A Price Control By Any Other Name Is Still A Price Control

As promised, the state of Massachusetts has decided to smack down proposed health insurance premium hikes:

Under the emergency regulations invoked by [Governor Deval] Patrick, insurers were required to submit proposed increases—along with actuarial data—30 days before their effective date so they could be reviewed by Insurance Division staffers and consultants. In the past, the carriers simply notified the division of rate increases on the day they took effect.

The Insurance Division, in letters to carriers, outlined reasons for the rate rejections. Among them were rate proposals that are significantly above the medical consumer price index—a consumer health care spending measure estimated at 4.8 percent—and proposals that failed to explain how insurers set different reimbursement rates.

So, as far as I can tell, the theory here is: Reject rate-hike proposals as against the rules, but decline to clearly state what the rules are. Somehow, I do not think this is the best way for the state to produce its intended results. Nor is it clear what Governor Patrick, who's behind the decision to reject rate increases, thinks is actually going to happen here. The back and forth between the state and the insurers seems to be going something like this:

State: Keep your prices down!
Insurers: Um, OK. How?
State: How the hell are we supposed to know?

Except, of course, it's blindingly obvious how. Service cuts, reduced coverage—all of which will likely coincide with increased demand given the artificially lowered prices. And if insurers can't afford to operate under the state's strictures, they'll pack up and leave, or threaten to leave until they get permission to raise their rates. This isn't entirely hypothetical, either: These sorts of problems have plagued Florida since it instituted stricter controls on property insurance premium rates.

Nor is it some obscure, little-understood economic notion: Even President Clinton's economic team was wary of medical price controls. But not Deval Patrick. He believes! This time will be different! I know everyone loves an optimist, but "maybe it will actually work this time" just doesn't strike me as the best basis for effective policy.

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  • Government||

    All your market mechanisms are belong to us

  • ||

    ,i>State: Keep your prices down!
    Insurers: Um, OK. How?
    State: How the hell are we supposed to know?

    ... I know everyone loves an optimist, but "maybe it will actually work this time" just doesn't strike me as the best basis for effective policy.

    Awesome snark!

  • ||

    State: Keep your prices down!
    Insurers: Um, OK. How?
    State: How the hell are we supposed to know?

    ... I know everyone loves an optimist, but "maybe it will actually work this time" just doesn't strike me as the best basis for effective policy.

    Awesome snark!

    Note to self: preview!

  • Jordan||

    The Democratic Party has officially reached the pinnacle of economic illiteracy. The "stupidity singularity." President Nixon salutes you, sirs!

  • BakedPenguin||

  • Mike M.||

    Once again, it's not "economic illiteracy", it's intended strategy.

    The liberals want to put the insurance companies out of business so they can implement their dream of single-payer total government control via the back door.

  • Scotch Hamilton||

    You are right, and the reason is because free market healthcare doesn't work. If it did, nobody would be demanding a new system.

  • $||

    Define "work".

  • $||

    Oh wait, Dan, forget I said that. We now return you to your regularly-scheduled trolling.

    Hail Dan T.! Our Lord and Savior.

  • Jordan||

    Where is this free market healthcare system?

  • Corduroy Rocks||

    What, you didn't realize that the thousands of pages of regulations is what makes up a free market healthcare system?

  • Mike M.||

    Fuck off MNG, and stop trolling under ten different user names, you douchebag.

  • Almanian||

    Yeah, no one ever demands a new system when there's anything about the old one that works. And all "new systems" are aways better than "teh old sysdum" they replace. Always.

    And as Jordan noted, where is/was this "free market" healthcare of which you speak?

    You really do suck at this

  • You have it right this time||

    Scotch, like a stopped clock, even a pretend troll is sometimes accurate.

  • ||

    You are right, and the reason is because free market healthcare doesn't work. If it did, nobody would be demanding a new system.

    Are you just trying to make a stupid argument by saying "nobody?"

    So, e.g., the Obama Administration doesn't work. If it did, nobody would be demanding a new administration.

  • Scotch Hamilton||

    Don't take "nobody" so literally...I mean if the system worked then why would the majority of Americans vote in people who pledged to change it?

    Oh that's right, we're all just lazy and want something for free. I forgot the contempt that "self-made people" have for those who were not so privileged...

  • Jeffersonian||

    Ummm...because the guy pledging to change it was short on details, and has changed in a way he specifically said he would not while interviewing for the job?

    Yes, the urge to plunder with many is strong. That doesn't make it right.

  • ||

    I mean if the system worked then why would the majority of Americans vote in people who pledged to change it?

    They voted in the person who said that we shouldn't have an individual mandate and said that company-provided health insurance should never be taxed (the latter I disagree with).

  • Mike Laursen||

    Troll Trollington, who here ever said the current system works well or that it is free-market?

  • barfman||

    *barf*

  • ||

    If by "work" you mean "spew rainbows and puppies on command".

  • cynical||

    I know dude, it's like when everyone was bitching about XP, so Microsoft gave us Vista.

  • Jordan Elliot||

    "...via the back door."

    You sir, are more correct than I think you intended.

  • ||

    No, I think Deval Patrick IS that economically illiterate.

  • ||

    if insurers can't afford to operate under the state's strictures, they'll just leave

    I can't wait to see how they attempt to coerce the insurance companies to continue doing business (at a loss) in the state.

  • Brett L||

    Well, in FL we took on about $5B more in liabilities in areas most likely to suffer hurricane damage and then prayed that there wouldn't be more than 1 major hurricane per season. Luckily this was after 2006, but I think federal bailout is the actual strategy.

  • virginia||

    If all 125,000 customers dropped by State Farm switch to Citizens, the state-run insurer will have 18% market share.

    1. How many will switch to Citizens post-State Farm's ~15% premium increase on remaining policies?

    2. How long until Florida's largest private insurer threatens to pull out again and loses more market share in another exchange for consent to raise premiums?

    National single-payer insurance (for everything) is endgame.

  • ||

    Isn't State Farm a mutual? It's owned by its policyholders, and returns excess profits to them. How exactly can you argue that it's ripping off its members?

  • virginia||

    I'm not arguing that SF is ripping off its members. If Citizens (or another insurer) is cheaper, then folks may switch.

    I give no weight to their mutual status. I recall 1 year out of 12 that they sent me a premium rebate b/c they had a good year.

  • Brett L||

    Citizens is cheaper because it has $5B of liabilities that are NOT OFFSET!! It would be illegal for any non-governmental insurance entity to do this. The taxpayers of Florida are on the hook for that $5B if Citizens has to pay up.

  • MandateBoy||

    Say hello to the new "corporate mandate". If the Congress has the power to mandate that individuals purchase a product from a private entity, why couldn't it mandate that a company engage in the other half of the transaction?

  • ||

    I can't wait to see how they attempt to coerce the insurance companies to continue doing business (at a loss) in the state.

    It would not surprise me if state Insurance Commissioners began coordinating their extortion. Massachusetts gets together with its neighboring states and goes to The New England and explains to them that if they leave Massachusetts they are no longer welcome in New York, New Hampshire and New Jersey.

  • ||

    You must not live in New England.

  • Jordan Elliot||

    "This is not some obscure or little-understood economic notion, either. Even President Clinton's economic team was wary of medical price controls. But not Deval Patrick. He believes! This time will be different!"

    My theory is that overtime, many political beliefs and ideas degrade to more base and instinctual urges/emotions that are harder and harder for those that hold the beliefs and ideas to fight off with logic, reason, and critical thinking.

    That or they see an opportunity and figure that they might as well take their best and most brazen shot while they can. This builds over time too as it seems government just grows and grows in size, corruption, and stupidity.

    I wonder what things will look like in 2036 with 25+ years of moronic build up?

  • ||

    I know everyone loves an optimist

    I don't.

  • Kolohe||

    If you grew up with 20/200 vision you would.

  • ||

    I know everyone loves an optimist.

    I don't.


    I do when playing poker.

  • Valerie Jarrett||

    You'll love it once you understand it!

  • P B||

    If only the insurance companies would actually leave. Then the politicians wuld be left without a scapegoat for their idiotic idea. If only ...

  • adam||

    10 or 15 years ago, auto insurance companies were trying to leave NJ. The state wouldn't let them.

  • ||

    Could you elaborate on that a little? What was the state threatening to do if the insurance companies left?

  • adam||

    I think that part of their licenses was a condition that they couldn't just leave. They had to leave slowly over the course of a number of years. I assume the state would have fined them if they tried to just walk away.

    The NJ auto insurance market had a lot of the features that are getting loaded in the health insurance market- bans on risk-based premiums, state-run high risk pools, limits on profits and admin costs, etc. and that caused the premiums to skyrocket and the number insurance companies to collapse. It finally ended in the early 2000s with a reform law that de-regulated at least enough to bring in more companies and introduce more risk-based pricing.

  • ||

    Interesting--thanks.

  • Jeffersonian||

    I went through this in 1986 in Brazil with the Cruzado Plan. One of the stupidest dictates I've ever seen. After a few months, you couldn't get toilet paper, beer, meat, cars, milk, nothing.

  • Robert Mugabe||

    They weren't trying hard enough!

  • Scotch Hamilton||

    Mr. Suderman makes a strong argument for single-payer here.

    Since health insurance companies make profit by not providing health care, the current system is destined to fail. Which is why the voters have demanded government intervention.

  • Dan T. ||

    Scotch has it right here. I have long said that capitalist entities like grocery stores make money by witholding basic necessities like food, and that the price system is hopelessly outdated for modern society. Insurance companies are the first step towards a brighter future.

  • Scotch Hamilton||

    No, Dan, grocery stores sell an actual product. Health insurance companies sell the promise of something (health care $ if you need it in the future) and then work hard to provide as little of what they promised when the time comes.

  • ||

    Isn't that how government works too?

  • ||

    Yeah, damn them for only wanting to provide the payment for services covered by the contract, you know, the services they have collected premiums to cover. Customers like Scott Hamilton want a fucking pony, yo!

  • ||

    Damn, now I feel terrible for falsely accusing a Gold Medal winning figure skater and all around nice guy for Scotch's psychotic ramblings.

  • Dan T. ||

    Scotch - I would wager that most health insurance providers meet their obligations to the satisfaction of their customers. I highly doubt that the insurance industry would have lasted as long as it did if it did not pay most of the time.

    See, your problem is that you are only a half-believer: it is the price mechanism that separates man from basic necessities, by looters who claim to be producers. Making a profit on something so basic as food and medical care has to be de facto nefarious.

    You need to read a little more, Scotch.

  • Scotch Hamilton||

    Actually I don't mind some profit motive to exist in medicine, especially if it serves to benefit people by promiting innovation and advances in technology.

    But insurance companies are just middlemen - vast, inefficent buraucraies that make a profit from moving money around.

  • Dan T. ||

    Nonsense. Insurance is a gamble that is foisted upon people by the profit system itself. In a free-market system, insurance serves a purpose: you may pay 20,000 in premiums over the course of your life and never see that money back. That 20,000 was there just in case a bill for 100,000 came down the pike.

    The real problem is the fact that bills for 100,000 exist in the first place. Most people who pay those kinds of exorbitant prices are sick, desperate, in pain, or a combination of all three.

    It is a real shame to see someone whom I thought was enlightened advocate for the brutal dog-eat-dog *spits* profit system.

  • ||

    "The real problem is the fact that bills for 100,000 exist in the first place. Most people who pay those kinds of exorbitant prices are sick, desperate, in pain, or a combination of all three."

    I agree.

  • Scotch Hamilton||

    The reason there are $100,000 bills is because we will pay everybody's health care costs one way or another. So the people with insurance subsidize those who do not.

    Bottom line is that no matter how badly the libertarian fringe wishes for it, we are never going to be a society where we let people die in the streets because they don't have money.

    So at some point the grown-ups are going to have to figure out how to make this work, and frankly if the Right doesn't want to be involved in this discussion that's fine.

  • ||

    Fortunately, there's a libertarian solution to this problem: charity.

  • cynical||

    No you don't understand. If we rely on charity, then we will be a society where we let people die in the streets because they don't have money. Once you start directly engaging people's empathy rather than conscripting them, they become incredibly callous about the needs of their fellow man. Obviously.

  • ||

    I agree completely. That is why it makes sense to use insurance to pay for large, unexpected medical costs, rather than minor routine ones. High deductible policy + tax free HSAs for minor routine expenses = more efficiency and more consumer choice.

  • ||

    Hey Pablo, stop talking sense! We're trying to institute government control here, not solve problems.

    BTW, I love my high deductible policy with a medical savings account. Works out perfectly for my family. The total of premiums plus maximum deductible is still less than I would pay for the traditional plan. By taking the first risk myself, I saved a good bit of money. And in years where I don't reach the deductible, I save even more money. Woot!

  • hamilton||

    Actually it's well established economics that brokers (middlemen as you call them) can help create equilibrium in prices and demand when information is imperfect.

    And of course, if you have a problem with vast, inefficient bureaucracies...

    But hey, stick to your meme, troll.

  • Scotch Hamilton||

    One problem: our system, with all its brokers and insurance companies, is the least efficent around.

  • Jack||

    If you don't like insurance companies, nobody is forcing you to do business with one. Oh, that's right - thanks to HCR you will now be *mandated* to buy insurance from those vast, inefficient buraucraies that you believe make a profit moving money around.

    Notwithstanding the mandate, what you're really looking for is a system under which you pay very little (a monthly premium) with the expectation that you should be able to incur medical services costing tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars at any time. "I give you $200, you give me $20,000." Apparently, you believe that the company insuring you should have no ability to deny you coverage or increase your premium because you're sick as a dog, have a condition that increases your likelihood of needing expensive medical care, lead an unhealthy lifestyle, or are 75 years old.

    So I take it you currently pay for your medical care out of pocket?

  • ||

    Because having only one buyer, and one with guns at that, is so conducive to competition and innovation.

  • Ogg Vorbis||

    The Troll trolled,
    The Roller rolled,
    The Player played.
    Make it what you may,
    Some one just got paid.

  • EJ||

    "vast, inefficent buraucraies that make a profit from moving money around."

    Sounds like the government

  • Jeffersonian||

    And it's government's job to make sure that the insurance companies compy with the terms of the contracts they have entered into.

    Now, what happens when the insurer and the enforcer are the same entity?

  • Grandma||

    It's turtles all the way down!

  • Corduroy Rocks||

    Voters have demanded gov't intervention because they think they should get health care for free. It's an outgrowth of the perversity of the employer based system where the consumer only sees the costs indirectly. It is ridiculous that we provide health insurance through our places of employment. Why is it more efficient for someone whose specialty is selling TVs and electronics to be also providing a health insurance plan. The answer is "It isn't", it's only there because of a stupid tax decision made decades ago.

    I'll give you this. An argument between single-payer and a truly free health care market would be preferable to the craptastic system that we currently suffer under. It would also be a more honest discussion.

  • Scotch Hamilton||

    The problem with a true free-market system in health care is that a certain number of people are going to have to do totally without - this is true of any free-market system since if everybody can afford something then the price is too low.

    And, frankly, not only are Americans not willing to let people die on the streets because they have no (or not enough) money, we also recognize that it's not a good idea to let diseases go untreated because they tend to spread.

  • Dr. Smith||

    Hate to break it to you Scotch, but everyone dies at some point. You can print all the money in the world and you're not going to change that.

    But in the end, I sort of agree with you. ES (economic stupidity) is spreading like wildfire these days and we have to do something about it.

  • Scotch Hamilton||

    The health care issue is not only about life and death, but also about illnesses.

    You may say that you don't care if your neighbor gets sick or not, but when he spreads his illness to you and your family you might reflect on the "ES" involved in letting a small problem become a large one.

  • ||

    Most people who have a job could afford a catastrophic only coverage if insurers were allowed to sell it, rate according to risk, and the regulations that limit doctor, hospital, and insurer competition were removed. In other words, if we actually had a free market in health care and health insurance costs would be much lower. And then if you still can't afford anything, Medicare already exists and even if it didn't, charities could certainly cover the poor. Government actions contribute to poverty and then they buy votes from those same people by saying they'll take care of them. It's perverse.

  • Dr. Smith||

    I don't know where you live, but I guess I'm fortunate. My neighbors haven't (yet?) spread their chronic Ebola to me.

    Sarcasm aside, you might be interested to learn that the vast majority of common illnesses don't require a trip to the doctor. The human body is fairly remarkable and quite capable of dealing with the bacteria and virii the average individual is likely to be exposed to.

    Catching the cold or a flu might make you feel like sh*t but generally won't require a visit to the doctor. In fact, most of the time medical facilities would prefer that you don't come in. Yet that doesn't stop lots of people from rushing to one every time they get a low-grade fever or a bad headache.

    Finally, I would point out that you don't need insurance to pay for treatment and advice related to common illnesses. You could head down to your local CVS MinuteClinic, for instance, and be seen by a nurse practitioner or physician assistant for under $70. Give it a try some time. They'll probably tell you the same thing your doctor did: you're unfortunately going to live.

  • Pip||

    "this is true of any free-market system since if everybody can afford something then the price is too low."

    Please explain penny candy.

  • Nancy Pelosi||

    Are you serious? Are you serious?

  • virginia||

    Bazooka Joe is a closet Marxist.

  • Dan T. ||

    Allow me to add that it is pretty apparent that the inordinate amount of capital allocated to health care expenditures means that we have a market failure (inefficient allocation of capital being the quintessential failure), and even libertarians agree that government should correct market failures (like the free-rider problem with respect to national defense, for example.)

  • ||

    We all agree? National defense could be born of the willing. The armed. I think you might be talking about offense, or the defense of countries that are not us.

  • Dan T. ||

    well, not reflexive and boring anarchists, who merely worship their own whims and a Hobbesian state of nature. you are pretty irrelevant, praise Jesus, in the larger picture.

  • cynical||

    "Allow me to add that it is pretty apparent that the inordinate amount of capital allocated to health care expenditures means that we have a market failure"

    [citation needed]

    It's pretty obvious that the inordinate amount of GDP allocated toward government, without any substantial improvement in outcomes, suggests we have a governance failure, and the market should intercede to correct it.

  • ||

    First, welfare for the poor is very different from regulating the hell out of medical insurance so much that less than an eighth of health expenditures are out of pocket.

    Second, actual public health considerations such as handling communicable diseases are unbelievably cheap nineteenth century medicine with some vaccines thrown in.

    Neither of these require or even hint at the destruction of the market in health insurance that government feels it must wreak.

  • Corduroy Rocks||

    Public health and health care are two separate things.

    Your problem is that you believe that there is a perfect solution to the problem. I say there isn't. Utopia doesn't exist, and it won't exist just because the gov't wills it so.

    A truly competitive market is the best approximation to a system that covers everyone. That includes relaxing licensing requirements for healthcare providers, which would go a long way toward lowering prices.

  • Dan T. ||

    I would hardly call "pay up or die" the "best approximation" of a system. The barbarity of it and the fact that it repulses people on even the most basic level demonstrates that your non-utopia is a real-life dystopia.

  • Corduroy Rocks||

    Pay up or eat seems to have worked so far. In fact, whenever gov'ts have introduced price controls on food, it always seems that the supply dwindles and we have more people going hungry.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    And, frankly, not only are Americans not willing to let people die on the streets because they have no (or not enough) money, we also recognize that it's not a good idea to let diseases go untreated because they tend to spread.


    I am perfectly willing to let sex offenders and terrorists die on the streets.

  • ||

    The problem with a true free-market system in health care is that a certain number of people are going to have to do totally without

    OK, then why wasn't HCR aimed at helping those people, instead of messing with everyone's healthcare? It's like saying that because some people go hungry, the government must have more control over all farms, grocery stores, and restaurants.

  • the government||

    Hey, we'll say whatever we must to get more control over all farms, grocery stores, and restaurants. If appealing to the compassion of the easily manipulated does the trick, so be it.

  • ||

    Better to fuck up the system for everyone than to let some people go without.

  • Fluffy||

    No, health insurance companies make money by accurately predicting and pricing the risk of any particular customer requiring health care in a particular policy period.

    But that's what the states - and now the federal government - have gradually been making illegal since the days of the Reagan administration.

    The root causes of the problems we have in health care are twofold:

    1. During the Reagan administration, it was made illegal for hospitals to refuse care to people who couldn't pay.

    2. Beginning at about the same time, it was gradually made more and more difficult for insurance companies to properly price their product by charging healthy and young people less and old and sick people more.

    It's obvious that your goal is a system where the concept of price has no meaning. And you will find that you will have limited options when you actually try to make that work.

  • Dan T. ||

    The "concept of price" has no meaning when you are talking about human lives.

  • Jordan Elliot||

    History disagrees with you.

  • Josef Stalin||

    You bet.

  • Corduroy Rocks||

    Bullshit.

    People make decisions about what their life is worth every day for themselves. Family members make them for other family members. They just object to having some outside party make it for them. Yet for some bizarre reason, they want to hand that power over to the government.

  • Scotch Hamilton||

    That's because we trust the government more than corporations that admit right off the bat that they don't care about anything but providing less in services than they take in in premiums.

  • Rod||

    Hey Scotch,

    I need you to repaint my 7,500 square foot house. You'll need to do all the labor and bring all of the supplies. I can only pay you $250. Do you want to start this afternoon or tomorrow morning?

  • Scotch Hamilton||

    I will be happy to sell you "house painting insurance" for that $250.

    Don't worry, when you file a claim I promise not to find some reason to deny it. Really!

    Although if your house already has old paint then that's a pre-existing condition so I must deny you.

  • Rod||

    So you're not interested in providing services at a loss? Darn.

    As for the incessant claims about denials, perhaps you should look at an analysis of denial statistics:

    http://www.politifact.com/trut.....e-denials/

  • Government Death Panel||

    Thanks for the kudos, Scotch.

  • ||

    The state consistantly produces less in services than it takes in taxes. And nobody admits to taking a profit....

  • Michael Ejercito||

    That's because we trust the government more than corporations that admit right off the bat that they don't care about anything but providing less in services than they take in in premiums.


    So Jews should have trusted Hitler's government?

    Kulaks should have trusted Stalin's government?

  • Corduroy Rocks||

    I'll take the corporation anyday. I can argue with a corporation, I can sue them in court, I have a contract that I can have enforced, I can use the gov't to protect myself against them.

    When the gov't is the provider, I have none of that.

  • hamilton||

    Wow. Stupid comment of the month and it's only the second.

  • EJ||

    That's because we trust for profit companies, which have an incentive to provide a good service more than governments that admit right off the bat that they don't care about anything but receiving votes.

  • Hitman||

    Wanna bet?

  • ||

    You may not be able to put a price on human life, but you can easily put a price on the cost of keeping a human alive.

  • NARAL||

    The left has always consistently demanded that people be willing to make the necessarily sacrifices to preserve even the lowliest form of human life, whether or not they personally want to make those sacr... wait, what?

  • ||

    The "concept of price" has no meaning when you are talking about human lives.

    That may be the stupidest, most uninformed, most unthinking comment that Dan T. has ever made at Hit & Run..

    I know there is a lot of competition buried in the H&R archives, still I defy anyone to link to something as idiotic and denying of reality as this.

  • Dan T. ||

    Really? How much for your life, then?

  • ||

    I don't know Dan, what's the cost to prevent whatever it is that threatens my life? A new heart? $100,000? Chemotherapy? $50,000? Bodyguards and a medic with an AED?

    Or are you talking about the slave trade?

  • Jack Benny||

    I'm thinking!

  • The Gobbler||

    + a lotta love.

  • ||

    How ya doing, Dan T? It's been awhile.

    Really? How much for your life, then?


    As much as I can afford.

    Surely you must realize that in everything the market and the government decides that there exists a price, however imperfectly calculated, on the monetary value of a human life. We have government imposed limits on how much pollution is acceptable in power plant emissions. This does not mean that that the acceptable limits eliminate the harm from pollution, rather it is a calculation that that further reducing the amount of pollution in emissions would drive the price of of electricity up so much that the increased costs of electricity would cause more harm than lowering the amount of of air pollution would mitigate.

    Absolute statement like you just made are a denial of reality and false on their face.

  • Dan T. ||

    As much as I can afford.

    So...if you can afford nothing, you are worth nothing?

    I will be sure to tell the kids in the oncology ward how little you think of them. Their parents, too.

  • josey||

    Some kids need a kidney. Why is it that your kid still has one or two? Is your kid somehow worth more than them? How much? I want a number.

  • ||

    Fuck the kids in the oncology ward and fuck their parents too. Props from the Progressive grab-bag don't work around here. Life sucks and then you die.

    EAP's single iron law:

    Man-up and die, people. Man-up and die.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    The "concept of price" has no meaning when you are talking about human lives.


    How much would you be willing to pay for a coronary bypass for a sex offender?

  • Special Victim||

    Hell, I'll do it for free.

  • Jordan Elliot||

    Depends.

    Can they implant a control/kill device in the SO when they do the operation? That way, you can have your own sex offender at your beck and call to do your bidding. That's a henchman worth keeping around.

  • ||

    Hey, I escaped from NY and LA with a bomb in my neck!

  • ||

    Well, the second time, you just had the flu. Let's not get carried away, Typhoid Plisken.

  • Did I miss something?||

    That's the second Snake Plissken reference today.

  • Brett L||

    I guess we shouldn't allow people to sue for negligence leading to death since life has no price.

  • cynical||

    No, it means that life has infinite price. Thus, the first time someone successfully sues the federal government for wrongful death, it will have to give them all of its money ($0) and go bankrupt.

  • ||

    Health insurance companies make profit whether they provide health care or not. Their premiums are heavily regulated; if payouts increase, so do premia, as well as the reverse. Which is why the health insurance companies have demanded government intervention.

  • barfman||

    *barf*

  • tarran||

    Hey Dan T,

    It's rude to have conversations with yourself on other people's blogs.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    No, health insurance companies make profit when they attract consumers by providing a better service, numerous policy options to suit the level of benefits desired by individual consumers, and having a reputation that they fairly fulfill the terms of their contracts... or they would if there was actually a market based economy in health insurance and not the bureaucratic clusterfuck that exists now.

  • ¢||

    He believes!

    Let's just pretend for a moment that he doesn't, and that down in the kind of id that a politician must have (or he'd be something else), he desires "service cuts, reduced coverage," DEATH PANELS!, whatever, and that the actual "intended results" of a law are all the horrible shit it predictably does, according to un-obscure economic notions known to all but infrequently openly acknowledged by politicians who seemingly flout them, all good-intentioned-like.

    How would his behavior differ?

  • Fluffy||

    BTW -

    Patrick doesn't give a shit one way or the other about the economics of the situation.

    It's an election year. That's all that matters. Any damage this might do to the health care system in Massachusetts that occurs after November of this year he doesn't give a single rat shit about.

    He doesn't even really care about stopping the premium increases, which will almost certainly eventually happen anyway. All he cares about is the headline saying that his administration stopped health insurance premium increases. He wants that headline, and he wants to use that headline in his re-election campaign. Nothing else matters.

  • ||

    Pretty messed up when you think about it.

    Lou
    www.anonymous-surfing.us.tc

  • ||

    As promised, the state of Massachusetts has decided to smack down proposed health insurance premium hikes:


    Because Nixon's wage and price controls were soooo successful at ending inflation.

    The utopian, rainbow shitting unicorn dreams of politicians never ceases to amaze/disgust me.

  • ||

    The utopian, rainbow shitting unicorn dreams of politicians never ceases to amaze/disgust me.

    What amazes me it the general public's willingness to buy into to it over and over again.

  • ||

    Damn tag, the last sentence should be struck.

  • ||

    Shouldn't be.

  • ||

    Scotch has it right here. I have long said that capitalist entities like grocery stores make money by witholding basic necessities like food, and that the price system is hopelessly outdated for modern society. Insurance companies are the first step towards a brighter future.

    Dude.

    Seek professional help.

    Seriously.

  • Corduroy Rocks||

    Methinks your sarcasm meter is off today.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Instead of controlling insurance premiums, why not place price controls on medical bills?

  • ||

    Then your 30 min consultation will become 5 min for the same price.

  • ||

    From my experiences with MD's lately, that would save everyone 25 useful minutes.

  • ||

    LOL

  • EJ||

    don't worry... thats next... we will all have insurance but non of us will be able to find a doctor

  • ||

    I wouldn't be so sure. Obamacare has a high deductable. The odds are that people will have insurance, but not spend enough in a year to see a benefit.

  • ||

    I note that folks are still making the quixotic attempt to engage the ignorant fool Scothch Hamilton in intelligent discourse.

    Why?

  • ||

    I blame public education.

  • Corduroy Rocks||

    Slow Friday.

  • MT Clammer||

    Because it's there!

  • Jordan Elliot||

    Say what you will, but he raises the numbers of comments. (While murdering IQ points and good troll standards.)

  • ||

    His dumb arguments are just plausible enough to poison any stray innocent minds that might wander in here.

  • Hit'n'Run Park Ranger||

    We don't encourage people to feed the trolls. The only chance they have to become decent human beings is to learn to fend for themselves.

    More importantly, it is always an option to write a rebuttal to an argument that a troll makes and not address the source of that argument

  • ||

    The Truth is sacred, and must be defended.

    Proselytism produces warm, fuzzy feelings.

    Shooting down poor arguments allows for a cheap self-esteem boosting high stemming from a sense of accomplishment.

    His arguments are the actual ones animating popular rhetoric from his side of the debate.

    Those are my reasons, anyway.

  • Masshole||

    Fack yeah, Deval! Owah health cayah is wicked fackin' expensive! If I wasn't on disability I'd be fackin broke.

  • Jordan Elliot||

    You break a finger on a "This Old House" taping?

    (I love that show.)

  • Jersey Patriot||

    The problem with a true free-market system in health care is that a certain number of people are going to have to do totally without - this is true of any free-market system since if everybody can afford something then the price is too low.

    This is completely wrong.

  • Dan T. ||

    Really? So health care would be free in a free-market system? Because that is the only price that everybody can afford.

    Oh, I forgot: to libertarians, one's life is worth the exact amount in one's checking account.

  • Jersey Patriot||

    I didn't say it would be free. I said that it was wrong to suppose that a good's price is too low if everyone can afford the good. That's absolutely, completely wrong.

    Of course, in a true free market, some people would go without the most advanced and cutting-edge healthcare, just as most people go without Kobe beef. That also happens under a state-run system, too. Consider the scarcity of MRIs in Canada, for instance.

    Under a true free market, there are more ways to provide medical care than just health insurance. Many of those ways have been banned, thanks to the AMA and insurance lobbies.

  • Scotticus Finch||

    Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. –- Frederic Bastiat
  • EJ||

    was the concept of socialism even around when bastiat was alive?

  • ||

    I remember seeing someplace that Bastiat was reacting to Saint-Simonism, though I don't know if that's what he was speaking of here.

    There were also a bunch of utopian socialists running around here. Marx had to have someone to which he could run to the left when he wrote the Manifesto in 1848 (2 years before Bastiat died).

  • rationalizer||

    Dan, presumably with an massive research budget and millions of man-hours, we could cure nearly any individual. The fact that we fail to dedicate sufficient resources to save everyone means that we, as a society, really don't think their lives are worth it. Tough shit for them, but it's not our fault that nature decided to murder them. Maybe they should have driven a more fuel efficient car or something.

  • Charles||

    Ranking my ideal health care reforms:
    1. true reform, like allowing big-deductible emergency-only plans and allowing sales across state lines.

    2. the way it is now

    3. government single-payer

    4. what the new health insurance bill will create.

  • ||

    It continually amuses me to see Politicians trying to repeal the laws of supply and demand. It's like trying to repeal the laws of Gravity or like Xerxes punishing the ocean.
    Of course it's only funny when it is happening somewhere else like Massachussets or Venezuela.

    P.S. Has anyone ever seen MNG, Daniel T., Chad, or Hop Scotch in the same place at the same time?

  • Rocket Racoon||

    A one-man circle jerk.

  • ||

    I don't know about the others, but I don't think Brainy Smurf (Chad) trolls. He is way too arrogant to resist hiding behind a joke handle.

  • alan||

    ++ brilliant nick for Chad

  • Hit'n'Run Park Ranger||

    It is always possible to write under several different names, shit I do it. However, has anyone noticed that a certain conservative commentator here has been absent for the same span of time as MNG? That is when things get suspicious.

  • ||

    No way John is MNG.

  • Satan||

    Wow. Even I would be shocked

  • Hit'n'Run Park Ranger||

    However, it is in the realm of possibility both are on vacation though who gets a full week for Easter?

  • ||

    Public School Teachers.

  • ||

    Any site that has frequent contributors screaming troll is working toward the demise of the free country we once had and may still be able to salvage through free exchange of ideas. 178-0 and 41-0 are voting patterns to worry about, not praise. Ironic to read these noises in a conversation about freedom vs control. When "your" side takes over you better shut up. The second round of purges is just around the corner once the trolls have been rounded up.

  • ||

    Price controls don't work? How can you get the same brand name pills we take for half what we pay or less in countries where the government negotiates with the pill makers. Are the sellers making it up on volume?

    What about government-enforced limits on the number of doctors trained each year? Or government enforcement of secrecy contracts between insurance companies and health care providers? Adam Smith is rolling over in his grave, and it's not about what the left wing in this country is pushing.

  • ||

    Why is there an opportunity to reimport drugs from Canada, why is it a problem, and which side should the government be on? Unprecedented for the government to mandate buying something? The truly unprecedented outrage was prohibiting Medicare from bargaining for drugs.

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