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    Saturday, November 14, 2009

    House Health Care Bill - how bad policy is made

    The House of Representatives gave us a textbook example of why elected representatives should not be allowed to make laws.

    In order to pass this crap legislation this weekend, under cover of darkness without the 72 hours of "transparency" promised by Speaker Pelosi (as if anyone believes her promises), the Democrat leadership had to buy off a variety of interest groups, chief among them:

    • The AMA - who got a promise not to enforce previous years plans to reduce payments to doctors under Medicare.  This was desired by the AMA's board, even as doctors oppose the plan.
    • AARP - the Liberal AARP, desirous to regain it's near monopoly on Medi-Gap coverage, got the Dems to eviscerate Medicare Advantage, a popular, cost-effective, and free-market program that, unfortunately for seniors, took market away from AARP.
    • Insurers - ok, for those who think insurers are losers, in this plan, they are BIG winners.  If you're an enemy of insurers, guess what - you lost.  The industry gets 30M new customers, guaranteed to purchase more insurance than they need (by the Feds mandating minimum procedural coverages), and, enforced at the tip of a sword by your federal government.  Name any other private (now semi-private) industry that can count on the Feds to force consumers to buy their products?  Think insurers are worried about having to cover pre-existing conditions? Ha!  Joke's on you, Comrade.
      Those pre-existing conditions make insurance more expensive, as those with them are more expensive to insure.  So, the insurance companies get those new customers, they get them buy plans with coverage they don't need, and won't use, and to pay more for it.  The already insured will see their costs go up as well.  This has only 2 outcomes.  Neither is pretty.  Either the market collapses due to excessive costs and insurers go out of business because they can't get the government to approve higher rates, and the default becomes the "government option," or, the government, unwilling to go the "government option" route, approves those higher rates.
      It really doesn't matter at that point whether you're insured by the government plan, or a "private" insurer.  You're going to be paying more, and certainly getting less.
    Other likely winners:
    • Unions.  Unions will end up with some kind of opt-out exclusion, or their "cadillac" plans will be exempted (probably through some collectively-bargained benefits loophole).
    • Federal Employees - will certainly NOT be covered under the plan, and this will include Congress.
    • Everyone else.

    But, hey, we'll have universal health care.

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