by Tyler Cowen
on January 7, 2011 at 10:13 am
in Web/Tech |
1. David Brooks on the progress of the health care bill.
2. Why restaurants want fewer customers.
3. Bryan and Robin should raise their opinion of Kant, who was a betting man. Robin responds.
4. More economists in love: Lundberg and Startz.
The Kant link is excellent.
Yes, Robin should raise his opinion of Kant. He truly believes he understands philosophy well enough, doesn't he? This is why his philosophically-minded posts sound more like the stoned arguments of philosophy undergrads than one who really wrestles with their ideas. The fact that he's very intelligent may shield him from arguments that he likely lacks depth.
3. The fine irony being that the bet about alien life Kant SAYS he would make he didn't actually make and knew he'd never be able to make.
Let's see, employers started dropping employer health benefits in the 90s because they knew Obamacare was coming, they started consolidating the industry in the 80s because they knew Obamacare was coming, they started hiking insurance premiums by double digits annually beginning in 2000 because they knew Obamacare was coming, doctors started telling everyone they were going to retire beginning in the 90s because they knew Obamacare was coming, so Brooks is correct on one thing, Obama is being blamed for everything bad that has happened in the past quarter century.
And one of the things the Republicans claim will drive down costs are:
1) buying across State lines – well, since the late 90s my insurer is based in Indiana but it requires that I buy a NH policy if I'm going to see doctors in NH instead of living in Indiana and getting all my health care in Indiana. My premiums have skyrocketed since I've begun buying from an out of State health insurance company.
2) letting the State experiment – well the new law funds each State to setup their own State system for health reform, letting each State pick between various options from Medicaid to private insurance to government single payer, and even forming multi-State compacts.
3) tort reform – the new law funds research into how to implement tort reform to reduce costs because while conservatives and Republicans have been calling for tort reform to reduce health care costs, the numerous efforts at tort reform to reduce costs have failed to reduce costs, and the Republicans failed come up with Federal legislation in the decade they controlled Congress, so on what basis should we expect Republicans to offer effective tort reform to reduce health care costs?
And let's remember that Mitt Romney developed Romneycare in Mass with the dual purpose of helping small businesses in Mass afford health care and to give him a badge to wear to defend against a liberal Democrat who was campaigning on single payer, but ended up with Obama embracing Romney's plan and making it the basis for his presidential campaign so Romney has been forced to oppose Romenycare.
The other thing that Brooks got right is that most people are tired of the debate on how to cut health care costs, but the Republicans and conservatives only talk about how not to reduce costs, while standing by and defending the rising costs of health care while blaming the higher costs on the people who are trying to control the health care cost increases.
What we have is a Republican promise to repeal and replace, with the replace being a resolution for the Republicans to start work on researching how they would reform health care, doing so as they are cutting the Congressional staff by 5% which presumably pushes that research effort further to the back, all in the hopes that this will prevent the rising cost of health care from being a topic of debate. Fat chance – I'm old enough to remember almost half a century of debate over how to increase access to health care and control costs.
It's particularly rich that Brooks is pushing plans put forward by conservatives. Hey David, wake up. The Obama plan is very much the one conservatives wanted. They hate it now for no other reason than that it was passed by Democrats. And if Democrats adopted any new conservative proposals the right would suddenly hate those as well.
Do you really think demand management, and not supply incentives should be the primary focus for lowering prices? As much as I think lifetime health accounts are a decent idea (especially for me personally) the issue is a demographic one, which means structural considerations need to be considered. If labor isn't allowed to more easily move into the health provision sector, you can do any demand management you want, and prices will still go up at double digit rates year over year. .
"That is, treat health insurance provided by employers as taxable income:"
When people say this, I sure hope they mean the insurance payouts and not the premiums…sigh.
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