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that's funny. last week the anti-obamacare guy (kristal) uses gov't run vetcare as an example of a well-run system and jon busts him on it. this week the pro-obamacare guy (obama) uses gov't run post office as an example of a badly-run system- and jon busts him on it. :)

I agree with Jon: WTF on busting the POff?

didn't see the vet segment you're referring to

By giving too much air time addressing all the crazy people who oppose healthcare, the administration thinks they can avoid answering the questions about genuine concerns that people who oppose this move may have.

What form will such questions take? Why bother? There are not enough people asking it to be in the national radar. But the fact that few are asking it does not mean the questions are not important. There was a clue though. The post-office analogy almost gave it away.

I think the loyal opposition is making it impossible for liberals to voice any kinds of legitimate concerns because at this point, I am too scared nothing is going to pass EVER. I feel like this is our one opportunity and if there is too much of a stink from the bozos who don't know what the f@#k they are talking about (see: Sarah Palin for prime example), Republicans will be able to say Americans do not want this....which means it will be years if ever for it to be brought up again...

The system right now is SO bad and getting worse (does anyone doubt that?) that I am open to literally almost anything because I feel like at least there will be momentum and then changes can be argued over throughout Obama's term(s).

I see what you are saying. Make American health care system more susceptible to change, even if it may not (or may) be change for the better. Once the thing picks up momentum and the ball gets rolling the competition for ideas will bring out the best ones. The current status quo is bad enough and people are desperate enough to try anything else. If they make mistakes let them learn from it and do things better next time.

Is that really the way things work, though? Maybe there are historical examples someone here could present, because my guess is that if it's expensive but mostly ineffective at doing what needs to be done (lower costs, get more people insured), then any follow up will be VERY hard to pass.

So, in that scenario, it has to be done right the first time. I agree with Bernie that it's less important if it's done in 1 week 1 month or 6, it needs to be done right to have good results.

'if it's expensive but mostly ineffective at doing what needs to be done (lower costs, get more people insured), then any follow up will be VERY hard to pass.'

That is correct, but only in a few cases is it obvious before hand. The more complicated it is, the less obvious it is. Until it passes, the numbers and the situations they are based on are all hypothetical. All real costs and prices are technically historic.

The problem fundamentally with government running anything is that they cannot use the pricing system to make sound decisions. The reason health insurance costs are so high and so health care so ineffective is because it is so full of government red tape.

Obviously the impact on costs that regulations bring where not obvious when they where passed. It could very easily happen again. It has to do with the nature of the organization making the decision and their insulation from market forces. We could be just exploring a new way to make health care more expensive and less effective. But things being so bad now, people may willingly take that risk.

The reason health insurance costs are so high and so health care so ineffective is because it is so full of government red tape.

Could you please explain this comment? I don't even understand what you're referencing?

I could link you to a clip that I am sure you won't find in this blog:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZ3EI2F8XX8

That could give you a clue to what I am referring to.

I could also try to explain to you what insurance really applies to. There are certain aspects of reality in which you can say something certain about a group, but for individual cases within the group you can make no accurate predictions.

Like you can say within a pool of drivers between ages 30 to 50, 1 in every hundred will suffer in a catastrophic accident, but you can not know which one will. Neither can they, the things responsible are not fully within anyones control, maybe their eye sight is fading. So you can pool the money of hundred people within that category and pass it on to the person who suffered the tragedy.

It is not like giving money from the rich to the poor which is a systematic re-distribution of wealth. It is non-systematic and it can only be non-systematic if it is for scenarios that you cannot yourself bring about.

Like unemployment insurance. That cannot be, because you can choose to remain unemployed. But employment related accident insurance, that can be. So you can use the money to provide for yourself while recovering from the accident. People working in a steel mills for instance, may be prone to a particular type of accident and no one knows which one will be unlucky, but they all know one of them will. That is one risk pool.

But the government passes laws that puts people into risks pools they are not supposed to be in. This results in systematic re-distribution of wealth.

http://mises.org/MultiMedia/mp3/MU2009/MU2009Hoppe207-29-2009.mp3

That makes insurance a less appealing proposition. The fact that this also raises premiums makes it even more unappealing. That is what makes health insurance unaffordable. And now they are going to make it compulsory. You do not even have the option of dropping out anymore.

So what do you do? You take the political route to reduce costs. Which means politicians will be deciding, directly or indirectly, whose health is more important and whose is not, what is the appropriate age to die and so on. The "death panels" will come, but by another name.

Right from the frying pan into the fire, that is happening now.

Do you seriously think Hoppe's view of health insurance views are reasonable? The guy is an outrageously extreme. I don't know how it is, what with disability insurance and health insurance that I and my colleagues have, that I and virtually all my colleagues work far more than 40 hours a week, virtually never take a sick day, and don't generally lay about all the time. I would be willing to bet that at the University of Nevada this clown has had full health insurance benefits for his entire career - and so do his colleagues. But the arrogant son of a bitch thinks he is some kind of rare siuperman who happens to be the strong exception. He's a real piece of work.

Abhilash - I hit reply to my own question so this isn't too skinny.

The reference to an institute with a coat of arms in the middle of Alabama following "the Austrian school" of economics? The Austrians don't follow it. Who has adopted this as an example to the rest of us?

The comment about politicians deciding whose health is more important? I doubt that but, I want to know what you think insurance companies are doing now? You said I wouldn't see that clip on this blog (the woman seems to be complaining about the government involvement in hospitals because the government isn't giving some of them any more money - isn't that like the joke where they say "the food was awful and there was so little of it")- have you seen the ones that are on here? The one from Bill Moyers and the former insurance exec, for example (btw - a friend of mine worked for Blue Cross/Shield and her job also was deny, deny, deny)

I do think government's job is to take care of those that private industry doesn't want and if you think that's a re-distribution of wealth, so be it. The post office delivers mail for $.44. What private enterprise wants to build a huge infrastructure to earn small change like that? They want to lay it all out so they can do overnight shipping for $14.00+. They want to go where the money is. Private insurance companies don't want to cover those who are sick, old or poor - why would they? Where is their percentage in that? They are in business. Their job is to offer a competitive service (faster, better, cheaper, branded or a revolutionary new take). That's fine. But, what about those sick, old or poor? I lived in SF and, personally, I don't like stepping over the homeless on my way to a business meeting. Kind of takes your focus out of it. And, I don't want the Dickens's poorhouses brought back. I like there to be a safety net for the less fortunate which probably means a redistribution of money - so what? I happily pay a fair percentage but I'm not the one that's being protected here.

Dear jillbryant2003,

I did not want a skinny reply either. :)

Honestly I do not care whether the organization I am referring to is in the middle of Alabama or Upper Manhattan. And I am not imposing my choice on the rest of you. So far in my view they have provided the best explanation for the nature of the crisis there is, so I referred to them. As for your criticism to them, I would advise you to understand what your criticizing first or else you may just end up beating up straw men.

'I do think government's job is to take care of those that private industry doesn't want'

Are you sure about that? The private industry is usually reluctant to serve of people who are too lazy to work, who has a tendency to steal,harass or kill and who has a tendency to trash things up. But you do not care that much for that kind either. Perhaps what you meant to say is that it is the government's job to take care of those that the private industry doesn't want, but you care for. I am sure you would not say that if you felt that past government policies meant to provide just such care is what that got us into this mess in the first place.

The woman in the clip is complaining because government policy is misallocating resources in the healthcare arena. It is not a case of government not giving them any money. It is a case of government shutting down profitable institutions that provided excellent services and artificially raising the price of medial care by imposing severe restrictions. You totally misunderstood the clip, but I suppose that was my mistake.

'I want to know what you think insurance companies are doing now?' I think they are doing a lousy job. But I have good reason to believe that they are doing a lousy job because the government intervened. Which is why I do not think more intervention will resolve the issue. It will only dive us deeper into it. I have explained to you the process by which people are grouped according to health risks and why the grouping is crucial in bringing down the costs. I have also explained why not all risks are insurable. And I gave you a link.

This systematic re-distribution that you approved off is precisely what makes insurance companies do the lousy job that you hate so much. It raises the prices, so people opt out unable to afford it. If not for government intervention they can put people in the right risk pools and that will bring all the costs back in line. Which they normally would do to remain profitable, and now they can't because the government does not allow. What do you think is going to happen when Obama makes it compulsory? You do not even have the option of opting out of this artificially expensive system. And they do not have to bring prices down since people cannot opt out. The government would have to step in as a 'payer of last resort' or as the single payer. But the government does not earn any money. Which means the burden will fall on all tax payers. Hard working people earning their own bread cannot even eat it in peace. You can expect an even more complex tax code, to hide how much you are losing out to the government.

As for the post-office, Obama himself has admitted that they are not the best run organization. It is subsidized with taxes, so $.44 that you are aware of is only the visible expense. Private firms are forbidden by law to compete in first class mail. Where competition is allowed they have done well, despite being legally underprivileged, relatively speaking.

'Private insurance companies don't want to cover those who are sick, old or poor - why would they? Where is their percentage in that? They are in business. Their job is to offer a competitive service (faster, better, cheaper, branded or a revolutionary new take). That's fine. But, what about those sick, old or poor? '

When faster, better and cheaper services are made available, they become available for sick, old and the poor. Why do you think they make the services cheaper? Because in the current prices, there a significant section of the population remains undeserved, that represents lost revenue. So it is in their benefit to bring these services to the price range that they can afford. That is how the sickly poor and the old get covered. The poor houses will go away, because healthy people can become more productive.

And if you want to help them get back on their feet, there are several private charities that do an excellent job. That is voluntary re-distribution as opposed to coerced re-distribution achieved by regulation and taxation. The advantage they provide is that they have to use your money properly or you can take it elsewhere, to another charity or not pay at all. The government has no such competition. In addition, they can come at you with guns to take your money whether you like it or not and lock you up.

To be honest, I thought the gun protester guy came off pretty well (in the Chris M interview). I'm not sure I agree with his position, but he didn't seem like the nutjob I expected

Abhilash - I appreciate you taking all the time to write out your responses but it's all getting too long. I see I have to work on presenting my argument against libertarianism and I appreciate that. I am so NOT a fan, I should be able to express all the reasons quite clearly and I'm obviously not there.

I don't have the energy to go through and rebut or acknowledge your rebuttals (which would lead to your rebuttals of those because I don't expect to convince you) but, just to your last comment - having worked for a few charities I know just when you need it the most is when you have the least hope of getting it.

Is it the label that gets to you? I have given detailed and well articulated arguments, I did not once mention the word 'libertarian' or libertarianism. I am not a fan of libertarianism. I am a person impressed by well articulated arguments. Which you have not given. I do not like 'fans' too much. Fans are swayed by emotions not reason.

And as for charity, not only is it not incompatible with libertarianism, charities in a libertarian society would function much more effectively.

Also what would you prefer more a world with plenty of charities because there are plenty of poor and few that can afford to be generous? Or a world with little or no charities because there are few poor and plenty of prosperity?

Despite its appeal to our sense of empathy, charities are a sign of our failure as a society. In a productive society there should be no charities because there would be prosperity all around. That is how I see charities ending, through prosperity. Something that the Obama administration have not promised and cannot deliver. And without prosperity, peace will slip away too. Wait and see.

No - it's not the label. In fact - I like the label. If I were Frank Luntz, I would make that word work for me. Libertarian sounds very American mythos - strong independence, free thinker, stands alone. You know - the emotion. The problem is the detailed and well articulated arguments.

Anyway - right now I'm so disappointed with Obama and what's going on with insurance, I'm going to move on.

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