12 Sep 2017

chart showing the tens of trillions in debt Bernie Sanders' single payer plan would add to the national debt
Left wing Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is set to release legislation based on his 'single payer', socialized healthcare plan soon, which means it's time to revisit the false claims he made about it during the his presidential campaign against Hillary Clinton, and especially the huge gap between the reality of how much it would cost, and how much Sanders falsely claimed it would cost.     In line with Sanders' pattern - falling  inline with that of corrupt politicians from time immemorial - of giving more than he takes and passing the bill to future generations to pay off, the Sanders campaign released cost estimates of around $13.8 trillion over the first ten years. The problem with that is it's completely disconnected from reality - independent estimates from economic think tanks put it around half of the actual cost. This chart, from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget - a widely respected nonpartisan fiscal organi...

01 Apr 2011

I have to start by making a clear distinction. I'm not sure what the details of Arizona Governor Jan Brewer's idea to charge smokers and some overweight people more for their Medicaid is, and I'm not arguing for (or against) it. This post is about the idea in general. What exactly is wrong with, for example, finding out how much more the average smoker costs to cover - and perhaps not only for government programs like Medicare and Medicaid, but also for private health insurance - and then adding that cost to their monthly bill? The same goes for those who are obese through their choices, or any other behavioral choices that people make that has a proven connection to health outcomes that increase costs. If they have some kind of disability, hormonal imbalance or something like that, this wouldn't/ shouldn't count for them. But for everyone else, if they just choose to live that way, and make those unhealthy decisions, I not only don't see how it...

09 Feb 2011

Some parts of the recent health care ruling, by a federal judge in Florida, make a lot of common sense... but some parts just seem a giant stretch. I went into this in my latest post at WNYC's Its a Free Country site: I don’t think that it makes any logical sense to say that ruling the individual mandate unconstitutional should then make the entire health care reform bill unconstitutional. It just isn’t true that one funding mechanism should have that effect if pulled out. There are other options being floated by think tanks that could accomplish the same goals without forcing people to buy insurance, so striking down the whole bill on that premise just doesn’t make sense. Regardless, you don’t have to be a legal scholar to look at the basic thinking that the judge used to explain why he thinks the individual mandate is unconstitutional. These clippings from the ruling, cut from a post on over at Pajamas Media, contains a pretty compelling ar...

03 Feb 2011

Large portions of both sides of the health care debate have been latching onto the individual mandate. On the right, they believe that it is unconstitutional, and on the left they think you can't take it out of the bill, because there is no other way of making it work. Both are total garbage. The individual mandate is an important part of the bill, but all it really is is one of the ways the bill is paid for. There have been several other ideas floated that would accomplish much of the same thing, as I've said before, its just that neither side currently wants to recognize this. Taking a cue from some of the ideas floated by various think tanks, a Democratic congressman from Oregon is proposing an opt-out clause that would solve the issue of the constitutionality of the part of the bill that currently forces people to buy insurance, or face a hafty fine. Congressman DeFazio hits the nail on the head in this quote: “It doesn’t make any diff...

03 Feb 2011

I have to start out by saying that I disagree with the individual mandate, but have never claimed to know whether it was constitutional or not. I'll let those who pretend to be scholars, and the actual legal scholars of course, debate that. I do however know that a large majority of people think, like I do, that it is very wrong. On the other hand, I don't think that it makes any logical sense to say that ruling the individual mandate unconstitutional should then make the entire health care reform bill unconstitutional. It just isn't true that one funding mechanism, among many, should have that effect if pulled out. As I've gone into before, there are other options that could accomplish much the same goals without forcing people to buy insurance. Regardless, you don't have to be a legal scholar to look at the basic thinking that the judge used in the recent ruling on the subject to explain why he thinks the individual mandate is unconstitution...

02 Feb 2011

Politicians say all kinds of things that are not intended to inform the American people. Misleading statements usually serve another purpose. A recent example is the following comment from Speaker John Boehner, referring to a rationale for passing legislation to repeal Obamacare: "This bill [Obamacare] is flawed and why shouldn't it be repealed? There is no reason not to repeal it. Well, that sounds about right, right? Or, is something missing? Of course something is missing, i..e., facts and context. They are almost always missing when a partisan politician unleashes the dogs of spin. Congress routinely passes moderately and very complex legislation, like Obamacare. They later nearly always discovers errors and unintended consequences. In those cases, congress rarely or never repeals the law. It fixes it, e.g., by occasionally repealing some sections, usually changing others and otherwise doing what is needed. The United States Code (the laws con...

19 Jan 2011

This isn’t an opinion piece on the merits and downfalls of the Heath Care Reform package passed last year. Like most people who actually know what is in the bill, I like parts of it, and think other parts should be repealed before they have the chance to go into effect. But no matter where you stand on the issue, we can all agree that our representatives in Washington should not waste their time on dog and pony shows that have no chance of passing. My representative, Lee Terry, (like most Republicans) is against the bill and is likely to support his party’s efforts to waste the time we gave them to work on solving our nation’s long list of extremely difficult problems. But unlike Democrats, most of which only seem intent on stonewalling any effort to make any changes to the bill, excepting a notable few, there are in fact those who have ideas on what is within the realm of possibility, in regards to reforming parts of the health care bill. ...

18 Jan 2011

Howard Gleckman, writing at the Tax Policy Center, mirrors comments I've made several times in the past, about what is possible, and what isn't, as far as repealing aspects of the Health Care Reform legislation passed last year: As has been widely noted, it is a symbolic vote that will lead nowhere—in part because, despite the GOP rhetoric, the public supports most of the law. With one exception. Americans detest the law’s individual mandate—the provision that requires everyone to either have insurance or pay a tax. According to a November Kaiser Family Foundation survey, more than two-thirds of those polled said they want Congress to repeal the mandate. By contrast, more than 70 percent would keep the part of the law that bars insurance companies from denying coverage to people who have pre-existing medical conditions. And the public isn’t alone in its discomfort. Even Barack Obama opposed the mandate during his presidential campaign. And a gro...

22 Dec 2010

My latest post on over at the Its a Free Country blog at WNYC (New York City's NPR station), goes over a twist on one of the ideas that have been floated by think tanks as a replacement for the individual mandate. Here's a taste: If we give everyone an option of picking up insurance they could afford, and they choose not to take that option, then any costs incurred past what they can afford would be paid by the government—but with strings attached. This debt would be somewhat similar to government backed college loans, in that they couldn't be wiped out by bankruptcy. In exchange for the government paying these bills, the patient who rolled the dice, and lost, would be put on a repayment program until it (or a certain portion of it) is repaid, and would have to be enrolled in the government plan from then on. Regardless of specifics, the idea that the democrats are floating that the individual mandate is the only option is complete garbage. ...