Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Job Insecurity and Employer Based Insurance

The UAW strike highlights the biggest problem with employer based insurance: Employee base health insurance is premised on life long employment. If you don't have life long employment, then the chances of your receiving the health care benefits that you earned become a shot in the dark.

The left knows this. They've actually known it for a long time. As long as we have employee based health care, our society is on the path to socialism. No matter how you do the analysis of the system, it is untenable. By placing everyone's most important assets into the hands of a corruptible third party, you create an untenable situation.

It is absolutely ludicrous that all of the money that a person has invested in health care vanishes when they lose their job.

Employee based health insurance is not only against the individual, the system concentrates wealth into a small number of hands. If health care dollars were in individual hands, you would see the asset invested in smaller, local firms. As the money is in gigantic corporate war chests, the actually money invested for health care ends up feeding big business.

Placing the health care of our families into the hands of our employers is guaranteed to lead to the concentration of wealth and inequity. It is guaranteed to fail. Socialists need simply collectivize the system built by the private insurance to take control of the whole shebang.

The progressives left knows that employee based insurance leads directly to socialism. With the possible exception of socialism itself, employee based health care is the single most corrupt, anti-market, unstable, and inefficient mechanism for funding health care conceivable.

The left knows that employeee based health care leads to socialism. I can't fault them for supporting it. The group that makes me irrate is the "so called" conservative politicians that is so infatuated with the big bribes (errr, I mean campaign contributions) that come from big medicine that they support employee based health care as well.

This absurdity where health care is an asset owned by the employer reduces the worker into a virtual slavery. As we see with GM, it is a slavery that also ends up binding the employer. To stay competitive, GM simply has to grow through a design cycle that involves redesigning plants. This means they need flexibility in the work place. Since they own the health care of the employees, they chain that they placed on their workers shackles the company as well.

Employee owned health care is the worst of all worlds. There are only two ways out of this bind. We either collective health care, or restructure the system so that health care is an asset owned by the individual.

Our Republican politicians are so enamored with the big bribes that they receive from big insurance and big medicine that there is zero political support for making healthcare an asset owned by the individual. Because the Republican party is corrupt we have a one way system toward socialized medicine.

Which party should we hate more: The party that is clever enough to get its way or the one lined with fattened buffoons?


Charles D said...

I agree that employee based health insurance is a poor solution, and it is indeed too bad that our government opted for this solution instead of providing free health care to all.

Health care is not an asset at all, and no one should own it. It is a basic human right, and it should be provided by the government like all other human rights.

y-intercept said...

One of our really big problems is that we call insurance "health care."

Actual real health care is the administration of medical services to individuals.

The "health care" politicians talk about is really just a financial instruments used to pay for health care.

I agree that "real health care" is a fundamental right.

In the free market, health care is a service that is universally available for people to trade. 90% of health care is simple human to human service. There really is not a denial of health care at any wage level as people are always able to negotiate care with people in their immediate community.

The "health care" that politicians talk about is a financial instrument for funding health care. As a financial instrument, it will, by definition, be owned by someone or something. The idea of an financial instrument that is not owned a logical absurdity.

In socialized medicine the financial instrument is owned by the collective. In our current system, the financial instrument for funding health care is owned by the employer. In a free market, it would be owned by individuals.

As for denying access to health care, things are reverse from what you believe. Since everyone in the free market is free to partake in the market, the free market is by definition universal.

The actually denial of health care only exists in a bureaucratic framework.

Since the financial instrument for funding health care is owned by a third party (either the government or an agency hired by the employer), the third party can and will deny health care.

I worked for five years writing computer programs for a state owned insurance agency. I wrote programs for processing, auditing and actuarial analysis of claims. I got to see first hand the full process.

I learned the dirty secret of bureaucratized health care. The power of the bureaucracy comes from its power to deny health care.

So, in the free market, there is universal access to health care by default. People are constantly negotiating and renegotiating health care services.

It is the bureaucracy that denies access to health care.

The free market allows people to negotiate their services on different levels. A person is never completely denied health, altough services they desire might be above their price point.

It is the bureaucracies that actually denies access to care. When you have socialized medicine, you will find the bureaucracy pulling all sorts of tricks to deny care to folks on the political outside.

The employee based health care has the same bureaucracy as socialized care, which is why we are seeing people actually locked out of the system.

This is why I say that we are either going to have to find a way to break away from the tyrrany of employee based care, or we will end up with socialized medicine.

DL Said: It [healthcare] is a basic human right, and it should be provided by the government like all other human rights.

BTW, rights aren't provided by the government. Rights are actually restrictions placed on government action.

What is going on in "health care" is that our bureaucratized systems are taking away some that we had so that the politicians can give in a corrupted form.

Charles D said...

So what exactly do you propose? That I buy my local physician? Or if I have a heart attack, I should let out bids for treatment to the local hospitals?

The problem with your system is that if I cannot afford the market price for care, I simply don't get it. That could mean that I die, but it also might mean that an epidemic starts because I infect hundreds of other people.

All our rights require not only that the government not restrict us, but that the government protects our right not to be restricted by others.

We simply have 2 choices: Make the government the single payer for all health care for all Americans, or live with the fact that some of our fellow citizens die every day because we have an ideological problem with government programs.

y-intercept said...

Yep, the solution is for people to own and control the assets for their primary health care.

The vast majority of health care expenses are things that people can anticipate. People should own the assets used for primary care. You can do this with savings and an occasional loan.

If people, not their employers, owned the assets used from primary health care, you would actually see a major reduction in the current wealth disparities in the nation.

I should phrase that in a different way. The reason we have such a growing disparity in income is that our regulated economy systematically takes the assets away from the middle class and places the assets in the hands of an elite ruling class.

If people actually were allowed to keep their health savings, then you would see a massive transfer of wealth from the elite back into the middle class.

People should directly own the assets used for proving primary health care.

Things that fall outside of primary care can be handled through catastrophic insurance, loans, re-insurance or charity. (Bill Clinton is currently trying to turn around the left's historic contempt for charity.)

There is absolutely nothing wrong with employers, families or groups in the community providing additional resources for things like pregnancy and accidents.

It is interesting that your sarcastic example of the failure of the free market is the heart attack. In our life time we've seen Emergency Cardiovascular Care going from something that required teams of top surgeons to a procedure that a paramedic can do from the back of a truck with a charged battery. Actually, anyone who wants CPR or ECC training can get it.

The technology for first response to a heart attack is well known and widespread.

That is the way the free market works. There was valuable knowledge that was scarce. It is now common.

The next big strides against heart disease pretty much fall under the category of heart health.

Personally, I would classify heart health as a concern for primary health care. This would include monitoring cholestoral, controlling the diet, exercise, avoiding smoking and other lifestyle choices. The making of such choices is really best done in a direct patient/doctor relation. The biggest gains to be made in heart health are preventative measures. The free market is the most efficient tool for disseminating information that we need to know about heart health.

I don't think the heart attack is a good example for your snide attack. I am sure that there are better examples for extraordinary care.

But, wait second, extraordinary care is something that, by definition, happens only rarely. You can factor the expense of any common health problem like heart attacks into the financial instruments owned by individuals.

People will make different decisions on how to allocate their own health care expenses and will have different results. Having different results from different decisions is part of life. There is nothing really evil there.

How to put this.

Health care is a person to person service. In the free market, you will never see anyone completely shut out. What you are likely to see is that people who manage their assets better will get care from top quality health providers while those who don't manage their resources well having to depend on lower quality providers.

The same happens in socialized medicine. The people who know how to manipulate the system get the best service. Socialized medicine still rations rations health care. For that matter, the claim adjusters in socialized systems can can do deny claims of the disenfranchised. The rationing in the free market is simply more overt.

Speaking of health care providers. We can also improve things from the supply side by reducing the artificial restrictions set in place by the AMA to prevent American students from becoming doctors. Health care is primarily about the speed with which the system disseminates knowledge. Artificial restrictions are keeping the knowledge out of people's hands.

Charles D said...

I hardly know where to begin...

"The reason we have such a growing disparity in income is that our regulated economy systematically takes the assets away from the middle class and places the assets in the hands of an elite ruling class." The disparity in income in this country has risen sharply with the systematic de-regulation of the economy that begin in the Reagan years. When we had a more strongly regulated economy, there was much less income disparity.

The cost of health care is so high that it is beyond the capacity of most individuals to pay, even if they were able to save (which they aren't), or able to get loans while disabled by illness (which they can't). The insurance industry is, as you suggest, in the business of denying care - that's how they increase profits.

No one "owns" their health and no one should "own" health care. Just as no one owns the right of free speech, no one should own health.

A rational national health care plan would simply replace the insurance companies with a government agency and the premiums paid by individuals and employers with some sort of tax probably paid by both. The difference is that the government would not process claims, and attempt to deny payment, it would simply pay. Health care decisions would be made on the basis of sound medical judgment, not the economic situation of the patient.

We need to get the market out of this altogether. It has not served us well. We pay many times more than other nations for care that renders us less healthy than most other major nations.