I mostly avoid overtly political posts on this blog.  (Yeah, I know … you can all point to a few exceptions.)  I tried to save the straight-up political stuff for my other blog, which I’ve since let go dormant because I’m WAY busy and something had to go, at least until I wrap up some current projects.

So while I haven’t said much about Obamacare on this blog, I have expressed my opinions in other forums — most recently on Richard Nikoley’s Facebook page.  Richard decided to share some of those opinions today on his Free the Animal blog.  So if you want to see some Obamacare comments I’ve made and a little video I produced, go visit his post.

Just don’t come back here and complain about me getting political.  You were warned.

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84 Responses to “If You Like Your Current Insurance Plan …”
  1. Marcie Tandy says:

    I’m surprised. I was waiting for you to write something about the FDA banning trans fat from food products.

    • Pierson says:

      Seconded. Also, just a question; if one refuses to buy health insurance, can they be physically forced? I’ve asked around for a couple of months now, but in all of my reading, questioning, and probing, I’ve found nothing about this. Really, I haven’t been insured since 1999 (by my own choice), and since it’s worked out well so far, I really would like to find an answer to this question.

      All laws are backed up by the threat of force. That’s why “force” is in the word “enforcement.” They’ll fine you. If you don’t pay the fine, well, it’ll depend on how far they want to take it.

      • Pierson says:

        I know that, but I mean if I pay the fine but refuse to get health insurance, can I eventually be forced to buy it? Really this thing is quite dependent on the funding of other people, and if enough people don’t support in (i.e., buy health insurance), then it’ll eventually fail. Before that happens, though, can we be forced to buy insurance, even if we choose the fine?

        I don’t think they can do anything beyond fining you. And yes, I urge people who were forced off their existing policies to refuse to buy an Obamacare policy. I won’t buy one. I refuse to let His Highness use me as an Obamacare support system, and I figure if enough people do likewise, we can crash this piece of @#$% socialist monstrosity.

        • zach says:

          The argument made by the supreme court is that it is not a fine but a tax. So you are chosing to either pay for insurance or pay for a tax. That was what kept the legislation constitutional. Now of course if you don’t pay your taxes you go to jail.
          If they raise the “tax” high enough you will either go to jail or get insurance. But if you pay the tax then you are fine for now.

          Course what will happen in the future is anyone’s guess.

          That was a hugely disappointing decision. If Congress can order you to buy an insurance policy they deem appropriate or pay a “tax” and that makes it Constitutional because Congress has the power to tax, then Congress can pretty much order you to do anything … just apply a “tax” if you don’t comply.

          • Craig Rich says:

            I read somewhere that there is a provision in the law that the IRS cannot use the regular way to enforce the fine. The fine can only be collected in the form of funds taken from your tax return. So if you do your taxes in such a way that you do not get a refund, then you cannot be fined, or the fine cannot be collected and there would be no repercussions.

            This info came from an accountant who reviewed the law and the tax regulations that came from it. I am not, so I don’t know if it’s true but it makes some sense. I hope it’s true. It won’t help me any, because I’m required to have health insurance while going through nurse training. Otherwise, I’d still refuse to buy insurance and do my taxes so I don’t get a refund.

            I hope that’s the case. I’m self-employed and never get a refund. So that would mean I won’t be signing up for Obamacare and they won’t be getting a penalty out of me.

          • Lori says:

            To all you scofflaws, be careful about your withholdings. You can face an underpayment penalty if you withhold too much and then make a big payment at tax time. (Of course, the IRS doesn’t pay you an overpayment penalty if you withhold too little.)

            Turns out the IRS has paid billions in bogus refunds. I want one of those.

          • pam says:

            i’m surprised & disappointed that it is “constitutional”.

            the supreme court is sold out.

            Amen.

          • mm says:

            The full tax that will take effect in 2 years is 2% of your income or a set amount of $$$, whichever is highest. The current one is 95$ or 1% of total income, whichever is highest.

  2. Mike says:

    Tom,
    I don’t come here for you politics, but I might leave for them.

    You have publicly admitted incompetence at political debate, and it is time you did the same for you attempts at political humor.

    Your insurance company could have decided to make your plan compliant, but then it would not have been able to kick you off when you or your family got really sick, and it would have had to accept all people into that plan even if they had costly pre-existing conditions.

    I have been “edu-tained” by your movie and most of your blog postings, but your politics are infantile.

    I have publicly admitted incompetence at political debate? Excuse me? When did I do that? I posted two dozen debates with a liberal on my other blog. I didn’t do that because I feel incompetent. Are you referring to when I recounted how the Older Brother kicked my ass in an economic policy debate 25 years ago? Yes, I lost that one because I wasn’t well informed on the subject of economics. Trust me, that’s changed rather dramatically. Unlike the typical liberal, I recognized that I’d gotten my butt kicked and went out to educate myself on the subject. I didn’t decide that if my economic beliefs made me feel good about myself, those beliefs must be automatically be correct.

    How exactly does “your insurance company could have decided to make your plan compliant” mean Obama didn’t lie when he told me if I like my plan, I could keep it? If my insurance company makes my plan “compliant,” it’s no longer the same plan, now is it? It’s a drastically different and much more expensive plan that includes way more coverage than I want or need. To be “compliant,” for example, the plan would have to include maternity care. I’m 55 years old, I don’t want more kids, and unless a surgeon in California was incompetent, I CAN’T have more kids. Your (ahem) argument is as logical as saying that if Obama promises I can keep my current cable package but then outlaws all cable packages that don’t include Cinemax, NFL Red Zone, The Movie Channel, unlimited movies on demand, etc., he didn’t really lie to me because my cable company has the option of making my cable package “compliant” and doubling my monthly bill. (And it’s so darned generous of the government to allow them that “option.” Awesome to live in a free country, isn’t it?)

    As for my insurer just champing at the bit to dump me as soon as I cost them money … yeah, that explains why they paid for 90% of my knee surgery, then sent me a check later for the three months of physical therapy — which I’d already paid myself and didn’t know they were going to cover. Greedy bastards. I bet they were planning to dump me any year now, just in case I tear another meniscus in my knee.

    And of course you’re missing the larger point (on purpose, no doubt): the federal government has no @#$%ing business prohibiting me from buying the type of policy I want from an insurer willing to sell it. This was supposed to be a free country, not a country where His Highness orders everyone to buy insurance that meets with his approval under the supposed “law of the land” …. while simultaneously waving his magic scepter and saying, “I grant thee an exemption, and I grant thee an exemption, and I grant thee an exemption …” His Highness just granted a new exemption to unions so they’d stop bashing Obamacare. He isn’t acting like a president who swore to uphold the law; he’s acting like an emperor who decides the law is whatever the @#$% he wants it to mean for whoever the @#$% he likes or doesn’t like.

    So I guess expecting a president to apply the law equally to everyone, to uphold a promise he made over and over and over, and to stay the @#$% out of private economic decisions is “infantile” now, eh? Right, as opposed to all those responsible adults clamoring to be subsidized by their fellow citizens. Those are the grown-ups in society.

    I’m sorry you don’t find the video funny, but I wouldn’t expect a liberal to find it funny. See, that’s how political humor is: people who agree with the point of view find it hilarious, while people who disagree with the point of view don’t find it funny. That’s why I don’t find Bill Maher funny at all, but laugh out loud at Dennis Miller. A liberal would have equal but opposite reactions to both of them.

    By the way, did you miss that part where I said if you go to Richard’s blog to view my political commentary, don’t come back here and complain about me getting political?

    • Tate says:

      Conversely, I slightly disagree with your diet, and stay for your outlook on life. Your blog is one of seven I regularly read. Please don’t change.

      Heh-heh … win some, lose some. I don’t plan to change my outlook anytime soon.

    • Lori says:

      If the White House knew about insurance companies that weren’t living up to their contracts, or breaking the law, or putting their customers through burdensome bureaucratic procedures, why didn’t it enforce the law?

      Bingo. I have no problem with government prosecuting companies that commit fraud or break contracts. That’s a legitimate function of government. But my insurance company never defrauded me or broke our contract. The one time I needed them (to pay for most of my knee surgery), they lived up to their obligation.

    • Andy says:

      “Just don’t come back here and complain about me getting political. You were warned.”

      Obviously, Mike doesn’t read and understand very well. But he does have the right to voice his opinion, even if it isn’t very clear. ;-)

    • Bret says:

      @Mike:
      You might leave over Tom’s politics??? OH NO!!!!!! What on EARTH will the rest of us do if you take your ball and go home? What will Tom do? How will this blog manage to carry on and function without your reading and commenting on it????

      Tom, PLEASE stop posting political comments, pronto! I have grudgingly tolerated them in the past, but now that Mike is threatening to stop enlightening us with his redoubtable wit and superior character, I insist that you cease immediately.

      I’ll take that under advisement.

    • mm says:

      Tom, don’t debate with people like Mike… don’t you see? he’s part of the Anointed Ones. That’s why he thinks your differing viewpoint is infantile. He is on the side of Good, the side of the Angels, fighting against the twin demons of immorality and ignorance.
      All you’d need Tom, is to hear Mike’s words and listen, to let go of your ignorance… since clearly people who don’t have the Utopian Vision have simply never been educated about it. They’ve never been told. Unless… you’re not evil, are you?

      I’m not only evil, but according to Oprah, I may be disrespecting His Highness because of racial animosity.

      And here I thought it was just a matter of me not liking arrogant socialists who want to take away my freedom to make my own choices.

  3. Kevin says:

    Personally I don’t think the law went far enough. Under the Incredibly Affordable Care Act, statins should be covered free of charge. So should all whole grain products. These cholesterol-lowering items could save millions of lives and billions of dollars through preventative health care. The governmental fine should also apply if you don’t get 60 minutes of aerobics followed by some fat-free snacks.

    A shame, Tom, you don’t see what this law could have done.

    On another note, the enforcement of this law (re: the fine) is quite toothless and essentially limited to the refund of you tax return. Smart people aim to get a “No refund or tax due”, and not having insurance and paying the fine of course obliterates the “emergency room” idea that we are all paying for health care via people who can’t.

    I see your point. If only they’d made this law really, really huge, it would have wiped out the $17 trillion in debt through all the health-care savings.

    Never fear, though. I predict once enough people are being subsidized, the government will attach conditions to the subsidies, just as the USDA does for every school that participants in the subsidized lunch program.

    • Babs says:

      @ Kevin: But that’s why this program is basically just a tax. It’s not for the benefit of you or others, it’s just another way to tax you. On top of all the other ways to tax you that have been heaped upon us peons. 80 years ago you could have 8 kids, be a stay at home mom, and ur husband is only a carpenter and supports the whole family on a carpenter’s income. Nowadays people can barely afford 2 kids with BOTH parents working with all the extra taxes people DIDN’T have 80 years ago.

    • Bret says:

      The sad thing is that I can totally see this hypothetical IACA occurring in real life… There appears to be no limit on the arrogance of government.

    • Susan says:

      I fear that once our wonderful government has its big sticky fingers in the pie, once they are paying for all this “preventive” care that they think we all need, we’ll be required to take advantage of it, whether we want it or not.

      I currently decline a lot of the screening tests (why go looking for trouble?) that my doctor offers. Will I be forced to undergo colonoscopies, mammograms, bone scans, etc., that I neither want not need? Will I be required to take flu shots, shingles vaccinations, and such that I now refuse? Will I be forced to take medication for my white coat hypertension, my higher than “normal” cholesterol?

      I already know I’ll be forced to pay more money to get all these lovely things I don’t think I need. Can’t wait…

      There’s an old curse: “May you live in interesting times.” My, things are interesting these days.

  4. Lori says:

    Of course they were never going to let people keep their basic, low-cost plans. If the people who had those plans wanted more coverage, they’d have bought it. But of course, they weren’t going to, so who would subsidize older or sicker people who’d want Obamacare?

    An article in the Wall Street Journal today says the average age of Obamacare applicants is about 50. The “young healthies” are staying away in droves. If I were young and healthy, had a mountain of student loans and a job at a coffee shop, I would too.

    The negative consequences of this law are going to be enormous. Young people are indeed staying away in droves. Most of the people signing up are those who are going to draw out of the system, not pay into it. Meanwhile, people whose premiums double or triple will have to cut back on other spending, which will harm the businesses they otherwise would have supported with their spending. And of course, businesses are reducing staff and cutting the hours of people they keep. It should have been called the Guaranteed Permanent High Unemployment Act.

    That’s what happens when economic ignoramuses are put in charge and decide they know how to “fix” entire industries they don’t understand in the first place.

  5. Alex says:

    This thing just seems so half-hearted. Why can’t the US just go into a full socialized healthcare system, like EVERY OTHER industrialized nation? It can’t be that bad. The US currently spends MUCH more on health care per capita than every other country that has socialized healthcare, so doing it the way the US does it clearly isn’t very efficient…

    I take it you also believe we should have a state-supported religion, since almost EVERY OTHER industrial nation has one? After all, if we’re in the minority when it comes to individual freedom, we clearly must be wrong.

    Heck yes, a country that’s $17 trillion in debt should absolutely, positively look for ways to add trillions more to its deficits. That way we can go belly-up even sooner.

    If you want to put up with the long waiting lists and crappy care of, say, the NHS in Britain, move there. I don’t, and I sure as hell don’t want that kind of system imposed on me by starry-eyed socialists who don’t grasp what the runaway debt is going to do to us and our children.

    • Alex says:

      I live in Norway. We have socialized health care, and I am very happy to live here. Not only have I never run into waiting lists and crappy care; whenever I’ve needed care, it’s been instant and it’s been good. In fact, our system works so well that not even our most right-wing parties, which were recently elected to government, are going to do much to it. Our healthcare costs less than yours, AND it benefits everyone, not just the rich and healthy. It certainly hasn’t lead Norway to financial ruin. We’re one of the wealthiest and healthiest countries on the planet, scoring high in GDP per capita measurements and being at the top of the HDI.

      [Explain something to me: why do people who live in small countries with relatively homogenous populations and strong cultural prohibitions against being a freeloader assume that if government-run "free" healthcare works for them, it will automatically work in the United States? We have a huge population full of people who think being a freeloader is their birthright. We have an enormous government that demonstrates its incompetence every chance it gets. We just saw our government fail to produce a functioning WEB SITE, despite spending three-and-a-half years and millions of dollars. Every big program our government produces ends up costing multiple times what it was projected to cost. Bush's prescription drug benefit is running at 300% of the projected cost. Medicare is running at 1200% of the projected cost. So based on what evidence do you believe this crowd could run a national health care system for 300 million people -- as opposed to the number of people in your country, which has about half the population of New York City?

      Move up to the population of England -- a mere one-sixth the size of ours -- and we see waiting lists, incompetence, a constant stream of horror stories in the news about crappy care, and of course constant budget problems. If we adopt their system, you can pretty multiply their problems by six.]

      By the way, we also have private health insurance options and private health care institutions that, if you can afford to, you may go to at any time. Having a public option does not prevent you from choosing a private one.

      [Ahh, but we've already seen where our socialists want to go, haven't we? They've already done their best to ban private options that don't meet with their approval. And given a chance, they will absolutely, positively ban private care that allows people to go around the government system. ]

      My wife happens to be an American. When we were deciding whether I should move there, or she should move here, you know what settled the score? The health care system. I have a disease called ulcerative colitis. In Norway, I receive care for this disease in such a way that it does not cause me financial ruin. I believe it benefits my country more to have my being a functional member of society, able to work and earn money that I can spend on things other than my illness, instead of my causing a drain on society through only being able to receive emergency care, which costs A LOT MORE than preventive care, and which would leave me unable to live a normal life, because I would be financially ruined, all my money going into the pockets of the heartless benefactors of illness.

      Who do you think ends up paying for the extremely expensive emergency care that a lot of Americans have to receive, but can’t afford? Everybody else, of course.

      [If you're buying the sales pitch we always get from the big-government socialists in this country -- this will SAVE MONEY in the long run! -- I suggest you go back and check the track record of that promise.]

      Were I to move to the US, I wouldn’t be able to get insurance, because as you know, they don’t (or didn’t, at least) insure people with pre-existing conditions. Maybe after this Affordable Care Act, I can, because they supposedly can’t discriminate based on that anymore, but my wife and I made this decision in 2009, long before the details of the ACA was known.

      [Solving the issue of pre-existing conditions and people unable to find insurance was a noble goal. Solving it by trashing the current system and forcing millions of people to give up affordable policies that suited their needs isn't noble. It's extreme government overreach. It's killing a fly with a flame-thrower. There were plenty of alternative proposals on the table to solve that issue, but the socialists weren't interested in those proposals because they didn't move us in the direction of a government-run system.]

      As for state-supported religion, not having one certainly hasn’t done you any favors. The US is by far the most religious developed nation in the world. By comparison, Norway, which until recently had a state religion and still subsidizes a national church, has a much smaller and less extreme religious population. It’s unheard of to have religion be relevant to political discourse here.

      [Not having a state religion hasn't done us any favors? Because we have too many religious people? I don't even know where to begin with that one.]

      • Alex says:

        I suppose it isn’t really sound to assume that things will scale well. Norway’s population and size is really quite different than the US’s. I don’t know enough about Britain’s NHS to really comment on that, but I do know that the way the US was running before the ACA was introduced wasn’t very good for society’s weakest, and that something should be done about it. Is ACA the best something? I doubt it, but then again, I doubt that anything besides the status quo would’ve satisfied some people, because of the “fuck you, I’ve got mine” attitude some people take to social problems.

        As for the religious bit, that was my anti-theism shining through. I believe I have good reason to feel the way I do about religion, but it’s really besides the topic of this post, so I’ll just say this: In societies where ordinary people feel secure in their daily lives, religious participation wanes.

        I appreciate that you understand how different our populations are.

        The U.S. healthcare system wasn’t perfect before the ACA, and I don’t know anyone who thinks it was. But many of the system’s problems were caused by government interference in the form of ridiculous regulations and mandates, disallowing competition across state lines, etc. Go back though U.S. history and you’ll see that we didn’t have double-digit inflation in health-care costs until government stepped in and removed many of the market forces. It also doesn’t help that we have a gazillion lawyers in this country who make themselves rich by suing doctors based on junk-science theories. If your obstetrician has to pay $100,000 per year in malpractice insurance premiums (which is typical), you as the end consumer are going to end up paying for that somehow.

        We’ll agree to disagree on the religion issue. I’m not religious, but I know many people who are. They are financially secure and happy with their lives. Surveys consistently show that religious people are happier on average, at least in the U.S.

      • Firebird7478 says:

        Things may be better in this country if power were returned to the states. Smaller populations spread out over different regions and borders, much more manageable. Norway actually has the best education system in the world. The naysayers will tell you that is because it’s population is no where near the size of the United States. However, their system could be adopted if education was left up to the states, which is what it is suppose to do. Here in NJ where the population is comparable to Norway, that may be much more manageable.

        Exactly. The closer government is to the people, the better it tends to function.

      • somercet says:

        It’s not true about pre-existing conditions. They changed that law a while ago by adding penalties if you bought coverage for a pre-existing condition but dropped the policy (and payments) prematurely.

      • Scott says:

        Over 50% of Norway’s exports are oil vs. about 7% of the U.S. Norway is literally sitting on a gold mine of black gold. That gives Norway a lot more flexibility in spending on social programs than a country like the U.S. that has a debt to GDP ratio around 100%. Norway is a net external creditor of debt. So saying that you have socialized medicine in Norway and it has not bankrupted your country attempts to get people to draw the conclusion that if it can work in Norway, financially, it can work anywhere. Unfortunately, not all countries have anywhere near the abundance of natural resources Norway does.

    • somercet says:

      The Big Lie: “All Industrialized Nations Have Socialized Medicine.”

      Truth: Europe and Japan have a lot of different kinds of health care. Almost all are subsidized, very few are nationalized, single-payer systems. Of course, it’s been standard practice to lie about Europe to bully insecure American libs into dumb behavior for 80 years now.

      For a good review of Europe and Japan’s systems, you can read “Replacing Obamacare: The Cato Institute on Health Care Reform”.

  6. Hi Tom,
    No dog in this fight and I mean that genuinely, but comments like; “the long waiting lists and crappy care of, say, the NHS in Britain,” don’t reflect my experience of health care in the United Kingdom.
    That’s all like a lot of people I am conflicted about health care; I think what has been done to you and your family is obscene.

    • Firebird7478 says:

      Honestly, if we stopped invading other countries, closed our military bases overseas and stop giving money to other nations (a couple of them are thriving and don’t even need it, they’re just leeches), we may have the money for health care.

      I agree that our military activities should be restricted to protecting the United States, but doing so wouldn’t provide anything close to the savings required to pay for a national health care system, much less Obamacare.

    • Jo says:

      Doesn’t reflect my experience either. What people often don’t realise is that Brits will moan like hell about the NHS and a whole bunch of other stuff but when someone outside criticises it suddenly the NHS is wonderful! LOL. But seriously, I love the NHS even with all its faults. Imagine getting equal treatment no matter how rich or poor you are (yes I know this horrifies Americans! LOL). By the way, in the UK you can pay for private medical treatment either directly or via insurance so you do have choices. I don’t think some people realise that. I feel sorry for people financially crippled by medical costs. I hear that medical costs are a major contributor to bankruptcies in the US. Very sad. I’ve no idea if your new Obamacare is any good, but those of us who are use to state funded healthcare wouldn’t want to lose it. Maybe it won’t be so bad after all!

      Medical costs are a contributor to bankruptcies in the U.S. So let’s look at how the geniuses in Washington decided to handle that one:

      Millions of us chose high-deductible policies that are designed specifically to protect against being wiped out financially in case of a true medical disaster — an injury or a major illness, such as cancer. We happily pay for routine medical expenses out of pocket, because 1) we know that buying “insurance” to pay for routine and expected expenses isn’t insurance at all; it’s just paying the insurer to pay your doctor, and 2) we calculated that we save more in premiums over time than we spend for routine expenses.

      My policy was a perfect example. It cost $369 per month for a family of four. We ended up paying maybe $100-$300 in an average year for doctor visits. I’ve had exactly one medical emergency that could have soaked me financially: the torn meniscus in my knee that required surgery. That was probably a $20,000 operation. My insurance kicked in as designed, and that surgery cost me $2,000 out of pocket.

      The policy that served me well has now been outlawed and His Highness is ordering me to buy a policy that would cost (for a “bronze” plan, according to what I’ve found online) about $15,000 per year — that’s $10,000 more than I pay now. In three years (the length of time I’ve had my current policy) that would add up to $30,000 in extra insurance costs — more than I would have paid for my surgery without insurance. Oh, and that bronze plan has a deductible of $6,350. So that would be my cost for knee surgery with a bronze plan.

      So let’s add up the costs of three years of coverage plus knee surgery under my old and new plans:

      Current “substandard” policy: $13,284 in premiums, $2,000 out of pocket for surgery = $15,284.

      Obamacare policy: $45,000 in premiums, $6,350 out of pocket for surgery = $51,350.

      Under which of those scenarios would you say I’m more likely to declare bankruptcy?

      • Heather W says:

        [I love the NHS even with all its faults. Imagine getting equal treatment no matter how rich or poor you are (yes I know this horrifies Americans! LOL)]

        Does it offend anyone else when people from other countries assume that we Americans are rich, greedy bastards who don’t care about anyone but ourselves? That we actively go out and joyfully stomp on people who we perceive as poor? Talk about bad stereotyping…

        Well, they probably get their stereotypes from our media. The facts are:

        1. Americans give more to charity than people in other countries do.
        2. Conservatives in America give away a higher percentage of their incomes on average than liberals do.

        Conservatives aren’t against helping; they’re against being coerced to participate in government’s version of “helping.”

  7. Bruce says:

    I had just read an eye opener (for me anyway)

    684 Million just to get the website (that doesn’t work) going.

    330 Million people in America

    Why not just GIVE 1 Million to each citizen for healthcare and call it a day? Plus, there would have been a 300 Million dollar cost savings!

    That would be two dollars per person, but I see your point. This is going to turn out like the “stimulus” program that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars for reach job “created” by the stimulus. But that’s what happens when social planners get to spend other people’s money.

    • Dan says:

      @Bruce, thanks for that chuckle. I needed that. Math skills that are clearly the result of government run education on display here

  8. Babs says:

    I do not see how anyone can see ur movie, read this blog, and come on here and make the statements Mike just made. Half the point of that movie was that anytime the government gets involved it makes things 100X worse. Some people just don’t get it.

    I’ve scratched my head and wondered about that one myself. There are lots of paleo/LCFH folks who fully understand that our government completely screwed up the dietary advice. They understand that the USDA is essentially a subsidiary of Monsanto and is hopelessly corrupt. They are outraged at farm policies that result in subsidized grains and HFCS being dirt-cheap and ending up in everything. They are outraged at the crappy foods that USDA pushes on schools. They are outraged at the incestuous relationship between the FDA and pharmaceutical companies.

    And yet they still believe if our government runs the entire health-care system, it’ll be just fine. Go figure.

    • Paul B. says:

      [one of] My explanation[s] of this concept is that many people view their political affiliation the same way they do their sports teams. They became a fan of their team for whatever reason, and by golly, they’re not fair-weather-fans! Through good and bad, they support the team, and the only thing that matters is getting one in the ‘W’ column.

      I’ve used that analogy myself. I call it the ‘Red Team/Blue Team’ phenomenon. Once you become a loyal fan of either team, there’s a good chance you’ll lose the ability to recognize when your team is committing a foul — but you’ll spot fouls committed by the other time all the time.

      I thought of that when Dennis Rodman joined the Bulls. When he was with the Pistons, I thought he was the biggest ass—- in the NBA. Once he became a member of my team, I decided he was just colorful and intense.

      • Bret says:

        I think another reason is what Neal and Alex mentioned above: that there are countries who have made this socialized medicine thing work relatively well. Many Americans look at these foreign countries’ systems–probably ignoring or missing the downsides–and think, “Why can’t we have that here?”

        Perhaps if our government was much (MUCH) smaller and market forces in the health care industry were not already way out of whack for decades, government might play a successful role in health care in the U.S. That is not the case, however. The PPACA certainly does nothing to return economic sanity to the health care market–it is just adding more tax really.

        The ACA is clearly adding more economic insanity to a system already screwed up by government removing the market forces. Here’s the latest insanity: Now that congressional Democrats are afraid they’ll be kicked out of office by middle-class voters who are seeing their premiums skyrocket (thanks to a bill His Highness said would lower most people’s premiums), they’re talking about SUBSIDIZING EVEN MORE PEOPLE!

        So let’s just think about that … I had a policy that was affordable because it didn’t include coverage for medical care I don’t need — maternity care, substance abuse treatment, etc., etc. I paid for that policy myself, so there was no burden on my fellow taxpayers. Then His Highness orders me to buy a “comprehensive” policy that includes all that coverage I don’t want or need, which (surprise!) causes my premiums to skyrocket. The answer? Well, what other answer would a big-government socialist come up with? — make the taxpayers subsidize the new policy that’s stupidly expensive only because it forces me to take on extra coverage I don’t want or need. Brilliant! Now I’m a burden on my fellow taxpayers … which, since we’re running deficits, means we’ll borrow money from China to subsidize the policy I didn’t want in the first place and eventually hand the debt burden over to my children … who won’t find full-time jobs because Obamacare is causing employers to cut the workweek to 29 hours.

        This is what happens when economic ignoramuses who’ve never worked in a private industry — much less run one — are put in office and empowered to “fix” an industry they never understood in the first place.

  9. My husband and I are in the same boat as you – we’re in our early 50s, are in good health and have a high-deductible catastrophic plan that is going to disappear in February when it’s time to renew.

    I just had one of my employees tell me that the “rich don’t take enough financial responsibility for our society” and yes, they should be forced to. When I asked him if he felt it was fair that our high-deductible, catastrophic insurance plan be canceled and we be forced to pay $10,000 extra a year for things we’d never use, like maternity care, so HE could have “affordable” health care (he just turned 65 and is going on Medicare – surprise, surprise), he looked me straight in the eye and said, “Yes, I DO think it’s fair.”

    Wow. I’ve been living in ignorance all these years and NEEDED our Liar-In-Chief to tell me I’m rich.

    Wasn’t it Margaret Thatcher who said, when debating a liberal in Parliament, “You don’t care if the poor become poorer, as long as you can keep the rich from being richer.”

    At least your employee was honest. Most of the liberals defending the Obamacare mess are trying to justify the cancellations by insisting that those are all crappy plans, the administration is doing people a favor by cancelling them, the people being cancelled will get an EVEN BETTER DEAL in the Obamacare marketplace (utter b.s.), etc. In other words, they don’t have the intellectual honesty to look us in the eye and tell us they want those high-deductible plans cancelled so we’ll be forced to pay much higher premiums and serve as Obamacare support systems. I have more respect for people who just admit they want to confiscate my money and spend it on themselves.

    Hell, I have more respect for the Mafia, as far as that goes. At least when they take your money or your property by force, they don’t convince themselves they’re actually doing you and society a big favor.

    • Lori says:

      “The rich don’t take enough financial responsibility for our society”? Seriously? I work at a CPA firm and I’ve seen some of the tax returns of our high net worth clients. Many of them pay hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in taxes. In ten years, I’ve yet to hear of anyone who didn’t have to pay anything.

      They’re speaking out of ignorance (meaning they listen to Democrat talking points and don’t do any research). The top 10% pay 70% of the taxes. The bottom 50% pay almost nothing.

      http://money.cnn.com/2013/03/12/news/economy/rich-taxes/

  10. labrat says:

    There’s pretty clear and convincing evidence that our President looked us in the eye and deliberately and knowingly LIED about PPACA.

    I ask supporters of this bill, how in the world do you expect me to trust any of his myriad of other promises?

    PERIOD.

  11. labrat says:

    PS Tom your video is brilliant in its effective simplicity.

    Thank you. But I’m told by liberals that it isn’t funny. I’m shocked by their opinion, of course.

  12. James H. says:

    Rush Limbaugh probably said it best. That tricky little grandfather clause His Highness touted HAD to disappear; if the majority of people were happy with their plans and doctors, Obamacare would have been irrelevant.

    The silver lining though is schadenfreude. I am quite enjoying the dismay Obama’s myrmidons are suffering as they find their lives in disarray thanks to their Dear Leader. I have zero sympathy when I read of supporters finding out their insurance costs are going to skyrocket. Of course, since I and my beloved country are also getting hammered, my glee is somewhat dulled.

    The past few weeks have shown only a glimmer of what is coming at us. We ain’t seen nuttin’ yet, boys and girls.

    The newspapers have been running article about people who voted for Obama and are now shocked — shocked! — that he cancelled the inexpensive plans they liked. When they complain about their skyrocketing insurance premiums, I can’t help but laugh. What did they think would happen when the socialists were put in charge?

  13. Julie says:

    That is what always amazes me: how positively shocked people are that he was lying straight to our faces. When he was speaking about Obamacare (along with many of his other remarks), I failed to see how anyone with any common sense (other than young naive kids) could believe it. It’s like falling for the lies of a snake oil salesman.

    By the way, the video is hilarious and right on target. Keep up the great work.

    Liberalism isn’t based on logic. It’s based on emotions. When a charismatic liberal politician comes along, liberal voters swoon and believe he possesses some kind of magic that can negate the laws of mathematics and economics.

    A philosophy professor named Stephen Hicks wrote a terrific book titled “Explaining Post-Modernism” that reviews the intellectual roots of objectivism vs. subjectivism. The subjectivists (the intellectual grandfathers of modern leftism) specifically rejected logic as a means of discerning truth. In a nutshell, an objectivist thinks like this: If it’s true, I’ll believe it. A subjectivist thinks like this: If I believe it, it’s true.

    And of course the subjectivists were fond of making arguments like this:

    “The state ought to have a universal compulsory force to move and arrange each part in the manner best suited to the whole”. – Rousseau

    “All the worth which the human being possesses, all spiritual reality, he possesses only through the state … this final end has supreme right against the individual, whose supreme duty is to be member of the state.” – Hegel

    “A single person, I need hardly say, is something subordinate, and as such he must dedicate himself to the ethical whole.” – Hegel

    So that’s why it’s okay for Obama to cancel an insurance plan that suited my needs. I don’t matter. I’m supposed to be subservient to the needs of the state.

  14. Steve says:

    Much respect for your honesty when going off topic and political like this Tom! It would be easy for someone with an interest in appealing to the widest possible audience for your documentary to shy away from the truth sometimes, but the truth is rarely easy.

    Thank you, for both the excellent movie and your clear thinking!

    If people watched Fat Head and didn’t gasp that I don’t trust government and oppose the nanny state, I have to wonder if they were paying attention.

    • Ed says:

      I really don’t see this as off topic at all. What the government is doing will assuredly have more to do with our future health and well being than an occasional Big Mac and fries or other dietary lapse possibly could.

    • Lisa McClure says:

      Agreed, Tom. Until I watched Fathead, I didn’t realize the important role that our dear politicians played in the unhealthy diet we’ve been encouraged to eat for the past 30-40 years or so.

      One of my co-workers would benefit enormously from watching Fathead, but since she’s an unthinking and totally devoted member of Team Blue, she isn’t capable of listening to your message (either on diet or politics).

      Perhaps. I’ve heard from Blue Team fans who were slightly offended by the anti-government tone, but nonetheless took the dietary advice to heart.

      • Bret says:

        Lisa, you should check out some of the Fat Head reviews on Amazon. Many of the one- and two-star reviews overtly complain about the film’s perspective on government. Those that are less verbal about the government stuff are still convinced McDonald’s has caused all this obesity and sickness and naturally swoon over the idea of someone leaping to the rescue. Seeing a film that compellingly argues Americans are not stupid automatons that have been brainwashed by corporate greed makes these reviewers very uncomfortable.

  15. Joe says:

    I for one, and happy to have at least one Paleo site that doesn’t bow to the altar of Big Government. Thank you Tom for not being a tool for the elite. Not only is Big Government immoral IT.DOES.NOT.WORK.

    And yes, socialized medicine does not have the ill-effects in some countries as it does in others. However, most of those countries have generally free market systems driving their economies so that they can handle the burden of socialized medicine much better. Economies are incredibly complex and so you have to look at the economic freedom as a whole. And it is nearly indisputable that countries with higher economic freedom indexes grow the fastest and have the most prosperity. Socialized medicine BTW is the opposite of economic freedom.

    Think of it like you would nutrition. The human body is incredibly complex. Let’s suppose I eat healthy, excercise regularly and get a good amount of sleep most nights. Let’s also suppose I smoke a cigar on the weekends. I will probably still have a lean, healthy body and I will probably live a long, productive life. That does not mean, however, that smoking a cigar is good for me. Socialized medicine(the cigar) slows economic growth and contributes to poverty. However, if the government as a whole has embraced economic freedom and free markets(nutrition,excercise,sleep), it will likely be strong and prosperous not because of socialized medicine but IN SPITE of it. Speak truth Tom.

    • Bret says:

      Excellent analogy, Joe. I think that was spot on.

      I just wish the majority of the country got their information from media sources that think like you do, rather than the mainstream media. I am a regular Sunday morning talk show viewer, and I am (to say the least) disturbed by the acceptance of Keynesian economics as fundamental truth on the news networks. Same with the NY Times and other big newspapers.

  16. Kristin says:

    Since I typically have a lot of well-researched opinions I’m getting a flood of questions from lots of folks asking me about my opinion of all this. As a corporate worker with the usual “great health care coverage if you believe in our medical system and really crappy coverage if you don’t” I’ve spent years paying out of pocket for the health care services that are important to me. AHCA isn’t going to change that a bit. So at the moment I’m one of those folks without a dog in the fight.

    I’ve always felt that health care shouldn’t be only for the rich but that is what we have in this country. I don’t see how AHCA is going to fix it since the money they are spending is just propping up our corrupt medical system which is mostly doctors trained to dispense what Big Pharma tells them to for people who are ill because they are listening to Big Farma and eating crap that makes them sick.

    I’m one of those who through my research on diet and how our government screwed us over, is re-evaluating about everything I thought I held dear. I admit I’m so busy with that process that formulating a concrete opinion or even picking a side in this fight is not on my agenda. But I do appreciate the thoughtful opinions I read here.

  17. Chuck says:

    Maybe I’m talking out of my butt (probably), but why can’t someone step in and do something to regulate the ridiculous costs that hospitals charge? I have read the detailed billing from my dad’s insurance company from when he had knee replacement surgery in the 90′s, and his hospital stays before he died in 2005. For the surgery he was billed for every tool used (are they disposable?). I think a scalpel was about $25, and a travel size tube of toothpaste was $7, in the 90′s. In 2005 I remember one night in the ER cost $5000, and they did nothing for him. They just let him lay in a bed hooked up to monitors. They could have put him in a regular room for that.

    I had an uncle that had a major heart attack, and the final bill was over $100,000. When he got better and checked out they asked him if was paying by cash or check. He just laughed at them.

    I know they have to make up the money they get stiffed on to pay their overhead, but the prices just seem outrageous, especially for no more than some of them do. If it was actually affordable they wouldn’t get stiffed as much and insurance might not even be needed.

    I left another comment, but the O’care word or something must have triggered your SPAM folder.

    I’ll look for it in the spam folder.

    People confuse medical costs with insurance costs (not saying you do). They see the high cost of health care and assume they’re getting gouged by insurance companies, therefore the insurance companies must be the problem, therefore we must do away with private insurance.

    The fact is, the average profit margin for health-insurance companies is about 2%. When the economic ignoramuses were complaining about health insurers earning billions (because BILLIONS!! in profits is always evil, unless you’re a cool company like Apple), I did some research on one of the biggest insurers and crunched the numbers. They earned the billions by making a profit of $11 per month per subscriber. They had millions of subscribers. Thus, billions (BILLIONS!!!) in profits.

    If they announced that they will no longer be evil capitalists and start operating as a non-profit organization, that would save their subscribers $11 per month. Wow. Of course, without a profit motive, they’d also be less likely to answer the phone or pay claims on time.

    • Chuck says:

      I don’t blame insurance companies. In fact I’m surprised they even make a profit. If you actually need to use it much, they are paying out more than you are paying in. I blame the medical profession for gouging the insurance companies.

      Someone I know had to have a procedure done, afterword he got a large bill from the hospital because the insurance wasn’t going to pay. He called the hospital to work it out, and since he was going to pay out of pocket they only charged him about one third what they charged insurance. He couldn’t believe it. Another person I know needed a hip replaced. He decided not to mess with his insurance and pay for it outright (he had the money to do it that way). They only charged him $15,000 for the procedure. Everyone thought that was pretty cheap. I have a Medicare statement of my mom’s, and they bill them $140 for a routine office visit, plus bill my mom $20 on top of that. Whenever I have had to go to the doctor (very rarely) and pay for it myself, it never cost that much.

      I know the hospital has to pay its overhead too, but they should not be allowed to charge a paying customer one price and then charge an insurance company double or triple for the same thing. And now that everyone is required to have insurance, what’s going to stop them from gouging the insurance companies even more and making our rates go even higher?

      • Susan says:

        Funny. We had the opposite experience. The hospital billed us $23,000 for my son’s hand surgery when they thought we were uninsured. When they realized it was a covered expense, they knocked the bill they sent to our HMO insurer down to less than $5000. I always figured the higher charge was to make up for what they were losing with the HMO contract

        • Bret says:

          That happens because the market incentives in health care have been out of whack for so long that we now have a Frankenstein monster of a health care system instead of anything resembling sensible economics.

          If government would just let go and stop trying to promise people eternal life and endless health care, then those market forces would slowly return. People would learn to call around and negotiate before going to a medical facility for a procedure. We do the same thing when we buy a car or a house (at least I like to think most of us do), and there is absolutely no reason we should not do the same for health care.

          In fact, many Americans, fed up with the inflated costs here, engage in “medical tourism” and get a variety of procedures done in Mexico, India, etc. That is beautiful, raw capitalism. It is just a shame our government has removed the incentives for American facilities to field competitive prices.

          People should also be able to call around and buy a policy from any company in the U.S. instead of being forced to choose from two or three providers in their own state, where the legislators may have loaded up the plans with expensive mandates. I have car insurance, homeowner’s insurance and business insurance — all from companies outside of Tennessee. But somehow if we allowed that kind of competition in the health-insurance business, it would be disastrous, according to the big-government socialists.

      • pam says:

        most (if not all) clinics have cash discount.
        any price is negotiable.

        looks like more people would become uninsured as a result.

  18. Babs says:

    The fact is folks, if women didnt have the right to vote we wouldnt be in this mrss. Look, there’s been studies. Govt began growing in size when women got the vote. And afterall, obamacare is just a bunch of free stuff for women. BTW, i am a woman.

    Yikes. You can take the heat for that one. I have no problem with my wife voting.

  19. Steve says:

    First, U.S. healthcare spending is exactly the same as other countries up to about age 65. It is after that the spending in the U.S. gets out of whack. A significant reason for this is all of the government intervention that Tom already mentioned. It dramatically drives up the cost of these procedures. The other factor, apparently, is Americans have a real problem with dying. Having watched my wife battle cancer for six years and lose that fight at age 41, there’s no way I’m wasting time or money with the sickcare system. If you really investigate what they do then you find out it isn’t much different from being a drug pusher on the corner.

    Second, you may remember Obama saying that Obamacare was a good first step. I believe the plan all along was to pass this law and have people get so fed up because it didn’t work that they would demand nationalized, single-payer health care. The math has never even come close to working on this bill.

    Good point. A huge proportion of our health-care costs are due to heroic efforts — paid by Medicare — to extend people’s lives by a year or two when we already know they’re terminal. So to a large extent, people are pointing to high costs incurred by government as proof that our private system is too expensive and needs to be replaced by a government system.

  20. labrat says:

    Hey – since you brought the topic up. What’s your programmers take on the website issues? Would you go near that site to buy insurance?
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/11/08/us-usa-healthcare-zeints-idUSBRE9A70Y220131108?feedType=RSS&feedName=politicsNews&utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter&dlvrit=574655

    My take as a programmer is that everyone involved should be fired. When we build software at BMI, it goes through three phases: Dev, Test and Prod. Nothing is moved to Production until it passes muster in Dev and Test. We would never roll out a big database program we knew had problems just to beat a deadline.

    Three-and-a-half years, more than a $100 million. Hell, I could built them a web site that doesn’t work in half that time for half the money.

  21. Gerard ONeil says:

    Just my two cents. I have known from the beginning,even before he took Office,that Obama was a fraud. I had no use for him. He seems so comfortable to continually lie to us. I can’t understand why anyone could trust him. That being said, it is true that Obamacare has no real enforcement arm. The only way to collect the fine,should you decide not to enrole in this trainwreck, is to deny you your refund(or a portion thereof). Just configure tax return so no refund is due. Problem solved. Anyway Tom….keep up the good work. I have been following your blog from the beginning and really enjoy it . Oh and by the way…I have been lowcarbing (fairly strictly for about 15 years) and it’s the best decision I have made.
    Keep the faith.

    I can do that on the tax refund, since I never get one. But I wouldn’t say Obamacare has no enforcement arm. They forced my insurer to stop offering the policy I liked.

  22. Don Sturrock says:

    Thank you Tom! You absolutely NAILED it!

  23. Stephanie says:

    Hi Tom,

    You probably already know this, but did you know Fat Head was recommended in Jeffrey Tucker’s latest book, A Beautiful Anarchy? I was just reading and thought that was really neat! Congratulations!

    I didn’t know that. Thanks for the heads-up; I just ordered a copy.

  24. Charles says:

    What do you think of a Jesse Ventura/Howard Stern ticket in 2016?

    Probably wouldn’t be my first choice.

    • Firebird7478 says:

      Jesse, maybe, Howard, not so much. I can’t see the parade route during inauguration day being inundated with strippers.

  25. Firebird7478 says:

    What has flooded the media is the website failing, people’s premiums doubling and tripling, etc. When I think of “affordable” health care, I think of the prescription that doesn’t cost $106, like my brother in law’s glaucoma medication, which I saw him hand back to the pharmacist when she told him how much it cost. Affordable to me is getting an Advil in the hospital and being charged 25 cents for it, not $100. Affordable to me means the doctor who is not treating you in the hospital stays out of your room, doesn’t spend 30 seconds reading your chart, leaves and charges $500 for it. Affordable to me is the candy striper offering you an extra pillow for your comfort and the hospital not charging you for the pillow or for the striper bringing it to you.

    That is where the focus should be. The internal system, the method of billing, has to somehow be overhauled.

    That’s what happens when market forces are taken out of the system. When everything appears “free” to the consumer, there’s no incentive to control costs.

    By contrast, the one area of medicine where costs have consistently come down is elective procedures. Getting your eyes fixed used to cost something like $3000 per eye. Now it’s $1000 for both eyes. That’s because elective procedures aren’t being paid for by someone else, so people shop around and the providers have an incentive to find ways to make their services affordable.

    • big papa smurf says:

      I was in the hospital for a heart issue. I had an EKG done. Doctor looked at it and gave me a diagnosis. I leave the hospital and two weeks later I get another bill. A different doctor looked at my EKG and charged me 50 bucks for the pleasure. Was never asked if I wanted someone else, never even spoke to the second doctor, before or after he looked at my EKG. I pretty much paid for the pleasure of protecting the doctor from a malpractice lawsuit.

      Yup. That’s what defensive medicine is all about.

    • Bret says:

      Firebird, it does not have to be overhauled with any effort whatsoever. Government just needs to stop giving health care away for free and trying to force employers to cover their employees, etc.

      If they just gave up, those inflated costs you mentioned would come down, because people would stop paying them.

      100 years ago, there was health care for profit, but people were not being charged a 39,900% markup for painkillers in the hospital. Know what was different back then? No Medicare, Medicaid, employer insurance, or anything else that divorced the patient from the cost…

      • Firebird7478 says:

        The government is not giving away health care. That is a misconception. No country has “free” health care. It comes out of your taxes in all shapes and forms…income tax, sales tax, with holding tax, gas tax, etc.

        I posted a video on here and I don’t know where it went, called the True Cost of Health Care. You can get around those high costs and negotiate down and in some cases even refuse to pay. The problem is is that most people do not know you can do it.

        Google Dr. David Belk and watch his video. It’s worth every minute of it’s 54 minute total running time.

        Probably wound up in the spam folder. Here’s the video:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9q1Id41wGo

        • Bret says:

          You are quibbling over terminological specifics. Yes, I understand that the cost does not disappear. My point is that the recipients of these benefits are not being taxed proportionally to what they are receiving (or at all in some cases)–in essence, government is “giving” services away to those people. And I agree, a different way to state that would be to say government is forcing some citizens to subsidize others. The cost-benefit analysis of Medicare is an absolute joke…currently the average beneficiary is costing $5 for every $1 he/she contributed. The end result in any case (Medicare, Medicaid, and soon Obamacare) is the same: the lack of market-based cost consequence to the subsidized individuals results in higher demand for services rendered than is economically warranted, which drives prices up through the roof.

          If government stopped this nonsense, prices would come way down. Hospitals, clinics, and other medical facilities would simply be forced to become more efficient, or they would go out of business–because individual patients would not tolerate the $100 advils that you mentioned.

          I agree with you 100% that people can shop around. But as Tom frequently points out, why should most of them? They pay a constant co-pay or deductible, and there is little incentive for them to shop around first. This encourages employers and insurers to limit the medical facilities they will do business with, which eventually turns out to be a big, inefficient mess altogether. If people had no insurance, and particularly no employer- or government-provided insurance, this problem would disappear. Economics would force it to.

          Lastly, skipping a bill is a moral issue. It is one thing if a medical facility springs a bunch of surprise charges on you when they deliver the bill; i.e. things you did not agree to. Then that kind of thing is warranted, if the hospital refuses to remove the charges when you ask them to. But a patient who is being charged for what procedures he agreed to at the prices he contracted (or the hospital’s standard prices, if he was too foolish to check ahead of time) and arbitrarily skips the bill deserves every bit of credit ruination (and other legal consequences) he suffers.

    • Lori says:

      $1000 for eye surgery? That’s cheaper than glasses in the long run. I think I’ll do it.

  26. Angel says:

    Count me as one of the people losing her individual health insurance plan thanks to the ACA. I just cancelled my maternity coverage last year because I didn’t need it, which saved me $90 a month. At a minimum, my premium with a new policy will be $70 higher (which includes maternity coverage), and I suspect that overall I have less coverage than I would have had if I kept my current plan. Most of the plans I’ve been offered have big chunks of 100% co-insurance in addition to a really high deductible.

    So, I’ll cancel my health insurance and continue to take the best care of myself that I can, and hope for the best.

    That’s what I’ll be doing. I figure the best thing those of us who oppose this massive assault on individual liberty and common sense can do is refuse to comply — en masse.

    • Chuck says:

      Our insurance rep at work told us that if we don’t show proof of insurance by the deadline our tax return will be penalized, and if we don’t show proof the year after that, our employer will be required to sign us up for the lowest plan if we want it or not. She said they (government I suppose) put the responsibility on the employer to make sure all have insurance. I’m not sure how they plan to enforce self employed people.

  27. Peggy Holloway says:

    I just completed my enrollment on healthcare.gov. I have been on a catastrophic policy since I lost my full time job with benefits when the college where I taught closed as a result of the economic recession of 2008. I believe one of the major factors in the financial problems the institution faced was the high cost of providing health insurance to the employees. Most higher ed institutions started relying on adjuncts years ago to cut those costs and full-time faculty positions are next to impossible to find at my age. I get by with part-time, adjunct and freelance work but have been concerned about my lack of decent health insurance. I figured with my good health, I could get by with an almost affordable catastrophic policy so I wouldn’t be bankrupted if I landed in the hospital with some unexpected emergency (which is the only thing my policy covered). Little did I suspect that catching my toe on a sidewalk grate outside Coors Stadium would leave me bleeding on the curb screaming “don’t call an ambulance, I don’t have insurance.” I have been told had I taken an ambulance to the emergency room, the bill would have been a minimum of $3500 and my policy would not have paid one cent. I was paying $127/month for that piece of crap. I was very happy to receive my cancellation notice and inform Blue Cross Blue Shield that I was not interested in having them automatically roll me over into their selected plan. Rather, I was thrilled to be able to go on the exchange and enroll in a perfect HMO plan with unlimited $10 a visit copay before deductible and coverage for outpatient and emergency room visits with a reasonable coinsurance out-of-pocket cost. The premium will be $104/month – considerably less than I’ve been paying for a policy that will actual have some benefit to me! On January 1, I can breath easy that I never will find myself in the nightmare I experience in Denver again.

    You’ve mentioned that incident before, and I agree it underscores some of the problems we had in our existing system. I don’t know anyone who denies we had problems in the existing system. The debate was over how we fix those existing problems. One course of action would be to identify the specific problems and fix them specifically. The course of action taken by the big-government socialists was to kill a fly with a flamethrower, replacing as much of the existing system as possible with the system they prefer.

    That’s no surprise, of course. As Thomas Sowell explains brilliantly in his book “The Vision of the Anointed,” the Anointed in society always favor fixing problems by imposing a Grand Plan (which they design), and the Grand Plan always involves restricting other people’s freedoms and spending lots of other people’s money. Historically, those Grand Plans have produced more problems than they solved because they were based on pie-in-the-sky theories favored by intellectuals instead of solid economics. We are already seeing the failures of Obamacare: millions of people having policies they liked canceled, premiums skyrocketing, people in the middle of ongoing cancer therapies losing access to their doctors, hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars spent on exchanges like those in Delaware and D.C. that have signed up a total of nine people combined so far, young and/or healthy people not signing up because of high premiums resulting from “comprehensive” coverage they don’t want or need, a disproportionate number of those signing up coming from the ranks of those who will draw out of the system instead of paying into it, etc. It’s already clear that employers are cutting back on staff and reducing hours in response to Obamacare — an entirely predictable result that will harm the marginally employed — and it’s already clear that this program will cost way, way more than predicted and will add hundreds of billions if not actual trillions to a debt burdern that threatens to sink the country.

    So I sincerely hope you’re not arguing that you’re okay with seeing millions of Americans getting screwed financially by the federal government as long as you came out ahead.

    • Bruce says:

      I may be mistaken, but this injury and resulting trip to the ER would probably have been covered under EMTALA.

      From CMS.gov:

      Emergency Medical Treatment & Labor Act (EMTALA)

      In 1986, Congress enacted the Emergency Medical Treatment & Labor Act (EMTALA) to ensure public access to emergency services regardless of ability to pay. Section 1867 of the Social Security Act imposes specific obligations on Medicare-participating hospitals that offer emergency services to provide a medical screening examination (MSE) when a request is made for examination or treatment for an emergency medical condition (EMC), including active labor, regardless of an individual’s ability to pay. Hospitals are then required to provide stabilizing treatment for patients with EMCs. If a hospital is unable to stabilize a patient within its capability, or if the patient requests, an appropriate transfer should be implemented.

  28. Bruce says:

    I saw this today:

    “Putting things in perspective: March 21st 2010 to October 1 2013 is 3 years, 6 months, 10 days. December 7, 1941 to May 8, 1945 is 3 years, 5 months, 1 day. What this means is that in the time we were attacked at Pearl Harbor to the day Germany surrendered is not enough time for this progressive federal government to build a working webpage. Mobilization of millions, building tens of thousands of tanks, planes, jeeps, subs, cruisers, destroyers, torpedoes, millions upon millions of guns, bombs, ammo, etc. Turning the tide in North Africa, Invading Italy, D-Day, Battle of the Bulge, Race to Berlin – all while we were also fighting the Japanese in the Pacific!! And in that amount of time – this administration can’t build a working webpage.”

    Yup. Three-and-a-half years and hundreds of millions of dollars later, they couldn’t build a web site that works — but chose to roll it out anyway. And yet we have millions of “progressives” who think if we put this crowd in charge of the entire health-care system, it would be work out just fine and dandy. I don’t understand how their minds work. I can only conclude that when they form opinions, wishful thinking outweighs evidence.

    (I always put “progressive” in quotes because I don’t believe putting people under the thumb of government is a form of progress. Progress was what happened in 1776, when a group of brilliant men declared that government’s legitimate function is to prevent people from harming one another and otherwise leave them alone.)

  29. Galina L. says:

    It is not connected to a health care insurance, just to the government regulations, but my husband just told me it was in a technical news that the use of wood-burning stoves may be illegal in a nearest future http://www.care2.com/causes/woodburning-stoves-could-soon-be-illegal.html, and I thought about you and people like you.

    Yeah, I read about that. So my wood-burning stove pollutes, but if I don’t use it and heat my house with electricity generated by a coal-burning plant, that doesn’t?

  30. Hi Tom,
    I have really enjoyed the comments on this article. Do you think the old words socialist or free marketeer (?) are relevant to modern political debate? These ideologies though occasionally espoused by politicians and pundits seem to have very little to do with modern political reality.
    A form of corporate capture resulting in something similar to our favourite definition of facism (can’t find a direct quote from Mussolini on this though) as being a merger of the state and corporate power. It often seems to me that while we can have lively ideological debates what Governements actually do seem to be quite different to the dialogue and frames of reference we and they use.
    I read about the wood burning stove thing too….mental!

    Neal

    Yes, I think those words are still relevant.

  31. Okay Fat Heads, here’s some numbers.

    The penalty for not having qualified insurance for 2014 is 1% of household income with a minimum of $95 per person ($47.50 per child, $285 minimum per family).

    It rises in 2015 to 2%, and 2.5% in 2016, with annual adjustments for inflation.

    So if you have household income of $60,000 in 2014, your fine will be $600, but the only enforcement mechanism is that the feds will reduce any income tax refund you’re due. They can’t come after you.

    It’s always been a bad idea to have your taxes withheld in such a way that you get a big refund, but at least you got it back after loaning it to the idiocracy at no interest for the year. Now it would be insane assuming you don’t have one of the Big Brother approved plans.

    Underpayment penalties only apply if you owe more than $1,000, and then only if you haven’t paid EITHER 90% of your tax liability or AT LEAST 100% of the tax you paid the prior year.

    For example, say you’re outrageously old-fashioned and are hence married, with two kids and gross $60,000 for 2014, and managed to sock $5,000 into an IRA but didn’t want to spend $15,000 on an Obamacare policy. The IRA, standard deduction ($12,400), and 4 exemptions ($15,800) reduce your taxable income to $33,200. Your income tax would be $4,073, but if the kids are still 17 or under you get $2,000 in Child Tax Credits for a net liability of $2,073. Follow?

    So, if this is all coming from one weekly paycheck while Dad stays home with the kids (okay, maybe you’re not THAT outrageously old-fashioned), you don’t want to see more than $39 a week being withheld in Federal Income Tax. Anything more and you’re chipping in on this fiasco. In this case, as long as you’ve had $1,074 withheld ($21 a week), you’re under the $1,000 owed and don’t have to worry about an underpayment penalty. You will have to come up with the other $999 for your taxes though, so stick closer to the $39 a week if you don’t want to have to come with that kind of scratch in April 2015.

    The crucial point to keep in mind as you consider this whole meltdown is that in our present system, Obamacare or not, the function of health insurance is not to protect your health. Sure, it helps with access and quality of care, but if you show up at the hospital after having been run over by a bus or with cancer, you are still going to receive health care. The real function of health insurance (or any real insurance) is to protect your financial health.

    So if you have or foresee having significant assets, that’s what you are leaving exposed by not having insurance. Contrariwise, that’s why it’s economically insane for healthy young people without many assets (and likely with negative net worth if they have student loans), to pay big premiums.

    The one thing the Big Thinkers haven’t factored into their computer models (along with, “how do you turn this thing on, again?”), and that I mentioned in a previous post’s comments, is that they’ve now created an overwhelming incentive for massive non-compliance with the tax code among the portion of the younger generation. Or at least the portion of them who have or intend to have careers.

    This could be awesome.

    Cheers!

  32. Oh yeah, and also

    BABS FOR PRESIDENT!

    Just sayin’.

    Cheers

  33. Hi Tom, did my comment get lost in the mail?
    Neal

    It was in the spam folder. I un-spammed it.

  34. Michael says:

    Obamacare’s goal wasn’t to help people, it was to help insurance & drug companies. It’s just another plutocratic policy pushed for by corporate lobbyists:

    http://foodfreedomgroup.com/2012/12/10/meet-liz-fowler-architect-of-obamacare-jumps-ship-to-johnson-johnson/

    “The pharmaceutical giant that just hired Fowler actively supported the passage of Obamacare through its membership in the Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) lobby. Indeed, PhRMA was one of the most aggressive supporters—and most lavish beneficiaries—of the health care bill drafted by Fowler.”

    Besides in a sane world any government entity would have to first demonstrate that their plan/program for X/Y/Z works in a small scale trial before it’s implemented elsewhere. They never do that. They never have to show that they’re competent and can achieve the goals they’re aiming for. If the government was a private company nobody would hire them for any job because their resume is just a series of failures.

    Well, we’re back to what Thomas Sowell wrote about in “The Vision of the Anointed.” When they come up with a Grand Plan to save society, The Anointed can’t be bothered with little details like evidence. They are The Anointed, after all. Anyone who opposes them is either evil or stupid. If the Grand Plan fails, it’s only because the evil and/or stupid people undermined it.

    When government steps into regulate an industry, we usually see one of three results:

    1. Government kills the industry by regulatory strangulation.
    2. Government nearly kills the industry and then ends up subsidizing it with taxpayer dollars to keep it alive.
    3. The regulatory agency is taken over by industry hacks and essentially becomes a vehicle for procuring government favors for the regulated industry.

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