March 2, 2010

Setting Nancy Pelosi Straight

Nancy Pelosi loves to talk about holding insurance companies accountable. Never mind that she seems to be fine with no one holding an out-of-control government accountable, especially the super-minority Republicans. Nevertheless, she insists that out of control insurance companies are the demons of health care;

“I have always said that any health care reform had to make the Triple-A test. It had to have affordability for the middle class, accessibility for many more people and accountability for the insurance companies. No longer would they have it all their way. And that’s what this legislation does.

“We had this on the agenda and then the snows came, and we had to put it off. And in between the time when we all got snowed out, Anthem Blue Cross in California announced that it was going to raise its rates 39 percent, 39 percent for health insurance. Over the past decade, insurance rates have gone up over 150 percent. And this continues in Michigan, Kansas, other places in the country. These insurance rates have gone up because the insurance companies simply have not been accountable, and this has worked to the disadvantage of the American people.
[Emphasis added]

Nancy, there you go again. Let me set you straight.

I know you are supposed to respect your elders but Pelosi makes it so hard some times. Nancy, you know what holds insurance companies accountable? Getting sales. Getting customers. You know how an insurance company gets customers? By offering them something the customers perceive as beneficial. It's called a value proposition. By providing a quality product at an affordable price.

What you are arguing Nancy, is that the insurance companies are not offering either a quality product or are not doing so at an affordable price. Clearly you do not think health insurance is not a quality product or you would not be trying to mandate coverage for everyone. So the issue must be price. That is not rocket science, you keep talking about everyone getting insurance so what you are really talking about, or think you are talking about, is the poor. Yes, there's some pre-existing condition issues, but I'll save that discussion for another time. Let's talk about the poor.

Here's a tip on making health insurance more affordable - increase competition. More providers mean more choice for consumers, which means suppliers must offer products priced competitively. Failure to do so will result in NO BUSINESS (or maybe just the business of those worthy of the Darwin Awards). What creates more competition? Less regulation - allow companies to compete across state lines. Give the companies the freedom to operate in a less restrictive environment when it comes to frivolous lawsuits. You have given companies the freedom to offer the best product they can, and consumers access to the most possible producers. Smart choices will result. In essence what you would be doing is letting the free market, a process that seems to work effectively in the donut market, operate effectively in the health care market - something that is not currently the case. Why can Dunkin Donuts compete in every state but health insurance companies can't? That is anti-competitive, and your proposed solution would only make things worse. Worse still, you are blaming the supplier for the problems of a distorted marketplace. Either you are being dishonest, or you simply don't understand (was that just a false choice argument? Nah.).

Look, the single argument you can make is that some people simply cannot afford health care coverage. That would be the poor, and the elderly. But aren't those people supposed to be covered by Medicaid and Medicare? So why isn't the system working already? Could it be that as soon as you start thinking you know what's best for everybody, in every case, you lose all credibility? The cookie cutter solution does not work. The collective subconscious of hundreds of millions of people and businesses know better than you or I. Period. Those who truly lack for health care are not operating in a void. People are charitable, help is available, even if it is government mandated via Medicare and Medicaid.

Start over? Why not? Those two behemoths need fixing. Your health care ally, the President even says so. So why not start there, unless this all just political theater?

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