Mitchell’s laws: The more budgets are cut and taxes inceased, the weaker an economy becomes. To survive long term, a monetarily non-sovereign government must have a positive balance of payments. Austerity = poverty and leads to civil disorder. Those, who do not understand the differences between Monetary Sovereignty and monetary non-sovereignty, do not understand economics.
I thought the Supreme Court’s worry about mandatory broccoli had reached the apex of foolishness, but I was wrong. Dennis Byrne, a columnist printed in the Chicago Tribune has exceeded that mark. I publish excerpts from his article only because (alas) he echoes some commonly held sentiments.
The imagination goes wild: Paying for the health care of the irresponsible
Dennis Byrne, April 3, 2012
One thing last week’s historic U.S. Supreme Court oral arguments about Obamacare clarified: You healthy people will be paying more for juicers, addicts, gangbangers, smokers, fatsos, drunken drivers and other assorted careless, thoughtless creatures.
There are more than 30 million people who can’t afford insurance and many millions more who have pre-existing conditions that all but prevent them from obtaining affordable insurance. The primary purpose of “Obamacare” is to cover these uninsured people and their children.
To Dennis Byrne, poor people, who can’t afford insurance, are “juicers, addicts, gangbangers, smokers, fatsos, drunken drivers and careless, thoughtless creatures.” Where he gets his data is not important; being a columnist, therefore needs no data.
Dennis wants all 30+ million to be punished for their misdeeds by early death, or to go to emergency rooms, where they will cost the paying public even more than Obamacare.
Tellingly, Obamacare does not affect those rich, who may be juicers, addicts, etc. They already can afford insurance. It just helps the poor and middle classes.
The central idea of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — the formal name of the Obamacare law — emphasized in the hearings is to spread the cost of health care to ever-larger pools of Americans. In particular, to those who pay low health insurance premiums, the young who choose to have no insurance and the healthy.
As Justice Samuel Alito pointed out, a typical healthy young adult annually may pay $854 for health care, but under the Obamacare mandate to buy insurance, he could end up paying $5,800 in premiums.
Pul-eeze! Does Justice Alito really believe Obamacare will give license to insurance companies to raise rates 680%? No, he doesn’t. He’s just being a typical extremist, tossing out all kinds of nonsense (remember “death panels”?) for political, not truthful, reasons.
Much of that money, of course, will fund such expensive services as end-of-life care. But will uncounted billions — trillions over a decade — be funneled into hospital emergency rooms to, for example, patch up Maniac Latin Disciples? To care for the increasingly large host of obese people?
Or for drivers who were ejected through a windshield because they refused to buckle up? For injured kids whose parents couldn’t be bothered with child-restraint seats? For helmet-less motorcycle riders whose brains were scrambled when their bike hit loose gravel at 70 mph? For those with repeated traffic violations?
For those whose reward for engaging in unsafe sex is a sexually transmitted disease? For alcoholics and the drug addicted? For smokers who won’t kick the habit?
Dennis, first allow me to deplore the obvious and contemptible, racial profiling bigotry of “Maniac Latin Disciples.”
Back to cases, I hate to break this to you, but Obamacare would decrease the use of those costly, hospital emergency rooms, which now are used by uninsured, poor people who know they cannot be refused service there. But never let the facts get in the way of a good story.
How will the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services and her bureaucrats allocate those costs? How will the Independent Payment Advisory Board, created under Obamacare, resolve that problem when slicing $500 billion out of Medicare? What about Medicaid?
People who show up at a hospital emergency room without insurance go on other patients’ tabs. Obamacare advocates would assign the allocation job to omnipotent panels of unelected experts, unresponsive to marketplace realities and unaccountable to the public.
Dennis, you and others of your ilk, can’t have it both ways. You want to eliminate the cost of insuring “irresponsible” behaviour, but you decry “omnipotent panels” (aka the aforementioned “death panels”), who will judge what constitutes “irresponsible” behavior. Make up your mind, boy.
Consider what a cut in benefits might mean for irresponsible Americans who refuse to use certain preventive services. How would they handle intravenous drug users who continue to irresponsibly share needles? Send them to economy-class wards in the hospital?
Would the mandarins resort to trying to “incentivize” behavior change (further increasing everyone’s costs) or employ behavior modification methods that I’ll leave to your imagination? Would the mandarins begin asking people whether they used condoms when they are tested (also required) for HIV? Would single, pregnant women be asked if they used contraceptives? If not, will they have to pay their OB-GYN a higher deductible?
The imagination reels at the possibilities.
Dennis, you call that imagination? Hah! It pales in comparison to the crazy inventions of the Supreme Court extremeists who imagine mandatory broccoli as an outcome of an Obamacare decision.
Sure, you can say I’m scare mongering; no government would resort to such extremes.
Right, Dennis. You’re scare mongering. Proud of it?
Unless the government is in the hands of those hated right-wingers who would “impose their morals on America.” Who, in the interests of the greater good, would drag single women to “abstinence only” classes to be eligible for maternal benefits?
Who, indeed? Congratulations Dennis, on creating the most ridiculous straw men in the history of irrational debate. Maybe your imagination really is as good as that of Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, Kennedy and Alito.
Should the government force responsible people to pay more for health insurance so that irresponsible people can pay less?
That phony issue is no issue at all. Define “irresponsible.” Who will make that judgement? Out of the total number of uninsured people in America, how many are “irresponsible”?
Here, for your convenience, I have created a sample, Dennis Byrne, “irresponsible” definition test, for readers to answer:
1. Have you, or anyone in your family, ever smoked?
2. Has there ever been a time when you did not have a working fire alarm and burglar alarm in your house? (Same question for radon and CO detectors.)
3. Have you, or anyone in your family, ever not worn a seat belt while in a moving car, truck, bus or airplane?
4. Have you, or anyone in your family, ever ridden on a motorcycle while not wearing a helmet and/or leather clothing?
5. Have you, or anyone in your family, ever taken any recreational drug or taken too much of any drug, legal or otherwise?
6. Are you, or anyone in your family, overweight or underweight?
7. Have you, or anyone in your family, ever been diagnosed with any disease or disability, that continues today?
8. Have you, or anyone in your family, ever become inebriated?
9. Have you, or anyone in your family ever climbed a mountain, flown an airplane, bungee jumped, zip lined, had a fight or committed any traffic violation like speeding, illegal turn, burned out light bulb, etc.?
10. Have you, or anyone in your family, ever done anything that anyone might consider irresponsible, like having sex without a condom, eating fatty foods, not washing your hands before dinner, failure to have a flu vaccination, failure to have a shingles vaccination, living in a high-crime neighborhood – that kind of stuff?
11. Can you afford health insurance?
If you answered “yes” to any question, 1-10, you are guilty of “irresponsible” behavior, and deserve no insurance. You and your kids can die early, for all I care. However, if you answered “yes” to question 11, don’t worry about 1-10. You’re our kind of people.
Sincerely, Dennis Byrne
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
No nation can tax itself into prosperity, nor grow without money growth. Monetary Sovereignty: Cutting federal deficits to grow the economy is like applying leeches to cure anemia. Two key equations in economics:
Federal Deficits – Net Imports = Net Private Savings
Gross Domestic Product = Federal Spending + Private Investment and Consumption + Net exports