Masterfleece Theater

The Democrats say their health care bill will provide real competition. It won't.


The King James version of the Bible runs more than 600 pages and is crammed with celestial regulations. Isaac Newton's Principia Mathematica distills many of the rules of physics in a mere 974 pages.

Neither of them has anything on Nancy Pelosi's new fiendishly entertaining health care opus, which tops 1,900 pages.

So curl up by a fire with a fifth of whiskey, and just dive in.

But drink quickly. In the new world, your insurance choices will be tethered to decisions made by people with Orwellian titles (1984 is only 268 pages!), such as the "Health Choices Commissioner" and "Inspector General for the Health Choices Administration."

You will, of course, need to be plastered to buy Pelosi's fantastical proposition that 450,000 words of new regulations, rules, mandates, penalties, price controls, taxes, and bureaucracy would have the transformative power to "provide affordable, quality health care for all Americans and reduce the growth in health care spending."

It's going to take some time to deconstruct this lengthy masterpiece, but as you flip through the pages of the House bill, you will notice the word "regulation" appears 181 times. "Tax" is there 214 times. "Fees," 103 times. As we all know, nothing says "affordability" like higher taxes and fees.

The word "shall"—as in "must" or "required to"—appears more than 3,000 times. The word, alas, never is preceded by the patriotic phrase "mind our own freaking business." Not once.

To vote for the bill, a legislator must believe a $1 trillion price tag is "revenue-neutral" or that it alleviates any of the pain higher costs bring to the average American. This would require alcohol.

Real competition, as far as anyone can tell, is antithetical to the authors of this bill. Remember, you can purchase oranges from Florida and whiskey from Kentucky, yet you're prohibited from buying health insurance from anywhere outside your state; so sayeth Nancy Pelosi.

Instead of the creation of a new market with interstate trade, what we would get is the institution of the pleasant-sounding "Health Insurance Exchange," which would exist, it seems, only to accommodate a noncompetitive, government-run insurance option.

Now, finding a name for a state-run program without offending the lingering capitalistic sensibilities of bourgeoisie has been problematic. So Pelosi went with the innocuous "consumer option"—known for a fleeting moment as the "competitive option" and popularly as the "public option." Whatever your preference is, it's the option that would lead to a single-payer insurance program.

Democrats say we could save billions by funding a plan that used billions of wasted tax dollars from another public plan that we already supplement with billions. Make sense?

In actuality, we would pay for all this by "cost sharing," or "sharing the cost" of insuring everyone through higher prices and taxes. But no fear. The legislation also would tax "the rich." The bill wouldn't index tax to inflation, so more of you would be on the hook as inflation rose because of the tragically irresponsible behavior of Congress and the White House. The rich—many of them small-business owners—are already set to see their federal rates go up in 2010.

Hey, who needs those jerks to create real jobs when we have Washington pretending to do it?

All of this, as Madame Speaker says, constitutes a "historic moment for our nation and families." True. No legislation in modern American history compares when in comes to injecting itself into the everyday decisions of the citizen.

And few can compete with its deception. The bill's intentions are cloaked in euphemisms, and it is teeming with ulterior motives, all cobbled together in closed-door meetings at which industry payoffs are offered using taxpayer dollars to facilitate a power grab of unprecedented cost.

All of it rolled right into a neat 1,900 pages.

David Harsanyi is a columnist at The Denver Post and the author of Nanny State. Visit his Web site at www.DavidHarsanyi.com.


NEXT: $900 Billion House Health-Care Reform Bill Likely to Cost More than $900 Billion

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  1. Anyone with half a brain would know that government doesn’t provide competition. Why does the government lie so much? Seriously, can anyone give me a good explaination?

    1. Because they can.

    2. Sure because there are enough stupid people who have less than a half brain.

    3. Because about half of the population is below 100 IQ, which isn’t all that bright, and millions of the populace is WAAAY below 100 IQ.

      They lie so much because it fucking works with the swing voters.

    4. Because it’s in their interests to lie. It’s not stupidity, it’s malice.

    5. Can anyone explain why these same reforms should not be applied, to life, disability, auto, and fire insurance?

      1. Mr. Ejercito,

        Don’t give them any ideas.

    6. If you have wondered why the government passes laws that virtually everyone opposes, like the bank bailout, and why the government refuses to investigate and prosecute obvious crimes, like torture and murder, check out Why Does the Government Ignore Our Wishes? at http://dailycensored.com/2009/…..ur-wishes/

  2. Why is there a picture of Bela Lugosi in this article?

    1. It’s not. It’s a cropped picture from when Harry Reid put his arm around her at a heathcare bill press conference.

    2. Because he’s another famous bloodsucker?

  3. I’m gonna need to build a second inferno.

    1. Dante just described the Inferno, silly.

      1. I’m gonna need to describe a second inferno, asshole, and you’re at the bottom…

        1. The Ninth Circle is reserved for traitors, and it’s all ice. Also known as the Cubs Winning the Pennant Circle.

    2. How about just more circles? I’m sure you can get the right of ways via eminent domain.

  4. No alt text on the teaser pic? Come on, that’s just a waste.

    1. WHAT THE FUCKING GOD DAMN SAM HILL OS GOING ON HERE??? I try to post two word of English (what Jo Wilson said but with the pronown “I” and I get this fucking bullshit:

      Your comment does not appear to be written in an English script. Please comment in English.

      Seriously, WTF???

      1. We talk American ’round here.

        1. Wot wot? Blimey, and here I fancied I could bung down some jolly olde King’s English and that would be just tickety boo!

  5. We can take solace in the knowledge that her bill has no possibility of becoming law.

    It’s kinda like the handkerchief men used to put in their jacket pockets.

  6. “It’s kinda like the handkerchief men used to put in their jacket pockets.”

    I still do.

    1. So where does the pocket protector full of pens go? In your pants pocket?

  7. Do you use it to polish your monocle, or just dab at your lips when you’re coughing blood with the consumption?

    1. Maybe to sneeze? Just a thought…

    2. As a good libertarian I of course use mine to touch things that poor people may have touched. That is of course is when my butler isn’t around to do it for me.

    3. A true gentleman tries to leave the glory hole neater than he found it.

    4. If it’s a proper gentleman’s hanky it’s perfumed, so one can hold it over one’s nose when one senses the stench of a bill like Pelosi’s coming close…

  8. “The word “shall”?as in “must” or “required to”?appears more than 3,000 times. The word, alas, never is preceded by the patriotic phrase “mind our own freaking business.” Not once.”

    David, I think you are confusing “preceded” with “followed”…

    1. That comment does not appear to be written in an English script

  9. It’s strange, but I think Pelosi should dress up as Alex from A Clockwork Orange.

    Not for Halloween, I mean all the time.

    1. Whereas I think she should suffer the same punishment.

      1. Raped with a large ceramic penis? Or being subjected to the Ludovico treatment? Or a little ultra violence from the ol’ former droogs? Or being imprisoned by one of her former victims and blasted with loud music?

        1. Pick one. Pick several.

  10. These idiots didn’t bother to read the patriot act before making it law, do you think there’s a snowball’s chance in Hell they’re going to read 1,900 pages of mindless insurance drivel?

    Anyone who votes for it will have proved they’re unfit to hold office.

    1. See my previous comment on the Ninth Circle.

    2. Anybody who WILL NOT vote for the “read the bills” act is unfit to hold office- which means the vast majority of them.

    3. At least with the Patriot Act, the government had a lot of domain experience. Spying on citizens? What better way for the government to know what the populace truly wants?

      Their experience with Health Care, on the other hand, is just writing checks and making up regulations to protect special interests. Geez, who *doesn’t* want these people taking over everything?!

  11. Nancy Pelosi’s new fiendishly entertaining health care opus,
    which tops 1,900 pages…450,000 words

    In the interest of “fairness,” the words in Clueless Nancy’s bill are large and generously spaced, so that even duly elected government morons can comprehend them, somewhat…about 237 words per page. In contrast, Atlas Shrugged weighs in at approximately 645,000 words, or a much more economical 552 words per page, give or take.

    You can purchase a nice hardcover copy of Atlas Shrugged for less than $30. Or you can buy Nancy’s health care scheme for just a few trillion more.

    1. But I don’t want Nancy’s health chare scheme.

      1. What you want, Paul, is immaterial.


  12. Well, of course the bill is a gazillion pages long. If you are attempting to micromanage 1/6th of the US economy you can’t exactly do it in the same space as Free to Choose. I am simply shocked that they have something, for now, under 2k pages. They have to make the medical decisions for almost 300 million people. When you consider the administrative BS that will spring from this it would be more like 20,000 pages by the time they decide if you get a second dose of acne medicine or eyelash lengthener.

    1. As long as they keep the Viagra coming so I can fuck something while they fuck me…

  13. You know what Pelosi looks like in that picture? The guy in the ape suit in Trading Places, when they put him in the cage with the real ape.

    1. The working title of that movie was Black and White. Hollywood operatives vetoed it, for some unknown reason. Trading Places is so much more safe and warm and fuzzy, dontcha think?

      1. But then we never would’ve had Trading Spaces! And TLC would have gone off the air a long time ago.

        1. It’s funny ’cause it’s tragic.

  14. Where’s Tony or Chad? Right about now, these morons should be on cue to tell us why it’s a good idea for the FedGov to MANDATE this for all 50 states.

    Yeah, fuck the Tenth Amendment, Nancy. You go… er… girl.

    1. Perhaps I’m mistaken, but it seems to me that USC Article 1 Section 9 “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public.” should apply any time funding projects in exchange for support takes place, also.

      Is it actually “in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law” or misuse?

      Legal or not it drives me nuts seeing the Treasury abused as if it was their personal bank account to be drawn upon for their own benefit.

      1. You forget, the constitution is “just a piece of paper” (G.W. Bush); “if we had to justify everything we do constitutionally, we wouldn’t get anything done! (John Glenn).


        The mascot of the American Progressive Party!

  15. Re: The Libertarian Guy,
    Right about now, these morons should be on cue to tell us why it’s a good idea for the FedGov to MANDATE this for all 50 states.

    Thye would probably say that everybody has a right to health care, or some other non sequitur.

    During an interview with Larry King, Dr. and Congressman Ron Paul indicated that health care is not a right, for thinking that it is presupposes having ownership of a service provided by someone else.

    1. If healthcare is a right, then so are food, shelter, clothing, and transportation.

      Hell, let’s just give everything to everyone. It’s in the “general welfare” clause, no?

      1. Getting Laid is a Right also.

        Where’s my fucking Harem?

        1. Getting organized by the SEIU.

  16. It also doesn’t say “David Harsanyi is a moron”, but that certainly isn’t any less true, especially after this piece.

    1. Please whine some more about how nobody will debate you.

    2. And by all means, treat us to another whine about ad hominem attacks.

  17. I guess the Dems did not learn from the defeat of Clinton care. Bills that big invite, and usually deserve, a great deal of suspicion.

    1. They want to give the government the ability to micromanage healthcare, how can it be small? It’s either a huge bill or give up on the whole project. Somehow I don’t think they are going to give up

    2. They can’t help it, it’s their nature.

  18. Well… President Obama DID say we would not see ‘taxes raised one dime’. Maybe he meant thousands of dimes, eh?

    1. Or he could have assumed a period of hyper-deflation before we have to pick up the tab.

      1. Hyperinflation is more likely.

  19. Gentlemen, I believe we are missing the point of the article. The author suggests that we curl up with a fifth of whiskey, when all true Americans drink bourbon. I think that we all therefore realize how unAmerican any opposition to a public option is.

    1. I don’t know if it’s unAmerican or not. I see polls that claim Americans aren’t interested in the price tag that goes with socialist medicine. Then I see other polls that claim they don’t give a shit what it costs, they want it anyway. Which is the real lie?

      There was a day I might have afforded the luxury of worrying about whether it was whiskey or bourbon, but I’m not sure I care anymore.

      1. They darned well should be interested. After all, every advanced nation with a “socialist system” is paying about 2/3 of what we are.

        1. Please learn to see the hidden costs, Chad. Also please learn that many of the European costs are borne by Americans. We’ve had this discussion a thousand times and it’s positively boring that you fail to see the obvious.

          1. When I finish this whiskey-bourbon stuff in this bottle here, I’ll let you whack him on the noggin a good one with it. Maybe that’ll help.

          2. Thank you Sean for giving the foolish child a little slap. Saves me the trouble and lets me drink more bourbon whiskey skotch or whatever this stuff is.

            I always drink for my health.

          3. Perhaps I am talking about the Japanese, who spend a higher fraction of their GDP on private health research than we do. European countries don’t spend much less, either.

            Strangely enough, we DO beat them soundly in public R&D, due to our massive funding of NIH. But that is irrelevant to the current debate, as no one is seriously arguing to change this.

            Hmm…what other “hidden costs” do the Japanese have? Shorter waits? More trips to the doctor? No need to get permission to see a specalist? No need to even get an appointment? More fancy gadgets? No worry about losing one’s insurance, or being bankrupted by co-pays and co-insurance even when you do have it?

            Oh wait…those are BENEFITS.

            Hmmm….there has to be a “hidden cost” somewhere. Oh wait…I found some. First, their insurance companies are non-profit, so no one gets rich at them. Second, their specalists do not make as much as ours do. Third, neither do their trial lawyers. So I guess the “cost” of their system is that a bunch of over-paid boobs have to live as upper middle class instead of little princes and princesses. Oh well, I think that is a pretty small price to pay.

            1. The hidden costs (costs are not just money) costs of a government bureaucracy having no need to be efficient, and no need to provide quality care because people will have no other option. This may not have a monetary value assigned to it, but definitely will affect peoples quality of life

        2. Advanced nations like Tennessee and Massachussetts?

          I heard that Hawaii once had universal child health care.

      2. They don’t give a shit because Piglosi has convinced them that some one else will be paying.

        1. That the McGuffin here, Josh. The best con men don’t pretend to be innocent, the best con men try to convince their mark that the mark is in on the screw. The object is, therefore, to try to gull 50% + 1 of Americans they’re going to be fleecing someone else.

  20. This is the only way to stop them. Just as sure as McCain was going to lose, Pelosi is going to win unless something like what I propose here is pushed by anyone tired of the Federal and State governments interfering into what should be handled by non-governmental solutions.

    Thus, I present:

    a letter I sent to el Presidente, my congressman, and my senators…

    I think a system that provides for the basic medical needs of everyone
    can be achieved. But I think some people will always be able to afford
    more than others. I do not think anyone can promise you a perfect world,
    and anyone who does is either a fool or lying. But I think to give care
    to such a project to either Congressional or State legislators would
    be shooting ourselves in the foot (yet again!).

    The problem with the “public option” is that we’ve already tried
    letting congress take care of our disability/retirement/medi
    ..cal via FICA-
    I think that Congress has proven it cannot manage such a system, even
    with the use of governmental coercion. It has squandered the funding,
    and continues to squander the funding as I type and as you read, and if,
    as the psychologists claim, past behavior is the best predictor of future
    behavior, we could be fairly certain that letting the guys who make and
    enforce the rules hold the money would screw us royally yet again.

    What the “health care crisis” in the good ole USSA is REALLY all about,
    is the fact that all those baby boomers who’ve been dutifully paying
    their dues into the socialist security “trust” are about to become due
    for payment. And, funny thing, like when you let any collective be run
    by the people who “make the laws” of the land (those scare-quotes are
    another whole ball of wax), the money which was supposedly held in
    “trust” has been spent “legally” by “due legislative process” on things
    like buying congressman X-for-brains good buddy a new feetsball
    stadium for his team, or bombs, or congressional “fact finding” missions
    to the Bahamas, etc. etc. etc. And it’s all “legal”.

    Try that with a PRIVATE trust, bub. You might TRY to get away with it
    (a-la Charles Keating) but he went down, as did all his congressional
    cronies with the exception of that donkey-hole McCain, who somehow got
    nominated for president when he shouldn’t have been nominated for
    dog-catcher (of course, the only difference between what people like
    Keating and Kenneth Lay did and what Congress did with socialist
    security is the fact that Congress was in a position to legislate itself
    free of any culpability for the embezzlement, so the mutual
    back-scratching shouldn’t come as any big surprise. Birds of a feather,
    and all that.).

    I’ve nothing at all against collectivism. I just don’t like the idea of
    politicians running the show. And that’s all socialism is.

    As it stands, we have one entity that effectively controls what is and
    is not illegal behvior, the (in?)justice system which acts on those laws,
    and the judicial system which makes rulings on the cases brought by said
    justice system.

    I think is one of the truest true-isms ever spoken by mortal man, was
    penned by Frank Herbert, to the effect of:

    “Absolute power does not corrupt absolutely, absolute power attracts the
    corruptible.” And psychopaths are among the most personable of people.

    And beyond that, all human beings are imperfect. Me, you, everyone on
    the planet, and everyone in congress. Even the best of intentions fall
    flat from time to time.

    The best thing to remedy all of this, as the founders knew when they
    broke the government down into three branches, is to separate the powers
    one from another. Keep the interests of the parties involved separate,
    keep collusion between them as difficult as possible, and keep everyone
    involved ACCOUNTABLE.

    It would probably be best if we had some sort of republican (not in
    the partisan sense) control over who was running the collective I’m
    suggesting, but it should be a separate body from both Federal and State

    The difference between what we’ve got now (FICA) and what I’m suggesting is
    that while the medical “congress” might be able to decide to spend money
    on a trip to the Bahamas or some such nonsense, they’d not be able to
    pass a law which made it LEGAL for them to go to the Bahamas on our
    dime- or even spend it on some well-intentioned project like making sure
    pre-schoolers all get a daily dose of government propaganda to make them
    into “better” people.

    The only state or federal government interaction would be to make sure
    nobody was stealing or defrauding anyone. Period. Safe as keeping
    money in a bank.

    I will agree to the fact that many (if not most) politicians have
    even served with the best of intentions, and with as much integrity as
    they could muster- but I will also assert just as much tyranny has been
    been perpetuated by well-intentioned ideologues who thought they were
    doing the “right” thing (think Stalin, Hitler, et al) as there has
    been by those motivated by craft and guile.

    I propose that any body with the power to excuse itself has an inherent
    conflict of interest- whether those interests be motivated by good
    intentions or by malice aforethought.

    I’m assert that when we pool our money and resources to achieve a goal,
    the direction to that goal must be guided by people who do not have a
    conflict of interest.

    I believe that such goals can be achieved without a gun put to one’s
    head. Which is all a government which enacts criminal codes does, in the
    final analysis: and this by design. Some people need a gun held to their
    heads at times. Sometimes the trigger even needs to be pulled (where
    most people disagree is on when such force should be used).

    I believe that such goals MUST be achieved without using a body which
    puts the gun to your head, because any body which can decide when and
    how the gun should be used can surely decide not to point the gun at
    their own heads.

    I believe that the vast majority of people would voluntarily support
    such goals and enroll in such a project. Such a desire kept FDR in
    office for 12 years, and most of the population (at least 75%) were
    still with work and paying their bills at the very height of the great
    depression, and weren’t looking for a handout.

    I think the only people who would oppose such a voluntary union would be
    people making money off the current insurance system, those who believe
    the “conservative” FUD that *any* form of collective health care system
    would lead to a decreased quality of service, and those who believe the
    “liberal” FUD that rich people wouldn’t “pay their fair share” towards
    such a goal.

    I think a responsible citizen should be working against the FUD spread
    by all three of these influences.

    I think a great step in achieving the goal of giving everybody medical
    care would be to create such a union, allow those who want to opt-in to
    opt-in, and that such monies which are currently due to those who have
    become eligible for the current system provided by FICA be funneled a
    month in advance through such a fund which is interest-bearing in order
    to at least BEGIN to take the burden off our children and their
    children, and pay back the monies Congress “borrowed” from the FICA
    funding. After those goals are achieved (i.e. the creation of the
    trust, and the repayment of the FICA debt to the people), the Federal
    government should have no more congress with the trust than monitor it
    for criminal activity. Such a trust should, like a church, be immune
    from taxation and the dictates of congress.

    My response to a Senator’s reply

    Now, to be fair to the guy, it’s probably just a canned response his office sends out whenever a communication is determined to concern the subject of “health care”. But it does show some inconsistencies in the official Republican position on the subject of “free trade”. Here are the bits I have problems with:

    On Wed, 2009-10-28 at 12:04 -0400, Saxby Chambliss wrote:

    > I do not believe that a health care overhaul bill should include a
    > government run option to provide health coverage.

    We’re in agreement on that point. I outlined the reasons I believe
    Congress has repeatedly demonstrated it’s incompetence in such matters
    in it’s management of our health care/retirement via FICA. What I have
    asked you to consider would *not* be under the thumb of either Federal
    or State legislatures.

    > Such an alternative would be able to charge much lower rates and would
    > reimburse providers at a much lower level than private insurance plans
    > and limit competition rather than fostering it.

    Does this mean that you’re for shutting down all the Wal-Marts, Sen.
    Chambliss? The essence of the free market is to let people spend their
    money in a way which is most to their personal advantage.

    > Overtime, this could well eliminate private insurance companies

    I doubt this very seriously. While it probably would surely make some
    impact on the bottom-line in one area in which insurance companies
    operate, there would still be a demand for insurance for automobiles,
    homes, and just about anything else of value that people want to
    financially secure. Plus there would still be an “after market” demand
    for things such a system wouldn’t cover.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m still with you on the “no government option”
    point, I just don’t think that’s a valid reason to oppose it.

    > and drive all individuals to the government run option

    Once again, I’m 100% behind phasing-out any and all Federal or State
    meddling in the health business. For all the reasons enumerated in the
    previous mail I sent you. Under the plan I’m proposing, congress would
    take in no more monies from a “FICA” deduction in people’s payrolls, and
    the bills due from congressional “borrowing” would be funneled through
    interest-bearing accounts one month in advance of their due-date, with
    said interest applied to the congressional debt.

    > that would essentially become a single payer system. A health care
    > system that is run by federal bureaucrats would allow the federal
    > government to determine the coverage it feels is appropriate for you,
    > choose the doctors that you see, and dictate the care that you
    > receive.

    There’s no reason for the system I’m proposing to become that situation.
    I would rather see the inverse of that situation, and the inverse of
    current insurance policies as well). The collective would set a payout
    limit of “X” dollars for a given procedure. If doctor “A”
    charges that price, and doctor “B” charges more, the participant could
    still see doctor “B”- if he were willing to pay the “deductible” in the
    form of the price difference between “A” and “B” (and hence the “after
    market” I mentioned earlier).

    > Along with a government option, I am also opposed to a mandate on
    > small business to cover the costs of their employees under a “pay or
    > play” system. During these difficult economic times, I do not believe
    > we should be penalizing businesses who already cannot afford health
    > care for their employees.

    I agree. And with the FICA tax gone, employees could afford their own.

    > Members of Congress have not been allowed the appropriate time to
    > review aspects of a bill that is estimated to cost over $1.7 trillion
    > and by some estimates could go even higher.

    What I’m suggesting would remove the largest tax on anyone’s paycheck,
    FICA. And congress would only be responsible for the monies currently
    due under the present system.

    Undoubtedly, this, and any other reform, will necessitate huge cuts in
    Federal spending- which I think can be done by phasing-out Federal
    and/or State meddling in such things as education. With digital
    technology becoming cheaper and cheaper, dead-tree textbooks, campuses,
    and many other facets of the traditional educational system could be
    cut-away (I’m all for killing the Dept. of Education).

    It would probably make sense for you and every other congressman to
    consider people like the late and esteemed William F. Buckley’s take on
    the money wasted on that other vestige of the early 20th-century
    “progressive” movement, the drug war. It took years of Harry J.
    Mudslinger’s campaign of lies (made up whole-cloth with malice
    aforethought, and the only interest being making himself the next J.
    Edgar Hoover- another crook who made it big in law-enforcement) to bring
    the American people and State governments around to accepting the idea
    that the government had a right to meddle with what was considered one’s
    personal health issues in the first place. That is the truly
    “conservative” position, as Mr. Buckley well knew.

    To make a long story short, I’m all for cutting government down to the
    dept of defense, the dept. of justice, and maintaining the roads.
    Period. I think any form of collectivism (which all of the preceding
    are) should be of limited scope, power, and authority. Simply to avoid
    the *inherent* conflicts of interests which made FICA such a nightmare.

    You cannot achieve *any* goal if you’ve got 100 senators and however
    many congressmen we have now pulling this way and that on the funding
    needed to do anything at all.

    > This bill also addresses tort reform and medical malpractice lawsuits
    > by creating three separate venues to pursue compensation for injured
    > patients at the state level. The first option is to have a state
    > agency appoint an independent expert panel of six, consisting of three
    > doctors and three attorneys, to review each case. The second would
    > establish state “health courts,” presided over by a judge with health
    > care expertise, to make binding determinations as to liability and
    > compensation. The third option is a combination of the first two,
    > allowing parties to present their case first to the expert panel and
    > then to the “health courts” if they are not satisfied with the prior
    > decision. Under this system, we can limit lawsuit abuse without
    > sacrificing legal justice.

    Now that’s a good idea. I’m behind you 100% on that one. Tort reform
    is called for overall, to my mind. The world has gone insane when
    someone can fall through the skylight in your home’s roof while
    attempting burglary, and not only be able to bring suit against you, but
    to actually *win* a massive settlement!

    I thank you for once again taking the time to consider my positions on
    these issues.

    1. Well, thank GOD you’ve saved us all with this.

      Now if you don’t mind, I’ll crawl back in my hole with my whiskey bottle. Or is it bourbon?

    2. Hey idiot, you can’t filibuster the bill here. Only people in Congress can do that. Get a clue — nobody reads a post that fucking long.

      1. Well, next time I’ll post the “condensed” version for you slow readers.

        1. Summarize it in a couple of lines, and put up a link if you actually think someone might want to read it.

          Not wanting to waste time =/= slow readers.

      2. Glad you said it

  21. So, what country do you all want to move to?

    Are there any that don’t use money thereby making taxes impossible? It doesn’t make government impossible, but at least with chains and shackles there’s some certainty what the government will make us do.

    1. “Move” hell. We need to just pick one and invade it.

      Great civilizations are carved out of chaos, not handed to you by Santa Claus.

      When and if libertarians figure that piece of the puzzle out, they might have a chance of surviving. Until then they’ll sit around waiting for someone to “agree” with them.

      Which will never happen.

      1. About a month ago you recommended that I read a book regarding warfare/mayhem before the rise of the state. Forgive me, but I was going away the next morning and I neglected to take down the name of the book and its author.

        Would you kindly remind me of the book and its author? If it helps, I believe you made the recommendation after a post of mine in which I had pointed out that the state had been responsible for the deaths of hundreds of millions in the 20th century.

        1. Yeah. I remember that.

          _War Before Civilization: The Myth of the Peaceful Savage_ by Lawrence Keeley

          It’s on amazon. I read it just because ancient history is one of my “hobbies”. The author is an archeologist.

          You are not wrong to say the state was responsible for obscene numbers of deaths, even well before the 20th century.

          What this books argues (convincingly, I believe) is that a) The State did not create war because war was common and widespread well before civilization as we know it, and b) in spite of the casualties of recent centuries that we’re all so familiar with, the rise of the modern state has actually led to a much lower casualty rate amongst the general populace (think of it in terms like “deaths per 100,000 per year”), than existed before and would now exist without the state.

          This is the outcome of us formalizing war (think of the Geneva Convention) with the rise of the nation-state, in ways and to extents that were unheard of in pre-state times. The old, women and children were commonly slaughtered along with men in ancient times, without hesitation. Today we constrain the T’s and C’s under which warfare may “properly” be conducted.

          I’m quite sympathetic to what anarchists would like to achieve in doing away with the state. I just think our society/culture/whatever you call it, wouldn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of surviving without the state.

          I also think the problems we’d face in the absence of a state, are larger/worser than what we get with the state. Hence the state is a necessary evil. This book (naturally) confirms my “bias”.

          But I am open to being persuaded that I’m missing something. I confess to having learned a lot from anarchists.

  22. The King James version of the Bible runs more than 600 pages

    Ummm, my KJV of the Bible (one put out by the Mormon church) runs 1,588 pages. Did you drink so much you left off the 1 in front of that 600?

    Or did you mean a KJV of the New Testament?

    1. No he meant the version you could read, before your ADD set in and you lost interest.

      I hope this post was short enough that you could read and comprehend it, before you went back to surfing porn and screaming “Go ‘way! ‘Baitin!” when your mom knocks on your door.

    2. There is no comparison. The Bible has to leave things deliberately vague, because if it were ever specific, it could be proven wrong. A law, on the other hand, goes to great pains to be extremely precise and thorough, which turns even very simple rules into a mile of legalese.

      1. What about the separation of church and state, Chad?

      2. And what about laws that are deliberately vague? For example anti-trust laws.

        Not said in defense of religion, but the idea that laws should always be clear and precise went out of fashion right along with the whole Common Law thing.

        1. Reason I asked about the church/state thing is, liberals are kinda finicky as to when/where/why they invoke this concept (e.g., a Democrat using the phrase “my brother’s keeper” when pushing for universal health care)…

          1. They want to follow Pope Benedict XVI’s lead on health care policy, but not abortion or homosexuality.

            I wonder why.

      3. Laws have to be deliberately vague, or there wouldn’t be any room for “interpretation” by lobbyists, regulators, and lawyers. Are you trying to put a whole class of people out of work during this economy?

        You, Chad, are thinking of a federal regulation. Whereby a three sentence paragraph magically becomes 112 pages in the the USC after the blanks are filled in.

  23. @Chad
    The U.S. has some non profit insurers that people can choose from, at least if they are allowed to spend their own money rather than get insurance through their employer as the only way to take advantage of the tax benefit for it and if they could buy it across state lines. While of course Forbes has recently shown that profit margins on health insurance companies are much lower than many other industries including tupperware and beverages.

    While of course the current tort system has nothing to do with how we pay for insurance and we could pass tort reform so that trial lawyers weren’t able to make so much chasing ambulances and filing frivolous lawsuits. Indeed if Japan does this it will lower costs, but this is nothing inherent in or unique to a socialized system.

    The same is true of doctors and specialists whose supply is restricted intentionally by the AMA to drive up payments and also restricted by laws barring Nurse Practitioner and other non doctor medical workers from providing things they could provide to protect other doctors and medical practitioners turf. Again nothing to do with the system of payment, and the Japanese could well do this better; maybe their government only redistributes income and takes less time to be corrupt than ours.

    It’s also highly likely that the Japanese live healthier than Americans, who tend to be much fatter and prone to diabetes. I wonder what effect that has on the costs of their total system or the waits?

    1. The biggest cost saving device that Japan uses is centrally negotiated prices, which are used to keep control of costs. For the consumer, prices are transparent and easy to understand. Republicans might like how Japan essentially has a “consumer-driven plan”, in that co-pays are actually pretty high (usually 30%) until an annual out-of-pocket maximum is hit. No one ever goes broke, no one ever loses their insurance.

      They actually have three insurance system. One is equivalent to Medicare. The second is private insurance paid for by employers, the main differences being that these are mandatory, non-profit, and highly regulated. The third system is essentially their “public option”. Anyone not covered by the other two systems is covered by this third system.

      They spend under 10% of their GDP on health care, despite having far more elderly people (20% to our 12%), and visiting the doctor far more often (14 times a year on average, vs our 3).

      Their family doctors typically earn about what ours do (around 2.5 times what an average person does), but their specialists do not earn grossly more, as ours do. It is clear we are paying ours too much, as many med schools are finding few if any of their students want to be general practioners. Reimbursements need to be readjusted so that specialists make less, and we get a better balance of supply and demand in the medical schools.

      Tort reform is not the biggest issue in the world, but it is one. Personally, I think that doctors should be protected by a “Good Samaritan” clause. You should only be able to sue if you prove bad faith, not simply “mistakes”. It seems obvious to me that our lawsuit culture actually makes it more difficult to find and fix mistakes before they happen. Japan’s medical cases are decided by professional juries, not laymen. The bar is quite high, and successful cases few.

      1. Kind of a side note, but the whole concept behind non-profit organization is something I see as a complete farce. The only people not profiting are the volunteers. The people who run it and work for these companies still get paid, just the business itself doesn’t show a “profit” that can be used to expand. The only difference between a non-profit organization and a regular business are the way they file their taxes, and they way uninformed people look at them.

  24. Chad, aside from touting cost saving measures that have nothing to do with how socialized our health payment method is, is following the classic strategy of the left for defeating libertarians and unfortunately many people are dumb enough to fall for it. Which is using taxes and regulations to fund a government program like paying an unemployed worker to dig a hole and then fill it in, and then point to the fed worker and say look at how I helped the economy. While accepting no arguments about the hidden costs on the taxpayer who had to fund that project less than a fully detailed business plan of precisely how he would have started or expanded his business with income he never saw. Both common sense and theory tells us it is there, yet it can’t be illustrated in a short sentence or 15 second soundbite.

    Hidden costs are precisely that because they are hidden, and Japan may well be able to avoid the worst rationing and poor outcomes because they don’t restrict the supply of doctors to increase their wages, have a legal system that encourages lawsuit abuse, and have healthier people in general compared to us fat Americans. Ever heard of ceteris paribus?

    As a final side note anyone who understands how insurance works knows that insurers do indeed provide value to their customers; and as such deserve to profit. Since without them the cost of hedging against the risk of loss means saving the entire net present value of a future malady. Insurance companies however can take a large pool of customers with known risks and use the law of large numbers to more accurately predict whether or not those risk events actually occur in the real world allowing their customers to effectively hedge against the risk of catastrophic losses by paying only a premium based upon their risk of getting the disease times the cost plus an overhead charge.

    Thus, they can “sleep at night without” knowing they can afford it if they are sick without having a large wad of cash hidden under their mattress. This adds value, and the insurers earn a profit in a competitive market by having lower overhead costs than their competitors thus squeezing the profits out of costs like all other providers, by predicting risk better, and by investing the money received in premiums wisely while it is waiting to be paid out to claimants. Do you think they shouldn’t earn a profit for providing this good? Or can just anyone predict risk, run the company, and invest it’s funds well? Medicare/aid has low overhead costs, but gets cheated all the time and is running out of money since it is premised upon having more workers than retirees and retirees dying younger than expected, they just couldn’t predict all those newfangled gizmos that keep seniors alive. Yet highly enjoy giving voters in the short term something for nothing by taking advantage of diffuse costs and concentrated benefits; if it’s not sustainable so what, my election is in 2 years and in the long run I’m dead.

    I know you love to whine about adverse selection, but do you honestly believe the main reason why health care is so expensive in the U.S. is that healthy people aren’t buying insurance when 90% of the population are currently covered? And that the government that you claim is paying too much for everything from doctors to lawyers which possesses currently posses the power to not let the AMA restrict the supply of doctors, to reform its own tort laws, and which already controls half of all health spending via Medicare and Medicaid just doesn’t quite have the leverage to keep costs down? While their massive influence on the system from enabling the AMA and tort lawyers to rent seek, by restricting the supply of hospitals, by encouraging employer plans over individual ones and prohibiting interstate competition in health insurance, by mandating/encouraging insurers cover unnecessary things and routine costs, and by practically setting prices and practices via Medicare hasn’t done anything to harm quality and increase costs?

    No, no, the reason we are struggling with private health insurance is miniscule amounts of adverse selection, the fact that some health insurance companies earn a 6 percent profit margin according to Forbes and AP, and that insurers are unable to handle the complexity of paying someone who contracts a chronic condition like diabetes an annuity rather than a lump sum like you get when you wreck your car. Or gasp a lump sum and expect them to save it and make choices on their own; oh noes!

  25. Ah, stupid regulations. Thankfully, the Libertarian influenced Alan Greenspan didn’t have any use for such Liberal thinking when it came to the derivatives market, and fortunately, the country benefited, um, from that.

    Keep up the sound intellectual work!

    1. Astounding use of logical fallacies, well done sir.

    2. The only people who got hurt were those who participated.

      How could someone who owns a home free and clear have gotten hurt?

    3. Greenspan only got rid of some of the regulations while not getting rid of the implicit guarantees that caused the problem. Markets are self regulating, but only when people can’t put their losses on the taxpayer via bailouts. Who wouldn’t go all in with 7 2 off suit if the taxpayer would cover your losses if you lose? Its a win win situation for the company, but not for the taxpayer.

      While of course two of the biggest companies involved in the crash where Fannie and Freddie, the ones started by , regulated by, and implicitly backed by the U.S. government.

      While the Feds loose monetary policy greatly lowered the cost of leveraging a company 40 to 1 to speculate in housing via derivatives.

      The only sound regulation to go with the idea that the fed is going to be a lender of last resort would be to raise capital requirements so that companies couldn’t drag down the whole system if they screwed up royally. Instead the only proposals are a bunch of byzantine rules that let the government influence executive compensation, increase government control over industry, and allow the politicians to tweak them ever so slightly to pay off special interests that support their campaign.

      When you could just double the capital ratios as that is what economists are seeming to arrive at what would have prevented the last crisis, or just not promise to bail them out when they fuck up.

      Nice try liberal troll. But you aren’t going to convince reason readers with over simplified arguments, snark, and emotional appeals.

    4. If Greenspan was truly influenced by libertarian ideas, he wouldn’t have been a central banker. You know, that whole manipulating interest rates and value of money thing – real magical markets.

  26. Dear Brothers and Sisters, Sons and Daughters of Liberty,

    There are only two types of human beings.

    One type just wants everyone to leave everyone else alone and these humans are students and advocates of the Philosophically Mature Non-Aggression Principle.

    The other type refuses to leave others alone and these humans are the Mobocracy Looter Minions with their hords of bureaucrats, jackboots, and mercenaries that perpetuate the perpetration of the loot and booty gravy-train. Rob-peter-to-buy-paul’s-vote bread and circuses of the doomed Amerikan Empire.

    You are either the one…or the other.

    The John Galt Solution of Starving The Monkeys is the only solution. Stop funding and forging your own chains and shackles. What are you leaving for your children and grandchildren and prodigy!?!

    The Mobocracy Looter Minions must be allowed to consume everything around them, then each other, and finally themselves. There is no other way. Ayn Rand wrote about it over fifty years ago and it rings as soundly today as it did then.

    Get your copy of Starving The Monkeys by Tom Baugh today, before the book is banned and the author is hunted down and Vince Fostered!

    John and Dagny Galt
    Atlas Shrugged, Owner’s Manual For The Universe!(tm)




  27. Individual Mandate Waiver. There is actually a simple solution that would satisfy both the libertarian and the progressive: allow people to sign a waiver to opt out the mandate. Those who opt out would be subject to future pre-existing condition exclusions. They would not be eligible for free emergency care funded by others. It solves the free-rider problem and protects the freedom to take risk.

    1. “They would not be eligible for free emergency care funded by others.”

      So what, will there be a mark or sign on our id that when the first responder shows up and says, “Never mind ambulance driver, this guy opted out, let him lay there in the street.”

      On top of that, how will this work for all the people that dont have ID’s, same as the people who are unable to get an ID to vote with.

      1. One solution is to create a central database that hospitals can check against. If there is a positive match that indicates a waiver, then the hospital is no longer legally obligated to provide any uncompensated care. If the situation is non life threatening, then an insurance card or cash payment is required for receiving care as required today.

  28. In the short run if you are going to force insurers to take all comers you have to have a mandate, otherwise the insurers lose money and go out of business. While in the long run the policy is no different than what we have now, buy insurance or risk not being covered.

    The real reason for the mandate is to pass the cost on of treating people with pre existing conditions to the young and healthy without having to break Obama’s no taxes on the middle class pledge; effectively disguising the costs of an entitlement program which is par for the course. Every risk taker that opts out is one less person to cost shift on to, raising premiums driving more to opt out, leading to the companies going out of business.

    While your plan requires a credible commitment of a government already inclined to using entitlements to buy votes and already declaring health care a human right to let risk takers die on the streets; while in every likelihood charity care would continue to made available lessening the impact. Government can’t make that commitment, and charity care is not going to go away so the optional mandate won’t get enough people in to cost shift, the insurers will go bankrupt; and congress will come back saying capitalism and choice failed and we need socialism, despite the fact they mandated a policy counter to the very idea of insurance. Insuring against events that already happened.

  29. “While in the long run the policy is no different than what we have now, buy insurance or risk not being covered.”

    You forgot the 3rd option, just effing pay for whatever medical care you need, no need for any insurance or government middleman

  30. My only point is that if you take the Bible straight, as I’m sure many of Reasons readers do, you will see a lot of the Old Testament stuff as absolutely insane. Even some cursory knowledge of Hebrew and doing some mathematics and logic will tell you that you really won’t get the full deal by just doing regular skill english reading for those books. In other words, there’s more to the books of the Bible than most will ever grasp. I’m not concerned that Mr. Crumb will go to hell or anything crazy like that! It’s just that he, like many types of religionists, seems to take it literally, take it straight…the Bible’s books were not written by straight laced divinity students in 3 piece suits who white wash religious beliefs as if God made them with clothes on…the Bible’s books were written by people with very different mindsets…

  31. I think that a new treatment is a new religion. New religion is a new sect

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