Sunday, November 21, 2010

Do you see it? I don't see it . . . Part 2

[Part 1 is here]

Only this July, Kathleen Whatshername at HHS told the nation that
$5 billion was now available for the hundreds of thousands of people who can't get insurance because of a pre-existing condition. The average person could be forgiven for believing that this was a crisis of near-Biblical proportions. OK, so what happened?

Well, on November 12, I read that a grand total of 8,011 people had signed up for government-subsidized individual insurance having no pre-existing conditions exclusion.

The Wall Street Journal had some fun with the enrollment of 8,011, stating that “HHS created a program designed to operate at a loss and still can’t lure customers”. The Journal added that “HHS won’t take this for an answer, so . . . it said it will cut premiums by 20% and expand benefits . . . to encourage more people to enroll.”

In other words HHS takes as a given that the government’s failure to solve the crisis - - calls for more government.

The way I see it, appropriating $5 billion to meet the medical care needs of less than 10,000 people shows something is terribly wrong within HHS. And besides, the way I see it, this HHS insurance plan suffers from the same basic flaw as the government’s unemployment insurance strategy: overreliance on “government subsidies”. Government subsidies can only come from taxes paid by productive workers. Increasing subsidies means increasing taxes. Higher taxes dampen economic activity. So I still see reducing taxes as a better strategy than increasing taxes. Of course that also means reducing government spending and that is not in the lexicon of most lawmakers.

I have the same view about the uninsured. I still don’t see why a 2,000-page statute that commandeers virtually 100% of the U.S insurance and health care delivery systems is necessary to assist the 15% of the population who are uninsured. I don’t see why helping that 15% should cost anywhere near a trillion dollars a year. And I also don't see how that trillion dollars of annual spending ends up “saving” us money.

My lack of vision in these things probably explains why I could never be successful in government.
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