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Miscellaneous meanderings and philosophical ramblings. The title from a spiral notebook I used to jot down my thoughts on religion and other matters some years ago. I like to write, think and express my views on various issues. Robust discussion is welcome.

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"Lan astaslem."
I will not submit. I will not surrender.
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Friday, August 14, 2009

Simply admitting defeat would be less embarrassing

Unfortunately, some people just don’t give up and their egos get in the way, but on a positive note they provide us some entertainment along the way.

Chris has been criticizing me for my post on health status insurance on my blog and in the comments at RightWingSparkle’s blog.

Poor little Chris only got around to seeing my follow-up post on health status insurance, after I told him to go look. Sadly, he continued with his claim that the CATO Institute analysis was lying. Several requests by me for him to back this up with a quote from the analysis were ignored, until I gave him this ultimatum.

For all that, he replies with this at RightWingSparkle’s blog:

Mark. In a continuing effort on my part to encourage mutually respectful dialogue (hi, Big Dog), I'm hopeful that this what you asked me to cut n paste from your site.

"The individual health insurance market is already moving in the direction of health-status insurance. To let health-status insurance emerge fully, we must remove the legal and regulatory pressure to provide employer-based group insurance over individual insurance and remove regulations limiting risk-based pricing and competition among health insurers"

Now, it's your to cut n paste from a Federal government site of your choosing all the language that proves that statement above

My reply:

That's what you were referring to??

And it took you this long to reference it?? LOL

Let’s first note that Chris’s first large mistake is not realizing the analysis did not say all of that was Federal regulations. Now on to each point of that quote and a demonstration of his ignorance.

legal and regulatory pressure to provide employer-based group insurance over individual insurance

Fact: Because of Federal regulations employer based group insurance has a tax advantage that individual health insurance does not. This means individual health insurance is at a mandated disadvantage when it comes to competing with employer provided insurance.

"Except as otherwise provided in this section, gross income of an employee does not include employer-provided coverage under an accident or health plan." source

And before you complain that it is from Cornell University, the IRS itself sends people to it.

"Cornell's version is reported to be generated from the most recent version made available by the U.S. House of Representatives; see The Office of the Law Revision Counsel of the U.S. House of Representatives prepares and publishes the Code; information is available at, which refers you to "Classification Tables" that show where recently enacted laws will appear in the United States Code and which sections of the Code have been amended by those laws." source

regulations limiting risk-based pricing

A list of states here

Take time to note that the list about states having community rating is a publication by the United States General Accounting Office. A PDF download is available here.

The table is on page 42

regulations limiting … competition among health insurers

According to a U.S. DOJ public hearing topic:

In health care, market entry is influenced by a number of factors, including the necessity of meeting state regulatory requirements such as licensure and certificate of need. Professional associations and individual providers have used a variety of strategies to limit entry by potential competitors and prevent unbundling and de-skilling of the services that they provide. Thus, in many states, there are significant limitations on market entry by new competitors, and opposition to the efforts of existing competitors to expand the range of services they provide. (source)

And for good measure, states help increase costs by mandating minimum benefits. From the Congressional Budget Office:

Another way in which state regulations may have boosted premiums for small
firms is by mandating the inclusion of certain benefits in all health insurance plans.
(In a number of states, those mandates cover treatment for alcoholism, drug abuse,
and mental illness as well as chiropractic care and bone marrow transplants.) If such
regulations force insurers in the small-group market to provide benefits that firms
would not otherwise purchase, the mandates will, in effect, push up premiums by
more than the additional coverage’s value to employees. Mandates may also
discourage some small employers from offering coverage, particularly firms with
employees who are relatively healthy and who—given the choice—would probably
forgo at least some of the mandated benefits to obtain lower premiums. (source – PDF download)

More about mandates increasing cost from Patient Power here.

So, will Chris admit defeat or continue putting egg on his face?


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