Friday, November 15, 2013

Today in Comedy is a Conservative Proposal for Health Care by Punnuru and Levin

Is Being This Ignorant a Requirement to Blather in the Wall Street Journal

The need for a good belly laugh about modern politics can usually be satisfied by reading the opinion pages of the Wall Street Journal, and an article by arch conservatives Ramesh Ponnuru and Yuval Levin is no exception.  These two take the position that conservatives ought to propose an alternative to the current health care reform, an eminently sensible suggestion, and then go onto mangle the project so severely that one can only be left in hysterical laughter, the kind one has after watching Groucho, Chico and Harpo.

They start out with this classic gem.  They want the government to pay for a high deductible health insurance policy for everyone.

That tax break would also be available—ideally as a refundable credit sufficient at least for the purchase of catastrophic coverage—to people who do not have access to employer coverage. This would enable people who now choose not to buy insurance to get catastrophic coverage with no premium costs. 

What does that mean?  It means that every employer in America that currently offers health care insurance would cease to do so, and every American would get a free health insurance policy paid for by the government.  Wow.

Then they follow with this.

Medicaid could be converted into a means-based addition to that credit, allowing the poor to buy into the same insurance market as more affluent people—and so give them access to better health care than they can get now.

So the poor, many of whom are poor because they have serious illnesses or disabilities would get additional money to buy more health care.  But of course insurance companies would not insure them, because they have all these existing, expensive illnesses and physical problems.  So that doesn’t work.  And do these idiots not realize that Medicaid is already means tested, heavily means tested, you have to be destitute to qualify.

Well what about this.

All those with continuous coverage, which everyone could afford thanks to the new tax treatment, would be protected from price spikes or plan cancellations if they got sick. 

And how would that be regulated?  Oh, by a massive federal bureaurcracy charged with separating out normal inflation increases from price increases as insurers try to shed the high cost policy holders.  Would that work?  Not in this universe.  But to get price protection one would need continuous coverage.  What does that mean?  Lose insurance for a day and a person loses all protection? 

And what about the cost?  Oh, not to worry.

By making at least catastrophic coverage available to all, and by giving people such incentives to obtain it, this approach could cover more people than ObamaCare was ever projected to reach, and at a significantly lower cost.

And how do we know that the government paying for health insurance premiums for everyone would cost less than the current health care reform?  Well take their word for it, no numbers are presented for the obvious reason that having the government pay for health insurance for everyone would of course be a financial disaster.  Yeah, government should pay for everyone's health insurance, won't cost much, can't wait for that line to hit the comedy circuit.  And in order for this to work everyone would be required to buy the insurance, gosh, what does that sound like, hm,  let's think, oh Obamacare's most hated aspect.

Those who can, do

Those who can’t, teach

Those who can’t teach become Deans

Those who don’t know anything about their subject matter write opinion pieces for the Wall Street Journal.

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