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A Single Payer Trojan Horse, Health Care, and the Big Political Game

I have to laud some of the posts I have seen on Redstate today regarding the day’s happenings on Obamacare.  I am also amazed at the knowledge shown by the legal parties whom are arguing both sides of Obamacare and the judges that sit on our nation’s highest court.  There are some incredible minds out there.

I have been wondering about a question that popped in my mind after reading an article in the American Spectator and some passages that caught my eye in that article:

Strangely, however, the very people who have for two years insisted that the mandate was the essential ingredient that made Obamacare palatable have changed their minds. They claim to have reexamined the recipe and discovered a way serve ACA à la carte. The government lawyers tasked with defending Obamacare have filed a brief with the Court saying the law can still work in the absence of the mandate. They now claim it can be safely severed if a couple of other provisions are also removed. Specifically, only the guaranteed issue and community rating provisions are not severable from the mandate according to the latest fallback position adopted by the Department of Justice.

The DOJ is not alone in its sudden discovery that the law will work without the mandate. Most of Obamacare’s advocates have had similar epiphanies. And, to justify their brazen flip-flops, many have twisted themselves into interesting rhetorical knots. Doctors Samuel Sessions and Allan Detsky, for example, offer this hilarious analysis: “Arguing that the mandate is constitutional under the Commerce Clause requires taking the position that it is ‘essential’ to the statutory scheme, whereas arguing that it is severable dictates the seemingly opposite position that the ACA is ‘capable of functioning without it.’ Politically, making both arguments may be awkward.… Legally, however, the positions are consistent.”….

Loyola, Epstein, and Shapiro, who have filed an amicus curiae brief with the Supreme Court in the ObamaCare case, write that even removal of the guaranteed issue and community rating provisions from the law will not justify severing the mandate. They hold that the “minimum coverage provision,” as ACA’s advocates refer to it, is inextricably connected to the law’s so-called insurance reforms, Medicaid expansion, and premium subsidies. “The better the Court understands the vital interrelation of those provisions with the mandate in the original legislative design, the clearer it will be that these core provisions are wholly interwoven with the mandate and must be struck down with it.”

They ominously add that “implementing those other core provisions without the mandate is likely to result in a financial meltdown. The reason lies in the unyielding economics of health insurance.” Essentially, the law’s various provisions remove all incentives for healthy people to purchase coverage and make it illegal for insurance companies to refuse coverage to the seriously ill. Without the individual mandate, therefore, this will lead to an “adverse selection spiral” that will cause the health insurance industry to implode: “In the end, the only people who enroll are those with known medical conditions, such that premiums approach the actual cost of health care, and the insurance industry collapses.”

That’s quite interesting.  So if the mandate alone is severed, insurance companies will scream to have the entire healthcare law repealed only to see Democrats put another Chuck Schumer grin on their faces like we saw when the markets melted down in the fall of 2008 and basically stonewall anything happening.  They will want the situation to become so bad that the people will go crawling back to the government.  The Democratic Party today loves any moments when the people of this country are willing to forfeit their freedoms and liberty so government can solve the problem/crisis.  They are not interested in free market solutions at all of course because that means that people wouldn’t be dependent on them. James Carville seems to think that overturning of Obamacare or the mandate would be the best thing ever to happen to Democrats.  He could be proven right if the Trojan Horse scenario plays out like they hope.  The majority of Americans are still strongly against Obamacare but that could flip if Democrats try to keep other parts in the law intact so premiums skyrocket and cause the entire health industry to implode.  Will America try solving this themselves through free market solutions with their ingenuity while maintaining their freedom?  Or will they run to Big Government Mommy crying for her to help them and pay the price of further forfeiting their liberty, freedom, and less money in their pocket?  Government involvement typically comes with an expensive price tag.

The answer to this enormously difficult problem lies in the states, not the federal government.  I don’t have any problem with states enacting health care solutions, even states who try to have government run healthcare like what Mitt Romney passed in Massachusetts and Tennessee and some other states have tried.  Heck, the people wanted it in Massachusetts.  Let them have it then.  In the end, the fallacy of government run health care at the state level reveals itself by creating too large of a fiscal burden.  The legislation either must be dumped or the tax burden must increase on that state’s society and eventually, facing bankruptcy, the legislation must be dumped in the end and free market solutions must be looked at.  However, doing this at the federal level isn’t constitutional for a numbers of reasons.  The most basic of all is this problem belongs to the states, not the federal government.

Now I am no health care expert.  I know there are a lot of doctors out here on Redstate who have much more knowledge about this subject than I do.  But I have to wonder as someone speaking just from common sense why I don’t hear anything about why health care costs have been going up.  The government’s idea of solving the problem is to force everyone to purchase health insurance so insurance companies will have bigger pools of money to pay claims that care likely to result from a larger pool of people.  Thus, health care prices will go down as a result.  The fallacy of this logic is well documented and I won’t delve into it here.  Yet, back to original question at hand:

Why don’t I hear questions to doctors of why health care costs are going up?  What are the causes?

It seems that all I have heard at least in the media is that something must be done about this.  However, the media seems to forget that doctors have their own medical practices, also known as a medical business, to service their clientele who see them to ensure them better health.  What expenses are doctors having to pay as their overhead that causes health care to rise in its cost?  I know one cost out there that has really driven up prices is the cost of malpractice insurance.  Another is the huge checklist of tests doctors give their patience out of fear of missing something and having a lawsuit filed against them.  This would suggest the huge need for tort reform and less regulation.  Of course that wouldn’t be agreeable to Democrats since the legal lobby are some of their most prominent campaign donors.  We have already seen how nasty they will fight if a key campaign donor segment is threatened.  Just look at what happened in Wisconsin with the collective bargaining fight.  This is part of the big political game.  More on that later.  However, I have never understood why anyone, particularly some money hungry lawyer, should ruin by means of a lawsuit, someone whose livelihood is to improve someone’s health and in some instances save their life.  Human error will always be part of the medical profession or any other profession.  As people, we maybe get used to the idea that a doctor is incapable of screwing up.  Doctors are human beings, imperfect and don’t have all the answers.  To expect that would be to put them on the same pedestal as the Lord God Himself.  There will always be a case where a doctor will ask themselves “How did I miss that?” and have many sleepless nights of a patient who could have lived, who may have endured a sickness for a shorter amount of time, etc.  The malicious doctor is probably deserving of this but the number of doctors like this is so small that I don’t see the justification for financially ruining a noble doctor who was only to help a patient. Democrats the party of the little guy?  I have my doubts.  With Democrats serving the legal lobby, ironically it’s the little guy that gets stuck with the higher prices in the end.  The little guy is nothing more than someone who has been ensnared by the Democratic long marketed belief that the little guy is getting shafted and they need your money and vote to get into Washington so something can be done.  What is the ultimate end of this?  Politicians in Washington cease to be public servants and become rulers, mini monarchs representing a state or congressional district.  Freedom will live so long as people in their local communities and their state tackle the problems of the day head on by themselves,  without help in the form of higher tax burdens and lesser freedoms that almost always result whenever the federal government becomes involved.

Some of you doctors out there will have to help me.  I know that the cost of repaying the education in college has to be factored in, the lease/rent/loan payments for the office space, paying the nurses, receptionists and other staff, utilities, medicine, pharmaceuticals, equipment, etc.  The list goes on.  I would have to think that there has to be a concensus on what a doctor’s budget would look like for his practice.  That right there should identify what has caused healthcare to go up so much.

The Big Political Game

In many respects, the parties on both sides of the political aisle are no longer looking out for the people’s interest.  They are looking out for those who dump the most money in their campaign coffers so they can retain their jobs.  That’s why term limits on congressmen should be made law.  When I spoke earlier about how Democrats would be completely against tort reform because the legal lobby is one of their main campaign donor factions, that is right on point.  Because the cost of malpractice insurance and additional tests that doctors are performing to minimize any potential liability situation that could arise, if tort reform went into effect there it is very likely that medical costs would decrease (see Texas).  Tort reform is just one part of the problem but doctors would be enormously relieved and likely perform better without the legal sword poised at their neck ready to decapitate them at any moment.  Allowing insurers to compete across state lines is another I have heard.  But one should always remember there is a big political game always going on between the parties.  They are always trying to change the current political calculus into their favor.  Do you think it is any coincidence that President Obama has pushed Cap and Trade and companies like Solyndra for a reason?  It’s nothing more than to create a market for a different form of energy where the company brass if that company was successful will dump campaign dollars into the political party’s coffers and keep that party in charge of writing legislation that will benefit that company.  It also means lesser money in the opposing party’s coffers, in this case the oil and natural gas industry are inclined toward the GOP.  It shouldn’t surprise you at all when you hear the Democrats rail against Big Oil.

I could go on and on about these subjects but politics isn’t my life.  It is just important to never forget the game behind the headlines that is always being played, much to the disadvantage of the ones who our leaders in Washington should be serving instead of looking out for themselves.

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