likely to reduce the insurance and cash rates hospitals get paid because they aren’t having to pad rates to pay for uninsured ER visits. The rest of this point sounds more like ideology than fact.

      I agree with you that the elephant in the room is medical costs. We have to find a way to make them go down and, if you haven’t noticed, the “free market” isn’t doing it’s job. When was the last time you shopped around on price for the cost of an office visit a pap smear or a colonoscopy?

      We also have to find ways to reduce:
      1. Unnecessary care – This isn’t just about “defensive medicine”. I recently talked to an oncologist who predicted that he and a colleague would end up giving $30K worth of additional treatment to a terminally ill individual so that the individual’s family would feel that they had done everything possible to save their loved one’s life, even though none of the treatment was expected to work.
      2. Overuse of the system by a minority of individuals – Please see and .
      3. Inefficiency and ineffective practices in the medical profession – Please see The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande.

      • efialtis says:

        We agree, to some degree, on this topic…

        “There is NO easy way to solve the health care issue. ”

        One thing I found interesting was this comment:

        “the “free market” isn’t doing it’s job. When was the last time you shopped around on price for the cost of an office visit a pap smear or a colonoscopy?”

        There is NO incentive. The “order of things” is all messed up when it comes to insurance and medical care. The Providers know that Insurance will pay for it, so they don’t worry about direct competition. The Insurance agencies set a “minimum/maximum” on services, and if the provider has agreed to those terms, THAT is all they get paid for those services.
        Yes, the “free market” in the case of Healthcare is very “broken”… but it isn’t the fault of the Free Market system.

  6. hawg says:

    hot flash for you, doctors work for a profit.
    take it away and good luck to you.

  7. rls says:

    … simplest solution — extend medicare to everybody … of course, that wouldn’t make for-profit health care insurers very happy, but it would cover everybody and it would take businesses off the health care hook …

    • hawg says:

      and pull the extra cash needed off the christmas fairy tree. awesome.

      I got a better idea. pay your own damn medical bills and don’t expect insurance or government to do it.

      • ctrentelman says:

        Hawg — your proposal works for me, dude.

        Since I would expect you to show the way, please submit evidence that you have cancelled all your insurance coverages, including auto, home and health, and a letter showing you intentionally, irrevocably and permanently decline Medicare and Medicaid. If you get hit by a car, you will refuse ambulance service paid for by public taxes, too, or at least get a bill and reimburse the fire department later.

        I know you will do this because I am positive you would be insulted in the extreme if I or anyone else were to inadvertantly pay for any part of any cost you incurred through illness or accident. Free men pay their own way!

        I’d be happy to devote an entire column to telling everyone how forthrightly you have acted on your beliefs, too. Seriously. With your picture.

        I will happily hail you as America’s first truely free man.

        But I gotta see the proof, signed, sealed, notorized and sworn.

        • ctrentelman says:

          and switching the whole country to medicare would actually save us all money, since medicare has 2 percent overhead, insurance companies typically have 15 percent, and all our premiums would stop going to insurance companies and switch to medicare. The difference could cover the uninsured now, and improved preventive care would mean fewer serious/expensive medical problems.

        • hawg says:

          for charles, (cause I expect to screw up that stupid code word crap)and who knows where it will land

          liberals are soooo cluess.

          I pay insurance to cover a prescibed set of circumstances. I don’t expect any more.
          liberals do. they simply cannot grasp the concept of a CONTRACT.
          so if you are going whine about YOUR contract then you are free to pay your own damn bills. simple. nobody owes you anything for YOUR bills, unless you contracted for such. if they do not cover your contract, then sue them and whine away. but fellow tax payers do not need to pay your bills either.

          simple point, your lack of acknowledgement impunes your integrity.

          speaking of dping articles, when are you going to be the “first in” door kicker for the strike force for awhile?? if you don’t get killed you could call it “rambling through wasatch dope doors”

        • hawg says:

          cancelled all your insurance coverages, including auto, home and health

          wow, I guess you got me here.
          I was completlel unaware that obamacare was going cover my health AND auto and home insurance needs. I may have to re-evaluate the man

  8. ctrentelman says:

    if all you want to do is cancel your medical insurance, go for it.

    The affordable medical care reform act doesn’t provide any coverage — all it does is change the rules that private insurance companies must follow, but those insurance companies will still collect they money they use to pay your bills from people like me.

    since you feel so strongly that everyone should pay their own bills,

    I am amazed you can’t see how insurance deprives you of the freedom to do so. It ties you to a risk pool that not only makes you have to have your bills paid by others, but makes you vulnerable to having your premiums used to pay their bills.

    No Hawg, I cannot see how you tolerate this situation. You can pretend it is some sort of “contract,” but it is really simple socialism.

    Please free yourself. Cancel all your policies at once.

    • hawg says:

      “since you feel so strongly that everyone should pay their own bills,

      I am amazed you can’t see how insurance deprives you of the freedom to do so. ”

      charles, maybe you should check the dosage of whatever prescription you are on. you are making no sense at all.

      if a person is not happy with their insurance company for WHATEVER keith olberman/schutz/behar reason they have, they are free to cancell out and write their own check to their doctor. nobody is stopping that. nobody is turning your check down because it is not an insurance check. what you cannot do is whine about your insurance company contract and ask the government to pay for it.

      I understand what you say about my premiums going to the big payout bin. but i signed on with that knowledge. nobody signed on for obamacare

  9. Blue Sky says:

    What the “young and healthy” don’t understand is the cost of medical care. Healthy and in a bad auto accident, healthy and suddenly found to have a devistating disease? You’re looking at $20K or more for hospital admission and surgery if you are in and out the next day or 6 figures if you need extensive care and/or drugs. So much for not needing insurance and taking care of yourself.

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