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 »

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, , , , , , , , , ,

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, , , , , , , , ,

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, , , , , ,

The Hidden Effects of the Public Option

Author’s note: For the purposes of this discussion, the term “health insurance” will refer to all health care plans.  True health insurance is nearly impossible to find.  Most people actually have “health maintenance.”  For expediency, the term “health insurance” will cover all health care plans.

One of the most important aspects of economics is the concept of incentive:  Give people an incentive to do something, and by and large they will do it.  Give them an incentive to not do something, and generally people will not do that thing.  This concept has ruled the interaction of creatures since the first multi-celled organisms began eating each other to survive:  The organisms that developed the sense to get away from the carnivore creatures survived, and the rest were consumed.  Incentives can be both positive and negative:  Positive incentives encourage us to do something.  The sweetness of an apple encourages us to eat it, while the oily, three-leafed appearance of some plants tells us to stay away!

Prescription DrugsThis concept of incentive drives us in our everyday lives:  We avoid committing crimes for fear of punishment and work jobs for the incentive of salaries so that we can obtain the necessities and comforts of life.  We wait to shop until products are on sale or rebates are being offered.  Incentives drive the actions of individuals and, in aggregate, entire societies.

This concept of incentive is one of the important factors to consider when examining the health care “reform” proposals.  One of the most talked-about but least understood parts of these proposals is the requirement of employers to offer health insurance to their employees, or to pay a penalty to help fund the government-offered “public option” plan.  Let us examine the effect of this one aspect of the current health “reform” proposals. Read the rest of this entry »

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

A Tax Upon You!

Not since Bill Clinton asked what the definition of “is” is have I seen this kind of hair-splitting shennanigans.

Barack Obama is so desperate to “prove” that his health care plan won’t raise taxes that he argues with Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary.

Read the rest of this entry »

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

Lies, Damn Lies and Public Relations

I wish I hadn’t been driving to work this morning (Thursday 8/13) when I heard this on the radio.  That’s because I could not write down any names, including the individual making the claim or the PAC/think tank where he’s now working, “Democracy” somethingorother.  Fortunately, I was able to find a similar story from UPI.

Former Public Relations executive at CIGNA Wendell Potter, who now works for the Center for Media and Democracy, is claiming he saw the insurance industry’s fingerprints all over the protests at the Democrat town halls.  He says that this is just like 1993, and that the talking points are the same.  The protesters are lying or have been mislead, spewing falsehoods.

Actually, that sounds an awful lot like Democrat talking points. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: health care, insurance, media, , , , ,