Thursday, April 27, 2017

Your Int'l Pundit, John Arra-son

CLICK HERE to view my appearance on the Tokyo News. Even if you don't understand a lick of Japanese you can see that I'm unhappy to be paying the premiums for the other fellow who is just delighted about it.

Friday, April 7, 2017

How to Save Obamacare.

While everyone's attention is on Syria, perhaps it's a good time to take another pass at considering rationally the Obamacare crisis.

The presumed purpose of Obamacare was to make sure every American has affordable access to health care. Obamacare has failed at this. Not only did it leave millions of Americans without insurance coverage, it has raised the cost of health insurance drastically for millions of others. Soon many millions more will go without coverage as insurance companies are bailing out of the market. Competition has dropped. The quality of health care is dropping commensurately.

The Freedom Caucus did Donald Trump (and the American people) a huge favor by killing Paul Ryan's wimpy version of "repeal and replace" of Obamacare. Though Trump criticizes them for blocking a "win" for him, he's just playing his version of Muhammed Ali's Rope-A-Dope. (They seem to be handling his gut jabs well, unlike John McCain who is still stomping around the ring consumed with bitterness. I think he got a concussion from his tete-a-tete with Trump.)

Anyway, the opportunity is now greater than ever to forge Obamacare into a force for good, to make sure Obamacare provides the greatest coverage to the greatest amount of people at the lowest cost. Here's how:

1. Preserve and protect the private insurance market.

  • Th quickest most effective way to do this is to remove all coverage mandates, not just Obamacare mandates, but state mandates as well. Let insurers sell the coverage that people want to pay for - don't force maternity coverage costs on old people, sex change coverage on straight people, or any kind of coverage on anybody. Insurers know what consumers want and will tailor plans to various populations that they will snap up. And they'll compete hard for the business, driving prices down, because any insurance business is really just selling money, and a premium payer is a cash cow.
  • Outlaw restrictions for buying insurance across state lines. This is a no brainer and is easily justified Constitutionally in the same manner that home state sales taxes are not allowed on out of state purchases.
  • Let anybody buy insurance for anybody else, as long as it's ok with the insurer, of course. Why in the world are "kids" allowed on their parents' policies until they are 26? If not 18, then why not 36? Why does it have to be a kid? Or a spouse? Heck, the definition of marriage and sex is quite fluid, apparently, so why have arbitrary barriers in the insurance world?
  • Mandate tort reform. A huge amount of health care cost is eaten up by liability insurance costs paid by doctors and medical institutions. Mistakes and negligence should be compensated but should not constitute a lottery.
2. Move anyone who does not have private insurance to Obamacare.
  • Establish a network of Obamacare health care providers which consist of existing federal institutions such as the V.A. hospitals and state and local institutions such as public university hospitals, certain non-profit health care providers (i.e., Planned Parenthood, which could finally morph from eugenics to actual care for the living), and community health clinics. If you don't have private insurance, you don't need to register for Medicaid or Tenncare or anything else, you simply make an appointment (or show up in an emergency) at one of these Obamacare network facilities.
  • Vest authority in the states to determine the mandates for their Obamacare health care providers. So California can mandate abortion coverage through its Obamacare network but Tennessee, say, does not have to.
  • Block grant ALL federal health care expenditures to the states for spending on their Obamacare health care network as they see fit, prorated according to the number of citizens residing in their borders. The exception to this policy would be, say, agencies like the CDC or the FDA which are legitimate national programs.
It's that simple. We don't need the Congressional Budget Office to figure it out. I wouldn't trust them anyway, because it just makes too much common sense. It's only a matter of setting up a private vs. a public system, not unlike education. The private system will work beautifully. Everyone will want to afford insurance, even if it means giving up cable or high speed internet, so the rolls will be full of willing customers. Those who do not have private insurance for whatever reason - bad luck (i.e., a major preexisting condition), personal choice, sloth, or being in between jobs - will always have somewhere to go, cared for by the state. Private donors, religious institutions, and other benefactors can make the Obamacare facilities and staff just as good as they're willing to contribute.

Given its demonization heretofore it seems a paradox, but preserving private healthcare insurance is exactly the way to save Obamacare. It will drive the maximum number of people off the public dole and for those really in need, public funding will provide excellent care.