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If I am reading this correctly, the pending health care legislation requires me to buy insurance but the insurance companies can continue to use preexisting conditions to set the rates that they will sell that insurance to me. As my wife (in her fifties) and I (sixty-three) do indeed have preexisting conditions, as do most people our age, we have been unable to get any affordable insurance through the current system. As I am self employed I cannot buy into a group plan. The most recent quote we received was for $3000 a month for coverage, which we cannot afford. So the government now might force me to buy that coverage? This health plan only makes everything very much worse for my demographic, which is the first wave of post World War II baby boomers.

Unless I am missing something significant, it is not clear to me whom this plan benefits unless it is the insurance industry, which will be able to sell plans to lots of young and healthy individuals.

(Republished from The American Conservative by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Obamacare 
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  1. Fortunately for Mr Giraldi, the impacts of this bill won’t be felt until 2014, by which time he’ll be ensconced in the single payer health plan known as Medicare. Without Medicare, our system of private insurance would have collapsed years ago. Medicare, a product of politicians who came of age during the new deal, is a policy by which Americans raise taxes to provide a benefit to Americans directly, without vigorish being taken by third parties, as is the rule today.

    Mrs Giraldi is left uncovered. I’d suggest a careful reading of the bill to see how she could drop under the income guidelines in order to receive a full or partially subsidized benefit. Perhaps a ‘divorce of convenience’ could be arranged to leave her, on paper, indigent and qualified for free care. Cynical, but expecting help from those elected to represent your interests and getting none, you need to help yourself.

  2. You’re beginning to catch on, Philip. It’s not about you and me. Claims to the contrary are used merely to dupe the sheeple.

    The real goal is to concentrate power in their own hands and payoff their corporate buddies with favorable legislation. That you will suffer under yet another incompetently run government program (a redundant phrase?) is not a concern for our betters in Washington. Their attitude: Pay up and shut up!

  3. TomB says:

    As someone with generally libertarian instincts I would have thought that at least as to this issue my ‘druthers would lie with the Republican/conservative position, but I’m confused.

    That is, while I may be mistaken in this it seems to me the Republicans/conservatives have in the main been responsible for the idea that if we are going to move towards universal health care that it be done via requiring private insurance for everyone, correct?

    Okay, but why? If, again, one accepts that we just can’t have a pure “libertarian” health care system, why do we have to see it done via some other system whereby we have an insurance industry middleman taking some nice splash of “vigorish” from it, as one poster above so trenchantly put it?

    After all the problem is with health care, not with the health of our insurance companies. So if *someone* has to be collecting more money and paying for more health care, why shouldn’t it just be the government directly? Ideally, from an efficiency point of view, just taking in more taxes and paying out directly for health-care provisioning? (Why screw around even with a government insurance company since, again, it’s the *care* that is what we are concerned about, not full employment for actuaries or other insurance-type people.)

    I just don’t get it. I understand that *if* there was to be a libertarian/free market that, via the “hidden hand” of competition (or “greed” if you want to see it that way), private industry would indeed likely be far far more efficient than the government.

    But once it’s decided to no longer be free in any meaningful way isn’t it the *worst* of both worlds to be subject, in some hybrid form, to *both* government inefficiency *and* corporate self-interest/”greed”?

    I.e., is this an instance of “conservatism” really just being “corporatism” by another name?

  4. Cieran says:

    When not having health insurance is outlawed, only outlaws will not have health insurance…

  5. Let’s just end the federal reserve and hence government regulation of the economy altogether. That way at least it would provide the incentive for people to be more circumspect and lead healthier lives knowing that the money spigots have been stanched.

  6. You are reading it correctly. The legislation has a requirement to issue insurance to all, but insurers have the ability to discriminate prices based on pre-existing conditions. Off the top of my head, the difference can be in the 200% to 300% range. By comparison, Vermont’s maximum price differential is 40%. (h/t Howard Dean)

    Mandating health insurance without offering a public plan to anyone is a huge boon to the health insurance industry and why some lefties are calling to vote no on the bill.

    TomB, I finally found a timely and relevant Glenn Greenwald post to cite. All should read it!

  7. Aaron says: • Website

    That one works better as “When inlaws are outlawed, only outlaws will have inlaws.”

  8. TomB says:

    Norwegian Shooter:

    Thank you so much for that link. While of course it doesn’t directly address why the Republicans/conservatives are behind this boon to corporations it sure explains the “why” as to those Dems/Libs who are in favor of same, and I can only conclude that it is in fact just a similar corporatism motivating the former too.

    Wonderful, just wonderful; after all the betrayals by Bush one more giant step away from principle taken by the remaining Republicans. Serve’s ’em right that it’s only gonna hurt them too as of course people are going to blame the hurt that’s going to come out of this health-care thing on them and not on any of the Dems for making the insurance companies the all-powerful God when it comes to future health care.

    What a beautiful future: You can’t tell the government from the corporations. The cold-eyed hacks on both sides get their wish: The Right happy that gov’t is now essentially guaranteeing private profiteering even if it means the destruction of the free market, and the Left happy that it has corralled and controls the private sector and can blame it for whatever doesn’t work and turns out ugly. The worst of both worlds.

    Is there not one Republican who is going to stand against this not on the ground that it doesn’t do enough to guarantee private profiteering but that it guarantees them at all? Not one who doesn’t realize how that would resonate with all the worried people out there?

    Stupidity and cupidity, always a fight amongst the “conservatives” of today of which they value more.

    We are really and truly in big trouble.

    Thanks again NS.

  9. Would that there were more alternatives to unrealistic third party payer systems:

    Would that the relationship between consumer and provider had not been so impeded by the need for control.

    Would that worshipers of government blessings had read something besides free market critiques and versions of Keynes.

    Would that the Giraldi’s had not been conned into thinking that the system he fought for would maintain him in his hour of need. (Please know that I respect and value what you have done and the insights you often share.)

    Would that Mr West Wing would explain how “Without Medicare, our system of private insurance would have collapsed years ago” isn’t an admission that government involvement has sustained an industry’s bad practices.

  10. “Is there not one Republican who is going to stand against this not on the ground that it doesn’t do enough to guarantee private profiteering but that it guarantees them at all? Not one who doesn’t realize how that would resonate with all the worried people out there?”

  11. Mr Giraldi said, “Unless I am missing something significant, it is not clear to me whom this plan benefits…”

    Steve Hogan said, “You’re beginning to catch on, Philip.”

    TomB is stuck on, “Stupidity and cupidity, always a fight amongst the “conservatives” of today of which they value more.”

    But can’t we all agree, the problem is:

    #1 – deterioration of the 4th estate function as a watchdog

    #2 – ensconced dishonest politicians of BOTH major parties

    #3 – deteriorating education and morality of the general public

    #4 – deteriorating work ethic and addiction to unprofitable activities (morally and financially)

    #5 – deteriorating stability of the basic family unit (Dad, Mom, Kids), with connections to extended family and ethnic traditions

    So when BLOGGERS post their comments on TAC, judge them by:

    – Are they honest? Or do they “shave the facts” to support their agenda?

    – Do they SUPPORT or OPPOSE the above problems, #1 thru 5?


    #1 – look for enemies of the US to attack any successful information outlets (instead of critiquing and working to improve them); look for dishonest libs promote the idea of judging the US by it’s criminal exceptions, instead of it’s norms as compared to other countries, present and past

    #2 – Congressional ethics committee works to protect dishonest politicians, stealth bloggers represent major parties as “unfixable” and promote minor third-party solutions, promoting the fiction that there is no use trying to clean up the Congress and the Senate

    #3 – Libs have taken over education and promote text books that rewrite history, and remove religion, and promote tolerance of experimential lifestyles based on worship of self and “what feels good at the moment”, and discourage any obligation to our children and grandchildren

    #4 – The chinese continue to loan money for the US’s unfunded spending, and they have flooded the internet with “free” games and porn, and they flood the US retail marketplace with “cheap” products; MSM and Hollywood push addictions to sexual and spending and overeating and “avoiding work” addictions

    #5 – Government welfare programs promote breakup of the family unit, and dependence upon government

    That is my YARDSTICK, and that is how I measure whether or not I consider you conservative, or, whether or not I consider you an honest person from the opposition party.

  12. Learning says:

    The Federal goverment has been the stomping ground of corporations looking for advantages by either tax breaks or squashing competition for a long time now. Multinationals provide executives for cabinet and regulatory positions who go back to industry when their term is done. Now, it is just seems more brazen. The republicrats are a sham. I bet the only folks who rise to the top in that party organizations are those willing to play the corporate-state game.

  13. Learning says:

    Thanks Norweigian Shooter. Great analysis by Greenwald.

  14. JackTracey,

    You can certainly say that Medicare has reinforced the insurance industry’s bad habits, though that rather perversely misses the point. Medicare was not created to enable the health insurers. It was created back in the day when, to some extent, we had a functional government. The elected representatives at that time chose to allocate some of the wealth of this hugely prosperous nation to cover those who retired or became unable to work, and lost their employment related benefit. In other words, the program was created by Americans to help Americans directly, without its funds being passed first through the intestines of hungry insurers.

    Where have we gone wrong?

    Some may appreciate the need for more alternatives to unrealistic third party payer systems like the one you linked, and those of us not living near Dr Campbell can only wish we had access to ionic foot detox, or could get a visit from the Visiting Elf. Personally, I have no interest in arguments that engage in magical thinking or oddball health practices. The problem isn’t mainstream health care. It’s how we pay for it.

  15. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    The following part of Greenwald’s article below, is a prime example of careless writing.

    It’s true that the people who are angry enough to attend tea parties are being exploited and misled by GOP operatives and right-wing polemicists, but many of their grievances about how Washington is ignoring their interests are valid, and the Democratic Party has no answers for them because it’s dependent upon and supportive of that corporatist model. That’s why they turn to Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh….

    How are these people being exploited Mr. Greenwald, and by whom? It doesn’t require a whole article to list some examples if you would, please? The exploited and misled allegation is being spouted in the media. But who exactly are these sinister mean guy operatives?

    What, the people in the Tea Party movement wouldn’t turn to Beck and Limbaugh if there wasn’t the corporatist model in effect? Dogsnot. In general the the Tea Partiers are also cultural conservatives and whether they listen to Beck and Limbaugh is irrelevent. The latest path down the slippery slope was just the last straw. My hope is that these Tea Partiers never return to the Republican Party. They’ve been bent over too many times.

    If Greewald thinks democrats can tap into the Tea Party movement discontent, I’ll by him a beer ala Maobama. The dummy he voted for.

    The fact is both the major parties are scared dungless by the Tea Party and for good reason. They know both parties are criminal organizations deserving of banishment from the halls of power. Good riddance and don’t mind if I do.

  16. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    “Unless I am missing something significant .”

    How to respond?
    When someone opens themselves up to the prospect that they are not understanding something one is left with a dilemma in how to respond.

    Hoping you are not missing something significant.

  17. pb says:

    “The chinese continue to loan money for the US’s unfunded spending, and they have flooded the internet with “free” games and porn, and they flood the US retail marketplace with “cheap” products”

    The Chinese is flooding the US with porn? I thought Americans hadn’t outsourced that out yet.

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