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I am a grouchy, bald headed old fart filled with opinions and not the least bit shy about sharing them.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

National Health Care Lies: Part 3 - We can do it better if everyone has health insurance

How many reading this are old enough to remember when liability insurance on your car was optional? All of you old enough think back to that simpler time in your life. The rest of you follow along, there is an example here.

Remember the insurance companies testifying before your state legislators? They said if everyone is covered there won't be anymore more uninsured losses, law suits will drop dramatically and therefore premiums will drop by double digit percentages. The laws were passed, people were ticketed and some lost licenses for not having proper car insurance.

As the laws passed, auto insurance rates took off like sky rockets. As each state required insurance, rates in those states went up in double digit percentages. At the same time, insurance rates in states still holding out against mandatory car insurance saw no or very small increases during the same time periods.

Auto insurance companies blamed the evil trial lawyers for screwing up the plan. Funny as it may be, states that did not have mandatory insurance laws during the same time period must not have had the same trouble with the trial lawyers. The only thing we can deduce from that information is that trial lawyers are a direct result of mandatory insurance laws. 

Now fast forward from the 1970s and 80s to March of this year. Karen Ignagni testified on behalf of the health insurance companies before the US Senate. Then she gave an interview to USA Today.

"This is a major step, and it changes everything about how the market works," Ignagni told USA TODAY. Insurers, she said, are prepared to "offer coverage to everyone who applies."

In return, however, they want a system similar to the one that now exists only in Massachusetts, in which all residents are required to get insurance. Insurers want the federal government to help those who cannot afford private insurance with subsidies or tax breaks.

Insurers also want to prevent any new system from including a government insurance plan similar to Medicare. Ignagni said such a plan could attract 100 million people who now have private insurance, because the government can bargain for lower rates with providers.
USA Today: Insurers' proposal requires coverage for all

Last weekend Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) appeared on the Mike Huckabee show. She said that "we all have to be insured" for the federal health system to work and keep costs down.

Where have we heard that before? I'm not certain, but I might have seen this tap dance before.

You can be certain the insurance companies do not want to see a government run insurance option. That is a matter of simple survival. A government run plan will exterminate the private option for all but the very wealthy.

But it is almost a sure bet the private health insurance industry longs for a Massachusetts style law requiring health insurance on everyone. Once they have a captive market, the price of the policy is no a key concern.

So everyone will have insurance, but at what cost? Once health insurance is required by law the sky is the limit.

Been there, done that, got the ticket. (Dismissed, found the insurance card later.)


"You have awakened a sleeping giant."
- Katy Abram addressing Arlen Specter (D-PA) at a town hall meeting in Lebanon, PA

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