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Socialized Healthcare — “I’m Not Dead Yet!”

September 14, 2009

We are entering dangerous waters now.  It appears as a matter of public relations that the White House and some leading Democrats have backed away from the Government-run healthcare option.  But this is exactly the moment that conservatives should not relax or relent.  Backroom political dealing, Pelosi-Reid arm-twisting and strident supporters of socialized medicine shouting away at the President could change what appears to be an important victory into a most subtle, yet insidious, defeat. 

Now is not the time to relax.  Now is the time to push forward with ideas and options that reduce Federal intervention in our healthcare choices.  Now is the time to shine a light on the monstrous shadow of unfunded Medicare liabilities.  Now is the time to let free market principles, like cross-state competition, reinvigorate our country.  The multitudes of tea party demonstrators who marched in Washington last Saturday are just the people to continue the fight until the anathema of socialized healthcare and all its support in the halls of power are truly dead.

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. September 14, 2009 6:15 pm

    Mandated “cross state competition”? I thought you conservatives believed in maintaining state rights over those of the federal govt.? Mandated cross-state competition would force states to forfeit some of their sovereign regulating power to the federal govt. You folks don’t even realize when you are advocating against your own principles. I guess that is why you lose all those federal elections. You do not know what the heck it is that you are supposed to vote for. Keep up all the good confusion.

  2. September 14, 2009 10:25 pm

    I don’t believe I ever said mandate. The defining characteristic of an American Conservative is adherence to the principles of the Declaration and provisions of the Constitution. Congress has the power to regulate interstate commerce, and true, this power has been abused by Congress with the blessing of the Supreme Court, however it does endow the Congress with authority over such commerce. The question then is whether Congress has the authority under this clause to remove prohibitions for cross-state marketing. Certainly, to the extent Federal law imposes any prohibitions, Congress has the power to remove those. Can you point to specific state prohibitions? Whether Congress has the authority under this clause to modify any state-specific prohibitions certainly deserves consideration, though I am not sure the Supreme Court precedent in this area is a true guide. You are apparently not familiar with the various multi-lateral legislative efforts that arise out of the states. These efforts attempt to provide uniform rules among the states in specific areas. Do the states have any efforts underway on health insurance? That too deserves consideration. And no one seems to be thinking that given the magnitude of the issue we should be taking our time in determining how any changes should be made either through state reform or appropriate Federal action.

    • September 15, 2009 5:33 pm

      So, are you saying that the federal govt. , in the case of health care reform, should exercise commerce clause authority to usurp the individual states’ sovereign regulatory autonomy?

    • September 15, 2009 5:37 pm

      There is no prohibition for cross state marketing. The only impediment to cross state marketing is that individual states have individual regulatory schemes that some companies find too onerous to abide by and therefore choose not to do business in those states.

  3. September 20, 2009 12:46 am

    Lynn,

    I think your missing the point. Currently the federal government prevents citizens from one state, say Michigan, from purchasing insurance in another state, like Indiana for example.

    If the federal government would stop regulating in this manner, it would create more competition. We all know that the ‘The One’ claims he wants more competition. At least that’s what he says publicly.

    For example if a state wants wants to increase insurance business within it’s borders they can give tax breaks and improve the structure of it’s regulations, thereby reducing operational costs for insurance providers located within that individual state.

    With lower operating costs and a 50 state market (or 57 state market if you ask ‘The One’) insurace companies located in the competitive states will sell more policies, drive down costs and benefit the state where they are located.

    Furthermore, if a state chooses to be more competitive, more insurance providers will locate within that state creating more jobs for that state as well.

    If a state chooses not to compete, that’s their choice, as it should be.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203550604574360923109310680.html

    • September 21, 2009 12:53 pm

      Steve, thanks for the great comment. I agree with you that if the Federal Government can remove these prohibitions, then, despite any state-specific requirements or restrictions, this will increase the incentive for cross-state competition.

  4. September 21, 2009 5:10 pm

    Steve:

    I believe that you are missing the point. The reason that each state can have its own health insurance regulations is to ensure that the state (not the federal govt.) mandates what type of coverage (if any) its citizens must have. If for example, State A has a regulation that says that health insurers must provide coverage for pre-existing conditions and State B does not have such a regulation, then under your proposed plan, a citizen of State A could choose to purchase health insurance from a provider under State B’s plan (without coverage for pre-existing conditions) and the State A citizen would probably pay a lower premium. That all sounds well and good until the state A citizen is stricken ill as the result of a pre-existing condition for which his State B plan provides no coverage. Since the State A citizen still resides in State A, he will have to seek free care through either hospital emergency rooms or else he will be forced to spend down all assets until he is eligible for State A subsidized medical care both of which will be paid for by State A’s taxpayers.

    The reason for maintaining a state’s sovereign right to regulate its own health insurance regulations is so that the state can control its taxpayers’ costs for providing free care to the uninsured. In our example, State A’s taxpayers would be responsible for paying the tab for its citizen and not State B’s. If the citizen had purchased his coverage from a State A plan, State A’s taxpayers would have been spared a larger expense.

    As things stand now, any private health care insurer can sell policies in any state so long as they abide by that particular state’s regulations. This is the way it should be to maintain state sovereignty.

    • September 21, 2009 10:30 pm

      Lynn,

      I like the states sovereignty angle. You sound kind of, dare I say, conservative (and it’s not meant as an insult).

      As far as pre-existing conditions, I think the current HIPPA requirement s would suffice:

      http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/newsroom/fshipaa.html

      Furthermore, when costs are driven down and more people are able and willing to purchase health insurance, insurers are able to spread risk across a wider base (the function of insurance) and the costs to cover pre-existing conditions will go down as well.

      And the point about sparing taxpayers expenses is making you sound conservative (again, no insult intended) was covered in the above cited WSJ article:

      Mr. Rother also said “risk selection” is a problem. But the coverage mandates cause that. As more healthy people opt out of health insurance because it is too expensive relative to what they consume, the pool transforms into a group of older, sicker people. Prices go higher still and more healthy people flee. High-mandate states are in what experts call an “adverse selection death spiral.”

      Interstate competition made the U.S. one of the world’s most efficient, consumer driven markets. But health insurance is a glaring exception. When the competition caucus in Team Obama has to look for Plan B, this is it.

      To your last point regarding selling policies in any state as long the policy conforms to that particular states regulations, you and I both know that is not really competition.

      • September 23, 2009 12:53 am

        Of course that is competition. It is the same type of competition that exists in the auto insurance industry where each state has its own regulations that insurers must abide by. The same is true with differing emission standards regulated by the individual states. Each insurer has the ability to tailor its policies to the individual states requirements so as to compete with other insurers in that state, and each auto manufacturer decides if it is willing to adapt its vehicles so that they may compete for sales in that particular state. I could go on and on about other individual state regulations such as alcohol content in beer etc.

      • September 23, 2009 1:10 am

        The existing HIPPA law does not protect adequately for denial of benefits when there is a pre-existing condition. That is precisely why this administration’s new health care reform law will change the pre-existing condition law. The HIPPA law presently defines a preexisting condition as one for which medical advice, diagnosis, care, or treatment was recommended or received during the 6-month period prior to an individual�s enrollment date (which is the earlier of the first day of health coverage or the first day of any waiting period for coverage).

        The HIPPA law does not provide protection for pre-existing conditions that existed prior to 6 months before the new policy or for undiagnosed pre-existing conditions regardless of any time period if, upon diagnosis under the new policy, the condition was deemed to have existed more than 6 months earlier.

        Why the heck do you think we are having so much discussion about pre-existing condition problems if there is already a law that addresses the problem? Obviously, that law is not working.

    • September 23, 2009 7:04 pm

      What percentage of the estimated 15 million uninsured is composed of people who were repeatedly denied coverage for pre-existing conditions?

      • September 23, 2009 10:16 pm

        I obviously do not know the exact percentage but I know that it is quite large because at least five times per night I see a television ad paid for by the insurance company lobby that says that health reform will do away with the term”pre-existing condition” for the good of our country and that the industry is in favor of it.

        My problem with the veracity of the ad however, is that if the insurance industry is in favor of doing away with coverage denials based upon pre-existing conditions, then why don’t they simply stop denying coverage on that basis without legislation which forces them to do it?

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