|Quoting Ken777 (Reply 32):|
It's amazing how you'll prefer to have the finance sector free to play the same games that caused to many problems rather than have a Democrat, especially a gay Democrat, work to get some control over the area.
Right, because Frank's genius policy of forcing banks to make housing loans to bad credit risks and then charging Fannie and Freddie with the moral duty of guaranteeing such loans was genius, really provided us with some substantive control over the financial sector and did not at all contribute to the bubble in housing prices, the ensuing collapse and the current spate of foreclosures. As a homosexual who has oddly enough met Barney Frank at a gay bar (and I resent that you bring it up anyway, because his gayness has nothing to do with it), I will not ignore that Democratic lawmakers structured legal institutions in such a way that mandated (or at the very least incentivized) banks to write loans they knew were bad, because they would be immediately guaranteed by Fannie and Freddie and resold. All in the name of economic justice, because apparently renting is the great injustice of the 21st century.
Why do you continue to blame "greedy Wall Street CEOs" for this entire mess? The ones who perpetrated fraud or cooked books of course should be prosecuted, but most were simply acting as any rational agent would given the legal environment and economic incentives that the legislature put into place.
So you're right, I would rather have the finance sector play their games than have this gay Democrat, with his dismal record of economic understanding, to work to get some control over the area.
|Quoting Ken777 (Reply 35):|
Fortunately not - some Americans would have lost a huge amount when the Dow went from 14000+ to the 6000 range.
Aside from the fact that nearly all of those would be paper losses unless you were dumb enough to sell at the bottom, the point of privatization is that you choose to put it where you like. If the stock market is to risky for your appetites, buy some T bonds. Or stash it in a CD
. Or invest in your neighbor's lawn mowing business. Or put it under the mattress. Most people choose the stock market because empirical data show time and again that stocks offer the greatest growth with relatively low risk in the long term, even accounting for recessions like the most recent one. If you think that is just corporatist propaganda then put your money elsewhere.
|Quoting Ken777 (Reply 35):|
So basically the elderly in this country has been protected during a massively unstable time in the financial sector.
Yeah except any senior who has access to google.com is going to have a very low exposure to equities by the time he even thinks about retirement. They would be heavy into fixed income (before Obama stomped on bondholder's rights), savings bonds, and cash depending on their tax situation.
|Quoting DXing (Reply 41):|
Then following free market rules the prices will fall accordingly. BTW, it's not the insurance companies that set the "health care" costs, that's doctors, hospitals, drug and medical equipment/supply companies.
|Quoting FlyPNS1 (Reply 43):|
Quoting DXing (Reply 41):
Then following free market rules the prices will fall accordingly.
No, healthcare will simply become a luxury good that only the well-off can afford.
That is only true if we continue to allow them to enjoy anti-trust immunity. Selling across state lines is important, but not the whole story. We must make the insurance companies compete with one another. Just like in every other market, if a firm A goes wild with prices, firm B is going to swoop in and pick up the lower end not out of benevolence but because there is profit potential.
Again, even true competition is not the only remedy but it is a necessary first step that the Democrats have very notably not addressed, all the while stoking the populist rage at insurance companies.
|Quoting FlyPNS1 (Reply 43):|
I never said that insurance companies "set health care" costs. However, they can influence costs...both positively and negatively.
But in a competitive market, firms actually have very little pricing power. Without ATI, the insurance market might not be perfectly competitive because of the high costs to set up shop, but in principle it would actually mitigate the ability of insurance companies to influence costs.
I trust this solution much more than giving them the power to influence costs positively or negatively and then expecting them to act contrary to their economic interests.
|Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 44):|
Those costs exist because of our perverted system where the person who pays the bill is not the same person as who receives the service. Fix that and you fix the pricing. Fix the pricing and you reduce the costs for the 80-90% or more of the population who can afford the insurance.
True competition and a system in which the consumer of the service is actually accountable for its cost will significantly reduce our cost problems. Any kind of insurance creates moral hazard problems, to address this we must have the consumers of health care pay a percentage of their health care costs such that they actually have to consider cost, economize, and determine what treatments are worth it to them.
Under the current system, even a rational patient has every economic incentive to undergo every single test, procedure or service they can get their hands on, so insurance companies do the economizing and I would agree with many liberals that it is not particularly effective. Because each person has a different utility for most procedures, I would rather leave the decision making up to the individual. But that is impossible as it stands now because the incentive is to vastly overconsume.
I am not immune from the phenomenon. Just last week a had a procedure and had to be put under. I hate IVs, and was not looking forward to being hooked up, so the nurse offered me a valium. Knowing my costs are the same whether I take the pill or not, I gladly accepted. But had I been even marginally accountable for the cost of that pill I would have at least thought
about whether it was really worth the cost.
|Quoting DXing (Reply 45):|
Another thing that could greatly help, and not cost the taxpayer a dime, is to get hospitals and doctors to list their prices for particular services so you could shop for your services. That does not mean decreasing standards, but having a more transparent system of pricing. Right now virtually anyone who has insurance has no idea how much it costs to go to the doctor other than their co-pay and they probably don't really care.
I agree. I am not too familiar with what regulations exist already but this should be mandatory. I know that network agreements complicate things as far as transparency, but you should at least be provided with a quote when you go through hospital registration and your insurance is verified.
|Quoting FlyPNS1 (Reply 46):|
And those price levels will be out of reach for a significant portion of the population
|Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 47):|
Complete supposition on your part. Prices are high now because doctors and hospitals can get away with it because the Insurance companies are willing to pay them, the employers are willing to pay the insurance premiums and pass on the additional expense to their customers, or the government who can raise taxes or borrow money. There are too many people involved who are perfectly willing to pass the cost on to someone else. That's what has to stop if the costs are supposed to be controlled.
Agreed, the prices now really have nothing to do with costs because hospitals routinely jack up prices to compensate for the deeper and deeper negotiated discounts which insurance companies win through monopsony power (another unfortunate consequence of ATI). If a hospital billed $1,000 before and then an insurance company negotiated a 50% discount, the hospital will simply raise the price to $2,000 to keep that revenue. It is common for insurance companies to pay doctors and hospitals less than 30 cents on the dollar of what is billed. So over the span of decades we get $1,000 toothbrushes.
Medicare is happy to underpay on just about anything and pass the cost to doctors and hospitals, who pass it to insurers, who, you guessed it, pass it to customers and their employers.
|Quoting AverageUser (Reply 50):|
Have I mentioned national single-pool insurance any time lately?
Except that still does not confront issues of cost. If you think large insurance companies have unfair power to set prices, just wait until you start dealing with the government. It is not a big secret that Medicare pays out under cost, so unless you want to make the government negotiate payout rates in good faith without using legislative power (not going to happen) or come back to the drawing board in a couple of decades when hospitals can't afford to stay open (been to France lately?), this is simply not a solution.
|Quoting FlyPNS1 (Reply 54):|
But the bottomline is that free-market healthcare will still be very expensive. If the free market determines the price, many will simply be priced out. If you are fine with a chunk of the population having no healthcare (and the ensuing societal costs), then I'll absolutely agree with you to let the free market run the show.
It is much more prudent to let the free market run most of the show (with the conditions above that they compete across state lines, emphasize HSAs to increase consumption accountability, and do not enjoy ATI) and have a catastrophic/safety net for those who are impoverished than it is to create these odd incentives and convoluted mandates to prop up a policy that otherwise couldn't stand on its own two feet.
|Quoting FlyPNS1 (Reply 57):|
They can be removed if the public isn't happy with them. Oddly though, the public seems to always replace them with someone that is equally as bad.
There is a fundamental problem with that assumption, mainly that individual citizens have any kind of control over who is in office. Individuals have no influence over the options they are given to choose from in elections, which is why bad is almost always replaced with bad. Candidates are put forward by self-interested party machines and so we are often forced to choose between the lesser of two evils.
An individual has a lot more power in a competitive market where he can vote with this wallet than under a public system where his money is legally bound to the provider (there are no other alternatives) and he has a 1/309,016,959 chance of having his voice heard, much less given any weight. If you think CEOs are out of touch, try reasoning with a career bureaucrat or civil servant who enjoys the ironclad protections of government employment. At least you can hold CEOs accountable by withdrawing your money.
|Quoting FlyPNS1 (Reply 57):|
But it's the same problem as health care. If the government steps out of it, prices may come down a little, but a large swath of the population will be priced out of higher education. As before, if you think its ok for a large chunk of the population to lose access to higher education, then sure get the government out. If you want those of lesser means to have access to higher education, then some intervention will be necessary.
And I think our solution to healthcare should approach the one we have taken toward higher education. Under a "single-payer" education system, any rational person would choose to go to his more expensive, prestigious option over his state school, live in the nicest dorms, go on the study abroad trips, take the expensive classes with lab fees, buy new instead of used textbooks, and so on. Costs would skyrocket and resources would be completely misallocated. Then the news of the cutbacks would come.
Consumers have to be exposed to the costs of their economic decisions so that our society can allocate them to those with the highest utility. It is true that many get priced out of the market, as we are seeing with higher education, but the solution isn't to take over and pay for everyone, it is to means-test financial assistance in order to help get people to where they "belong" in the system, while still exposing them proportionally to the costs of their decisions. In principle, I actually don't like the practice because it creates harmful disincentives itself, but there is evidence that the negative externalities for all of society from an undereducated or seriously unhealthy population may be more costly than providing means-tested aid for the very poorest.