Tag Archives: single payer

WTH Weekly -06-28-15 – the week in review

Continuing the WTH (“what the heck” happened) series, this week we look at Obama’s Iran capitulation, a rocket explodes,Greece implodes, single payer closer than thought, gay marriage and concealed carry, Obamacare subsidies, flags of our forefathers, Jindal enters the race and more!

Shockingly, Obama isn’t serious about the Iran nuclear talks. Today, reports surfaced that Obama has given into Iran’s demands and that the deal can progress even if the Iranians never submit to inspections. Trust, but verify is now trust, and hope. But, we’ve been there already.

Unless you’re in the Foreign Exchange (forex or FX) investing community, you may not be paying attention to the collapse of Greek society. Capital controls, bank runs, money flight, you name it. Greece is in trouble. But have you evaluated America’s similar situation?

SpaceX Flacon 9 explodesNext up, Elon Musk’s SpaceX project has suffered its first cargo loss after several failures in recent months. The video shows a perfect flight, until about the 2:30 mark. It goes so terribly wrong so very fast.

Many predicted that Obamacare was not intended to save anyone money on healthcare, but instead be a bridge to a single-payer system. Well, voila, recent merger propositions and changes in the marketplace are making it happen – whether you’ve noticed or not.

ACLU-logoHow in the heck are gay marriage and concealed carry linked? Thank the Supreme Court! The decision on Obergefell v. Hodges said that same-sex couples have a constitutionally protected right to marry and that all states must recognize that right. Some in the pro-gun community are saying that the reasoning used to protect gays should extend to those that bear arms in a concealed manner. In other news, now that gay marriage is law of the land, the ACLU has decided that it no longer supports religious freedom. #eyeroll

The Supreme Court had more great news – Obamacare’s subsidies are legal even if someone gets insurance from the federal exchange. Somehow the justices got confused by the “natural wording” of the law. Now, we all get to pay for something the law was not intended to fund. Greece anyone?

Flags of our FathersIn the wake of the South Carolina shooting by captured psycho Dylann Roof, liberal groups have decided that the Battle Flag of the Northern Virginia Army is to blame. Charlie Daniels makes an intelligent and reasoned argument why they are doing nothing more than making a straw man argument against a piece of cloth. Some are even pointing at the Duke’s of Hazard’s “General Lee” as a new symbol of hate. yeah, a 1969 Dodge Charger with a Virginian Battle Flag painted on it signifies Jim Crow laws and segregation … or something.

Finally, Lousiana Governor Bobby Jindal has entered the race for the GOP nomination for president. A pointedly Christian announcement speech made it clear that he’s ready for prime-time, but is he ready for mainstream?

National Healthcare Insurers on Path to Merge from Five to a SINGLE PAYER

Many, including CDN, projected that consumer choice would become greatly limited after the imposition of Obamacare – this month is proving all of themhospital room right – and more.

The Economist published an article detailing the turmoil healthcare insurers are experiencing. The remedy they seek is to eliminate competition in an impossible marketplace:

A similar consolidation among health insurers was also predicted. But since the new insurance exchanges set up under Obamacare only went into operation last year, it has taken until now for it to be clear how big the merger wave may be. The largest insurer, UnitedHealth, has approached the number three, Aetna. The second-largest, Anthem, is trying to buy the number five, Cigna—which on June 21st rejected Anthem’s $47.5 billion bid. And the number four, Humana, has been looking at selling itself to either Aetna or Cigna.

Reduced competition is terrible for consumers. Prices inflate wildly and products/services become harder to get.

Once the healthcare marketplace is reduced to UnitedHealth, Anthem and Aetna, United and Anthem will fight over Aetna until just the two remain. With certain politicians in place, United will be allowed to acquire Anthem and there will just be one – a single payer.

It will be so much easier for progressives to regulate a single insurer into oblivion instead of dealing with a herd of cats all doing their own things. A behemoth like UnitedHealth needs the money the government gives it just to survive the weight of Obamacare. If UH doesn’t do what the government wants, that money is gone. And then – it will be gone anyway.

Once UnitedHealth becomes a figment of history, someone has to step in to save the imaginary “working class.” Gosh, who will that be?

Welcome to government healthcare. The crazy predictions from years ago are coming true and there will be no push back. People will just be happy to be getting “free” healthcare – no matter how unavailable or substandard it is.

Supreme Court Strikes Blow for Tyranny

The Supreme Court’s Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the progressive wing of the court to effectively uphold the individual mandate of the Obamacare law. In an unusually direct example of legislating from the bench, Justice Roberts argued that although the mandate to cover health insurance was unconstitutional as a penalty, it was constitutionally permissible under the Congress’ taxing powers.

This is an absurd argument that contradicts even President Obama’s own reasoning that the individual mandate is “not a tax.” Nowhere in the healthcare law itself was the individual mandate ever labeled as a tax, and for a member of a court to imply that the law is feasible under such an arrangement, boggles the mind.

But here we are America, on the cusp of seeing the biggest tax on the middle class in the nation’s history. All in the midst of an economy the Vice President recently called “a depression for millions.” And the market will continue to tank. The jobless rate will continue to rise. And insurance premiums will continue to soar. That has been the plan all along; to force us into the single payer system that Obama supports by hook or by crook.

It is inconceivable that the Congress has the authority to “tax” individuals into buying private health insurance or else be forced to enroll in the so-called “public option.”

What America is experiencing is a complete breakdown of our system of laws, devolving into a government ruled by a unified cohort of self-interested men. The law is being deformed to suit predetermined political ends, which are directed towards dissolving individual liberty and strengthening centralized power.

Thomas Jefferson was prescient when he declared of the argument that the judiciary is the final recourse against tyranny:

If this opinion be sound, then indeed is our constitution a complete felo de se [suicide pact]. […] The constitution, on this hypothesis, is a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary, which they may twist and shape into any form they please. It should be remembered, as an axiom of eternal truth in politics, that whatever power in any government is independent, is absolute also; in theory only, at first, while the spirit of the people is up, but in practice, as fast as that relaxes. Independence can be trusted no where but with the people in mass. They are inherently independent of all but moral law.

And indeed, nine men in robes had their say in court today. But we concerned citizens will have our final say in the court of public opinion via the ballot box come November. For today’s ruling should not be taken as a demoralizing rejection of the Constitution’s principles, which live so long as they survive in our hearts.

But it is a sad day that one of the institutions of our government has so debased itself as to become a trivial appendage of tyrannical men. The Supreme Court has lowered itself to the same standard as politicized courts around the world, making the United States that much less exceptional.

It is not the first time the Supreme Court has sided with the abusive power of government over the freedom of the citizens, and it will not be the last, so long as the unvarnished progressive Justice Roberts presides in the court.

But this is a rallying cry to raise the American flag, and to reassert with all force that can be mustered to oppose growing tyranny in our once great country. Whether by the ballot box, or by state nullification, or by civil revolt, tyranny will be opposed in this nation. And a Supreme Court ruling is not going to change that political reality.

Health Reform after Obamacare: Return of the Single Payer

The Supreme Court’s hearing of the lawsuit against Obamacare was one of the toughest moments for our current president. It coincided with the House of Representatives voting down his budget 414-0, numbers that look more like the Giants beating the Patriots than Congress voting on a presidential budget bill.

Many commentators have declared the imminent death of Obamacare when the Court in all likelihood strikes down the individual mandate as unconstitutional. That may very well be the Court’s ruling, but to assume that this will also be the end of health care statism in America is more than premature. It is irresponsible.

Socialized medicine was declared dead in America after Bill Clinton’s Health Security Act went down in flames in 1993. But it did not even take 16 years before a Democrat president once again introduced an all-out health reform bill. Between these two legislative behemoths were numerous smaller proposals for advancing government in health care. After the Health Security Act was defeated, Clinton and – shame on them – the Republican-led Congress in 1997 created the SCHIP program. This “Medicaid for Kids” has been expanding relentlessly since then and is today within reach of socializing health insurance for children. Children are relatively cheap to insure and their removal from the private insurance market has contributed to higher premiums for adults. With higher insurance premiums, fewer people can afford health insurance; with more people without coverage, liberal theory says that the support for government-run health care will increase.

Another form of proposed advancement of government in medicine has been the opening of the federal employee health insurance program to all Americans. Two Democrat presidential candidates, Bill Bradley in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004, were big champions of this idea. The idea is to create a “public option” that slowly but relentlessly will outcompete private insurance. The original version of Obamacare came with a modified version of the Bradley-Kerry idea. (The public option is still in Obamacare, just dormant for now.)

In other words: health care statists have never given up. They have just shifted tactics. When Obama won decisively in 2008 and Democrats took control over Congress they felt their time had come again. A defeat in the Supreme Court may mean defeat for Obama in November, but regardless of how the election goes, health care statists will not give up.

The battle for health care freedom is not over. Far from it.

The question is: what’s next? Some conservative commentators, including Rush Limbaugh, have suggested that the single-payer model will resurface. Having researched and written about health reform for a good decade now, I am inclined to agree: all experience shows that single-payer health care is the only goal that will satisfy a health care statist.

A comparison between Obamacare and the Clinton plan reinforces the impression that single-payer is next on the liberal health policy agenda. The two reform plans have several key policy goals in common:

  1. Expand government in health care;
  2. Change the way health care is paid for and the way it is distributed; and
  3. Introduce new criteria for who shall get health care and who should not.

They also share important policy methods for achieving these goals:

  • Mandatory individual health insurance coverage;
  • Separation of premiums from health risk, i.e., community rating;
  • Introduction of federal coverage mandates; and
  • Guaranteed issuance of insurance plans.

The only major difference is that the Clinton plan was an open single-payer model, while Obamacare relies on the individual purchase mandate. (In the Clinton plan, employers were mandated to provide insurance – a small but crucial difference.) The single-payer feature was a major reason why the Health Security Act died in Congress.

Obama’s health reform team learned from Clinton’s mistake and omitted the single-payer element. This was, of course, deliberate. It is in the president’s desk drawer, and will be pulled out in the event he is re-elected. He could use the single-payer model to scoop up the pieces left over after the Supreme Court fires its judicial artillery at his Affordable Care Act.

Contrary to the individual purchase mandate, a single-payer financing model for health care is shielded from judicial challenges. Declaring a single-payer health care system unconstitutional because it is funded through taxation would be like declaring public education or Social Security unconstitutional because they are funded through taxation.

Although I personally do not believe that the government has the right to tax us and spend the money on entitlements like public education or Social Security, the Supreme Court has the last say on that. It would be earth-shattering if the Court was ever faced with a challenge to a single-payer health care system and declared that government cannot tax us and spend the money on entitlements.

The health care statists know this. They also knew that they could not get Obamacare passed as a single-payer plan. Therefore, a defeat of the individual mandate offers them a perfect opportunity to revive single-payer, either after the November election or later. Therefore, it is very important that friends of health care freedom are prepared to meet the challenge from health care statists.

By definition, single-payer health has only one source of health care payments. The Clinton plan relied on a 7.9 percent payroll tax to pay for our health care. This funding mechanism came with a plan to keep the tax rate steady – effectively a guarantee that the health care income tax would never go up. This is of course a ludicrous promise to make: a quick historic review of the growth in health care costs and the growth in compensation of employees reveals that health care outpaces the proposed tax base at every corner.

Suppose, for the sake of analysis, that the Clinton plan had become the law of the land in 1987 (the earliest year with available, consistent data). In order to generate sufficient revenues to pay for our health care from that year until 2010, the federal government would have had to raise the tax almost every year. By 2010 the tax would no longer be 7.9 percent but 12.4 percent.

This is, of course, assuming that government would not ration health care. If it chose to maintain the payroll tax at its original level, it would have had to slash away a large portion of the health care produced in America every year:

  • In 2010 the output value of all health care in America was $1,619 billion;
  • If the only funding source would be a 7.9-percent payroll tax, there would only have been $1,026 billion available in 2010;
  • The American people would have had to forfeit $593 billion worth of health care in 2010 alone.

Who would have been deprived of health care? Who would have made the decisions on who should get, and not get, health care?

Health care statists avoid the rationing problem like the plague. If they revive single-payer again, they should face these questions every time they take their socialized-medicine idea to the public arena.