More OCRegister B.S. on Health Care

I’ve read some pretty nutty editorials from the Orange County Register; but Sunday’s editorial On health care, beware what you wish for took things to a new level.

Demagogues preying on natural fears have created a false sense of urgency for government-sponsored medical system.

A recent poll informs us that nearly 70 percent of Californians believe the state’s health care system needs major changes.

It’s apparently such an urgent problem, say pollsters from the Public Policy Institute of California, that three fourths of those people are willing to buy into Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s plan to heavily tax employers, health care providers and individuals to fix the perceived problem.

One might think health care is being denied these people. But virtually no one in California goes without health care.

What!? Virtually no on in California goes without health care???? 

On August 29, 2007 the San Francisco Chronicle reported: “A record 6.8 million Californians, nearly 1 in 5 of the state’s residents, went without health insurance at some time during 2006,” according to figures released Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau. “Nationally, a record 47 million Americans, including 8.7 million children, lacked health coverage,” the report said.

“The story here is that the problem isn’t going away, and it’s getting worse,” said E. Richard Brown, director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. “What we are seeing is a decline in employment-based coverage – it’s becoming less and less affordable for more and more people.”

The Register editorial goes on to add: Government should revoke all mandates limiting insurers’ flexibility to meet market demand, and in that way greatly reduce costs…  Without government interference, people could shop for catastrophic coverage, if that’s all they want, rather than pay top dollar for broad coverage with low-deductibles.

They’re kidding; right? The problem with catastrophic coverage is that it does not proved any sort of preventative care. The coverage only kicks in once you have the heart attack, not before when it could be prevented.  Catastrophic coverage only kicks in after your mother, sister, or wife is diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer as opposed to stage 1 or 2 where it is more treatable. 

Further, since the catastrophic coverage is also expensive people are more likely to skip spending the money on their insurance and instead opting for the new iPhone.  If they get a catastrophic illness, they just go to the emergency room.  If they can’t pay, no worries, those who are insured pick up the slack in higher premiums.

But these two lines were the most offensive to me of all.

There will be challenges even the free market will struggle with, such as expensive, high-risk coverage for people with pre-existing, bad health. But once the market straightens out for the bulk of us, such issues can be dealt with more effectively and economically.

Translation: Let the sick fend for themselves.  It is survival of the fittest after all.

You can’t get more Libertarian than that now can you?

Mark Landsbaum had more of the same in his column on Sunday A costly co-pay.

Long ago people bought health care the way they bought groceries, automobiles or shoes. They shopped and stayed within budget.

The current crisis isn’t that there are some uninsured. It’s that so many are overinsured. Third parties pay 86 cents of every medical care dollar, according to Michael F. Cannon, the libertarian Cato Institute’s director of health policy studies. It costs $12,000 to insure one family for one year, but that family has no concept of the cost, paying at most a small fraction. Yet that family still wants more, and state governments oblige by forcing insurance companies to sell as many as 64 different benefits, ranging from hair restoration to breast reduction, further increasing costs.

“[F]ederal laws have created a health care system where patients are too often spending someone else’s money when they purchase medical care,” Cannon says. “As a result, U.S. patients demand too much medical care and pay too little attention to whether that care is cost-effective.”

When people keep their money and weigh their purchases, they spend as much on groceries, automobiles, shoes – and health insurance – as they want to.

Mark, I’ve got a better idea, let’s have a universal system of health care that helps everyone stay healthy and treats them when they are ill.  It really doesn’t make sense to ask somone to choose between food and health care.

  2 comments for “More OCRegister B.S. on Health Care

  1. joe shaw
    September 24, 2007 at 8:34 am

    The problem with those that have insurance is the high cost of it. The cost of insurance has gone through the roof.

    Most Californians are sick of fighting insurance companies for everything–payment of incurred health costs, for up-to-date treatment options, for the latest drugs–and they’re tired of paying high premiums and high deductibles.

    Most reasonable people realize that reform is needed.

  2. joe shaw
    September 24, 2007 at 8:36 am

Comments are closed.