Americanly Yours

Promoting Free Markets, Free Trade, and Freedom!

Why Mandating Coverage For Preexisting Conditions Is Morally Wrong

July 16, 2012 By: Phred Category: Uncategorized

Despite overall disapproval with President Obama’s health care law, many of its provisions remain popular.  Perhaps the most popular provision in the law is one that prevents insurance companies from discriminating against customers based on “preexisting conditions.”  The logic is relatively simple at first glance: people with debilitating conditions will not be able to get coverage at affordable prices unless Congress mandates that insurance companies cannot discriminate against those with a preexisting condition.

We all know someone with a preexisting medical condition, be it cancer, diabetes, or pregnancy.  The fact that we all know someone who currently has or previously has had a preexisting condition is one reason why this provision is so popular.  After all, it is difficult to argue with someone who uses the emotional appeal of an aunt with cancer or a single pregnant woman who is uninsured.  Emotional appeals can be used to “justify” any side of any issue but they cannot prove anything.  Preexisting conditions can be tragically sad and are often not the fault of anyone, be it the victim or society as a whole.

There is a very important question that we must ask before we decide whether or not such a provision is a good idea: is it appropriate to punish someone who has done nothing wrong?

This is a very serious question.  If we decide that it is appropriate to punish someone who has committed no wrong, then we must not only answer why it is appropriate to punish the innocent, but who should punish the innocent and how severely they should be punished for their non-wrongs.

I do not see how any rational person who has thought about this question can decide that it is morally acceptable to punish a person who has done nothing wrong.

Therefore, if it is not appropriate to punish someone who has done nothing wrong, then we must absolutely reject the idea of Congress mandating that insurance companies not discriminate against those with preexisting conditions.  The reason for this is simple: forcing insurance companies to provide “affordable” coverage for those with preexisting conditions must result in increased costs for those of us without preexisting conditions.

Insurance is a vehicle which prices and protects against risk.  This is usually done by assigning people with similar characteristics to “risk pools” and charging them similar premiums.  In a free market for health insurance, 35 year old male smokers residing in the Chicago area who are overweight and have type 2 diabetes are likely to be placed in the same pool and will be charged the same or a similar monthly premium.  Under a system where insurance companies are prevented from discriminating against those with preexisting conditions, the previous group is merged with the group of 35 year old male smokers residing in the Chicago area who are overweight but do not have type 2 diabetes.  While this will result in lower premiums for those with type 2 diabetes, it will result in higher fees for those without the disease.

In other words, while preventing insurance companies from discriminating against those with preexisting conditions sounds like a noble idea, it ends up punishing those who have done no wrong.

I am sorry if you have a preexisting medical condition, I truly am, but unless you can conclude that your preexisting condition is my fault, you have absolutely no moral right to punish me for your condition.

Rand Paul For Senate Moneybomb Tomorrow!

August 19, 2009 By: Phred Category: Uncategorized

Jim Bunning, the current Senator from Kentucky has decided not to run for reelection in 2010, leaving an open field in both the Democratic and Republican primaries.

Rand Paul, the son of Congressman Ron Paul has decided to run for Senator Bunning’s seat.

Rand Paul is not just a son of a Congressman following in his father’s footsteps.  He has been very involved in Kentucky politics for the last 15 years.  He founded a group called Kentucky Taxpayers United in 1994 and has run the organization ever since.  Under Rand Paul’s leadership, this organization has become very influential in influencing State legislators to push for lower taxes.  Rand Paul is a strong supporter of Austrian Economics as well.

Rand Paul is also a successful doctor, and understands the health care issue very, very well:

Dr. Paul’s supporters are holding a moneybomb for his campaign tomorrow.  The recent moneybomb for Peter Schiff was successful–he raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in a single day.  Tomorrow, Dr. Paul’s supporters are hoping that his moneybomb can raise over $1 million–becoming the first Senate campaign to raise $1 million in a single day.  We can make this happen, but only if those who favor free markets are willing to invest a little money.  A small donation–even $10 will help Dr. Paul win what is sure to be an expensive primary battle.

For more information–or to donate, please visit either the official site of the moneybomb, or Dr. Paul’s official campaign page.  The moneybomb page has plenty more YouTube clips of Dr. Paul speaking.

Americanly Yours,

Phred Barnet

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My Letter To The White House

August 05, 2009 By: Phred Category: Uncategorized

A friend sent me an article from yesterday entitled “Call For Informants:  If You Oppose Obamacare, Even in ‘Casual Conversation,’ the White House Wants to Know About It.”  This article quotes the White House’s website which says:

“There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to”

So, I decided to send them the following email:

To whom it may concern,

I recently saw a nasty rumor about the health care bill on the internet.  According to this terrible misinformation, the health care bill will add $1 trillion to the National debt between 2010 and 2019 and will still leave 16-17 million people without health insurance!

This awful propaganda can be found here.

Yours in Liberty,

Phred Barnet

Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito

For the record, the link was a link to the CBO’s analysis of the health care bill which contains the following text  “According to our preliminary assessment, enacting the proposal would result in a net increase in federal budget deficits of about $1.0 trillion over the 2010-2019 period. When fully implemented, about 39 million individuals would obtain coverage through the new insurance exchanges. At the same time, the number of people who had coverage through an employer would decline by about 15 million (or roughly 10 percent), and coverage from other sources would fall by about 8 million, so the net decrease in the number of people uninsured would be about 16 million or 17 million.

Yeah, Im a smart ass, but this is a very weird thing for the White House to be doing.  Its definitely improper, and may also be illegal.

I recommend sending the White House your own smart ass email.

Americanly Yours,

Phred Barnet

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Why Democrats Health Care Plan Means Rationing

July 27, 2009 By: Phred Category: Uncategorized

President Obama has proposed universal health care in a new bill, yet given the law of supply and demand, it will result not only in lower quality of health care, but also in rationing. Let us just suppose that President Obama’s health care proposal sails through Congress today and is signed into law this evening.

Tomorrow morning we will all wake up in a world where everyone is covered with some form of medical insurance, including the approximately 50 million Americans currently without health coverage. Yet, the number of doctors, nurses, and medical staff will be the same tomorrow as it is today. Likewise, there will be the same number of hospitals, doctors’ offices, and medical care facilities as there is today.

It is worth remembering that our medical professionals are already strained, waiting rooms are crowded, emergency rooms are already plagued by long waiting times, and it often takes days to get an appointment to see a doctor.

Giving an additional 50 million Americans immediate access to the same number of medical professionals and facilities will flood our health care facilities and doctors with new patients, putting further strain on an already strained system. The result will be longer waits, more crowded doctors’ offices and hospitals, and a general decrease in the level of care.

Increasing the number of Americans with health care is a noble goal and is being pursued with the greatest of intentions. But as it is said, the road to hell is often paved with good intentions. There is no way around the fact that adding an additional 50 million people to the health care system will decrease the level of service being offered.

The current health care bill will succeed in giving more people health care, however it will result in much worse care for the over 80% of Americans who are currently covered.

This is an excellent example of the law of supply and demand. No matter what is done about health care, tomorrow’s supply of health care –the number of doctors, medical facilities, etc. – will be the same as today. Yet, implementing a nationalized health care system requires that tomorrow’s demand for health care increases dramatically. A sudden increase in demand without an increase in supply always leads to a shortage of the product in question.

In the free market, a shortage of goods causes prices for that good to increase to a level where those who cannot afford them are ‘crowded out’ of the market. The profit earned by the producers of the good encourages additional producers to enter the market. This creates an increase in supply and drops the price of the goods for all consumers. Under the President’s plan, however, demand will be raised without an increase in supply, whereby the government will be forced to allocate health care. When government bureaucrats make decisions on how goods and services should be allocated, rationing occurs.

Under the new government run health care system, the government will need to take measures to “keep costs low” in an effort to save American citizens money and prevent negative political fallout. While this also seems like a noble goal, the consequences will be devastating. Government mandated cost cutting measures also necessarily mean less profit for those who operate medical facilities.

Taking away the profit motive, will result in fewer people being willing to take risks and opening new medical facilities. Medical supply companies will be less willing to produce life saving medical devices, and the benefits of taking a medical education will diminish. The loss of profit motive will result in fewer services being shared among more consumers. This will lead to further rationing, rather than allowing market forces to make corrections.

Even the best of intentions can’t change facts. If Americans want to continue to have a decent health care system without government rationing, they must oppose universal health care coverage.

Americanly Yours,

Phred Barnet

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Overblown: The Non Existent Crisis Of The Uninsured

June 25, 2009 By: Phred Category: Uncategorized

In debates on health care, one number seems to pop up repeatedly:  the claim that 45 million Americans are uninsured.  Proponents of government controlled health care argue that it is immoral to allow approximately 15% of our fellow citizens to be left without health care.

But, there is something that they arent telling you:  many (if not most) of those without health care in this country choose to not have health care.

Yes, at least 45 million Americans are not currently insured (according to most studies, but Ill get back to that later), but a closer look at the numbers tells a different story than the one that you have probably been told in the past.

I recently read John C. Goodman’s paper titled “Solving the Problem of the Uninsured,” and although I do not support the same solution that he does, I found his paper to be quite interesting.

Dr. Goodman took a hard look at the numbers and facts about the uninsured in this country and found some surprising information.

He wrote that the lack of health insurance can be compared to an experience like unemployment–many people experience it at one time or another, but it rarely is a long term problem.  For example, “75% of uninsured spells are over within 12 months.  Less than 10% last longer than 2 years.”

Many of the uninsured are actually eligible for government or job related health care, but chose not to that advantage of it: “there are between 10 and 14 million people who are theoretically eligible for Medicaid and SCHIP (for low income families who do not qualify for Medicaid) but do not bother to sign up.  This is almost one in every four uninsured persons in the country.”

“Furthermore, in most places people are able to enroll in Medicaid up to 3 months after they receive medical treatment.  Because these people can enroll at the drop of a hat, even after they have incurred medical expenses, are they not de facto insured even without the necessity of formal enrollment?”

“A lot of other people are also voluntarily uninsured.  For example, about 9 million people (more than one in five of the uninsured) are eligible for employer insurance and decline to enroll even though the employer share of the premium is usually nominal.”

Many of the uninsured in America actually have the money to purchase insurance, but for one reason or another chose not to:

“The largest increase in the number of uninsured in recent years has occurred among higher-income families.”

“Further, over the past decade, the number of uninsured increased by 54% in households earning between $50,000 and $75,000 and by 130% among households earning $75,000 or more.  By contrast, in households earning less than $50,000 the number of uninsured decreased approximately 3%.”

“Some information about middle-class families who are voluntarily uninsured is provided by a California survey of uninsured with incomes of more than 200% of poverty.  Forty percent owned their own homes and more than half owned a personal computer.  Twenty percent worked for an employer that offered health benefits, but half of those declined coverage for which they were eligible.  This group was not opposed to insurance in general, however, because 90% had purchased auto, home, or life insurance in the past.”

Now, lets add all of this up:  we have 10-14 million who are eligible for Medicaid or SCHIP, but do not enroll, and an additional 9 million that are eligible for benefits at work but do not sign up and we have between 19 and 23 million people in these two situations alone who are eligible for health insurance, but decline (or choose not to sign up for) it.

This takes a huge chunk out of the original 45 million number, bringing it down to a range between 22 and 26 million people who are uninsured and do not have the option to become insured.  This is a much smaller number, especially when you remember the above statistics that the vast majority of people who are uninsured are uninsured for less than a year.

But, there are also several reasons to doubt the 45 million number itself.  Dr. Goodman’s study cites a study by the CBO which “estimated the actual number of uninsured may be as low as 21 million.”  He also cites “another report [which] finds that, even using Census Bureau methods, the 45 million number is about 25% too high, or off by 9 million people.”  So, if those studies are correct, we have reduced the number of uninsured to 21-36 million.

And, if (and this is THE BIG IF) those two studies that he cited are correct and the number of uninsured is actually between 21-36 million, then it is safe to say that there is no major “insurance crisis” going on in this country.

Why?  Well, at least 19-23 million Americans are eligible for health insurance or coverage but do not take advantage of it.  Combining these numbers and the above numbers from the two studies (one of which came from the CBO), we are left with a range of anywhere from -2 million to 13 million uninsured.  13 million might seem like a huge number, but it is only around 4% of our population (and remember 13 million was the maximum).  There has got to be a way to take care of this small percentage of Americans that will cost less than President Obama’s $1,000,000,000,000 [$1 trillion] health care initiative.

Americanly Yours,

Phred Barnet

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