Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
October 21, 2008
POLITICS: Department of Entirely Predictable Consequences

Don't say we didn't warn you if Obama gets elected and tries the same sort of thing:

Hawaii is dropping the only state universal child health care program in the country just seven months after it launched.

Gov. Linda Lingle's administration cited budget shortfalls and other available health care options for eliminating funding for the program. A state official said families were dropping private coverage so their children would be eligible for the subsidized plan.

"People who were already able to afford health care began to stop paying for it so they could get it for free," said Dr. Kenny Fink, the administrator for Med-QUEST at the Department of Human Services. "I don't believe that was the intent of the program."

Wow, if you give something away for free, people won't want to pay for it anymore! Nobody could possibly have seen that one coming.

Read the whole thing. H/T Ironman

Posted by Baseball Crank at 8:31 PM | Politics 2008 | Comments (13) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

I think the merits of the government providing universal care to children can be debated. But certainly, anyone who would propose that without expecting people to drop existing coverage for free coverage is kidding themselves.

Posted by: Jerry at October 21, 2008 10:34 PM

Look, something has to be done, and just giving everyone 5 grand to buy something worth 12 isn't going to cut it. Right now, as in today, prescription drug refills are down. And chances are, the drugs are for high blood pressure and cholesterol. Meaning the long term health consequences are major and dire.

As an employer, it's simply unreasonable to suggest that I bear the burden for a health care system that is actually able, for the first time in history, to deliver longer and better lives, but at a very steep price. Just read larry Niven, and his work on boosterspice and organleggers. There is always a price.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at October 22, 2008 7:37 AM

Why in the whole debate about socialized/nationalized/whatever medicine is there never talk about a middle ground of some sort between wholely private coverage and universal public coverage? This has mystified me for some time. In every other area I can think of where government foots the bill for what otherwise would be a private, individual expense, there is some sort of qualification requirement, is there not? We don't put the whole country on the dole for life, for example, but only those who need it, and we try to move them off it as quickly as possible. The obvious theoretical solution here would seem to be to make state medical coverage need-based as well. Now, after working through the details, we may find that such a solution is unacceptible as well, but how come we're not even talking about that? Just because the predominant model of nationalized medicine is a system where everyone is covered from cradle to grave doesn't mean that we have to follow it in order to get coverage for those people who actually need it.

Posted by: Tom at October 22, 2008 9:51 AM

Crank: You are deliberately mischaracterizing Obama's plan. You know that, in order to make his health care plan work, Obama promised to repeal the laws of supply and demand.

Posted by: wd at October 22, 2008 10:18 AM

If Obama is President, I wonder how the lefty illuminati politicians in DC are going to make sure every child receives this "right", and how each family that does not provide this "right" are going to be fined...still waiting to hear how that plans to happen.....

Posted by: mnotaro at October 22, 2008 11:37 AM

Daryl,

"As an employer, it's simply unreasonable to suggest that I bear the burden for a health care system..." So why as a taxpayer should we be expected to "the burden for a health care system" for others?

Since you are such a liberal, I'd expect you to step up and "share the wealth" as your God Obama has decreeded!

Posted by: Lee at October 22, 2008 11:40 AM

from Tom -
"We don't put the whole country on the dole for life, for example, but only those who need it, and we try to move them off it as quickly as possible. The obvious theoretical solution here would seem to be to make state medical coverage need-based as well."

So an employer can drop their coverage, keep more profits, give some of those profits to employees in salaries, and now everyone gets government health care as "need-based," since the health-care is no longer supplied by the employer.

It won't take long for this program from insuring the 47M (about 15%) Obama is targeting to insuring a majority of the US population.

Posted by: Chris Graham at October 22, 2008 1:16 PM

from Chris -
"So an employer can drop their coverage, keep more profits, give some of those profits to employees in salaries, and now everyone gets government health care as "need-based," since the health-care is no longer supplied by the employer."

Alright, but all you're really doing here is shifting costs, from employers to taxpayers, who are the same people. And as government is notoriously less efficient than private industry at administrating pretty much anything, the total cost of healthcare will likely rise, as a whole, as a result of government control over the whole thing, meaning that the change in kind of compensation to employees from healthcare benefits to a straight wage/salary bump could likely be wiped out by the tax increase necessary to fund universal healthcare.

Further, the assumption that employee compensation would necessarily rise as a result of this is nothing more than that: an assumption. Remember, labor, like anything else, is a comoddity, and is governed by the same law of supply and demand as everything else, and except for fields which require uncommon or unique skills, there is always a greater supply of labor than there are jobs; otherwise there'd be no unemployment. Companies would have the OPPORTUNITY to pay employees more; they wouldn't necessarily do so, and this program wouldn't erase competition for jobs.

Posted by: Tom at October 22, 2008 8:14 PM

Ah, yes - the same old song and dance about how inefficient government is and how they couldn't possibly do a better job than the private, for-profit healthcare system. And the inevitable add-on argument about how it would "probably" create cost increases to boot.

Who do you think handles the healthcare administration for the vast majority of retirees in this country? Who handles it for the military and the vast majority of veterans? Who handles it for poor kids through S-CHIP? How about wards of the state, like developmentally disabled folks whose families can't take care of them? In every case, you guessed it - that scary, awful government does....the same government that we are supposedly so afraid of involving in anything to do with healthcare.

Now I don't know about anyone else, but I have been more than satisfied with the treatment I've received at VA hospitals, in the few cases when I've needed a doctor and didn't have coverage. Under Bu$hco, they've completely revamped the system to make it much more expensive unless you're practically homeless, but the quality of care has been first-rate across the board.

Now, I don't have a whole lot of metrics and statistics gathered conveniently from the "Directors" of RedState or the National Review or Faux News, although I'm sure that someone is reading this right now, just salivating at the idea that they can prove me wrong using such sources. But how about a common-sense approach to this stuff instead of inciting mini-riots about how we're mere inches away from socialism once we let the govmint start messin' round with doctors and such?

My question is: if we are content to let the dreaded government administer to the healthcare needs of these groups, then what the hell are we so afraid of when someone suggests that the gov't take on a greater role with the average population?

In fact, I'll take it one step further - doesn't it make sense that increasing the number of folks they are negotiating costs for will actually decrease costs for each "covered" member? ESPECIALLY when you consider that the retirees, poor kids, combat veterans, etc are on average, more expensive per person to care for than the overall population?

So IMHO what everybody's up in arms about is the same as all this drivel about socialism vs. "free" markets (yeah, tell me another one). Scare tactics to make the average dumbass think that we're about to become the next Soviet empire. Nobody who reads this thread is actually stupid enough to believe that crap. I think...

Posted by: macsonix at October 22, 2008 9:06 PM

Tom,

That's exactly where I was headed with my point. I don't believe the wage increases would keep pace with tax increases needed to fund a nationwide health care plan. And the coporations would likely be pulling in more profits.

Further, the national health care program, as it will become, could collapse under its own weight, thus creating a bigger health care crisis than we have now.

Posted by: Chris Graham at October 22, 2008 10:21 PM

Tom,

That's exactly where I was headed with my point. I don't believe the wage increases would keep pace with tax increases needed to fund a nationwide health care plan. And the coporations would likely be pulling in more profits.

Further, the national health care program, as it will become, could collapse under its own weight, thus creating a bigger health care crisis than we have now.

Posted by: Chris Graham at October 22, 2008 10:22 PM

Chris and Tom,

I don't necessarily agree that an employer would drop coverage. Employees of larger institutions get better rates because their employers can deliver a large number of relatively similarly situated people (ie office workers as opposed to say explosives experts) to the insurance companies. Insurance actuaries will base their risk, and therefore their rates, accordingly. It's much more expensive for insurance companies to price their risk to each individual who comes to them to get insurance. Employees of these institutions jealously guard every perk possible and employers are willing to dole these out to keep good workers from seeking better benefits somewhere else. (Yes, shockingly, market signals do work.) A universal system even with the allowance for private insurance will kill the current employer provided system and drive private insurance through the roof. Unless you throw in some sort of means testing like an income cap. Herein lies the problem because such means testing is politically difficult. You have to promise that everyone gets something out of it or you won't get anyone to back it no matter how altruistic it is.

Posted by: Sergio at October 22, 2008 11:47 PM

The country will be facing a whole lot of turmoil if the liberal illuminati take control. It will start will healthcare, and go in so many more directions.

Posted by: Expressions at October 29, 2008 7:28 PM
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