Health care reform

Dec 032013

To start a bank, you need to spell out how you’re going to guard against cyberattack. To take over the country’s medical care system, you do not.  That’s the advantage of doing things with an unregulated monopoly.

To convince regulators of their viability, the backers behind the Bird-in-Hand group raised about $17 million from investors. Brent Peters, chief executive of the Bank of Bird-in-Hand, estimated the group spent about $800,000 in preparing its application for a new charter, including consulting and legal fees, rent on a temporary office during the roughly seven-month application process and the salaries of top managers, four of whom were on the payroll one month before the bank won FDIC approval.

In its application, the bank had to lay out internal policies and procedures in detail and specify the systems in place to, for example, guard against cyberattacks.

“You are talking perhaps anywhere from 8 to 16 inches of paper,” the bank’s attorney, Nick Bybel, said of the application.

Tally of U.S. Banks Sinks to Record Low –



May 172013

Obamacare Sees Swiss Show Mandatory-Private System Works – Bloomberg.

Switzerland’s mandatory coverage.  More expensive health care than we have in the U.S. Basic coverage is defined by the govt. Insurance companies can make money off of the extra policies, but not from basic coverage.

Oct 052012

Proof that President Obama is not a socialist: He is using advertising to sustain his health care program.  We have been taught since we were young that advertising is a hallmark of capitalism.

As Congress probes expensive public-relations contracts to market the unpopular Obamacare law to the American public, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently announced that it has inked a deal worth more than $3 million to promote Obamacare’s “exchanges.”

via HHS Awards Another Multi-Million-Dollar Obamacare PR Contract.

Oct 012012

This is of course  nonsense. No industry is going to object to each and every thing that would change the status quo.  If their income doubled, that would change the status quo, but they wouldn’t object.  If there were changes to the status quo that helped them do a better job for patients, and it happened to coincide with their own interests, they wouldn’t object to any such changes.

One becomes suspicious of people who instead of answering the objections trot out nonsense about people not wanting change.  It makes one wonder why they won’t respond to the objections.  One possible reason is they don’t have very good arguments.

“It’s modest, but it’s a start,” said Dr. John Santa, director of the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center. “Should we be surprised that industry is objecting? You would expect them to object to anything that changes the status quo.”

via News from The Associated Press.

Sep 242012

How the AARP lobbied to be allowed to put profits ahead of seniors in exchange for its support of ObamaCare.

But the AARP aggressively, and successfully, lobbied to keep Medigap reforms out of Obamacare, because AARP receives a 4.95 percent royalty on every dollar that seniors spend on its Medigap plans.

via How the AARP Made $2.8 Billion By Supporting Obamacare’s Cuts to Medicare – Forbes.

May 262011

My comment on what we should do about doctors and other health care professionals who are bullies, as described in an item in the WSJ Health Care Blog titled, “Reader Consult:  Does the Culture of Medicine Enable Bad Behavior?

I think we should bully them into behaving better.  Demand that they do better.  Demean them in public. Throw things at them — chairs, the law, etc.


Nov 212010

I presume Krugman said “real solution” because “final solution” was already taken:

Some years down the pike, we’re going to get the real solution, which is going to be a combination of death panels and sales taxes. It’s going to be that we’re actually going to take Medicare under control, and we’re going to have to get some additional revenue, probably from a VAT. But it’s not going to happen now. URL.

BTW, both Palin and Krugman have clarified their original remarks. Krugman is the one we don’t want to have anywhere near the levers of power.

BTW(2), this is an example of why we should not be seeking solutions to our problems. We should instead seek to ameliorate them. (I’m trying to break myself of any lingering tendency to ever speak of any reform as a “solution.”)

Nov 112010

Someone commented on the WSJ editorial, “A Deficit of Nerve : Obama’s commission has ideas that Republicans can use,” saying that many of the proposed budget cuts will kill people. My response:

Not making those cuts will kill people, too. Millions of lives could be at stake.

If we now have the histronics out of the way, maybe we can get down to serious discussion.

I agree with the editorial writers that there is much in the draft outline to build on. They makes the point that Canada doesn’t have a home mortgage interest deduction, yet has a higher rate of home ownership than we have. If this deduction can’t be zeroed out, I don’t know why it shouldn’t be reduced to say, $100,000 instead of the $500,000 suggested in the commission’s draft.

I also wish the commission had tackled the issue of health care reform. But it seems there were some taboo topics. According to the editorial:

More egregiously, the chairmen tiptoe around ObamaCare, which has led some on the right and left to claim that the commission is essentially endorsing the largest new entitlement in 40 years. We’re told the chairmen mostly dodged the subject because Democrats on the commission made that a nonnegotiable demand. A truly bold report would consider Congressman Paul Ryan’s model to make Medicare a defined contribution program. Instead, the chairmen settle for the familiar likes of “payment reforms,” which never work because of Medicare’s flawed political price-control model.

On that subject I posted the following comment:

Back in April, when setting up this commission, President Obama said everything needs to be on the table. But now we learn that the Democrats on the commission wouldn’t allow any health care reforms to be put on the table. It was non-negotiable. If they couldn’t accept the job they were commissioned to do, shouldn’t they have declined to serve on the commission, or if it was too late for that, resigned?

On the subject of taxes, I’m surprised they want to make our tax system more regressive by increasing the social security tax, of all taxes.

But there is one other item that would do more to reduce the budget deficit than any of their other proposals. Term limits would bring under control the budget distortions brought about by the power of incumbency. These limits wouldn’t need to be severe term limits to be effective.

We need a slogan: No justice, no peace.

Oops. Wrong slogan. It should be: No term limits, no tax hikes.

I’d say that if we eliminate ag subsidies (aka the root of all evil), zero out funding for NPR, and get a constitutional amendment to institute term limits for Congress, then we can think about a tax increase to get us out of our hole. If members of Congress are term-limited, we will have a better basis for trusting that they might really use new revenues for deficit reduction. Otherewise, that part should be just as non-negotiable as the Democrats’ refusal to reform our health care system.

Sep 132010


Chance coincidence or coordinated conspiracy? You decide.

Earlier tonight the WSJ had these two items, side by side:

1: “Cuba Layoffs Show Ideological Shift: Cuba will lay off more than half a million state workers and try to create hundreds of thousands of private-sector jobs, a dramatic attempt to shift its nearly bankrupt economy toward a more market-oriented system”

2. New Medicare Chief Pledges to Cut Costs

What are the odds that the two countries would announce the same reforms on the same day if they didn’t plan it that way?

Disclaimer: I haven’t read the articles that these items link to.

Sep 122010

My comment in response to the WSJ article, “Sebelius Has a List : Political thuggery from HHS“:

Someone please explain me how Ms Sibelius’s attitude toward information she doesn’t like is different from that of someone who thinks the solution is to burn a pile of Korans. In both cases, people are trying to protect their version of the truth from competitors.