Health care reform

Reason Writers Around the Internets: Matt Welch at CNN.com on the Health Care Bill

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At CNN.com, Reason Editor in Chief Matt Welch contributed to a quickie health care reaction panel that included Ed Rollins, Donna Brazile and various notables. Excerpt from his brief bit:

The sky won't fall. It almost never does. Some might argue that's part of the problem.

Those on my exceedingly narrow ledge of this debate–against both "Obamacare" and George W. Bush's huge 2003 Medicare expansion, in favor of individual choice in all human endeavors, and genuinely alarmed at the lousy long-term consequences of Bush/Obama bailout economics–are indulging in a bit of "RIP USA" rhetoric after this monumentally expensive lurch still further in the direction of Washington centrism.

But the perhaps less satisfying reality is that we will continue muddling along, doubling the wager while decreasing the odds that private sector innovation will keep on producing enough surplus cash to pay for public sector mistakes.

Whole thing here.

NEXT: The Lie of Fiscal Responsibility

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  1. Be happy!

    1. “[*FFFPPP*] Ah…!”

  2. It’s OK, everyone. When the singularity arrives humanity will come to the logical conclusion that a strong central government is a threat to humankind, and it will be removed, violently or not.

    1. Can we have a public option for violently removed?

  3. But the perhaps less satisfying reality is that we will continue muddling along,

    I think there’s some truth to this, but I have to say that we will be muddling along (for awhile) in a poorer country with less freedom, and that the time we muddle along until there is a fiscal collapse that can’t be muddled through has gotten a lot shorter.

    1. If something can’t go on forever it won’t. Once the debt gets above 100% of GNP and the state pensions come due, we won’t be able to muddle along anymore.

      1. That’s true and when the sky does truly fall (and it will) it will utterly devastate the vast majority of us – those of us not equipped with the golden parachutes that those in the ruling class have made certain to have in place.

        1. That’s true and when the sky does truly fall (and it will) it will utterly devastate the vast majority of us – those of us not equipped with the golden parachutes that those in the ruling class have made certain to have in place.

          Then we will have to set up a new order where the parasites will be left to fend for themselves.

          1. I’m making plans for my own version of Bartertown. Instead of pigs to power the joint, I’m thinking of capturing various public servants and shuttering them underground. They’re all bloated gasbags anyway, at least then they’ll be good for something.

            1. When healthcare doesn’t become perfect, of course it won’t be the Great Messiah’s fault. It will just “prove” that further government intervention is needed pariuri sportive

          2. Just like BioShock!

            This ain’t no goddamn flophouse!

    2. Does the water feel any warmer to anyone else than it did yesterday?

      1. Soon the water starting to boil; no-one flinches; we all float face down.

        1. Frogs jump out of the water when it gets warm enough, it doesn’t matter how slowly you heat the water. If it gets warm enough and the frog can escape, it will.

          http://www.snopes.com/critters/wild/frogboil.asp

          1. Now prove that a new broom really does sweep clean and the economics of the number of birds in hand in relation to the number in a bush.

            A tendency to literalize metaphors is a sign of schizophrenia, you know.

      2. Yes, but only because Pelosi peed in it.

  4. I would like to know exactly what this “landmark” bill is going to do for the average Main Street American? Will it make health insurance affordable and lower my current premiums? Of course not. Will it prevent my policy from going UP every year? Doubtful. So what exactly will I get from it? Probably nothing.

    Jim
    http://www.mask-your-ip.se.tc

    1. My prediction: Medical care costs will continue to rise, coupled with inflation. More unemployment and more failures in the small-business sector. Medical insurance companies going broke, with some being taken over by the government. Hard for those who are trying to purchase individual health insurance to get coverage. Harder to get appointments with actual doctors.

      As for the fines for people who don’t have insurance: if they actually still plan to do this in 2014, it won’t last for long before being overturned. People will be PISSED.

  5. Any problems resulting from this bill will be blamed on its opponents’ obstructionism. If everyone had supported it, they could have taken the time to fix the bill.

    All problems will be your fault for not giving them EVERYTHING they wanted.

    1. That is like George Bush blaming the problems with the Iraq war on Democratic obstructionism. It didn’t work for him and it is not going to work for these guys.

      1. No, no, no. Any problems with the bill will be blamed on Libertarians, who are the new bogeyman.

        1. And angry racist white men. Don’t forget them. November will be the election of the angry bitter racist white man who couldn’t accept a benevolent black man as a leader.

          1. Didn’t you hear, John? Some teabaggers said nigger to some congressmen. We are such fucking racists. Our betters are right to disregard us.

            1. I know. And they were so sly about it, it didn’t even show up on the video of the congressman walking through the crowd. Those teabaggers are really deceitful and clever. But they are no match for the strength of the Proletariat.

            2. Teabagger? I smell a DNC/SEIU/Moveon plant.

              1. Even if he was an honest-to-god teabagger from West Virginia or wherever, it’s a moronic basis to discount every person identified as being on the “right” by the Democrats.

                1. Even if he was an honest-to-god teabagger from West Virginia or wherever, it’s a moronic basis to discount every person identified as being on the “right” by the Democrats.

                  David Duke opposed the invasion of Iraq.

                  I guess to those folks, everyone who opposed the invasion of Iraq supports David Duke.

        2. If you read the liberal blogs, there is no distinction made between libertarians and Republicans. We’re all Republicans whether we’re actually Republicans or not.

      2. Bush didn’t have the MSM sucking up to him.

  6. The sky won’t fall. It almost never does. Some might argue that’s part of the problem.

    Exactly. The real adverse effects of this won’t manifest themselves overnight. And, as they do, the response will be to tinker at the edges, because it’s “basically” a good thing.

    Who (other than I) wants to go on record as wanting little old ladies to die in the streets?

    1. As long as one of them is Pelosi, I’m down with it.

      1. +1

    2. Why do they have to die in the streets and clutter everything up? Damn inconsiderate of them, I say. Let them die indoors and out of everyone’s way.

    3. Who (other than I) wants to go on record as wanting little old ladies to die in the streets?

      They will, as soon as geriatric care is deemed to be “elective” medicine.

      1. I have a constitutional “right” that my streets be free of dead little old ladies. Obama will save me…

    4. “Who (other than I) wants to go on record as wanting little old ladies to die in the streets?”

      The bill accomplishes that noble goal, but unfortunately it is being done with taxpayer money.

  7. That is like George Bush blaming the problems with the Iraq war on Democratic obstructionism. It didn’t work for him and it is not going to work for these guys.

    It doesn’t have to work w/ everyone, just enough of a swing vote to keep them competitive enough to stop repeal until everything dies down (even if that takes a few years).

  8. Does the water feel any warmer to anyone else than it did yesterday?

    Why, did you pee in the pool?

    “Rrrrrrrrribbit.”

    1. Oh, you’ll *wish* that I had. Hell, I’d dookie in the pool if this would mean that’s all just a bad, bad dream.

  9. Those on my exceedingly narrow ledge of this debate?against both “Obamacare” and George W. Bush’s huge 2003 Medicare expansion

    For the historical record, I note that John McCain, routinely maligned in Reason, fits the above description, unlike the 2008 Libertarian candidate who got so much favorable coverage here.

    1. You have to understand, McCain killed Matt Welch’s puppy when Welch was a kid.

    2. You have to understand, McCain killed Matt Welch’s puppy when Welch was a kid.

      1. If you say it three times it might become true.

        1. Its your server that double posted.

          1. Only if you clicked twice.

            1. I never had an issue with double posting until about three months ago. Now it randomly will double post. Maybe I am double clicking without knowing it. But it doesn’t seem that way.

              1. Still counts as two, John.

            2. It is an easy fix. Add JavaScript to the submit button that disables on click (Before the post event). This will prevent double click events.

              Less easy, but even better, you can add a unique identifier to the submission and disregard any duplicates at the server.

        2. McCain killed Matt Welch’s puppy when Matt Welch was a kid.

        3. McCain killed Matt Welch’s puppy when Matt Welch was a kid.

        4. McCain killed Matt Welch’s puppy when Matt Welch was a kid.

    3. Quite true. He jumps off that ledge, however, when it comes to being “in favor of individual choice in all human endeavors,” and opposing the bailout.

      1. If only you hadn’t written a book about McCain we wouldn’t have this health care bill now! It’s all Welch’s fault! BURN HIM!

        1. Matt Welch cost John McCain more than 6 votes. This is all his fault, him and his smug-ass hipster glasses. What a prick.

      2. McCain knows, deep in his withered heart, that you lesser individuals would make the wrong choices, Matt. Otherwise, you’d be a Senator married to a beer heiress, too. And you obviously aren’t, so your judgment can’t be trusted.

      3. Somehow I doubt that if McCain had come out against TARP, as the campaign books indicated that his initial impulse was until all the economists told him that the world would end, that Matt would have supported him them.

        Of course, McCain would still have lost anyway.

        1. McCain would still have lost anyway

          No shit… As long as there are dumb bitches like my ex-girlfriends hot, but stupid daughter voting be cause, “Obama is so exciting.”

      4. I choose to blame Fernando Rodney. Soon, so will Matt.

  10. And since I routinely have link problems at this site, it’s here:
    http://quicksilber.blogspot.co…..nd-me.html

    1. I note that John McCain, routinely maligned in Reason, fits the above description, unlike the 2008 Libertarian candidate who got so much favorable coverage here.

      If there were anything more counter-productive than starting a fight about Bob Barr the morning after the government’s takeover of healthcare, I cannot think of it.

      1. Counter-productive arguments about things that don’t matter? Why, we must be libertarians!

      2. It’s not about Bob Barr (whose name I could barely recall). It’s about misguided ideological purism, a problem that’s still around.

        1. They’re called principles, and they are what separate us from both the progressives and neocons like yourself.

          1. Sure, Artifex.

            I don’t suppose you have a principle along the lines of “Results count”, do you?

        2. My ideological purism causes me to reject this argument.

        3. Yeah, so I’m goign to vote for some asshole who’s a major drug warrior*, just because he might, maybe vote against some future boondoggle, despite the fact that he didn’t vote against TARP.

          Fuck you. Fuck you twice. Take your RAH RAH TEAM RED shit and jam it up your ass, like the cops have done with the 4th, 5th, 8th and 10th amendments thanks to assholes like yourself who have voted for the “lesser evil”.

          *Unless, of course, it’s his wife who’s doing the drugs – after she stole them from a charity she worked for.

          1. It is a good thing that Obama won and has worked so hard to roll back so much of the drug war. Seriously, sure McCain lost. But hey, Obama winning rolled back the drug war, got us out of Iraq and Afghanistan, closed GUITMO, ended indefinite detention and repealed the Patriot Act. So what is the big deal about a bad health care bill? Right?

            1. WHO THE FUCK IS TALKING ABOUT OBAMA? When the fuck did I ever mention OBAMA, John? When? When have I EVER praised TEAM BLUE? Use that fucking search function and find my Democrat loving comments.

              Fuck you, too.

              1. The choices were Obama or McCain. We got choice A. And ended up with all the bad things we would have had with McCain and some other things that are even worse. That is reality. You may not like that reality, but that is the truth. And you are not accomplishing anything by refusing to support the lesser of two evils, and by implication helping the greater evil. It makes you feel better I am sure. But it doesn’t make it anymore productive. As far as I am concerned, if you didn’t support McCain, you might as well have supported Obama. And you are no less responsible for what is going on than the people who voted for him. You just didn’t get to have any creepy posters.

                1. Hmm. It’s been a few months, but I seem to recall voting for some guy who wasn’t Obama, and wasn’t McCain. If enough people did that, we wouldn’t be in this mess, so I’m thinking all the fuckers who voted D or R are the problem. I’m pretty sure that includes you, John.

                  1. And if we all had candy and nuts we would all have a merry Christmas. Voting for the guy you know is not going to break two percent, doesn’t help either. Yeah, if everyone did that it would be great. But no one does, so it just winds up being pointless.

                2. Well, we’re not at war with Iran. Yet, at least.

            2. Sorry John, you can take this argument and shove it up your ass. I’m not voting for the (possibly) lesser scumbag, and you can make your TEAM RED arguments all day and it won’t change anything.

              1. By not voting for McCain you by implication helped Obama. You no less responsible than the people who voted for him. You don’t like the lesser evil? Fine have the greater evil and stop bitching about it. You wanted McCain and the Republicans to lose right? Well you got your wish.

              2. You are no different than Joe Epi. You just want a fucking pony. You want to live in a fantasy world where some idealized candidate will win. There isn’t no idealized candidate. There are only flawed human beings and gradients of bad. So, you vote with what prevents the most harm and hope for the best. If you are not willing to do that, don’t complain when the worst really does happen. Voting for McCain because you figured the Democrats would do something really fucked up and crazy if left alone without adult supervision and were lying about all the things you might have agreed with, was about the least bad choice available.

                1. Oh John, you’re the one who is willing to overlook the horrible flaws on your team’s side so they’ll win. I’m pretty sure that makes you the one like joe.

                  1. I am not overlooking any flaws. I will freely admit to their flaws. I just think the other side is worse. Or certainly worse if given undivided government. If the Republicans still had held Congress, I could have seen the point of voting for Obama or voting L. But when the stakes were giving the Democrats complete control, that changed things a lot.

                    1. So besides Obamacare how would McCain be any better? The bailouts would have still happened, there still would have been a stimulus bill, with checks going to different people*, etc. In essence we’d trade Obamacare for a war in Iran.

                      * If you don’t believe me, please explain the Bush stimulus package.

                    2. This.

                      Also, I don’t enable TEAM WHATEVER assholes who violate the rights of millions of Americans because they’re a “lesser evil” than the other clusterfucks. The fuck they are “lesser” anything. Both asshole parties vote to shit on the Constitution, and until people with libertarian senibilities stop enabling them , they’re going to continue, because that’s how they get away with it.

  11. But one government intervention inevitably leads to another. When healthcare doesn’t become perfect, of course it won’t be the Great Messiah’s fault. It will just “prove” that further government intervention is needed.

    So just because the sky won’t fall today doesn’t mean it won’t get around to it.

    1. Nuh-uh. It’s over. No more intervention. Nancy Pelosi promised: “Today we have the opportunity to complete the great unfinished business of our society and pass health insurance reform.”

    2. nancy Grace was already opining on Sunday Morning that this bill did not go near far enough and that she was looking forward to many additional “improvements” in the future.

      1. she is just mad because the bill didn’t include coverage for non-human reptilians like herself.

      2. Nancy Grace is, without a doubt, the most vile person on TV.

        1. I’d say she’s a piece of shit, but that’d be insulting to pieces of shit.

  12. I love Donna Brazile’s take. She’s asked to participate in a discussion, but she just can’t stop selling the party line. She pulls out an anecdote about how her poor dead mom would be alive today if only we had passed this legislation sooner.

    Gak….

    1. Brazile is shameless, but professional victimization is a 24-hour-a-day job. And even in victory, her collectivist tribe is still playing the race card, having the gall to label HCR a “civil rights” issue.

  13. The sky won’t fall.

    Well, it all depends on what the meaning of “sky falling” is.

    At some point, it’s OK to just go ahead and say, “Wow, this is really, really bad.” What are we fighting for, exactly, if not to avoid precisely this kind of development? No nationalized health care = what America was supposed to be. Nationalized health care = exactly the opposite.

    There’s not going to be some moment where things get all dark and thundery, with ominous music rumbling in the background. A fallen America will still have sun shining outside, kids playing in the yard and people saying “I love you” to each other.

    This bill is perhaps the most significant subversion yet of the founding American polity. If that doesn’t qualify as “sky is falling,” what does?

  14. Matt’s right on this. It won’t be SOCIALISM AND DEATH PANELS AND NANCY PELOSI WASHING HER HANDS IN THE BLOOD OF INFANTS. It’ll just suck ass a bit more than before as the economy restructures to accommodate the new reality.

    And when somebody suggests undoing the individual mandate in 20 years, a great hue and cry will arise from both parties, condemning the great “loss of jobs” that will occur. The radical Bircher/anarchist who suggested it will be smeared from both ends of the political spectrum.

    1. Matt’s right on this. It won’t be SOCIALISM AND DEATH PANELS AND NANCY PELOSI WASHING HER HANDS IN THE BLOOD OF INFANTS.

      You and Matt are both correct. However, as I experienced as someone that was subject to the British National Health System for many years, what will happen is medical advancements will now slow. Medical charities will see donations drop, with the resulting medical charity funded research decreasing. Government funded research on diseases that affect politically favored groups will increase. i.e. The current 4:1 federal research funding ratio on breast cancer verses prostate cancer will continue, even though these conditions kill women and men respectively at similar rates. (yes, I know men can get breast cancer, even if few do)

      1. I’ve no doubt that all kinds of less-than-optimal things will occur, some of them bad to moderately awful. I guess the point is that hysterical hyperbole doesn’t help and makes one look completely unreasonable.

        I guess it’s an improvement that the Republicans rediscovered a love for liberty and adherence to the Constitution; I’m not convinced it’s anything more than a partisan dumbshow, though.

        But take heart! There’s a decent chance that our bondholders will lose faith in T-bills and the whole house of cards will come tumbling down. No trillion-dollar health care bill can be implemented when nobody will buy our debt anymore.

  15. Something I would like explained to me. I keep hearing these stories about insurers taking peoples premiums and then dropping their coverage when they gets sick. Seems to me that would consitute theft, pure and simple (as long as the insured wasn’t commiting fraud). So why have I not seen any of these insurers senior management being hauled away in handcuffs by the DOJ? What am I missing here?

    1. You know how “Credit Card Hidden Fees!!!” are usually just the lack of people reading the fine print? That’s what this is. People don’t read their contracts with health insurance companies and don’t know (or ignore) the huge loopholes the companies leave themselves. Or it’s because they don’t read them at all and leave it up to their employer.

      Fine print, people. If you aren’t going to read it, hire a lawyer to do it for you.

      1. Or they let their policy lapse because of not paying the premium on time, if even for one day.

        I anecdotally know of an instance of this reason to deny coverage. The way I understand the story, this guy ? I’ll call him John, an employee of a subcontractor at my work, went from the insurance provided by one subcontracting firm to another insurance policy provided by another subcontracting firm when the sub-contract was rebid. John was terminated on Friday by one company and hired by the new subcontractor on Monday morning. The Friday was also the end of the month. I know John was offered the opportunity to purchase an insurance policy to cover the weekend long gap, but for whatever reason he did not. John starts his new job on Monday and has a heart attack on Thursday. Since there was a break in insurance coverage, the new insurance was able to denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition, costing John +10Ks.
        Is this an instance of an insurance company exploiting a “loophole” or was John stupid for not buying insurance to cover the gap?
        For those that answer that the insurance company was exploiting a loophole. If a weekend break of coverage was insufficient to deny John coverage, how long a break in insurance can there be before a moral hazard created. Please support your answer with legal, economic or medical rational for selecting your answer.

      2. Doesn’t seem like it should cost a trillions dollars to fix that.

    2. ?Something I would like explained to me. I keep hearing these stories about insurers taking peoples premiums and then dropping their coverage when they gets sick. Seems to me that would consitute theft, pure and simple (as long as the insured wasn’t commiting fraud). So why have I not seen any of these insurers senior management being hauled away in handcuffs by the DOJ? What am I missing here?

      Or insurance company offices being bombed in retaliation.

      After all, if people were willing to do that to retaliate against defamatory cartoons…

    3. I keep hearing these stories about insurers taking peoples premiums and then dropping their coverage when they gets sick

      Its called rescission, and its what happens when you try to defraud an insurance company into giving you coverage even though you don’t qualify.

      1. Also, every state I know of has nasty bad faith laws. The doubt always goes to the insured.

  16. If only you hadn’t written a book about McCain we wouldn’t have this health care bill now! It’s all Welch’s fault! BURN HIM!

    QUEEG!

    We’re sorry!

    Come back, Queeg!

    Come back!

  17. “…private sector innovation will keep on producing enough surplus cash to pay for public sector mistakes.”

    This is the cynical, hypocritical assumption that underlies our politics today. The goal is to “harness” free enterprise — hobbling it enough to keep it captive, but not so much that the surplus cash dries up. It’s a deliberate attempt to all-but-kill the goose and get the golden eggs, anyway.

    Just remember to fire all incumbents in November, even the “good” ones. After all, a “good” incumbent is like a “good” gangster.

  18. For those that answer that the insurance company was exploiting a loophole. If a weekend break of coverage was insufficient to deny John coverage, how long a break in insurance can there be before a moral hazard created.If something can’t go on forever it won’t. Once the debt gets above 100% of GNP and the state pensions come due, we won’t be able to muddle along anymore.

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