Macro Economics
Health Insurance - Be Careful what you Wish For

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August 7, 2009

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...I just want to point out that if we go this route, there will be no return and life, as we know it today will be different. Not necessarily worse, but certainly different - and the government will be your equal partner in everything you do and all the money you make, in exchange for the services they provide.


First I posted over on the Free for all board the following link to a Bill Moyers interview with a former Cigna bigwig. I think it worth your while to spend the time to watch the video and come to your own conclusions regarding its content.

Second, I think you're glossing over some details about what is included in the European tax rates. If I'm not mistaken their high tax rates also pay for education and retirement, not only health care. Those are two very big items.

Third, yes the world is changing and it will never be the same as it was. But you know what? "The good old days" are often not as good as we remember them either. They seem to get better as we get further away from them.

You keep bringing up that you have a high tax rate, but often leave out that while the discussion is about Federal taxes, your high tax rate is comprised in no small measure of the heavy taxes coincident with your living in NYC. Heck, I live in Florida, we have no State income tax, the only local tax is the real estate tax, and our sales tax is just shy of 7%. If I used my total tax rate to justify why we have room to pay for more would it be any less disingenuous than you using yours?

The real point here is how are our opinions going to be shaped? The insurance industry is currently in a massive lobbying effort that has even Washington veterans amazed at the sheer amount of money being spent. That money is being used to coerce Congressmen (we will fund your opponents if you vote for this health care package), used to buy media stories, used to fund "independent" organizations who write white papers on the "flaws" of the proposed system, used to hold fund-raisers for politicians who support their position, etc. From recent reports the industry is spending something like $1.4 million per day on this lobbying campaign.

So on the one side we have them and their massive efforts.

On the other we have 47 million Americans uninsured, many more in danger of being dropped, many more in recessionary times looking to lose their coverage as strapped employers cut costs ever more deeply to try to survive. Who funds their efforts to bring the other side of the story?

I have no doubts that money will win out once again, but I think it stinks.

I'm not one of the uninsured, I'm not one of those who have employer paid health insurance. I am somebody with pre-existing conditions that can't shop for insurance because there really isn't an open market out there. I'm stuck paying $25,000 per year for my wife and I.

If the government stepped in and offered a public policy in competition with the insurance industry, I believe prices would drop like a stone. Competition returning to the health insurance sector would be good for us all, but I don't see us in "I've got mine, the heck with you" era in America ever resonating with policies that are good for the unfortunate. Especially when the vested interests have such deep pockets.

It really stinks.