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San Juan Mountains: Grenadier Range

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

A Ridiculous Argument For ColoradoCare

Amendment 69 on the Colorado ballot would establish a program called ColoradoCare.  ColoradoCare is Obamacare with a vengeance.  ColoradoCare is full blown, single-payer, socialized medical insurance.  It would enact a 10% flat tax on all income earned by the citizens of Colorado and use those funds to pay for all medical insurance in the state.  I have posted on this issue previously, found here, and would recommend you read that post prior to reading further today.  Today I would like to examine a small part of an argument made in defense of ColoradoCare.  It was found in the Denver Post on October 2nd of this year and written by Irene Aguilar.  Irene is a Colorado state senator and a member of the Board of Directors at Denver Health.  Let me tell you a little bit about what Irene believes in regards to health insurance in Colorado.
Irene's defense of ColoradoCare begins with the usual envy-filled diatribe against profit seeking insurance companies.  She writes, "We all know our health care system is broken.  Millions of Coloradans face debt and bankruptcy from high medical costs.  Health insurance premiums are forecast to rise an average of 20.4 percent next year, with some spiking as much as 42 percent.  And there is no end in sight to the rate hikes.  Year after year, status quo health insurers have managed to score record profits by finding ways to reduce payments to providers and ways to limit patient care.  UnitedHealth CEO Stephen Hemsley took home a cool $66 million in 2014.  Meanwhile, more than 800,000 Colorado citizens are under insured.  And over 350,000 of us have no health insurance at all."  Let's consider some of her arguments for a moment.
I don't know what a health care "system" is, despite the fact folks like Irene drone incessantly on about it.  I have health insurance and I am not a part of a system.  I also pay for doctors without being part of a system.  Granted, my options for health insurance and health care are dramatically reduced as a result of Obamacare but I still have some limited freedom when it comes to health insurance and I have not yet been forced to join something called a system.  Since I don't know what system Irene is writing about I am unable to join the chorus and pronounce it to be broken and in desperate need of a government fix.
My health insurance premium, which I just received yesterday, has gone up 20% since last year.  The reason my premium has gone up is directly related to Obamacare and the fact that so many health insurance companies have had to abandon Colorado because they could no longer make a profit.  Another reason my premium has gone up is due to the fact that I have to subsidize the people who are getting subsidized rates on their insurance premiums.  That too is a direct result of Obamacare.  So I will grant that Irene is correct when she complains about the high cost of health insurance but she is dead wrong when she assigns the blame for that fact to profit seeking corporations.
Irene's heart bleeds when she writes about the 800,000 people who are "under insured."  Of course she never defines what it means to be under insured.  I would like more health insurance also if someone else can be forced to pay for it.  Does that make me under insured?  Furthermore, Irene is depressed by the fact that 350,000 citizens of this state carry no health insurance at all.  Irene is ignoring the fact that most, if not all, of those 350,000 citizens have made the voluntary, rational and moral decision  to forgo purchasing health insurance.  Why have they made that decision?  Because Obamacare has made health insurance prohibitively expensive for them.
What is Irene's solution to all of these self perceived problems?  Obamacare with a vengeance in the form of ColoradoCare.  How ColoradoCare will escape the problems associated with the socialized medical insurance program known as Obamacare is not defined or described.  Irene, due to her intense religious faith in the power and beneficence of civil government, believes that if Obamacare is bad, ColoradoCare will somehow end up being good.  Like most religious doctrines held by religious people, she provides no rational argument in defense of her position.  She simply assumes she is correct.
The reason I decided to post this article to my blog today is because of what Irene has to say about the profit motive.  Later in her article she writes, "By taking the profit motive out of health care and streamlining administrative costs, ColoradoCare saves $4.5 billion in annual expenses."  For the sake of argument I will not dispute her numbers.  What I find interesting is her profoundly religious belief in the socialist doctrine that the profit motive causes consumer costs to increase whereas government run bureaucracies are capable of lowering consumer costs.  I would love for Irene to cite one single example in the history of the Socialist Democracy of Amerika where a government bureau was ever able to perform a service to consumers for less cost than the free market.  How about the Post Office?  FedEx and UPS prove that wrong.  How about VA hospitals?  Don't make me laugh.  How about government schooling?  Once property tax subsidies are added to the equation government schools cost far more than private ones.  Government operated prisons?  The data say no.
On the other hand, we have plentiful examples of how the profit motive has decreased consumer costs.  The field of technology is perhaps the best example.  Have cell phone costs gone up or done?  Have computer costs gone up or down?  Have HD television costs gone up or down?  And what about Wal-Mart?  Has Wal-Mart driven costs for consumers up or down?  Indeed, the only situations where profit seeking companies have brought about higher costs for consumers are when those profit seeking companies align themselves, via cartels, to the federal government.  Legal fees are much higher than they should be thanks to the Bar.  Medical fees are much higher than they should be thanks to the AMA.  Prior to Uber the cost of using a taxi was much higher than it should have been thanks to the Medallion.
Irene is dead wrong when it comes to the profit motive.  If she truly wants to serve the consumers of health insurance in the state of Colorado she should commit herself wholeheartedly to the free market and abandon her support for ColoradoCare.  Doing so, however, would require Irene abandon her religious faith in civil government and that is never going to happen.

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