Mitt Romney, delusional capitalist who fires people

Much ado this morning about Perenniel Presidential Hopeful Mitt Romney saying he likes to be in a position to fire people who provide service to him.

The quote (link! Click!) is being taken out of context because everyone thinks it’s cute that the self-styled “job creator” wants to fire people, no matter what the circumstance.

I actually agree with his statement, if he had shut up after saying that much. I like to be able to fire people too, which is why I don’t hire friends or family to do work I’m paying for. If the work sucks, I want to be able to kick someone’s butt, and paid help you aren’t related to is handy that way.

However, Romney then went on to say that this theory applied to medical insurance, which is why he’s opposed to “Obamacare,” which is not, let us stress, socialized medicine that limits you to one government dictated providor.

So the basis for his statement is false to start with. Then there’s the problem that in America, today, it delusional to presume that people can easily “fire” their medical insurance even if it is provided by the so-called “free market.”

Most people get their medical care from whatever insurance company their employer provides. They can only “fire” their medical insurance if they “fire” their employer — it’s possible, I suppose, but not practical if you want to work for a living, especially in today’s job market.

When you take a job, you take the benefits the employer provides. Since labor unions have pretty well been busted , the idea of negotiating which medical insurance you get as part of your job is a quaint fantasy. Even if you did quit your job to find a better insurance company with another job, the odds are very good that the next employer will use that same insurance. In most markets, there aren’t that many providors any more.

Then there’s the fact that millions of Americans are desperate to get any medical insurance at all, so the fantasy that they can then turn around and “fire” that insurance if it doesn’t suit them is beside the point.

What they can do now, with most insurance plans, is switch doctors as long as the doctors are covered by their insurance plan. This limits their choices, but since the choice limiting is done by capitalism, which also tells those few doctors who can see you what procedures they can provide to you and still get paid (death panels?), that’s OK.

Because, God forbid government gets involved. Then our choices would be limited and we would be less free.

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14 Responses to Mitt Romney, delusional capitalist who fires people

  1. The GOP has become a vengful bunch of religious hypocrites. Our nation is on life support and Mitt Romney would only be to happy to pull the plug if it made him a dollar.

  2. midwinter says:

    DElusional. With an E.

  3. Charles Trentelman says:

    speling, such an underappresiated skil

  4. Bob Becker says:

    My favorite GOP “fix” to reduce Medicare costs is their attempt to encourage Medicare folk to price-shop. Dr. Kildare at Ogden Regional is charging x-thousand for a double by pass? We should encourage people, the GOP says, and build in incentives to encourage them, to price shop. Get a quote from Dr. Howser over at McKay Dee. Will he do it for x-2 thousand? Call Dr. Kildare back, will he come in under that bid? How about Dr. Newby over at Tom’s Aluminium Siding Company and Surgical Center… is he offering a special this week, double by pass surgery for X-5 thousand, and a free toaster oven?

    Not one of the GOP congressmen selling this notion for the Vulgar Herd [i.e. most Americans] would dream of hiring the low bidder for a double by pass operation to be performed on himself or a loved one. Not one of them.

  5. Dave Thomas says:

    Romney is so rich he probably is self-insured and has no idea what it is to contend with an insurance company, pharmacies, and medical providers. He indeed can fire his doctor if he is not satisfied and go to another, while the rest of us have to hang on because our doctor accepts our insurance.

    When my employer changed insurance companies some years back, I had to change from my urologist (who had saved my life by removing my prostate and the cancer within it) to another one because my former urologist did not take my new insurance.

    And try getting treatment beyond the number of visits or days your insurance allows, even if you still need it. Sorry, only if you pay full price.

    I doubt if any of the candidates of either party truly understands what we ordinary people go through to obtain medical care.

  6. Erick says:

    Romney has been a big advocate for health insurance exchanges, such as those adopted under the Romneycare initiatives in Massachussets. Whether you agree with economics of these strategies or not, the overall idea is to create a system of individually purchased health insurance policies under the umbrella of employer sponsored health insurance. Romney insists that the specifics of the Massachussets plan was for Massachussets only, but it is clear he favors “exchanges”. The straightforward explanation is that an exchange provides employees a menu of health policy options that can be purchased from a number of insurers through an online mechanism called the “exchange”. They pay for these policies through a combination of employer funds, or employee “allowances”, and additional funds from the employees discretionary income. In this scenario employees can take more of an active consumer role in health plan purchasing.

    I don’t intend to argue whether this is a good idea or not, but rather point out that this was the context of Romney’s argument. In his theory, an employee should be free to decide which health plan best suits their needs. Furthermore, this kind of strategy could theoretically change the way health plans compete for business by having to appeal directly to the individual subscriber rather than the employer. I have some reservations as to how effective this will be, but at least I get Romney’s point. Taken in the appropriate context, his comments make perfect sense, and there should be nothing inflamatory about his statement. It also bypasses the concerns issued by Trentelman that employees really aren’t empowered to “fire” their health plan, only their employer. In Romney’s “exchange” market, employees could in fact fire their health plan without firing their employer.

  7. Owain says:

    “So the basis for his statement is false to start with.”

    How so, Charles? If you are dissatisfied with the health care professional you are being treated by, wouldn’t you like the option of dropping them and getting a second opinion? If we go to a single payer government run health insurance program, that will not be an option.

    Currently where I work, I am able to select from a variety of health insurance programs, and I can choose the plan that is the best fit to my needs. I like that flexibility. My wife recently changed jobs, and she was offered a similar choice from among several different insurance plans. When companies compete with each other, there is an incentive to provide the best service for the lowest price. When the government runs the program, costs/prices spiral out of control. (See Medicare).

    That said, again, explain to me how Romney’s remark is false to start with. Even with my admittedly small sample size of two people, your arguments do not seem to be correct.

    • Charles Trentelman says:

      Owain, your question confuses me. You ask about my health care professional, but then discuss choice among health plans. The two are different.

      If you are working for someone who lets you pick among insurance plans you are fortunate, but you are also among the minority. I know the federal government lets employees do that, but most employers contract with a single providor and tell their employees that is that.

      That includes both me (at the s-e) and my wife (WSU), so my sampling size equals yours.

      As to switching health care professionals, if you will scan to the lower part of my column you will find that I say people can do that now — what a shock, I know! I can, so can you!

      And guess what — you would be able to under any government plan, including single payer. The idea of the government assigning everyone to a single doctor for life, take him or die, is some sort of right-wing evil fantasy, but is not true in any nation with single-payer, isn’t true under Medicare, isn’t true under any proposal anywhere, and would not be true under any plan adopted in this country.

      • Owain says:

        It is not all that difficult Charles, but let me make it explicit.

        From MY experience, I appreciate being able to not only fire the individual health care professional I deal with, but also to fire the insurance company who provides my insurance. In the first case, I have that option with every visit I make to my doctor. If I am dissatisfied with the service I receive, I can select another physician that is covered under my current insurance plan. In the second case, I am permitted to change my insurance provider to any one of a list of providers offered my my employer. In both cases, competition provides an incentive to provide the best service possible, not only on the part of insurance companies, but also individual doctors and clinics. See how that works? If you don’t have that option, I sympathise. Sucks to be you, in more ways than one.

        Romney, on the other hand, as I understand it, was talking about government provided health care, and why it is a bad idea as currently envisioned under ObamaCare, in that if there is a single payer health plan, there is no competition, and there is no incentive to provide good service. An example of this can be seen in countries such as the UK, where health care is free, and yet patients are left to die from dehydration. Government health care at its finest!

        The problem you overlook with Medicare is not that you can’t change your doctor under Medicare, but can you find a doctor who will accept you under Medicare? Where is the advantage of switching doctors if the only doctor that will accept you under Medicare is equally bad, because government health care, in this case Medicare, does not provide sufficient reimbursments to permit proper care? You think that will improve under ObamaCare? I’m not willing to chance it, hence my support for the repeal of ObamaCare.

        Romney may not be the best bet for that eventuality, but hopefully a Republican majority can be achieved in both houses of Congress, and it can be accomplished with or without his direct support.

        • Erick says:

          Obamacare does not specifically provide for a single payer system. I’m not certain how you make that argument?

          • Owain says:

            In effect, if you drive other insurance companies out of the market and “You can keep your current insurance” turns out to be lie, you end up with a single payer system, correct?

  8. Erick says:

    “If you are working for someone who lets you pick among insurance plans you are fortunate, but you are also among the minority.”

    Even if the Obam reforms don’t entirely hold, the momentum for exchange based health insurance markets seems to have momentum from both the right and left. As of now, in 2014, people who can choose among different insurers through their employers will be in less of the minority, when the small group market is funnelled into exchanges. The exchanges will then open up to the large group markets in 2017.

    Romney was speaking from this context. It’s in his speech, so it shouldn’t be hard to verify.

    • Charles Trentelman says:

      but those exchanges are part of the evil socialistic death panel Obamacare, which Mr. Romney has pledged to do away with using his first breath as president.

      Can’t have it both ways.

      • Erick says:

        Not entirely, the primary advocate for health care “exchanges” was the Heritage Foundation. They in fact consulted on the Utah Health Exchange by drawing inspiration from the defined contribution (as opposed to defined benefit) initiatives that changed the way employers offered retirement benefits. The debate over Obamacare/Romneycare and the supposedly free-market alternatives, such as the Utah plan, revolves around mandates.

        I agree that the Massachussets plan is similar to the Obama initiatives, but as I said in my first comment, Romney endorses the ideas of “exchanges”, but in the vein of allowing States to wrestle with the particulars such as mandated coverage.

        But, here we are now debating healthcare, which is not the point. The point was whether Romney’s quote about how he “likes to fire people” has been largely misrepresented. Anyone can infer more from this statement than what was specifically being addressed, but as it stands, Romney was advocating a system where individual employees purchase health insurance from insurer’s of their choice, effectively enabling them to “fire” insurance companies they don’t like, without having to simultaneously “fire” their employer.

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