The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Dean Clancy At FreedomWorks Didn’t Get The Memo

Posted on | April 10, 2012 | 9 Comments

by Smitty

And so here is Clancy, nattering on, in defiance of the Received Wisdom that the GOP has no ideas of how to improve health care in the United States. He even blasphemes the Holy Tax Code:

The Republicans do have a bunch of ideas for fixing what ails our health care system. I’ll just mention a few of them here. For example:

  • Reform state medical malpractice laws.
  • Incentivize hospitals and doctors to publish their prices, to promote comparison shopping.
  • Let people purchase insurance across state lines.
  • Let small businesses band together to obtain insurance for their workers at group rates.
  • Expand Health Savings Accounts and flex benefits.
  • Ease federal mandates that contribute to emergency-room over-crowding.
  • Block-grant the Medicaid program back to the states.

Here’s my personal favorite:

  • Let seniors join their Member of Congress’s health plan.

Those are just some of the ideas that various Republicans have proposed. And they’re by and large pretty good, common-sense ideas. I think they’d reduce costs without costly mandates, without a big new bureaucracy, without a 2,801-page bill that “they have to pass so we can find out what’s in it.” Oh, and by the way, with all of these ideas, you would actually get to “keep your coverage if you like it,” unlike under the president’s plan. Anyway, that’s all great.

But the one problem that I haven’t mentioned the Republicans dealing with — and it’s very important — is pre-existing conditions. You probably know what that is. It’s the most important problem in health care. If you fix the problem of pre-existing medical conditions, I think you fix the health care issue, as a general matter.

What is that, exactly? It’s the problem you face when, let’s say you have diabetes and you’re unemployed or you lose your job — you have no health insurance. So you go to buy coverage online or out of the yellow pages, and they want to charge you an arm and a leg because of your health status, because of your preexisting condition. That’s a problem for a lot of people, maybe 2 to 4 million people in this country, so not a huge percentage of us, but for each one of those people it’s a big deal.

And guess what? That problem can be addressed. It’s mainly caused by government policy. My line is whenever someone tells you that there’s a “market failure,” look closer: it’s a government failure. There’s some government policy causing the problem. And that’s definitely the case here. The problem with pre-existing conditions is primarily caused by the United States tax code. That’s right, it’s the tax code. And how does that happen? Well, basically the government doesn’t create a level playing field for health care versus health insurance, for health insurance obtained at the workplace versus health insurance obtained out of the yellow pages, for health insurance that has a low deductible versus health insurance with a high deductible. By the way, a deductible just means the amount that you pay out of pocket before the insurance kicks in. All of those distortions are caused by the way we treat health benefits in our tax code.

Read the whole contra-Narrative mess, and remember to savor the Ultimate Truthiness: the GOP has no reform ideas.

It’s either ObamaCare, or under the bus for every manjack among you.

Update: linked by The Lonely Conservative.

Update II: linked at Daley Gator.

Bookmark and Share

Comments

  • http://twitter.com/KingShamus King Shamus

    Tim Geithner’s maxim remains operational:  ”We don’t really have a plan, we know we just don’t like yours.”

  • Adobe_Walls

    They really don’t know why they don’t like it other than it doesn’t redistribute other peoples money.

  • http://twitter.com/KingShamus King Shamus

    Haha, very true.

    “Wait, you mean your model doesn’t piss away 120% of our GDP while ensuring our party stays in power by making our cronies rich and keeping 50% of the population dependent on us?  You shut the hell up, stupid poopie-head reich-wing meanie Paul Ryan!”  

  • daialanye

    There is a great deal of foolishness with how Medicare is administered as well. Let me give one example.

    Person has PIC (peripherally inserted catheter) line installed in hospital in order to be intravenously dosed with antibiotics.
     A. Patient goes to nursing home at $200/day. After ten days doctor or nurse-practitioner removes PIC line at $400 charge for a few minutes work. Cost to Medicare = $2400 not counting drugs. Cost to patient = 0.
    B. Patient goes home where family member is given ten minutes’ training to dose drugs at 0/day. Medicare supplies cheap stand to hold apparatus at $? cost. Nurse from Home Health removes PIC line at no charge. Cost to Medicare = whatever for drugs and stand. Cost to patient = $75/ day for drugs, or $750 total.

    This might not take everything into consideration. It’s possible, for instance, that Home Health gets some sort of reimbursement from Medicare. But it’s obvious that the patient’s motivation is to go with the “free” option. How smart is that from Medicare’s point of view?

  • http://twitter.com/richard_mcenroe richard mcenroe

    You can solve the pre-existing condition problem quickly, easily, with no government expenditure, AND break the model of government as a prescriptive/compulsive machine.

    Make coverage of pre-existing conditions tax-deductible for healthcare providers.  Not only will those needing coverage get it, we’ll have to watch out for HC providers finding pre-existing conditions we never knew we had before.

  • Pingback: A Republican Plan for Health Care Reform that Won’t Break the Bank | The Lonely Conservative

  • Pingback: Smitty: You know, those ideas about health care reform the Republicans do not have are pretty darn good « The Daley Gator

  • http://thedaleygator.wordpress.com/ Doug Hagin
  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/EU5DQWQTTHTPO4A4ZYSL3AAV2U Adjoran

    Excellent article, and it shows there are indeed many market solutions available – we should an “all of the above” approach.

    Also, we need to change the tax-favored status of employer-provided health insurance benefits.  There is no social benefit for a worker for a big company to get his health insurance tax-free while a laborer or sole proprietor is fully taxed on his.

    In the long run, the only way to exercise real restraint on costs will be larger co-pays.  It’s the only incentive consumers can have to pressure prices down at the point of delivery.

    IOW, if you take the Democrats’ ideas and just do exactly the opposite, you’ll have a better system 90% done, with just a bit of tweaking remaining.