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Why Should I Pay for Your Health Insurance?

This is fairly recent for a repost, but Igakusei asked in the comments on this morning’s post for advice on what to say to someone asking very similar questions. Since I’m having a bad health day myself and not up for serious blogging, and since most of you here won’t have seen this, I’ll go ahead. It’s also good to see Crommunist putting his expertise out there on health care.

A friend of mine from high school asked on Facebook a few days ago, “Why should I pay for your health insurance?” Because we have a certain amount of history together, I’m going to answer that question seriously instead of hiding or unfriending this person, which would be my normal inclination with anyone who has managed to reach our age without figuring this out.

So why should you pay for my health insurance? Lots of reasons.

Maybe because I pay for yours and your family’s, and I do it willingly. More than that, I insist on it. Who do you think has been churning the economic engine while you’ve had your career in the military? Who do you think has raised a stink when your benefits haven’t been funded, your institutions have been allowed to rot, your fellow service members’ coverages haven’t kept up with the dangers of the modern military age? I’ll give you a hint: It wasn’t anyone leaning “kinda libertarian on this one.”

Pat yourself on the back all you want for the planning or whatever that got you into a position where you don’t think you need to worry about paying for your own health care. But remember, I was there. I know just how much planning didn’t go into those choices. You lucked into this one, and you’re going to have to count on luck to keep what you’ve been promised.

To your fellow “Why should I” libertarians, you’re a slogan at best. There’s nothing special about you or the military that will keep them from cutting your benefits so they can keep more of “their” taxes. The only thing putting you one major illness away from bankruptcy, just like the vast majority of the rest of us, is that there are people out there who answer, “Why should I,” with, “Because to do anything else would be indecent.”

If that isn’t enough for you, maybe you should pay for my health care because you already do. You pay more taxes because my insurance is untaxed. You pay more for products because my salary and benefits have to be enough to cover my costs. You pay the unemployed because I or others like me work enough hours to pay for everything, which keeps jobs from opening up. (It’s cheaper, after all, to pay overtime than to pay health benefits for another employee.) You pay for disability if the incentive structure of my private insurance is set up to prevent short-term problems over the life of my one-year contract instead of over my much longer lifetime.

Only right now, you’re paying way too much for my health care. You’re paying for the most inefficient health care and insurance industry in the world. Free market health care maximizes profit, not efficiency.

Or maybe you should pay because you want to protect your own health. Can you come up with a better breeding ground for epidemics than crowded emergency rooms full of infants, seniors, people with open wounds, and the immune-compromised? Can you come up with a better way to push people to those emergency rooms with serious illness than to make them unable to afford a trip to their doctor early in their disease? And how long were those people wandering around, ill and contagious but unable to afford care, before they were forced to seek treatment?

Or maybe you should pay because you think the U.S. should be a land of innovation and enterprise again. Because you understand that large companies are mostly buying small companies these days in order to add products and services, not innovating on their own, having slashed their research and development budgets and staffs over the last couple of decades. (If you don’t know that, I’m sure you have enough friends in R&D to find out what’s happened to their departments.) Small companies are currently driving innovation, if they haven’t throughout our history, but small companies pay more for health insurance and have the smallest of margins. People smart enough to change the world are smart enough to know what they risk by starting a company to pursue their ideas.

Or maybe, just maybe, you should understand that caring for one another, creating a better world for all, is what humans do. You should know that the point of this incredibly long adolescence of ours is socialization, becoming fit to take our places among the larger complex group, understanding both the advantages and responsbilities that this gives us. You should understand that claiming only the advantages while sniffing at the responsibilities is claiming the perpetual status of adolescent, which is why the grown-ups around you look so disappointed or angry when you say these things.

In other words, for as far as you’ve come and as much as you’ve accomplished, maybe it’s time to finish growing up.

Comments

  1. bksea says

    Well said! It’s amazing how many people don’t want to pay for something without realizing they are already paying for it. Once you recognize that fact, it becomes a lot easier to talk about ways to pay for it that are the most efficient and most fair.

  2. Daniel Schealler says

    There is a legitimate question in there, but probably not the one your friend meant to be asking.

    I still find it so damn weird that in America you all think it’s normal for the taxpayer to subsidize insurance companies rather than subsidizing healthcare directly.

    It seems engineered entirely towards benefiting the insurance companies, when instead it should be about ensuring the optimal balance between the level of medical coverage that can be guaranteed to all citizens vs. the cost to the taxpayer.

    Why not just cut out the middle-man insurance company and reduce the overall taxpayer footprint by that much overhead?

    It seems really obvious to me that that’s the way to go… But then again, I only barely passed macroeconomics 101, so possibly I’m lacking in expertise, here.

    What am I missing, here?

  3. SteveV says

    I posted this a few days ago elswhere – it may go some way to answer the question. BTW – I live in the UK.

    “As some of you may know, Miss M had a fall last week resulting in a broken hip. (classic ‘neck of the femur’ break, but no displacement) This happened in the main street at about 8.00pm*. Within 20 minutes she was in the ambulance and on her way to the main hospital in the county – about 20 miles away. I followed by car. By the time I arrived at A&E she was already booked in for an x-ray and had been seen by an orthopaedic registrar. She was admitted to the Trauma Ward before midnight. The next day (Saturday morning) she was operated on and had 3 pins inserted to stabilise the break. As she insisted on having an epidural rather than general anaesthesia, she was able to consult with the surgeon during the op on the choice of pinning or a prosthesis.
    She was able to move (with crutches) within 36 hours of the fall and is now back at home.
    We now have the benefit of daily (and I mean 7 days a week) help for 1 or 2 hours per day for the next 6 weeks to help Miss M maintain her dignity.
    All of this, including physiotherapy, pain meds and the loan of specialised appliances are provided by the NHS, free at the point of delivery.

    I was dimly aware of the medical situation elsewhere, but reading here over the last 18 months or so has brought home to me the fact that this accident, in a different country, could have bankrupted us.
    I have never been so grateful or aware of our privilege to live where and when we do as I am today.

    *The fact that we had just left the pub is completely irrelevant and I’ll fight anyone who says different.”

  4. drlake says

    @Daniel Schealler

    We Americans are idiots? Might be a bit harsh, but as someone who is of like mind with you I find the willful ignorance of my fellow citizens appalling.

    The real issue can be best understood as a combination of culture and ideology. Culturally, we’re about the most rabid group of individualists on the planet, so anything that is so clearly communal in nature is almost anathema from the start. Add on a strong libertarian ideological streak that makes virtually any government action “socialist” (I did mention willful ignorance, didn’t I?) and you’ve got the recipe for our incredibly dysfunctional healthcare system.

    I periodically consider looking into relocation to a more civilized country, but haven’t quite gotten to that point yet.

  5. thztds says

    @Daniel

    What your missing is that our politicians are have sold out to corporate interests so they can maintain power. The insurance lobby is a pretty powerful one that actively opposes any real move to a national health care system. Any politician that pushes too hard to remove the monopoly of private insurance will find herself or himself up against a very well funded candidate parroting the extreme libertarian idea that only an unregulated free market can ever provide the services we need.

    Money = speech = power in America, so those with the most money have the most power and they make sure they keep it that way.

  6. Daniel Schealler says

    @drlake

    We Americans are idiots?

    As much fun as it is to bash on America, that’s not exactly what I had in mind (at the moment).

    I don’t seriously think that Americans are any less intelligent than any other country.

    The thing that gets me is how the perception of normality shifts the way the facts of the matter are perceived.

    It’s similar to the millions if not billions of dollars spent by corporations in America on lobbying for their personal interests. To me it seems like naked corruption and bribery… But in America, that’s just Tuesday.

    Or at least, that’s my impression of how it’s viewed in America. I’ve only been there once, and that was to Vegas – so I could be off base there as well.

  7. Dr D says

    Hmmm…..i see more than ONE problem with this argument…..let me illustrate…..If we can’t trust the government to run medicare/medicaid well, then who the heck thinks the government is competent to run more healthcare?

  8. Daniel Schealler says

    @thztds

    Ha!

    I was writing my comment when you posted that. So… Yeah. No, that didn’t exactly escape me either.

    I just don’t understand why that’s perceived as normal.

    Which is obvious, because I’m an outsider looking in. The view is always different when you’re living inside the assumptions..

  9. sawells says

    Another point: I’m not necessarily paying for _your_ health care, I’m paying for _the existence of a health care system_ so it will be there if I need it. And it costs way less to just fund one big public system than to faff around with lots of competing private ones who spend money on advertising and highly paid CEOs and bribing politicians.

    I lived several years in the USA. What I had to pay for private health insurance there was much more than the proportion of my taxes here in the UK that goes to fund the NHS.

    So, you should pay for my health care because it will save you money :)

  10. sawells says

    Or maybe we should rebrand healthcare as “National Defence Against Illness”. Infinite quantities of money must always go to Defence, right? :)

  11. Adamo says

    Who says Medicare is not run well? It’s the most efficient, cost effective insurance in this country. My parents used it for years and never had a single problem getting healthcare services which kept them going until into their 90s. And can you find me a healthcare system or insurance company that runs on a 3% administrative budget? So quit spewing that crap about the government being unable to run something well.

  12. ImaginesABeach says

    There are certainly problems with Medicare. It was created in the 1960s, when people with disabilities and people over age 65 were not expected to be out in the community much. So there are rules like: wheelchairs are only covered to the extent that you need them and can use them IN YOUR HOME. If you can get around your home in a manual wheelchair, but are pretty much homebound without a power wheelchair, you better get used to the sight of your walls. And changing this requires an act of Congress.

    Medicaid is administered by the States, with some federal oversight. In some states, it works very well. In others, not so much. In some states, the legislature has given broad direction to the state agency and allows decisions to be made relatively quickly, and in other states the legislature is very specific and requires the state agency to go through lengthy and political rulemaking to change anything.

    Regardless of the drawbacks – these programs are helping people get medical care they could otherwise not get. How many 20 year olds with quadraplegia do you suppose can afford to pay for their own care or even their own health insurance?

    Full disclosure: I’m a government bureaucrat who makes decisions about health care. I work for a state Medicaid agency.

  13. Brian Macker says

    “I’m going to answer that question seriously instead of hiding or unfriending this person, which would be my normal inclination with anyone who has managed to reach our age without figuring this out.”

    Thank you for being honest about your methods of intellectual inquiry. One would think that someone who had reached a much younger age than you are insinuating would have figured out that sticking your head in the sand like an ostrich won’t get you very far. I have noticed that a lot of the free thought blog comment areas are socialist echo chambers. Maybe this attitude is part of the problem.

    “Maybe because I pay for yours and your family’s, and I do it willingly. More than that, I insist on it. Who do you think has been churning the economic engine while you’ve had your career in the military?”

    Most of us aren’t in the military. For those that are they are being paid to do a job, and part of that compensation is their health care coverage. So no you don’t pay for their health care. The preferable way would be to pay cash to government employees and have them buy their own health insurance, but the military has special needs.

    I’m in the private sector and my health care package is part of my compensation. It is part of my pay. Just because it is not monetary does not mean that someone else is paying it for me, with nothing in return. I’m in fact working for it.

    You might pay taxes to pay for the military. That is not true for 47% of the population however. Are you sure you are in the category of the 53% who actually pay taxes. Also, although you might pay taxes, are you paying enough to cover all the other benefits you get from the government plus the military? It might just be that you are paying less taxes than you are receiving in benefits. In which case it is hard to even claim you are paying to support what you get. You may be underpaying. Especially if your government is borrowing to cover the difference.

    The reason why I said it is preferable for the government to strictly pay cash and then for the government employee to buy his own insurance is because otherwise there is a temptation for the government not to actually cover the employee. This happens with government pensions and will lead to a collapse. For example, teachers generally pay tiny portions of their own pension costs, and the government isn’t truly backing their share.

    When there is an actual payment of cash, and then an actual purchase of a pension then it acts to expose the actual underlying flow of goods. If, for example, the government forced people to purchase pension plans instead of collecting social security then there would be actual savings going on. The individuals would have to purchase actual pensions and those pensions would have to invest in actual factories. Those are factories (and businesses) that increase the production capabilities of future generations allowing them to support the retirees.

    Unfortunately the social security system just lets the government spend the retirement money. It is not in fact saved. Eventually this leads to a progressive consumption of our capital base. This can outrun other factors in the economy operating in the opposite direction. Factors like my actions in providing for my own retirement. I save outside the SS system, but many don’t.

    In Japan they are doing this on steroids. They have something called the postal savings system. The Japanese save a very high rate but the government is squandering that savings. They are further down the road to a collapse than we are.
    Of course it is more complex than this and there are other factors but any positive or negative effects they have operate independently.

    So no, you don’t pay for his insurance, and you certainly don’t pay for mine.

    I’ve got a health plan for my wife, kids, and myself. I have homeowners insurance. I also pay for car insurance on three cars. You don’t pay for any of that.

    Obviously different people have different quantities of cars. Some have none. Some have several. Would you think it fair for me to claim that because I pay taxes towards the insurance of government vehicles (perhaps one your military friend is driving) that you should have to pay for my car insurance? You might not even drive a car.

    The same is true of health insurance. Some people have no children and some greedily have many more like Octomom. Why should a childless couple have to pay for the high health care costs of someone like Octomom, who not only has more babies but has those babies in the most costly way possible, using in-vitro to produce premature babies?

    The whole point of insurance it to mitigate risk by spreading it out and by accumulating assets to pay for it. Government only does the latter not the former. That is part of the reason why Europe is in such a bad state right now. This is true for some countries more than others. Examples being Greece, Italy, Spain, and France.

    One problem with government run systems is you can’t switch providers when they run the system poorly, and all the incentives in government tend towards running it poorly. Those incentives will drive the system towards collapse regardless of how well run it starts out as. There are many other problems.

    “Who do you think has raised a stink when your benefits haven’t been funded, your institutions have been allowed to rot, your fellow service members’ coverages haven’t kept up with the dangers of the modern military age? I’ll give you a hint: It wasn’t anyone leaning ‘kinda libertarian on this one.’”

    That’s just your bigotry speaking. In fact, it’s ridiculous. There is a much tighter correlation between those who do not want socialized health care and those who support the military, then the contrary. You try to have it both ways by targeting just libertarians (while including anyone else who opposes your viewpoint). Unfortunately even among libertarians you will find that they support funding health care for the military.

    What they don’t support is military interventionism. The military is the one area where most libertarians believe there is a need for government. One must compensate ones soldiers, of course. Health issues are direct consequences of the job and of course must be funded.

    Since you apparently know zero about actual libertarian and conservative positions and thinking it is no wonder you think this way.

    The dangers of the modern military age, and especially medical, are much less than in the past. Again your ignorance is showing. In fact, we have the dangers so low that more soldiers were dying under Clinton from accidents than Bush in war, due purely to the greater quantity of service personel.

    ” I know just how much planning didn’t go into those choices. You lucked into this one, and you’re going to have to count on luck to keep what you’ve been promised.”

    This makes zero moral sense. You don’t get to take from others because they are poor planners or lucky. That’s some twisted morality you’ve got going there.

    “To your fellow “Why should I” libertarians, you’re a slogan at best”

    I guess if you never bother to actually read then everything seems like a slogan.

    “The only thing putting you one major illness away from bankruptcy, just like the vast majority of the rest of us, is that there are people out there who answer, ‘Why should I,’ with, ‘Because to do anything else would be indecent.’”

    Decency requires that you pay for your own costs. Doing otherwise is freeloading.

    The rest is absolute ahistorical and afactual nonsense. The vast majority of US citizens have insurance, or in some cases don’t need insurance. Many of the current flaws in the US health care system are due to past government intrusions, and there are many of those.

    “If that isn’t enough for you, maybe you should pay for my health care because you already do. You pay more taxes because my insurance is untaxed.”

    So your argument is that because past governmental intrusions have set up bad incentives and transfer payments that make things unfair we should just bet the farm, and go in whole hog.

    ” You’re paying for the most inefficient health care and insurance industry in the world. Free market health care maximizes profit, not efficiency.”

    We don’t have a free market system. That’s a fact. We have a system with various government intrusions that if we just backed off the governmental tax policies, rules and regulations we wouldn’t have these issues. So this argument is also unworkable.

    “Or maybe, just maybe, you should understand that caring for one another, creating a better world for all, is what humans do. You should know that the point of this incredibly long adolescence of ours is socialization, becoming fit to take our places among the larger complex group, understanding both the advantages and responsbilities that this gives us. You should understand that claiming only the advantages while sniffing at the responsibilities is claiming the perpetual status of adolescent, which is why the grown-ups around you look so disappointed or angry when you say these things.
    In other words, for as far as you’ve come and as much as you’ve accomplished, maybe it’s time to finish growing up.”

    LOL. No it is obvious that it is you who needs to grow up. Holy cow, you have zero comprehension of how the world actually works and are living in complete fantasy land. You have next to zero comprehension of a great many things economic and political.

    If it weren’t for government supported pyramid schemes like the fractional reserve banking system a whole host of other problems that impact insurance in general would also be a non-problem. If only the government would do its own job instead of trying to baby sit everyone (to the benefit of politicians) then things would be much better.

  14. Igakusei says

    As someone with very little education in politics or economics, I find it a little frustrating that both sides of this debate throw so much “you don’t know how the world works!” into their arguments. I’m personally inclined to place more trust on the liberal side of things after having been burned out on religious people and the way they tend to go about “knowing” things, but my opinion isn’t really sold yet. I feel like I can see and understand where both arguments are coming from, but that doesn’t mean I know which one is more correct.

  15. otrame says

    Brian, you are the one not living in the real world. When I was working (I’m retired) I also had great health care insurance as part of my pay.

    But not everyone who works does. If they did you’d have to pay twice as much for that Big Mac.

    So what about all those people who work as hard as you do but whose job doesn’t include health insurance? Priced private health insurance lately? They don’t have health insurance because it would literally cost more than half ( in some cases, more than they make) of their income to pay for it. So they clog up your emergency room AND YOU PAY FOR THEM THAT WAY. Paying ER costs instead of doctor visit costs. And yes you do pay for it. It’s part of the reason your health insurance costs are so high, so you don’t get paid as much cash you could spend on other things.

    And since you fail at empthy for anyone but yourself, then consider what happens to YOU if you, through, say, an accident, can no longer do your job. You’re not disabled enough for Medicaid (which pays a few hundred a month but does get you highly limited health care) but you can’t do that job with paid health insurance any more. What if your job gets sent overseas and, oops, you have trouble finding one that includes healthcare insurance. Your wife and kids have no health insurance now and off they go to the ER instead of the doctor, and paying back the hospital takes out that college fund for your kids and since you don’t believe that society should pay for education either, your kids will look forward to careers asking, “Do you want fries with that?”. With no health insurance.

    These are not fantasies. These things happen to hard working people every god damned day. Your childish “I got mine, fuck you” attitude creates the most inefficient way of dealing with health care in the world and screws everybody but people with enough money to invest in insurance companies.

    You are the one living in a little self-righteous fantasy world.

  16. leftwingfox says

    Here’s one other big point:

    Right now, Brian, you are paying a lot more for your insurance than you need to. You are CURRENTLY indirectly subsidizing those who can’t afford healthcare. You are just doing it in the least effective way possible.

    The reason for this is simple: companies cover losses in one area by increasing costs in areas they do make a profit. So person A can’t afford the healthcare they receive, either because they are uninsured, or because their insurance company chosen by their employer doesn’t cover enough of their expenses. They declare bankruptcy. Hospital still needs to make up for those missing expenses, so they get it by increasing the costs from those who are paying: the insurance companies.

    In a universal system, EVERYONE pays; even the poor. Even those with previous conditions. Even the elderly. All of them pay some level of tax, whether it’s sales tax or income tax, which is used to pay for the health system. This allows statistics at a regional and national level to ensure the system is fully funded, and all receive care. It is a superior alternative to an unregulated market driven system.

    SO what is your solution to the free rider problem Brian? Ambulances should leave people in wrecked cars if they don’t have insurance? Cut the mentally ill or elderly off the meds if they cannot afford them? Eliminate Bankruptcy? What is it?

  17. BobFromLI says

    Brian, your libertarian screed is both lengthy and simplistic. Quite a feat! Having just watched my mom’s final battle in the hospital, I was relieved to note that between her government-funded Medicare and other insurances she had that were state-subsidized(she was a teacher), she received excellent palliative and hospice care without breaking the bank – either ours or the various agencies involved. Of course, she paid into the public and private systems for all her working life…and so she deserved the care she received. Whether we pay in cash, have it deducted from our pay, receive it as compensation as part of military service or receive such low wages/benefits from the 1% that we cannot afford the coverage, civilized people in a civilized society deserve medical care without discrimination based on ability to pay. (To determine who receives benefits now, simply invoke 1% vs 99% and see which group gets better access.)

    Just the other day, there was another of those crazy stories about the home that burned when firefighters responded but did nothing because the homeowner didn’t pay some sort of tithe to them prior to the incident. We are not about that. We are the land of the free, the home of the brave and,currently, the domain of the shortsighted. Let’s fix it.

  18. julian says

    One would think that someone who had reached a much younger age than you are insinuating would have figured out that sticking your head in the sand like an ostrich won’t get you very far.

    Eh?

    It’s her personal space, isn’t it? I thought you libertarians were all for people exercising those rights with no questions asked? Or is that just a situational thing for you?

    For those that are they are being paid to do a job, and part of that compensation is their health care coverage. So no you don’t pay for their health care.

    You are very wrong. My salary comes from your taxes. All the gear and equipment I work with essentially comes from your taxes. You are not only supplying me and my wife with health coverage (thanks, btw) you are supplying me with rounds, rifle, flak and whatever else my superiors deem important.

    he preferable way would be to pay cash to government employees and have them buy their own health insurance, but the military has special needs.

    Our health coverage later maybe (for injuries sustained during our enlistment and because of the work we had to do. ie hearing loss, messed up shins, knees and feet) but for domestic things the needs are almost identical to that of a civilian family. My wife recently had to have eye surgery, paid for by your tax dollars.

    There isn’t anything in particular that makes it so that we need it done this way except for the things that make it a necessity for any other family. Convenience, dependability, suddenness of some issues ectectect No one wants to have the well being of their family to be a constant worry. Especially if you are going to be negotiating it with someone determined to give you less than what you need (like in the case of a private sector employee trying to cut costs and maximize profits. Also one of the reasons you need the type of oversight only government can provide. It would be very easy for this person to push for unproven treatments to cut costs.)

    The rest of your post kinda just dragged on and on. If anyone else what’s to address it they are welcome too. Eye sores are a bit of a turn off for me.

  19. julian says

    Noticed this towards the end

    We don’t have a free market system. That’s a fact.

    Which measures, regulations and rules do you propose be done away with and why?

    Especially relating to health coverage. Which regulations would you do away with and which, if any, would you keep in place?

  20. Crommunist says

    @Stephanie – I had this conversation with a med student in the USA last March, and she asked me pretty much the same thing. I’m surprised you didn’t hit on the obvious answer among your other good responses.

    If you live on my street and you have an accident and you can’t pay your mortgage, your house gets repossessed. My property value goes down. Now, maybe that individual value is less than what your health care represents as a proportion of my tax burden; however, if this happens to 3-4 people all of a sudden the whole neighbourhood starts going under.

    Ask Detroit what it would have been like if a big chunk fewer medical-related bankruptcies had happened. Ask Pittsburgh, ask Madison. The only way the libertarian view works is if people are completely disconnected from each other, which is a fantasy. We are then left to choose the least harmful of non-ideal options for running the world. The one in which we are all supporting each other actually works better in our own long-term rational self-interest than the simplistic idea of simply fending for self.

  21. captainahags says

    “In fact, we have the dangers so low that more soldiers were dying under Clinton from accidents than Bush in war, due purely to the greater quantity of service personel [sic].”

    Citation PLEASE, you partisan hack. Oh wait, that’s from a bullshit right wing email. You come here and try to lecture us about burying our heads in the sand when yours is so far up your ass you can’t even bother to check something that’s clearly made up.

    Your argument is also self-contradictory- on the one hand, you say “Decency requires that you pay for your own costs. Doing otherwise is freeloading.” Yet on the other hand, you advocate paying for military healthcare- why? Just because?

    Let’s assume for a moment that I was uninsured, and was involved in a hit and run accident, but was not at fault racked up 100k in hospital stays, etc. I didn’t have insurance because I couldn’t afford it. Why do I have an obligation to pay my healthcare bills? Is it really morally decent for society to put me in debt for the rest of my life because I couldn’t afford the cost of insurance? I would say that from a moral standpoint, it’s far better to demand that everyone pay a small cost, so that no one pays a huge cost.

  22. Brian Macker says

    You guys are hilarous. The non-sequiturs, the false assumptions, and the outright misunderstandings of just about every subject you touch on is hilarious. No, I am not a libertarian for one thing.

    Quite funny that three of you still don’t understand what a compensation package is after I explained it. How about the rest of you explain it to them again to show that somebody here has an intelligence commensurate with their age? The idea that soldiers owe taxpayers something for “rounds, rifle, flak” and presumably the privilege of being blown up in a tank, is hilarious.

    It’s a shame your teachers and your families have failed your education so badly. I’d include your friends but it it quite apparent you restrict yourselves to friends with the same failings. I certainly can’t undo your severe issues in a comment section. I rue the day I pointed out the obvious to you.

  23. says

    Oh, I’m so sorry, Brian. Were you expecting a serious response? Here you go.

    Thank you for being honest about your methods of intellectual inquiry. One would think that someone who had reached a much younger age than you are insinuating would have figured out that sticking your head in the sand like an ostrich won’t get you very far. I have noticed that a lot of the free thought blog comment areas are socialist echo chambers. Maybe this attitude is part of the problem.

    I use Facebook to socialize. I have other resources for intellectual inquiry. Is Facebook your preferred means for learning about the world?

    Most of us aren’t in the military. For those that are they are being paid to do a job, and part of that compensation is their health care coverage. So no you don’t pay for their health care.

    I pay for their salary. I pay for their housing. I pay for their training and equipment. I certainly pay for their health insurance. Where did you think defense spending came from?

    The preferable way would be to pay cash to government employees and have them buy their own health insurance, but the military has special needs.

    There is no basis for this preference except for valuing ideology over efficiency.

    I’m in the private sector and my health care package is part of my compensation. It is part of my pay. Just because it is not monetary does not mean that someone else is paying it for me, with nothing in return. I’m in fact working for it.

    Who says that we get nothing in return for paying for health insurance. Did you read this post?

    You might pay taxes to pay for the military. That is not true for 47% of the population however. Are you sure you are in the category of the 53% who actually pay taxes.

    Quite.

    Also, although you might pay taxes, are you paying enough to cover all the other benefits you get from the government plus the military? It might just be that you are paying less taxes than you are receiving in benefits. In which case it is hard to even claim you are paying to support what you get. You may be underpaying. Especially if your government is borrowing to cover the difference.

    How sure are you that your employer is being profitable enough to pay for your benefits without borrowing? Has it issued public stock? Does it use a line of credit? Unless it runs on a cash basis, how can you be sure that you’re contributing enough work to really earn those benefits?

    Don’t engage in sophistry around here.

    The reason why I said it is preferable for the government to strictly pay cash and then for the government employee to buy his own insurance is because otherwise there is a temptation for the government not to actually cover the employee.

    And this never happens with private insurance? Try again.

    This happens with government pensions and will lead to a collapse. For example, teachers generally pay tiny portions of their own pension costs, and the government isn’t truly backing their share.

    You’re trying to tell us that we don’t understand compensation packages? Teacher’s pensions are part of their negotiated compensation packages.

    Federal government pensions are not backed by private equities the way most private industry pensions are. However, it’s worth noting that private industry pensions have declined sharply with every downturn in the economy since 2001. It’s taken this long and this much decline to have any effect on federal pensions. They’re more stable than private benefits.

    When there is an actual payment of cash, and then an actual purchase of a pension then it acts to expose the actual underlying flow of goods. If, for example, the government forced people to purchase pension plans instead of collecting social security then there would be actual savings going on. The individuals would have to purchase actual pensions and those pensions would have to invest in actual factories. Those are factories (and businesses) that increase the production capabilities of future generations allowing them to support the retirees.

    Because none of the problems in our economy are due to the fact that retirement savings were invested in financial derivatives that produced no goods. None of the problems were due to having too much money to invest without good places to invest it.

    You’ve got your basic economics backward. You can’t create jobs with only investment money. You need customers–and those customers have to be able to afford your product. Try submitting a business plan to attract capital without knowing who your customers are.

    Unfortunately the social security system just lets the government spend the retirement money. It is not in fact saved. Eventually this leads to a progressive consumption of our capital base. This can outrun other factors in the economy operating in the opposite direction. Factors like my actions in providing for my own retirement. I save outside the SS system, but many don’t.

    The purpose of retirement funding (and wow, we’ve strayed from health care now, haven’t we?) is not to provide market capitalization. It is, as I alluded to above, to provide consumers with enough of an income to spend money and fuel the economy. In fact, that’s exactly why Social Security was put in place in the first place.

    In Japan they are doing this on steroids. They have something called the postal savings system. The Japanese save a very high rate but the government is squandering that savings. They are further down the road to a collapse than we are.

    Of course it is more complex than this and there are other factors but any positive or negative effects they have operate independently.

    In Japan, they are suffering from problems of unregulated lending. It’s been compounded by the tragedy this year. Nothing to do with their retirement system.

    So no, you don’t pay for his insurance, and you certainly don’t pay for mine.

    I’ve got a health plan for my wife, kids, and myself. I have homeowners insurance. I also pay for car insurance on three cars. You don’t pay for any of that.

    I do pay for his, as noted above. I pay for yours as well if I patronize your company or a company that is a client of your company. You don’t just get to declare things unrelated by fiat.

    Obviously different people have different quantities of cars. Some have none. Some have several. Would you think it fair for me to claim that because I pay taxes towards the insurance of government vehicles (perhaps one your military friend is driving) that you should have to pay for my car insurance? You might not even drive a car.

    I might not have health either. Oh, wait. Your analogy fails in a very important way.

    The same is true of health insurance. Some people have no children and some greedily have many more like Octomom. Why should a childless couple have to pay for the high health care costs of someone like Octomom, who not only has more babies but has those babies in the most costly way possible, using in-vitro to produce premature babies?

    Gosh, what could the answer be…

    The whole point of insurance it to mitigate risk by spreading it out and by accumulating assets to pay for it.

    Oh, right. That was it. Unless you find a way to make health more like cars, you’re stuck with either paying for the health care of the uninsured in the least efficient way possible. Plus running into all the other problems I already mentioned in the post.

    Government only does the latter not the former. That is part of the reason why Europe is in such a bad state right now. This is true for some countries more than others. Examples being Greece, Italy, Spain, and France.

    The countries that are hurting the most in this economy are the ones that have adopted the most strict austerity measures. This is not a coincidence.

    One problem with government run systems is you can’t switch providers when they run the system poorly, and all the incentives in government tend towards running it poorly. Those incentives will drive the system towards collapse regardless of how well run it starts out as. There are many other problems.

    When it comes to the cost of health care, once again, it isn’t the government that is keeping them high. Medicare prescription drugs are costly specifically because Congress will not pass the bills that allow the kind of price negotiation that the VA already does. Guess where the pressure is coming from to keep those bills from coming to a vote? Hint: It’s not the bureaucracy.

    That’s just your bigotry speaking. In fact, it’s ridiculous. There is a much tighter correlation between those who do not want socialized health care and those who support the military, then the contrary. You try to have it both ways by targeting just libertarians (while including anyone else who opposes your viewpoint). Unfortunately even among libertarians you will find that they support funding health care for the military.

    Yeah. Those Republicans are so good to veterans. They would never vote against veterans’ benefits in the name of slashing spending. Not them. I must just be so prejudiced.

    Supporting the military means more than sloganeering.

    What they don’t support is military interventionism. The military is the one area where most libertarians believe there is a need for government. One must compensate ones soldiers, of course. Health issues are direct consequences of the job and of course must be funded.

    Health issues include more than just combat trauma and happen to military families too. Should those not be funded since they’re not directly job-related?

    Since you apparently know zero about actual libertarian and conservative positions and thinking it is no wonder you think this way.

    Or maybe it could be because I pay attention to how Congress is actually operating instead of which politicians where flags on their lapels. Just a thought.

    The dangers of the modern military age, and especially medical, are much less than in the past. Again your ignorance is showing. In fact, we have the dangers so low that more soldiers were dying under Clinton from accidents than Bush in war, due purely to the greater quantity of service personel.

    No. Only the dangers of dying in combat are lower. That has much to do with better trauma care, meaning those with major injuries survive more frequently now. Of course, they need ongoing care, which the dead do not. That would be where the costs come from.

    This makes zero moral sense. You don’t get to take from others because they are poor planners or lucky. That’s some twisted morality you’ve got going there.

    You saw this as a moral argument? Interesting. Wrong, but interesting. It was an appeal to self-interest.

    I guess if you never bother to actually read then everything seems like a slogan.

    Actually, as noted above, it’s exactly the other way around.

    Decency requires that you pay for your own costs. Doing otherwise is freeloading.

    So a child with a congenital problem that requires surgery is a freeloader? We already decide that some circumstances warrant someone else paying our costs. The question is simply who we think deserves it. Freeloading is also hiring employees without paying their health insurance costs, whether directly or by providing a living wage.

    The rest is absolute ahistorical and afactual nonsense. The vast majority of US citizens have insurance, or in some cases don’t need insurance. Many of the current flaws in the US health care system are due to past government intrusions, and there are many of those.

    Nice blanket assertion. Feel free to back it up.

    So your argument is that because past governmental intrusions have set up bad incentives and transfer payments that make things unfair we should just bet the farm, and go in whole hog.

    No. My argument is that there are significantly more efficient ways to pay for health care. Lots of countries have demonstrated that this one works well.

    We don’t have a free market system. That’s a fact. We have a system with various government intrusions that if we just backed off the governmental tax policies, rules and regulations we wouldn’t have these issues. So this argument is also unworkable.

    Yes, deregulation has always worked so well for us. Kindly explain how deregulating the companies that have policies in place on how to deny care would maximize efficiency instead of profit.

    LOL. No it is obvious that it is you who needs to grow up. Holy cow, you have zero comprehension of how the world actually works and are living in complete fantasy land. You have next to zero comprehension of a great many things economic and political.

    Yes, please do explain to me how we manage to live in complex societies without anyone shouldering their responsibilities. Alternately, feel free to recognize that your personal selfishness is an anomaly and stop trying to project it onto others.

    If it weren’t for government supported pyramid schemes like the fractional reserve banking system a whole host of other problems that impact insurance in general would also be a non-problem. If only the government would do its own job instead of trying to baby sit everyone (to the benefit of politicians) then things would be much better.

    Care to name a single country on Earth that operates this way and works? Just one?

    I rue the day I pointed out the obvious to you.

    “Rue the day”? Who talks like that?

  24. dizzlski says

    I left the Navy because I couldn’t continue to support baloney war. But for the love of pizza, I had some awesome healthcare. It was beyond awesome. Any, any single thing I had an issue with was dealt with. This includes dental people. I had multiple mri’s, my brain has been seen by modern techknowledgey (don’t know if that’s a word though). If the veterans had healthcare like the actives, I’d stand up and cheer.

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