October 20, 2009

Dumbass. This is why your idea sucks balls.

Working for Hank has restricted some of the blogging I can do... however, this just had to be said. I did manage to clean up my language. Somewhat.

Last week Tom Schieffer, who is running for the Democratic nomination, had a nice chat with the Rio Grande Guardian. He was so impressed with it, he even sent it out to his mail list and posted it on his website. Here's the part that caught my eye...

“The situation we have right now is unsustainable and what we have right now is fewer and fewer people being covered and higher and higher costs. That does not work. What the president is trying to do is give people access to a system in which they can get coverage and I think it will eventually lower health insurance premiums because everybody will be covered.”

Schieffer said what is happening right now is the people who are paying for health insurance are paying for all the people who are not insured. He said they are paying it in the form of higher taxes at the county level and they are paying for it in the form of higher insurance rates. “Someone has to pick up the indigent health care costs and the uncovered costs. That is why the costs are so high right now,” he said.

Schieffer was asked where he stood on the public option. Supporters argue that private insurance companies will not lower premiums unless and until there is a government-run alternative. Schieffer said he does not believe the public option is the be all and end all of health care reform.

“I look at it like we have mandatory automobile coverage. Everybody has to have it and you have what they call an Assigned Risk Pool and people compete for the business,” Schieffer said.

“When we first started mandatory auto insurance in Texas there were hundreds of thousands of people who were not covered. We have got that down to less than 100,000. I do not think that having the public option or not having the public option is critical. I think it is all about access. When people have access they will feel a lot better and it will work better than it is right now. Right now the system is broken.”

We do not pay sky-high premiums because there too few insured. We pay higher property taxes and that's the only accurate thing he said. Everything else is complete bullshit. Hank Gilbert nails it here, but I wanted to point out some things in my own special way. Mostly because it pisses me off badly as a Texan and a Democrat that a man who wants to be Governor would be so casual about one of the biggest problems we face as a nation.

Health care reform ISN'T about access to private insurance. Everyone has access but an ever growing number can not afford the premium. And this isn't auto insurance, it's far more complex and dominated by some extremely large players. In other words, THERE IS NO GODDAMN EFFECTIVE MARKET. Further, just having more people in the pool isn't going to lower the premium... that's not the way insurance works today. NOW, with real time analysis tools and risk management systems, premiums are often based not on the pool, but on the effective risk of the individual in non-negotiated (individual) insurance plans.

Even if it were still the 70's and what Schieffer said was true (assuming it ever really was), this is saying 'let's create a legal obligation to buy health insurance and put no restrictions on the insurers to lower rates'. I'm not real comfortable trusting an insurance company that thinks being a woman is a pre-existing condition. Or that uses credit scores to determine price, not actual risk (and don't come at me with that ridiculous little study from UT that was based on industry data).

A candidate for Governor should know all this. And that's why I'm supporting one who does.

Posted by mcblogger at October 20, 2009 09:19 PM

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