While it’s much more fun to ridicule President Dumbass for frolicking on the beaches and fairways of Oahu while his loyal and disloyal subjects shiver back home and watch their health insurance plans disappear like Frosty the Snowman at Diamond Head—much, much more fun—we’ve always been about results and outcomes in Bloodthirstan. Well, often… sometimes.
The unraveling of the Affordable Care Act presents a historic opportunity for change. Its proponents call it “settled law,” but as Prohibition taught us, not even a constitutional amendment is settled law—if it is dysfunctional enough, and if Americans can see a clear alternative.
This fall’s website fiasco and policy cancellations are only the beginning. Next spring the individual mandate is likely to unravel when we see how sick the people are who signed up on exchanges, and if our government really is going to penalize voters for not buying health insurance. The employer mandate and “accountable care organizations” will take their turns in the news. There will be scandals. There will be fraud. This will go on for years.
Sorry, the fun part got away from me for a second.
There is an alternative. A much freer market in health care and health insurance can work, can deliver high quality, technically innovative care at much lower cost, and solve the pathologies of the pre-existing system.
Only deregulation can unleash competition. And only disruptive competition, where new businesses drive out old ones, will bring efficiency, lower costs and innovation.
Health insurance should be individual, portable across jobs, states and providers; lifelong and guaranteed-renewable, meaning you have the right to continue with no unexpected increase in premiums if you get sick. Insurance should protect wealth against large, unforeseen, necessary expenses, rather than be a wildly inefficient payment plan for routine expenses.
People want to buy this insurance, and companies want to sell it. It would be far cheaper, and would solve the pre-existing conditions problem. We do not have such health insurance only because it was regulated out of existence. Businesses cannot establish or contribute to portable individual policies, or employees would have to pay taxes. So businesses only offer group plans.
Rather than a mandate for employer-based groups, we should transition to fully individual-based health insurance. Allow national individual insurance offered and sold to anyone, anywhere, without the tangled mess of state mandates and regulations. Allow employers to contribute to individual insurance at least on an even basis with group plans. Current group plans can convert to individual plans, at once or as people leave. Since all members in a group convert, there is no adverse selection of sicker people.
ObamaCare defenders say we must suffer the dysfunction and patch the law, because there is no alternative. They are wrong. On Nov. 2, for example, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote movingly about his friend who lost employer-based insurance and died of colon cancer. Mr. Kristof concluded, “This is why we need Obamacare.” No, this is why we need individual, portable, guaranteed-renewable, inexpensive, catastrophic-coverage insurance.
While economically straightforward, liberalization is always politically hard.
The first step is, the American public must understand that there is an alternative. Stand up and demand it.
More or less what we’ve been saying for years. The whole model of employee-based insurance makes no sense—especially when so few people work anymore (58.6% of the population). Why does America accept the benefits of the free market when it comes to computers, cars, smart phones, etc.—even other forms of insurance!—yet recoil in horror at the prospect of choice and competition in health insurance? And why is the government actually outlawing true insurance (so-called catastrophic insurance)?
Get the government out of the damn way!
The president woke up early for a morning workout at a gym at Marine Corps Base Hawaii. After about an hour, Obama returned to his vacation home.
As his motorcade passed by, people on the side of the road waved and one jogger danced in joy. Construction workers wearing white helmets and lime green shirts stopped their work to watch the line of about 11 vehicles, not including Honolulu police escorts.
Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and their two daughters traveled across Oahu to hike at Manoa Falls, a popular, easy tropical trail that leads to a 150-foot waterfall.
Hikers seemed surprised to see the first family arrive. Security kept many hikers from entering the trail as the family started their hike, which lasted about one hour.
Husband and wife Paul and Kathy Besser of Sunnyvale, Calif., said they were excited at the prospect of hiking near the Obamas. Kathy Besser said she hoped the first family would see the kids in her group of 10 hikers.
Besser said she was OK with security restricting access to the trail because she thinks the Obamas deserve privacy on their vacation.
“The girls live in a fishbowl and they should have some private moments,” she said.
When do the girls not have private moments? Are the rest of us so unwashed and uncivil that we can’t occupy the same world? And could the AP be any more flattering, with its dancing joggers and happy hikers? Why not ask the construction workers what they thought of the motorcade flown in on its own from Washington? The reporter ascribes feelings to everyone else; why not suggest that at least one of them wondered to himself when Obama last worked under the hot Hawaiian sun? The next time, is the answer.
Unless you call this work: