Posts Tagged ‘private insurance companies’

Why ObamaCare Passage Marks A Day That Shall Live In Infamy

March 22, 2010

The pundits have rightly compared the gigantic ObamaCare bill with the Roosevelt administration – if nothing else than because we haven’t seen any government program so gigantic since then.

In a way that is very fitting.  Because we can bookend December 7, 1941 and March 21, 2010 with the same prediction: a day that shall live in infamy.

December 7th was a disaster because FDR utterly failed to see a clear and present danger building on opposite sides of both oceans.  We failed to take precautions.  We failed to arm ourselves.  We even failed to protect ourselves.  What made it so criminal was that we had years of ample warning, but simply chose to ignore it.

March 21 was hardly a surprise, either.  Just as with December 7, a lot of Americans saw it coming, but lacked the power to do anything but point and shout about the coming disaster.  The major difference is that on December 7, 1941, our government failed to protect our way of life, whereas on March 21, 2010, our government actively attacked our way of life.

And now it is here.  And now that it is here, it will grow like a cancer.  Slowly at first – it doesn’t fully kick in until 2014 – and then it will erupt like a big poisonous mushroom.

Charles Krauthammer described what the passage of ObamaCare means with his usual brilliance:

“Nonetheless, it will be the law of the land as of tonight and we’re going to be a different country.  We are on our way, there is absolutely no chance we are not going to end up with national health care.   This is nationalizing health care, the insurance companies are now utilities, they are contractors. the government makes all of these decisions, only a matter of time and will probably happen after the Obama administration.  But he will be remembered as the father of national health care as they have in Canada or Britain and it starts tonight.”

Krauthammer is in no way exaggerating or politicizing the regulatory takeover of private insurance companies by the government under ObamaCare.  That can be demonstrated merely by examine what Dennis Kucinich said about ObamaCare and about the role of private insurance companies before he went ahead and voted for it anyway:

  • “I don’t know what there is for my constituents”
  • It’s “a license to just steal money from people”
  • ObamaCare is a “giveaway to the insurance industry”
  • This bill is “not going to protect consumers from these rapid premium increases
  • It provides “no guarantees of any control over premiums”
  • It is “forcing people to buy private insurance”
  • It’s going to result in “five consecutive years of double-digit premium increases”
  • “I just don`t see that this bill is the solution”
  • “The insurance companies are the problem and we`re giving them a version of a bailout”
  • “This bill doesn`t change the fact that the insurance companies are going to keep socking it to the consumer”
  • It results in a “giveaway to the insurance industry”
  • “You`re building on sand. There`s no structure here”
  • If we pass this bill, “all we`re going to have is more poverty in this country”
  • If we pass this bill, “people aren`t going to get the care that they need”

This remaking of private insurance companies as utilities, as contractors for the government, is fascism, pure and simple.  The government didn’t nationalize them, as it would do under communism, but it created a massive new set of regulations, and bureaucracies, and mandates, and taxes that quintessentially takes them over as agents of the state.  And that is what fascism is all about:

The entry under “Fascism” in The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics reads in part:

Where socialism [i.e., communism] sought totalitarian control of a society’s economic processes through direct state operation of the means of production, fascism sought that control indirectly, through domination of nominally private owners. Where socialism nationalized property explicitly, fascism did so implicitly, by requiring owners to use their property in the “national interest”–that is, as the autocratic authority conceived it. (Nevertheless, a few industries were operated by the state.) Where socialism abolished all market relations outright, fascism left the appearance of market relations while planning all economic activities.

And that is exactly what is happening.  Liberals may not like my term, but it couldn’t be more applicable here.  Obama demonized the insurance companies, and he will now regulate and control and dominate them “in the national interest.”

ObamaCare amounts to a regulatory takeover of the private health insurance companies.  They will be told what to do, how to do it, and how much to charge (although you might see them massively raise rates in preparation to protect themselves for the onslaught that is coming their way).  The government under Obama already owns General Motors and Chrysler.  His administration already essentially owns many banking institutions.  The government under Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac controls more than 90 percent of the nation’s secondary mortgage market.  And Paul Volcker acknowledged that “the federal government was responsible for up to 95 percent of all new home mortgages in the fourth quarter of 2009.”

Even the student loan industry was effectively nationalized under ObamaCare.

It’s naked fascism.  And that fascism which was slowly trickling onto us during the Bush years has now become an massive avalanche under Obama.

Fascism is bad, of course.  But the economic consequences of this fascist takeover of our health care system may be even worse than the political ones.

As for that, consider what Weekly Standard journalist Steve Hayes said (link includes video of the following):

I think that if you take a step back from this the real story here is is the deficit and that story.  Everybody’s familiar with the debt clock; we’ve all seen how fast it moves.  This is going to put it on double time or triple time because when you go back and you look at the history of entitlements in the country, that’s the patternThere are promises that this is going to cut deficits or debt, and it never does.  You look back at at what FDR said when he signed Social Security into law in July 1935. He said it would act as a protection for future administrations against the necessity of going deeply into debt to furnish relief to the needy. He also said this is a law that will take care of human needs and at the same time provide the United States and economic structure of vastly greater soundness. Social Security today?  $43 Trillion dollar unfunded liability – that’s 400 thousand dollars per household in the United States today. And you go back to 1965.  LBJ did the same thing. You saw Nancy Pelosi carrying the gavel – it’s the same argument.  He said it would be $1.50 a month for the average worker.  $1.50 a month.  Three dollars per month after you’re 65.  Today, Medicare has a $57 trillion dollar unfunded liability.  $500,000 dollars per American household.  This will bankrupt the country.”

FDR said in 1935 when he signed Social Security into law:

It is a structure intended to lessen the force of possible future depressions. It will act as a protection to future Administrations against the necessity of going deeply into debt to furnish relief to the needy. The law will flatten out the peaks and valleys of deflation and of inflation. It is, in short, a law that will take care of human needs and at the same time provide for the United States an economic structure of vastly greater soundness.

$43 TRILLION dollars of unfunded liability.  That is $400,000 for every household in the country.  That is $184,000 for every single man, woman, and child in the country.  Please pay up now.

Does that sound like something that lessened the force of possible future ANYTHING? A protection to future administrations against the necessity of going deeply in debt???  Something that provides the United States with an economic structure of vastly greater soundness???  We’re doomed.

Maybe you don’t care that this giant boondoggle is going to crash and burn your country, and that your children or grandchildren will literally die as a result of your greed and selfishness.  But I do.

They promised us a bogus Utopia, and that Utopia is about to collapse into the fiery pit of hell.

What was it that Lyndon Johnson promised us when he sold his load of Medicare malarkey?

Now here is how the plan will affect you.

During your working years, the people of America–you–will contribute through the social security program a small amount each payday for hospital insurance protection. For example, the average worker in 1966 will contribute about $1.50 per month. The employer will contribute a similar amount. And this will provide the funds to pay up to 90 days of hospital care for each illness, plus diagnostic care, and up to 100 home health visits after you are 65. And beginning in 1967, you will also be covered for up to 100 days of care in a skilled nursing home after a period of hospital care.

And under a separate plan, when you are 65–that the Congress originated itself, in its own good judgment–you may be covered for medical and surgical fees whether you are in or out of the hospital. You will pay $3 per month after you are 65 and your Government will contribute an equal amount.

Let me tell you how Medicare affects me: It affects me with a $57 trillion unfunded liability.  It affects me with a bill of $500,000 for every single household in America.  It affects me with an individual bill (that every single man, woman, and child in this country owes) of $230,000.

The forerunner of the CBO underestimated the actual cost of Medicare by a whopping factor of 10.  If they repeat their little boo-boo, ObamaCare will cost $10 trillion dollars over ten years, and the United States will completely collapse as an independent nation-state.

And that’s $230,ooo on top of the $184,000 I owe for Medicare.  I owe $414,000.  And my household owns $900,000.  And great googly moogly, we don’t got it.  We’re on a speeding train that is going to keep hurtling along until it flies off a cliff and crashes.

Hey, I got an idea: let’s double that.  Hell, let’s triple it.

If you believe that the government is going to create a trillion dollar entitlement that ensures 47 million more people – (John Larson, chairman of the Democratic caucus, used the “47 million” figure on ABCs “This Week” just yesterday; he used it again on CNNs “State of the Union”) and spends less money than is spent now, you are an abject fool.

And that “47 million” clearly includes 17 million illegal immigrants.  The Democrats’ incredibly cynical plan is to take health resources from you and from your children and grandchildren and give those resources to illegal immigrants so they can capture the Hispanic vote.

The metaphor is a dozen people rushing into your house to eat your food and consume your resources while your own kids go hungry.  No one would do this.  But your government is doing it under Democrat Party tyranny.

The real cost of this bill is over $6 TRILLIONThe Democrats filled their legislation with gimmicks, such as assuming they would cut doctors’ Medicare reimbursements by 21% when they know they won’t, then putting that “Doctor fix” in another bill.  That will add $208 billion to the real cost of their plan.  Then they falsely start the bill’s ten-year score in 2010, when the benefits don’t start getting paid out until 2014.  That accounting deceit masks the fact that the REAL cost of the bill is $2.3 trillion.

The $6 trillion (PLUS!!!) figure comes from the biggest and most despicable shenanigan of all: all the money from American citizens who will be unconstitutionally forced to purchase health insurance isn’t counted in the CBO score.  At all.  Not one penny.

In other words, your ObamaCare – which really isn’t even deficit neutral at all – was sold as “deficit neutral” because it doesn’t count the trillions and trillions of dollars that American citizens will be compelled by their government to pay for health insurance.

ObamaCare amounted to the slitting of the national wrists.  And we’re going to start bleeding out until we either abandon it or die.

The Republicans have a few more tactics to fight this bill, but they amount to starting backfires to try to temporarily contain a massive hungry forest fire.  It won’t be enough, and it probably won’t ultimately succeed.

Thirty-eight states and counting are now working to preempt the ObamaCare disaster by protecting their citizens from this disgraceful and unconstitutional boondoggle.

Having this monster 2,700-page government takeover of health care may be the only chance this nation has of avoiding a very-near term financial implosion.

If this bill isn’t stopped, one day Americans will look back at the late great former United States of America and realize that that was the anvil that broke the camel’s back.

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Health Care Fascism

December 27, 2009

Americans will soon be forced by their government to give their money to private companies unless the American people massively rise up as one and shout them into backing down.

William Briggs had this to say regarding how unconstitutional, unAmerican, dishonest, and incompetent the Democrats’ plan is:

The new health care tax–which isn’t yet honestly called a tax, but a “program”—will almost certainly pass the Senate. Part of this “program” is said to be an “individual mandate”, which will require, via the full majesty of the law, that individuals purchase health insurance, even if they do not want it.

That is, you will be forced by implied gunpoint to fork over your money to a private company. You can well imagine these companies’ new customer service messages. Listen carefully, for our options have recently changed: Press 1 for “Hahahahahahaha”!

This, incidentally, leads to our definition of mandate: comply, or be jailed, where you will be forced to comply.

The Los Angeles Times (D), was concerned that citizens would be confused about this mandate. It published a “Healthcare Q & A“, to explain to its readers why more of their money should be taken from them. Like all good Q & A’s, it is in the form of bullets.

  • “Why require everyone to buy insurance?” The truth is that the new government entitlement, like all entitlements before it, is a beast that must gorge on fresh money to survive. It needs to be fed often and copiously. The LAT’s confusing answer said that some people don’t have insurance, and that those who do will be “helping pay the costs of those without it.” This explanation would have been fine if the word helping was omitted.
  • “What benefit do I get from being required to buy insurance?” Probably less back pain: your wallet will be significantly lightened, thus relieving stress and strain. You also get to see a few companies, presumably those that have given generously to the reelection campaigns of certain politicians, receive our mandated largess. Surely they will spend our money wisely. The LAT says, “you will get coverage”.
  • “How can insurers afford to cover so many people who have expensive illnesses? Will my premium go up?” Excellent question. They cannot, so, yes, premiums must rise. The LAT said, “Gee, would ya look at the time?”
  • “Since young people don’t cost the system much, would they be allowed to buy less expensive plans?” No. They should be allowed not to buy and only pay for services as needed. Even the LAT had to admit that if that dangerous idea “were carried too far, however, it would defeat the purpose of an insurance plan.” The government’s plan, that is.

Inexplicably, the LAT’s Q & A stopped there. They forgot the most important questions.

  • If everybody is forced to buy insurance, it isn’t really insurance anymore, is it? No, it isn’t. Insurance is a bet between two parties, no different than a wager on a football game. It’s like buying a lottery ticket you hope won’t win. If everybody is forced to pay into a pool, whose monies will be used to fund health care expenses, then that is a tax.
  • People are a lot healthier now than twenty years ago, and people twenty years ago were a lot healthier than people forty years ago, and so on. So why is everybody calling our current state a “crisis”? Three things have gone wrong: politicians lie, exaggerates or are ill informed, the press lies, exaggerates or is ill informed, and the bulk of the public eats it up, cowers in fear or is ill informed.
  • After the Democrats pass the health care tax, what can I do? Grip your ankles, baby. It’ll be just like going to the doctor to have a “digital” exam, only this time without the Vaseline. Another option is to donate to the DNC and then form your own insurance company.

Update Reid invents new super-super majority:

The bill sets up a supermajority threshold of 67 votes to bring accountability to IMAB decisions, and the rule on being in or out of order can get waived at 60 votes. However, as this battle shows, even getting to 60 is almost an impossibility, let alone 67. Clearly Reid wants to put accountability out of reach with these radical propositions.

As to that last, you see a United States Senator attempting to – in blatantly unconstitutional fashion – dictate the actions and limit the behavior of a future Congress.  That’s “dictate,” as in “dictator.”

As to forcing Americans to purchase insurance, even the left says this insane move to force people to buy insurance from private companies is both stupid and immoral.

DNC Chairman Howard Dean recently said:

“This is a bigger bailout for the insurance industry than AIG,” former Democratic National Committee chairman and medical doctor Howard Dean told “Good Morning America’s” George Stephanopoulos today. “A very small number of people are going to get any insurance at all, until 2014, if the bill works.

“This is an insurance company’s dream, this bill,” Dean continued. “This is the Washington scramble, and I think it’s ill-advised.”

Mind you, these very same liberals would have been cheering if Americans were being forced to buy the exact same kind of insurance from the government. It’s not that they are opposed to people being forced to make purchases that they don’t want to make.  After all, that would make them classical liberals rather than the liberal fascists that they are.  Rather, they are simply revealing how profoundly they hate private businesses rather than state ownership of the means of production.

But at least, both the right and the left are in agreement: the Democrats’ bill is a terrible and immoral idea.

That explains why the private insurance companies saw their stocks go up massively – hitting a 52-week high – on Friday as this plan was announced.  The first article I found is entitled, “Insurance company stocks “on fire” – they’re winning, we’re losing.”

Obama and Democrats have been falsely and maliciously demonizing private insurance companies for months.  We particularly saw that in Obama’s vicious attacks against Humana.  One blogger correctly saw the bottom line and said, “I hope you can see the writing on the wall here. The Obama administration wants to control private industry. They want to control their profits and they want to control what private industry can and cannot say.”  And now we see that the administration was using all that demagoguery and demonization to create the conditions for an offer that the insurance companies couldn’t refuse.

Let me put this development into context by first providing a definition:

Sheldon Richman (of the Foundation for Economic Education) provides the distinction in The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics in his entry on “Fascism”:

Where socialism sought totalitarian control of a society’s economic processes through direct state operation of the means of production, fascism sought that control indirectly, through domination of nominally private owners. Where socialism nationalized property explicitly, fascism did so implicitly, by requiring owners to use their property in the “national interest”–that is, as the autocratic authority conceived it. (Nevertheless, a few industries were operated by the state.) Where socialism abolished all market relations outright, fascism left the appearance of market relations while planning all economic activities. Where socialism abolished money and prices, fascism controlled the monetary system and set all prices and wages politically. In doing all this, fascism denatured the marketplace. Entrepreneurship was abolished. State ministries, rather than consumers, determined what was produced and under what conditions.

What we are seeing here is raw, naked fascism.

The insurance companies were first clubbed into submission, then offered something of a carrot in exchange for their compliance.  And the result is that they are doing exactly what the administration wants – and as long as they toe the Obama line, they’ll even be rewarded for doing what the administration wants.

We used to be governed by a Constitution in which this sort of thing would have been anathema.  Not anymore.  The Democrats running the country now could care less about the Constitution.

When Nancy Pelosi was asked where the Constitution authorized Congress to order Americans to buy health insurance, Nancy Pelosi said: “Are You Serious?  Are you SERIOUS?” The Speaker of the House of Representatives couldn’t be bothered by such a question simply because she couldn’t care less.  Diane Feinstein took much the same view – and revealed what a threat to the Constitution these Democrats and their despicable health care bill truly is.

CNS News pointed out this little factoid:

In 1994, when the Clinton administration attempted to push a health care reform plan through a Democratic Congress that also mandated every American buy health insurance, the Congressional Budget Office determined that the government had never ordered Americans to buy anything.

“The government has never required people to buy any good or service as a condition of lawful residence in the United States,” the CBO analysis said. “An individual mandate would have two features that, in combination, would make it unique. First, it would impose a duty on individuals as members of society. Second, it would require people to purchase a specific service that would be heavily regulated by the federal government.”

This is an unprecedented and unconstitutional abuse of power.

Now we get to the term “Tea Party.”  Our founding fathers literally started a war when they were forced to pay what was actually a quite modest tax without representation.

We used to be a people who stood up and fought when our freedoms were challenged.   But over the last century, we have had piles on top of piles of unconstitutional “laws” that did precisely that.

Now we are being forced to pay massive taxes without any Constitutional authority, and clearly without the support of the people (see here and here).

Our founding fathers would have gone to war to stop this tyranny.

What will we do?  Allow this fiasco to pass?  Passively purchase our “insurance” and hope the price doesn’t keep going up higher and higher while our medical care sinks lower and lower?  Sit by and allow our parents and family members to die do to medical neglect from rationing?

Contrary To Obama Democrats’ Demagogic Lies About Private Insurerer Profits

October 28, 2009

Do you want to have one-sixth of the economy – and literally life and death decisions – to be taken over based on lies and demagoguery?  If not, you’d better start calling your elected officials and demanding that Democrats finally start dealing with facts rather than demagogic lies.

From the Associated Press:

WASHINGTON — In the health care debate, Democrats and their allies have gone after insurance companies as rapacious profiteers making “immoral” and “obscene” returns while “the bodies pile up.”

But in pillorying insurers over profits, the critics are on shaky ground. Ledgers tell a different reality.

Health insurance profit margins typically run about 6 percent, give or take a point or two. That’s anemic compared with other forms of insurance and a broad array of industries, even some beleaguered ones.

Profits barely exceeded 2 percent of revenues in the latest annual measure. This partly explains why the credit ratings of some of the largest insurers were downgraded to negative from stable heading into this year, as investors were warned of a stagnant if not shrinking market for private plans.

Insurers are an expedient target for leaders who want a government-run plan in the marketplace. Such a public option would force private insurers to trim profits and restrain premiums to compete, the argument goes. This would “keep insurance companies honest,” says President Barack Obama.

The debate is loaded with intimations that insurers are less than straight, when they are not flatly accused of malfeasance.

The insurers may not have helped their case by commissioning a report that looked primarily at the elements of health care legislation that might drive consumer costs up while ignoring elements aimed at bringing costs down. Few in the debate seem interested in a true balance sheet.

A look at some claims, and the numbers:

THE CLAIMS:

_“I’m very pleased that (Democratic leaders) will be talking, too, about the immoral profits being made by the insurance industry and how those profits have increased in the Bush years.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who also welcomed the attention being drawn to insurers’ “obscene profits.”

_“Keeping the status quo may be what the insurance industry wants. Their premiums have more than doubled in the last decade and their profits have skyrocketed.” Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen, member of the Democratic leadership.

_”Health insurance companies are willing to let the bodies pile up as long as their profits are safe.” A MoveOn.org ad.

THE NUMBERS:

Health insurers posted a 2.2 percent profit margin last year, placing them 35th on the Fortune 500 list of top industries. As is typical, other health sectors did much better — drugs and medical products and services were both in the top 10.

The railroads brought in a 12.6 percent profit margin. Leading the list: network and other communications equipment, at 20.4 percent.

HealthSpring, the best performer in the health insurance industry, posted 5.4 percent. That’s a less profitable margin than was achieved by the makers of Tupperware, Clorox bleach and Molson and Coors beers.

The star among the health insurance companies did, however, nose out Jack in the Box restaurants, which only achieved a 4 percent margin.

UnitedHealth Group, reporting third quarter results last week, saw fortunes improve. It managed a 5 percent profit margin on an 8 percent growth in revenue.

Van Hollen is right that premiums have more than doubled in a decade, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation study that found a 131 percent increase.

But were the Bush years golden ones for health insurers?

Not judging by profit margins, profit growth or returns to shareholders. The industry’s overall profits grew only 8.8 percent from 2003 to 2008, and its margins year to year, from 2005 forward, never cracked 8 percent.

The latest annual profit margins of a selection of products, services and industries: Tupperware Brands, 7.5 percent; Yahoo, 5.9 percent; Hershey, 6.1 percent; Clorox, 8.7 percent; Molson Coors Brewing, 8.1 percent; construction and farm machinery, 5 percent; Yum Brands (think KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell), 8.5 percent.

Half of Americans are actually covered by not-for-profit insurers.

A pro-liberal, pro-government universal health care proponent has the following:

But this is not “change.” Nonprofit organizations have always had an important role in the financing and delivery of health care services in the United States. Nonprofit health care organizations are part of the U.S. economy’s “third sector,” the other two sectors are government and for-profit businesses. In the early 1900s the first health care prepayment/insurance plan was founded as a nonprofit organization—Blue Cross—by a nonprofit hospital in Texas. Today, nearly 50 percent of people with private health insurance coverage are enrolled in nonprofit health plans.

Unfortunately, the strong and persistent presence of private nonprofit health insurance companies has not prevented any of the structural problems leading to our current health care crisis.

So the Democrats are deceitfully and demagogically claiming that insurance companies are the villains due to their “excessive” and “immoral” profits when in fact they DON’T have such profits – and HALF of them are NON-PROFITS – and they are offering a “solution” to a problem which isn’t even part of the problem to begin with.

I’m sorry to have to point out that what the Democrats are doing is right out of Adolf Hitler’s and Joseph Goebbels’ playbook, but it is.  They are telling lies about innocent companies.  They are deceitfully trying to create villains using propaganda and demagoguery so that they can then impose their “final solution” onto one-sixth of the national economy.

The clearest one sentence explanation of the result of the Democrats’ health care agenda comes from the mouth of Obama economic adviser Robert Reich:

“… So we’re going to let you die.”

The so-called “crazy claims” about death panels turn out to be all too real.

Democrats claim that you can keep your private health insurance if you want to.  It’s a lie.  And they know it’s a lie.

Their real goal is to put health care under total government control, so that they have the power to reward their allies and punish their opponents.  They are using their current legislation as a backdoor to universal, socialized, government-controlled health care.  And again, when they say that isn’t true, their own words reveal their lies.

Right now, Democrats are trying to take over life and death decisions.  And they are the documented liars.  Trust them at your peril.