Progressive Programmer

Progressive Politics or idle geek banter. What's on my mind when I'm irked, intrigued, bored or up too late.

Location: Michigan, United States


Bill Maher and Tucker's glossy nature

My daily must-visit Cannonfire today talked about Maher's show last night, and I can't help but agree.

But one thing that irked me about Carlson last night that Maher only partially deflected as horse hockey was Carlson's response to Maher's suggestion about health care costs. Citing GM and Delphi announcements this year of health care costs' role in helping ensure they posted a loss ($1400 of every GM car is nothing but health-care costs), Maher suggested that the Republicans should have worked *with* Hillary in the 90s rather than destroying her, and her universal health care plan, as best they could.

Carlson made the point that it would be too expensive. And that per-person administrative costs in countries that do this are higher than they are here.

But this is just silly.

Even if the overall cost of health-care went up, the accounting would change completely.

Imagine a world where you're not paying cash to a health insurance company out of every paycheck. These companies are able and very, very willing to raise their rates yearly. Every year I pay a higher premium for similar or decreased coverage. For a family of 4 in NC, I'm coughing up 3 hundy a month. This stuff is going up at 4 times the rate of inflation.

Some of this is due to increased costs, some is due to litigation expenses (far less than Bush purports), and some of it is due to sheer greed. The insurance companies tanked in the markets and then realized something... people will pay whatever they charge, and so will companies.

Both individuals and their employers suffer under this sytem. The more these costs rise, especially in the case of retirees that are hurting a company's bottom line without continuing to affect revenue to the good, the more companies lose interest in keeping people on the payroll. The cost of goods rise, people lose their jobs, companies post declined profits or losses and stocks get hit. Everyone--everyone but the insurance companies and the drug companies--loses.

Now, let's change the perspective. Let's have the government pay the bills. The cost of the exact same system may go up overall, but it should. 45 million people would be covered again. 45 million people, many of them elderly and children, could get healthy when they're ill. Could stay productive, live longer lives, and get the preventative care they can't afford today. This preventative care could help decrease costs of illnesses that might have been caught earlier or prevented entirely through earlier, less-costly measures.

You and I have taxes go up, sure. But what we wouldn't have is huge, annual increases. Because the government, if it had common-sense instead of reelection-sense, could tell the health care companies to go pound sand. The government doesn't have to accept any annual increase in costs greater than the rate of inflation unless it's stupid when it writes the legislation.

Let's look at some simple math.

For the sake of simplicity, say the entire country's health care system costs $1 billion per year.

Say inflation is running at 3% / year. Health care costs are increasing at 11% / year (accurate).

Now, say that the government takes over health care and the administrative costs of our entire health care system, country wide, goes up 50% instantaneously.

In the first year, costs are $1.5 billion.

In the 2nd year under this system, the old system would have run $1.11 Billion. The new system runs $1.545 billion in year 2.

Year 3 of the old is $1.23 billion. Of the new, $1.58.
Year 4, $1.36 old system vs $1.62 new.
Year 5, $1.51 old system vs $1.67 new.
Year 6, $1.67 old system vs $1.72 new.
Year 7, $1.85 old system vs $1.76 new.

Hey, the old system costs more than the new already. What if we keep going...

Year 8, $2.04 old system vs $1.81 new.
Year 9, $2.26 old system vs $1.86 new.
Year 10, $2.51 old system vs $1.92 new.
Year 11, $2.79 old system vs $1.98 new.
Year 12, $3.10 old system vs $2.04 new.
Year 13, $3.44 old system vs $2.10 new.
Year 14, $3.81 old system vs $2.16 new.
Year 15, $4.23 old system vs $2.22 new.
Year 16, $4.69 old system vs $2.29 new.

After 16 years, the system only an insurance company, drug maker or a Republican could love is twice as expensive as the system that was originally 50% more expensive. Even if the new system costs started at double the old system, it would only be at just over $3 billion in the 16th year to the $4.69 of the current.

These numbers are over-simplified, of course. Duh. The point is that the insurance companies and the drug makers are unchecked by inflation because the government lets them be. Under a single-payer system where the government is the single-payer, dictating that the rate of inflation dictates the rate of price increases could save this country a ton of money, and move the accounting into the hands of the people with the power to force some humanity onto an insurance industry that would rather focus on profit.

If they can't self-police, then why shouldn't the government do it for them?

Mainly because people like Tucker are controlling our government, and every politician gets $$ from health-care.

I'm not liberal, I'm just paying attention


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