While we wait

Today will likely bring the Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act with most of the attention focused on the constitutionality of the individual mandate.  Here is an argument to consider while we are waiting.

Many states now require passengers in automobiles to wear seat-belts for their own protection. Many others require anybody driving a car to have liability insurance. But neither the federal government nor any state requires all households to protect themselves from the potentially catastrophic costs of a serious accident or illness.  Under the Heritage plan, there would be such a requirement.

That is Heritage as in the Heritage Foundation, arguably the leading right-wing think tank in country. The quote is from the latest issue of the New Yorker in which Ezra Klein traces the evolution of the Republicans’ views of the mandate, an idea that they themselves championed not too many years ago. It’s worth a read.


  1. Alex

    June 25, 2012 at 9:38 am

    The Federal Reserve cut its growth forecast for the second half of 2012 and 2013 last week, raising concerns yet again about the potential for a “double-dip” recession. While some, notably the cycle watchers at ECRI, believe the U.S. economy is definitely heading for another recession (or already there), Gluskin Sheff’s chief economist and strategist David Rosenberg goes a big step further.

    “We are living in a modern day depression,” he declares.

    For the life of me, I can’t fathom how we think we could afford to add 16 million people to the Medicaid total and Obamacare when the states are completely cash strapped and the federal government is essentially broke.Are we living in a dream world ?

  2. david esmay

    June 25, 2012 at 9:59 am

    I can’t believe the GOP’s solution is to return to policies first espoused by their party in the 1890’s, with no supporting historical data, or evidence to refute the fact that Horse and Sparrow, Trickle Down, Supply Side, whatever you want to call it economics, does anything other than exponentially increase debts and deficits, and a decline in real wages.

  3. Jack

    June 25, 2012 at 10:05 am

    Cash strapped until the banks, big business and Wall Street need another bailout then we’ll have all the money necessary for them.

    This “modern day depression” is brought to you by the Big Three and what are they doing to help the recovery? They’re paying their CEOs bigger and bigger bonuses. Ever wonder why?

  4. Alex

    June 25, 2012 at 10:43 am

    Evidently, david has gone back into his time machine again all the way back to the 1890’s. Why not answer the question that I posed ?

  5. david esmay

    June 25, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    Yes, Alex, the GOP and the right are living in a dream world, bereft of new ideas, that’s why they cling so stubbornly to failed policies and economic theories of the past. Actually medicare works extremely well, better than private health insurance, with lower administrative costs and much, much, lower executive compensation. And, by the way, it’s mandatory that we pay into it, so why not expand on a good idea?

  6. Doug

    June 25, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    How do you say that Medicare works well when 20% of the total dollars are lost to fraud and abuse. Fraud also runs rampant in the Medicaid program.The government runs nothing very well david.

  7. david esmay

    June 25, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    Doug, you’re just repeating lie told by Tom Coburn. Administrative costs of medicare total around 3%, in private health insurance companies 30-40% of premium costs. Medicare’s costs are below the 5-10% costs of large companies who self insure and under the 11% costs of medicare advantage. There is no accurate data to support Coburn’s figures, he basically pulled it out of his back side. Total medicare outlays in 2007 were 431 billion, 19% of the nation’s total health care out lay, the NHCAA estimates that there was 68 billion in fraud that year, of that 13 billion in fraud would be medicare share on a percentage basis, divide 431 by 13 and you get 3%, if medicare fraud is much the same as a fraud in the private sector, that’s a far cry from the Republican lie, nice try.

  8. Doug

    June 25, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    david, your math calculation is totally wrong as usual. if you divide the amount of fraud at 68 billion divided by a total outlay of 431 billion, that’s 16% which is a low figure by most estimates. Most studies have put the figure at 15-21%, and Coburn is not responsible for those numbers. The number was put at $ 120 Billion by the CBO in the 2010 year alone.The comparison with private companies is totally invalid because they have agent commission costs, marketing, etc since they have to compete, and are not a monopoly like medicare. Don’t try to explain something you have no knowledge about, because you end up looking silly.

  9. david esmay

    June 26, 2012 at 9:31 am

    Doug, the 68 billion is the total estimate from private insurance and medicare combined. Read. 13 billion is roughly 3% of 431 billion. Don’t try to refute something you can’t read, I got my numbers from a Politi-fact check on Coburn’s statement and the National Health Care Anti-Fraud Assoc., it makes you look simple.

  10. david esmay

    June 26, 2012 at 9:34 am

    Doug, you’re right, with all the additional cost of private insurance, it is an inefficient and top heavy business. But it also pays well, the head of United Health Care makes a 135 million a year, I guess all the money they save by denying claims goes into his pocket.

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