The Public Option: "Using Free Market Rhetoric to Expand Government Power"

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universal health care

Washington Post columnist Robert Samuelson exposes the mendacity at heart of the government-run health insurance scheme, the so-called public option, being touted by the Obama administration and Congressional Democrats. As Samuelson explains:

The promise of the public plan is a mirage. Its political brilliance is to use free-market rhetoric (more "choice" and "competition") to expand government power. But why would a plan tied to Medicare control health spending, when Medicare hasn't? From 1970 to 2007, Medicare spending per beneficiary rose 9.2 percent annually compared to the 10.4 percent of private insurers—and the small difference partly reflects cost shifting. Congress periodically improves Medicare benefits, and there's a limit to how much squeezing reimbursement rates can check costs. Doctors and hospitals already complain that low payments limit services or discourage physicians from taking Medicare patients.

Even [public option backer Yale political scientist Jacob] Hacker concedes that without reimbursement rates close to Medicare's, the public plan would founder. If it had to "negotiate rates directly with providers"—do what private insurers do—the public plan could have "a very hard time" making inroads, he writes. Hacker opposes such weakened versions of the public plan.

By contrast, a favored public plan would probably doom today's private insurance. Although some congressional proposals limit enrollment eligibility in the public plan, pressures to liberalize would be overwhelming. Why should only some under-65 Americans enjoy lower premiums? In one study that assumed widespread eligibility, the Lewin Group estimated that 103 million people—half the number with private insurance— would switch to the public plan. Private insurance might become a specialty product.

This is very much the argument I made back in June in my column, "The Beginning of the End of Private Health Insurance."

Read and weep over the whole Samuelson column here.

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  1. Can we finally drop the meme of being an “industrialized” nation? I think the idea of identifying the status of your country with steam power and stamped steel parts went out of fashion a while ago.

  2. I saw this weird commercial for the public option with Heather Graham. I think the point was that there is no competition today, but the public option would give it to us. Someone should do a competing video/commercial where the government stopped doing its damnedest to prevent competition and stopped acting like a government-run operation is “competition” in the market sense.

    The Heather Graham commercial would’ve worked better if she were armed and shot her competitors in the kneecaps.

    1. That’s a hilarious commercial. For me the uncontrollable laughter began at the line “bloated from the profits from raising our health care costs sky high.”

      MoveOn.org has a strange understanding of what drives health care costs higher (hint: it’s not the insurer, many of whom have been actively “managing” the care their customers receive for decades now in an attempt to keep costs down).

    2. The commercial had the insurance companies in the same race, when most states only have one or two health insurance companies. So it’s really pretty deceptive. Of course anyone who thinks the way you get competition is more government involvement probably wouldn’t notice that.

  3. No, it would have worked *much* better if she was wearing roller-skates, and not much else.

    1. Wierdly, after getting a head start and being the only one dressed appropriately to run a sprint (note, a sprint, not a marathon — kind of like the effort to push this through in a hurry, but I digress), after 40 yards the fat, bloated, overdressed anthropomorphized insurance company caricatures appear to have caught our “public option” and are getting ready to pass “her.”

      It’s almost Freudian.

  4. Whose side are you on, JW?

  5. Remember when I promised to kill you last, ProL? I lied.

  6. I won’t defer definitely defying you defiantly with deftness.

  7. Damn, she looks old. Why you want to ruin Heather Graham for me, ProL?

    1. I seem to recall she’s around my age–43-44.

      1. 39, actually.

        1. What, you trust the official age?

  8. Is Samuelson trying to tell us that private insurance companies *don’t* have the power to tax paychecks, establish price controls by the rule of law, cook the books by shifting admin costs to other budgets, mandate that the public buy their product or face fines, change or limit coverage based upon budgets and political winds and completely insulate themselves from consumer preferences and dissatisfaction by giving the consumer no real recourse?

    Because I totally thought they did and that his whole argument is bogus.

  9. Maybe I’m missing something, but it seems to me that the “public option” would be the fallback for anyone with a pre-existing condition or otherwise uninsurable health risk, making private insurance too expensive.

    The net result would be private insurance for the healthy and public insurance for the unhealthy. With lower payout ratios, private insurers’ profits should do alright, since their most profitable customers would stay put, but their costly customers would end up moving to the public plan to become the taxpayers’ problem.

    1. Sort of like private schools for the wealthy, mind-melting government indoctrinations centers for everyone else.

    2. The net result would be private insurance for the healthy and public insurance for the unhealthy.

      Consider–

      “Community rating” (You can’t charge 55 yr old diabetic smokers more than twice what you charge 19 yr old triathletes).

      “Mandatory minimum coverage” (Does a 30 yr old woman who’s had a hysterectomy need maternity coverage?

      –both of which will be required for every private health plan.

  10. Maybe I’m missing something, but it seems to me that the “public option” would be the fallback for anyone with a pre-existing condition or otherwise uninsurable health risk, making private insurance too expensive.

    If only.

    C’mon, do you honestly think that the gummint would stop there, even if they planned to?

    You watch, they’ll be fully covering anal bleaching within 3 years.

    1. Like we respect your opinion after you sold your soul to Heather Graham. She’s like old and stuff, too, dude.

      1. That’s a joke, because she’s apparently the same age as my wife, who is still a hottie, and she’s only a few years younger than me. But Bergholt Stuttley Johnson was distressed, so I had to comment.

        Just for the record.

        1. PL,

          How does your wife feel about your association with the Urkobold, and his habit of taint withering his minions? I’m sure you’ve taken steps to stay in his good graces, but the Urkobold is certainly a fickle troll…

          1. We have taint insurance.

            1. Good luck getting taint treatment through the public (pubic?) option.

      2. Sorry, but she’s a weakness of mine. I don’t normally go in for blondes, but I make a massive exception for her.

        And she’s still hot, 39, 43, whatever. Even after pimping a commercial that’s a giant, pustulating lie out of the gate.

    2. You watch, they’ll be fully covering anal bleaching within 3 years.

      You say that like it’s a bad thing…

  11. Russ, no matter how its set up initially, the public option is just the camel’s nose under the tent on the slippery slope to single payer.

    1. Just so you know, I read that as “camel toe,” lol’d, then got hit by the somber realization that I’m probably going to live under single payer healthcare. Quite the roller coaster of emotions.

      1. Now, if the public option mandated cameltoe labiaplasty surgery, and required recipients of such coverage to wear very tight and sheer workout tights as payment, then I could totally get behind the public option.

  12. Actual reform would involve massive deregulation (esp. of insurance) at the state and federal levels and a rethinking of the way that insurance is paid for by consumers. Also, to the extent that regulation creates artificial barriers to entry for medical services and insurance, those should go, too.

    I guarantee real market reform would give us a system many times better than what we have now, and insanely better than a system with a public “option.”

    1. deregulation is racist

      1. Well, yeah.

  13. I saw this weird commercial for the public option with Heather Graham.

    Doncha love how the gummint is portrayed as a hot and nimble “young” woman? Can we sue them for false advertising?

    It might not be so egregious if they realistically portrayed the “public option” as a morbidly obese, wheezing, syphilitic old man using a $8.000 walker, on his way to get a gummint paid prostate massage. I could have taken it more seriously then.

    “Comeptition is American as apple pie.” Hey Peter Coyote! Here’s a thought: how about you allow the insurance companies to compete with *each other*, rather than set each of them up in fat and cozy oligarchies in each state. THAT’S competition, not pleading for leftovers from the state.

  14. That was my first reaction, too, JW. In fact, at the very beginning of the commercial, I was wondering whether it was going to be a paean to actual competition.

    A fat guy in a wheelchair gluing down the feet of the other runners (while holding a gun on them) would’ve been a more accurate depiction. There is absolutely nothing youngish or fresh about the government intervening in business. Nothing at all.

    1. When Russia did it that was the case but now we have Obama. Ya know, hope and change?

      He’s bringing new ideas and amazing change to all areas of our life!

    2. There is absolutely nothing youngish or fresh about the government intervening in business.

      So you are saying Heather Graham was actually inspired casting? Because in that video, she was neither.

      1. You’re comparing her with her younger self, not with the other runners. She does stand out as young and healthy in the group depicted.

        Interesting that she’s wearing red, isn’t it?

  15. Let’s say I’m a small business with 50 employees, what’s to stop me from just dumping their insurance and let them go on the public dime?

    Cause I think that’s what will happen

    1. 50 perpetually incresing fines per anum.

      1. Either way, the gubmint plans to do a number on your anum!

    2. Many of the plans have fines/taxes on employers who don’t provide insurance. But they are pretty small. I think most employers who have skilled and valuable employees will still pay for insurance- they’ll need to compete with other employers if there isn’t a good individual market where you can buy insurance at comparable rates to the employer, tax subsidized market, which there probably won’t be despite all the talk. Low wage employees will get sloughed off onto the public plan.

  16. Just riffing here, but if the public option really steals half their customer base because it costs less, wouldn’t that give the insurance companies incentive to negotiate lower rates with the doctors in their network? Isn’t that the competition being touted?

    1. That would assume that they’re lacking such an incentive now. There’s no evidence of that. Further attempts at cost shifting will simply reduce supply as providers find that they are unable to cover their costs and exit the market.

      1. Well, we could say “additional incentive,” but there is also the additional bargaining point that the public reimbursement rate will be well known and can be brought into the discussion. As long as that public reimbursement rate is high enough for doctors to cover their costs and make a decent living, I am not sure we need to worry about driving doctors out of the market.

        1. As long as…

          That’s a big conditional, especially considering that Medicare doesn’t do this, and is already succeeding at driving practitioners out of the marketplace.

          1. Had a discussion with the doctors I work with about this. Medicare covers costs, but reduces profits. The “driving doctors out of the marketplace” refers to those that prefer to get the higher rate paid by the private insurers. They are not going out of business. It seems that the insurers currently compete with each other to get the good doctors in their network and do so partly by offering higher reimbursement rates. If a large chunk of the market moved to the lower rates, it would change the game in a significant way. Like I said, as long as it was enough to cover costs, there doesn’t seem to be reason to fear that it would drive doctors out of business.

              1. I wonder if Tulpa will manage the growing obsession and refrain from posting a comment about me…

            1. Those greedy, greedy doctors wanting to make money off their work so they can pay back their student loans and avoid starvation. The nerve!

              Too bad they’re not as magnanimous as Neu Mejican, who treats everyone to his sophistry for free!

              1. Medical professionals in general are overpaid. They can, and will, take a haircut. Get over it.

                If they scream and whine that they will quit, who cares? What else are they going to do that pays so much, with such flexibility and job security? Lawyers and scientists make less, and banking sure doesn’t look as good an option nowadays unless you are already on the team.

                And for every doctor that made it in to med school, there are 1.5 applicants that never got in….so we are a long way from a shortage of candidates.

                1. Medical professionals are not overpaid — they are paid the price that clients are willing to pay for their services (well, except when they take Medicare). I’m sure you’d have a different attitude about the whole thing if it were your own occupation that was being targeted for indentured servitude.

                2. Hey Chadster,

                  Here’s hoping that when you are diagnosed with a particularly horrible form of cancer, your assigned “doctor” from the Ministry of Health is one of those 1.5 who wouldn’t have made it into medical school in the good old days.

                  Cheers!

              2. Tulpa, trolleriffic drivel as usual.

    2. Not when it costs less because it is subsidized by taxes, outsources major administrative costs to other government agencies, and is curiously immune from regulatory burdens forced on private insurers, no.

      1. I was talking only of the reimbursement rate to the doctor. If the public plan saves money by setting a lower reimbursement rate AND has the majority of the customers, then, as long as that rate covers costs and provides a profit to the doctors, then the lower rate will be the going rate. This gives incentives to the doctors to find ways to make money at that rate (there are lots of options) and yadda yadda.

        Devil is in the details of course, but I don’t think there is any inherent benefit to private versus public insurance…it is the the delivery of healthcare that really matters in the end.

        1. And this doesn’t smack of wage controls to you?

          You really need to enlighten me Neu, as to why you think the gummint will handle health insurance honestly and efficiently and why you think that negotiating with the state (can you at all?) with all of it’s legal power to enforce acceptance and compliance whether it makes sense or not, is better than negotiating with say, Blue Cross, which has none of that power. Also, why you don’t think that removing the competitive barriers to insurance isn’t the better answer.

          1. JW,

            I didn’t say this was the better answer, only that I don’t see RB’s logic as rock solid. Personally, I think reform would be best if it would break the link between work and health care…most of the proposals seemed headed in the opposite direction. I am not sure there is a need for less regulation as much as there is a need for smarter regulation.

        2. then the lower rate will be the going rate. This gives incentives to the doctors to find ways to make money at that rate (there are lots of options) and yadda yadda.

          For instance, by tacking on blood and urine tests to every visit.

          Paying less for each procedure? Order more procedures!

    3. That doesn’t deal with the problem of hospitals and doctors ordering lots of unnecessary procedures in order to cover their asses on malpractice, or else rip off the insurance company. In those cases the insurance companies’ hands are pretty much tied. They are either required to pay for these things by regulations, or else they risk a lawsuit.

      The public plan proposes to have some kind of committee determine which procedures are “wasteful”. Which sounds mostly ineffectual, and horrifying to the extent which it isn’t.

    4. The “public option” would not cost less, it would be priced less upfront, with the true costs hidden in the federal treasury.

  17. Soon approximately 99.99% of the population will be on the government payroll or on the dole in one way or another. Don’t worry, Bill Gates and Donald Trump pay enough taxes to cover the rest of us. And don’t believe those rumors that Gates and Trump will just use their money to build a space battleship and fly to the moon to escape the taxes; space battleships are highly regulated under the recently announced Obama administration executive orders.

  18. Still, it’s easy to understand why so many people roll their eyes when told we “can’t afford” to provide healthcare. Last week I attended an anti-drug-war speech given by a former [Green Party] gubernatorial candidate who gave some statistics concerning Connecticut — how much we spend on our prison population, how many of those prisoners are there for nonviolent drug crimes — and the statement he made which got the biggest round of applause was that if we stopped imprisoning drug users, the money cut from the prison budget alone would be sufficient to buy “a million-dollar [health] policy” for every state resident.

    Not that I support the idea of government-run healthcare — I’m just saying I DO understand why its proponents are not swayed by “We can’t afford it” arguments, when we can and DO manage to afford shitloads of life-shattering garbage. Bomb Iraq — imprison the pot-smoking college student — imprison the 14-year-old who sent her nude photo to her boyfriend — we can afford to do all this, and more.

    1. The biggest eyeroll comes from the fact that the US government already spends more per person on healthcare than almost any other nation on earth. France gets healthcare at least as good as ours, universally applied, for less per person than the US government already spends.

      1. Oh, we can spend more and get less, don’t you worry about that.

    2. Except, of course, for the fact that CT runs a budget deficit and thus can’t even afford what they’re spending now. “Afford” has to equate to a balanced budget.

    3. We’re the richest fuckin’ country in the world. We could pay for the education of every man, woman, child and hermaphrodite in this country. We could colonize the moon AND Mars. We could build thousands of nuclear power plants next week. We could pay for Hugh Hefner’s Viagra. We could fight World War II all-over-again any time, any place. But we don’t.

      We’d rather keeping pissing money away to make sure the whores in Washington can pimp out goodies. That and all of the money we throw away on bullshit subsidies, international ‘aid’ and ridiculously unjustified drug wars.

      Better yet, can I just get a fuckin’ refund?

      1. Refunds are for rich people, don’t you know? The only good place for your money is Washington, where it will be doled out as a reward for correct behavior.

        1. In the words of Ralph Kramden, “One of these days…One of these days [you congressional whores]…POW right in the kisser!”

      2. Naah, we haven’t been pissing money away in Washington. We actually have modest government spending relative to our GDP.

        What we HAVE pissed money away on is SUVs, McMansions, and cheap crap from China. Worse yet, the money we pissed away was largely borrowed from China and the Saudis. I am sure our kids and grandkids will highly appreciate our wise use of their dollars.

        1. People were borrowing money from China and the Saudis to pay for houses and cars? Really? And unless the the government promises to guarantee those loans, what concern is it of yours what people choose to spend their money on?

          After all, if thiose people did not piss their money away, your side intends to tax away through the death tax anyhow,. It’s not like their kids were going to see any of it in the end.

        2. I count money lost from the inefficiencies of the tax code too. Off-hand, there is probably a 20-25% dead weight loss because of our bullshit tax system. It’s not voluntary and Washington imposes it on us, so its their fault.

          You could also attribute this to the growth in McMansions, SUVs and other crap we buy because it creates an incentive to consume more and save less than we otherwise would.

          Oil is a whole other bag of shit, but trust me, they sat over that bag too.

  19. It’s typical of the mindset. States are having public conniptions–and shutting down parts of popular services (like libraries)–over their revenue shortfalls, pretending to the world that they didn’t ridiculously jack spending during the last boom/bubble. Can’t possibly roll back spending on the things they increased it on in the first place, could they? Libraries, for instance, were running fine ten years ago, with all the staff, hours, books, and equipment they have now, for the most part.

    I despise government more and more with each passing day.

    1. I’m seeing this phenomenon here at the University of Arizona.

      About 1/3 of the tenured professors in my department are non-performing. No grad students. Barely teach one class a semester.

      What does the department cut when the university budget is slashed? TAs. Students are on their own now. It’s the most high-impact visible effect possible. And intentionally so, because the louder the students scream, the more minions they get out on the streets protesting state budget cuts.

      1. What do you mean by “non-performing”? I’m not familiar with that term.

  20. ProLib, my own city, while screaming “poverty!” because of all the money they blew during the boom years, nonetheless managed to scrape together a half-million taxpayer dollars to fix the butt-ugly clock on the butt-ugly concrete slab we call “City Hall,” but STILL insist they lack the funds to do the stuff government is actually SUPPOSED to do.

    Fuck the clock; if I want to know what time it is I own several watches, and if the government didn’t keep raising my taxes so high I could afford to buy batteries for the goddamned things, too.

    1. They like to play around with cuts or threatened cuts to services people care about, while ignoring the millions (or billions) wasted elsewhere on trivialities or on less important services. And your point about not wasting money on imprisoning people who shouldn’t be imprisoned is a great one. Drop the War on Drugs and some of the other nonsense, and our spending/revenue problem would be far less dramatic.

      1. Yes, because state jobs are a gravy train for political parties. Work for a political party long enough, they will find you a cushy job in the state government. And your friends and relatives, if you play your cards right.

        The jobs that are actually necessary are the ones where they have to hire people who actually have to pretend to work. These are the least politically connected employees and thus the easiest to cut.

  21. Not that I support the idea of government-run healthcare — I’m just saying I DO understand why its proponents are not swayed by “We can’t afford it” arguments,

    I know what you mean, but practically nobody who waves off the affordability issue actually accompanies their demand for taxpayer-funded healthcare with a list of programs they will cut to pay for it.

    Certainly Our Masters in DC aren’t doing so.

  22. practically nobody who waves off the affordability issue actually accompanies their demand for taxpayer-funded healthcare with a list of programs they will cut to pay for it.

    The Greenie who spoke last week did: cut the WoD. Frankly, if someone ran on the platform “I’ll provide government healthcare and cut the WoD to pay for it,” I would gladly vote — and even campaign — for him, because the evils erased by ending the WoD would, in my estimation, MORE than outweigh the evils of government-run healthcare.

    I would also vote to end the WoD and spend the money instead on research toward discovering the secrets of perpetual motion, human levitation, finding the entrance to the hollow earth and creating the philosopher’s stone. I’ve long since burned through any outrage over wasted money — it’s the wasted LIVES that piss me right the hell off.

    1. And you don’t think government run health care won’t waste likes? Funny that someone who is published in the UK papers has apparently never read one.

      1. You know the fairly obscure trivia that I’ve been “published in the UK papers,” but don’t know that fully half of my work there — by which I mean the first of the two pieces I’ve had published thus far — criticized the healthcare reform boondoggle Congress and Obama are trying to ram down our throats?

        I find myself strangely flattered, in a horribly dysfunctional way.

        1. I’m not entirely certain the articles you wrote in said UK papers “criticized the healthcare reform boondoggle Congress and Obama are trying to ram down our throats”. In fact, in this one – http://www.guardian.co.uk/comm…..eform-sick you wrote about the heart-string tugging story of Chrissy Steltz to use as a brick to bash the insurance companies over the head with so we would go running towards the government to save us.

          Unless you have written other articles criticizing said boondoggles, I would refrain from advertising your libertarian credentials. I did love the ID theft article though, that was some great stuff.

          1. I just realized my error in the above comment, in that the aforementioned article you wrote did in fact criticize the Oregon STATE run health care provider.

            However, you did use the easily debunked “60% of all bankruptcies are health care related” garbage in the beginning and if the commenters at the UK site are any indication, you argument was for a government takeover, not against.

    2. That’s why I said “practically nobody”.

      And I don’t think we’re spending enough on the WOD to pay for universal single-payer. Still, it would be a hell of start.

    3. Cutting the WoD, whatever that means, would be politically hard enough. Keeping it cut would be even harder. You wouldn’t wind up with socialized medicine and no WoD, you’d wind up with both.

  23. I know what you mean, but practically nobody who waves off the affordability issue actually accompanies their demand for taxpayer-funded healthcare with a list of programs they will cut to pay for it.

    Unless you count all those wacky progressives who think we could pay for at least a big chunk of healthcare with the money saved from ending the Iraq and Afghan wars.

    1. Point taken. I don’t suppose any of them have actually done the math, though, on the actual savings (don’t forget to exclude the peacetime costs of those units) and the cost of their health care plan?

  24. Jennifer, I was curious and did some quick fact-checking on that statement. CT spends $715M/year (pdf) on their department of corrections. With 3.5M residents, that comes to $205/person. $205 doesn’t remotely cover even the cheapest insurance plan for a healthy young adult for one year.

    Not that you don’t have a point regarding prioritization.

  25. I didn’t ask the guy any follow-up questions, MP, because I was too busy rolling my eyes at the idiot college students who kept asking questions like “But if we legalize drugs, won’t that make more addicts and more fatal overdoses?”

    Actually, I DID ask one follow-up question: right after the “Won’t we get more addicts and overdoses” question, I raised my hand (and was easy to notice, as I sat front row center), and said “Concerning the fear that legalization will lead to greater rates of addiction and death — I know alcohol is addictive, and it’s easy to fatally overdose on it. When prohibition ended and alcohol became legal again, do you know of any evidence to suggest rates of American alcoholism went up? Did our country collapse because all our productive people became hopeless drunks?”

    Dude gave me a huge smile before saying no, he knew of no such incidents.

    College students are idiots, BTW. And drug warriors. And 99 percent of the government, too.

    1. And of course, one can always point to the Portugal model if one is looking for more substantive evidence discounting the “drug use will skyrocket out of control!” theory.

  26. I’m afraid 99% of the species are idiots. It’s the flaw in any system we put together, I’m afraid.

  27. If you can’t tell, this makes me afraid.

  28. Nadler’s ACORN Ethics

    Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), who heads a congressional subcommittee that may be investigating ACORN in the not-too-distant future, has been providing advice to ACORN’s lawyer, according to a new report.

    Nadler, a longtime ACORN ally, is chairman of the House Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on the Constitution, civil rights, and civil liberties.

    Lincoln Anderson, a reporter for the Villager, writes that earlier this month while he attended at the office of ACORN’s New York-based lawyer Arthur Z. Schwartz to interview him, a telephone call came in from Nadler:

    Midway through the interview with The Villager last Thursday, Schwartz got a phone call from Congressmember Jerrold Nadler. The West Side congressmember — one of only about a dozen Democrats to oppose the Defund ACORN Act — was calling Schwartz’s attention to an e-mail that had been forwarded to him, detailing a directive from two weeks earlier to federal agencies, implementing the act. The directive not only ordered agencies to cease funding ACORN and all its subcontractors, but cancel all funding allocated in previous years. The memo had been found — where else? — on a right-wing blog.

    Nadler has branded the Defund ACORN Act a “bill of attainder,” or an unfair, punitive act by Congress; Schwartz said the congressmember, during the phone call, asked him why ACORN hasn’t sued over this yet. [emphasis added]

    How exactly is it appropriate for the chairman of a congressional subcommittee to be offering strategic advice to a group he is now under growing pressure to probe?

    http://spectator.org/archives/…..ron-ethics

  29. I’ve been meaning to post for a while now that NPR ran a story a few days ago that the Senate was considering taking away the anti-trust exemption that insurance got from the McCarran?Ferguson Act.

    What was funny was the stated view of the various talking heads that it was this anti-trust exemption that caused the insurance industry to be uncompetitive rather than the state regulations that are increasingly causing companies to stop writing new business or even to close down their operations in state after state.

    I think if you want to know why there is only one company selling health insurance in Montana you might want to look at the state’s insurance regulations.

    My first reaction was if they want to rescind McCarran?Ferguson, fine with me. But apparently there was no talk of creating a national insurance market with uniform federal regulation (a minimum thereof one hopes) but that is unlikely.

    That and removing the tax advantages of employer provided insurance would go a long way towards promoting a competitive market. For my part part I would prefer to see benefits become taxable with a concurrent reduction in tates and increase in basic exemptions. I think that seeing that cost of insurance on one’s W-4 may give a few people the incentive to find out how to save.

    Oh and those who favor the “public option” might want to check out the rousing success that Florida’s public option in property insurance has been.

  30. By the way, Reason editors: threaded comments suck and when you try to read them later it’s like a kaleidoscope with broken mirrors. Comment threads, like time itself, should be linear.

    1. I’m sure, consistent with their name, the fine folks at Reason carefully considered the pros and cons of the various formats before making the switch. If you don’t like it, you can punish them via the market by taking your precious commentary to Instapundit (where there are no hoary threaded comments).

      1. I’m sure, consistent with their name

        Drink? Does that count?

        1. No.

          Put that bloodwine down right now!

  31. By the way, Reason editors: threaded comments suck

    Yeah, and you see who broke out the first threaded comment on this post, right? That old rebel and l33t hax0r, ProL 182.

    Splitter!

  32. Well, I never would have guessed it but reason thinks I’m a spammer.

    1. Interesting, that comment got posted, but my last, somewhat longer one did not.

  33. i cant post here anymore because of the kalidescopic effects threaded comments have wreacked on my brain. I am looking forward to single payer healthcare so I can get free treatment for vertigo the rest of my life.

  34. The utter catastrophe that the 2008 election was has yet to be realized. Essentially, through ignorance, information manipulation, and complacency, America committed suicide.

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