Seeking Liberty

Liberty is the Fruit from Which All Progress Grows

Teetering on the edge of destruction

It’s hardly surprising that the Hartford Business Journal is happy about the new Health Care Takeover legislation: Hartford has long been considered the Insurance Capital of the World, and the insurance companies are thrilled with the forced enrollment of 32 million Americans into their health insurance plans.

With sweeping federal health care reform now on the books, business owners are scrambling to make sense of a new range of tax breaks, coverage responsibilities and potential pitfalls by turning to benefits consultants, accountants and insurance brokers for advice and perspective.

Although the $940 billion legislation alters the way small businesses buy and supply health insurance, many of the changes won’t kick in until 2014. And clear answers are at a premium today.

“Small business owners will have more choices and greater accessibility to affordable health insurance, which will help them to attract and keep a talented workforce,” said Kevin Galvin, owner of Connecticut Commercial Maintenance Inc. in Hartford. He says small businesses like his will be the big winners under health care reform.

In fact, in the entire article, only one opponent to the legislation is quoted. Four proponents are interviewed, and two of those are from advocacy groups specifically in favor of the legislation. One more is a health insurance executive, and even Mr. Galvin quoted above, a small business owner, is also an organizer of a pro-legislation political organization. Read the rest of this entry »

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Filed under: economics, Government, insurance, media, , , , , , , , , ,

Health Care Hang-Ups

Telecommunications giant AT&T will record a $1 billion charge for the first quarter of 2010 due to the tax implications of the recently passed health care legislation, according to the Atlanta Business Journal. According to the Journal:

In the filing, AT&T added, “As a result of this legislation, including the additional tax burden, AT&T will be evaluating prospective changes to the active and retiree health care benefits offered by the company.”

So much for helping to rebuild our economy. The tax implications of this bill are already having a detrimental effect on employee compensation and retiree benefits. Before the legislation was even passed, Caterpillar, Inc. sent a letter to members of Congress urging them to vote against this bill, which they estimated would cost the company over $100 million per year. Because America didn’t know fully what was in the bill before it was passed, both small and large businesses are only just now able to start coming to grips with what the legislation really means for them. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: economics, health care, insurance, taxes, , , , , , , , , ,

No MRIs, but there were doctors

Hullabaloo, a Liberal blog, posted this little gem:  “There were no MRIs in 1780.”

Ignoring the fact that the United States had not yet forced Cornwallis’ surrender at Yorktown in 1780 (and hence, no Articles of Confederation, let alone a Constitution, had been ratified), the line of reasoning by the author is sophomoric at best and intellectually dishonest at worst.

Nowhere in the constitution does it authorize the Federal Aviation Administration or the Center For Disease Control either, so I guess they’re out too. The fact that the founders weren’t psychics or time travelers is a real problem for us, apparently.

Ian Millheiser from CAP pointed out that if you used this logic, then Medicare and Medicaid are unconstitutional as well. Pilon agrees, saying that the entire New Deal is unconstitutional. So, there you have it.

Um, no, not exactly. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Government, health care, personal health, stupidity, , , , , , , , ,

Basic Economics

With Apologies to Thomas Sowell


In observing the mass of articles, blogs, tweets and web postings, it has become clear why so many people do not understand why the Health Care legislation that the President signed into law today will harm our economy and increase health care prices. Explaining why it will harm our economy is futile without first illustrating how it raises health care costs and prices.

Economics is called the “Dismal Science.” I think this has less to do with predictions of Doom and Gloom, as many people claim, and more to do with Economist’s obsession with abstract ideas, like Utils (a unit of measurement for “utility,” an economic concept that can’t actually be measured). Indeed, until I learned to apply these abstract concepts to real-world situations, I was as lost as anyone who supported this bill.

Fortunately, Thomas Sowell wrote an engaging (for an economist, at least) book called Basic Economics: A Citizen’s Guide to the Economy, which anyone with an interest in understanding economics should read. It is a long book, so if you’d rather have something shorter and a bit more fun, check outCommon Sense Economics: What Everyone Should Know About Wealth and Poverty, by Gwartney, Stroup and Lee. Both books paint the picture of economics, but pull away from the abstract and focus more on the real-world.

Now class, time to explain the basics of why the Health Care Takeover will be certain to raise prices for health insurance and health care in the long run. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: economics, Government, insurance, , , ,

Almost Forgotten: The Insurance Mandate Lie

The other day, I was reminded of one of the lies we’ve been fed about the Health Care Takeover the Democrats are desperately trying to pass through the Houses of Congress: The Individual Mandate, which would be just like your mandated automobile insurance. This specious line of reasoning has been almost forgotten amidst the arguments over abortion funding and the Constitutionality of reconciliation and trying to “deem” a bill passed by rule.

The individual mandate would require every American to purchase health insurance, or to pay a penalty (I call it a fine, because that’s what it really is) if they choose to go without. Proponents of this insurance mandate argue that it is like automobile insurance, where we are required to purchase liability insurance for our automobiles before we can drive them on the roads. They say that this mandate protects individuals from the financial harm of medical bills they cannot afford.

In this limited line of reasoning, they are correct, but that isn’t the whole story. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: economics, health care, insurance, , , , , , , , ,

Why the Democrats health care takeover must be defeated now

The Democrats are intent on passing their Health Care Takeover bill, no matter what the political cost. According to the Washington Post, President Obama wants to add a couple of ideas suggested by Republicans at his “Health Care Summit” in an effort to turn one or two Republican votes in his favor and claim “bipartisan” status.

On Wednesday, Obama plans to call on Congress to bring the year-long debate to a swift close, and congressional leaders expect him to signal support for a strategy that includes a special budget maneuver known as reconciliation. Under that strategy, the House would adopt the bill the Senate passed on Christmas Eve and approve a separate package of fixes to reflect a compromise worked out between Democrats in the two chambers.

Under reconciliation rules, the fixes could not be filibustered and Senate Democrats could approve them with a simple majority vote — a move intended to bypass a Republican caucus that remains united in its opposition to the legislation. Republican leaders said Obama’s offer to adopt some of the ideas they promoted at last week’s health-care summit would do little to improve what they consider a fundamentally flawed measure. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Government, health care, socialism, , , , , , ,

Reverse Course to Right Our Economy

Can we just admit that the Stimulus was an $800 billion mistake that did absolutely nothing to help the economy or stimulate jobs?

Can we admit that Keynesian economics are, at best, a scalpel being wielded as though a they were a machete?

Can we admit that no centralized government planning will ever lead to greater economic prosperity?

Because if you really can’t admit that, you really haven’t been paying attention.

For the past several years, we’ve been told that America needs more regulation, that the wealthy need to pay their “fair share,” that free market economics aren’t enough any more.  We’ve been told some companies and some banks are just “too big to fail,” and that we the taxpayers have to step in and “save” them from their failures.  We’ve been told that the managers of these companies, even the ones that have righted their boats, don’t deserve the high levels of compensation they earn.  That if these wealthy people weren’t so greedy, we’d all have more.

The media and the Democrats will tell you that the the CEOs and senior executives of these big corporations are giving themselves big bonuses and big pay-raises.  There’s just one problem with that concept: Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: economics, health care, socialism, taxes, wealth, , ,

Time Magazine to small business owners: Take your medicine!

It seems the writers and editors at Time Magazine can’t comprehend why small business owners would not want to have the Democrat’s House Health Care “Reform” bill enacted into law. Why wouldn’t these small business owners want to increase their regulatory and financial burden? Don’t they realize that we have 5-10 million people who legitimately cannot afford health insurance? Don’t they realize that their profits and the future of their businesses are just gifts given them by our magnanimous Federal Government?

I apologize for the sarcasm, but the article from Time’s website is ridiculous:

When it comes to finding quality, affordable health insurance, few have it worse than small-business owners and their workers shopping for coverage on the open market. They are charged the most per person, have the least amount of choice and, as a result, are some of the most likely to be uninsured.

Lawmakers know this, which is why many of the key elements in the health care bill just passed by the House — and being considered in the Senate — are aimed squarely at small business. A wide array of economists and health-policy experts say insurance reforms (like prohibiting insurers from denying coverage because of pre-existing conditions), a new transparent marketplace to shop for coverage and a government-run insurance plan all have the potential to help small business.

Nowhere does the article cite any source for its assertion that “a wide array of economists and health-policy experts” say these reforms will be helpful to business. This is simply presented as accepted common knowledge. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: economics, insurance, media, taxes, , , , , ,

Mandated Madness

In all the fuss about the House Health Care “Reform” bill, we have failed to talk about one of the biggest drivers of health insurance costs in the nation today: Insurance mandates.

What insurance mandates do is force these small risk pools together in a negative way: When the risk pool for broken leg is combined with the risk pool for cancer, the risk pool is not more efficient, it is simply more risky. If the likelihood of a broken leg in a given year is 2%, and the likelihood of being diagnosed with cancer is also 2%, combining those risk pools does not result in a larger risk pool of 2%. Cancer and a broken legs are generally exclusive; that is to say, people who get cancer are unlikely to suffer a broken leg at the same time. So the risk index has grown from 2% to a combined 3.99% (after all, some people who break their legs will also develop cancer). The more mandates that are added, the more the insurer is required to cover, the greater the cost of the risk pool.

The financial risk pool is even more complex, but I’ll try to simplify it. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: economics, Government, insurance, liberty, , , , , , , ,

Waiting lists in the health care bill? But I thought…

(H/T @JamieDupree)

Wait a second. I thought there wasn’t going to be any rationing? I thought the Democrats promised us we wouldn’t see any of the problems detailed in Steven Crowder’s video about the Canadian Health Care System in our wonderful new Democrat-sponsored Health Care “Reform” bill?

Yeah, like anyone actually believed that.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Government, insurance, socialism, , , , , ,