Saturday, February 5, 2011

Responding To David Shedlock

Those of you who follow the public policy debates surrounding health care reform know that individual mandates are tied closely to regulations against dropping customers because of preexisting conditions. You can't really have the one without the other.

Republicans in the past supported individual mandates. However, ever since President Obama co-opted some of the Republican health care policies, the conservative movement has tried to distance itself from its creation. The result has been that Republicans don't really have a good response to the problem of preexisting conditions.

First, Republicans want to create more high risk pools. This is a terrible idea because it would lead to high public subsidies or prohibitive levies against those who need insurance. Second, some have argued that there are other ways to get to universal health coverage without an individual mandate. True, but they involve some aspect of government coercing people into buying health insurance. You simply can't force insurance companies to accept coverage of people with preexisting conditions if you don't somehow force everybody to buy insurance. Otherwise, those insurance companies would have to go out of business.

So what to do if you are a Republican who must oppose Barack Obama no matter what or you are a big fan of a potential 2012 candidate other than Mitt Romney? Well, you end up saying something like what David Shedlock said in a comment at his own post.
What can be done if you have an illness and are uninsured?

1. Reduce your expenses and lifestyle. You may have to choose to live on less if you have medical bills.

2. Negotiate with health care providers. Health care is so inflated, that often treatment could be had at a fraction of the cost if paperwork were reduced (no insurance, no Medicare/Medicaid) and third-party payers were removed

3. Get help from family and friends – VFWs and other organizations often hold auctions and fundraisers to help uninsured people.

4. Get help from charitable organizations. How many Christian churches wouldn’t help a member in need? IG, I thought you belonged to a church. They would let you die? There are lots of other charities willing to help, as well. 

5. Charitable or church-associated hospitals. Most of the them would treat life-threatening illnesses and work with the patient on the bills afterward.

6. Die. Yes, it is hard to believe it. Some people will die. If you any of you think this is terrible, ask yourself how many uninsured people you have taken on as a project to pay all their medical bills.

7. Pray. And I am certainly more serious than I was on number six. 
You really have to read it several times to capture its subtle nuances. I don't know which is my favorite, death or negotiate with health care providers. In fact, if I am given a choice, I choose death. And he left off number 8, which is --- you are basically just screwed.

It should come as no shock that Shedlock is a huge Huckabee fan. The former governor of Arkansas has publicly stated that he is doesn't think that preexisting conditions are too big of a problem in our health system today. Actually, over half of Americans under 65 have preexisting conditions that are red flags to insurance companies. In an effort to appeal to the base and to poke his finger in arch nemesis Mitt Romny's eye, Mike Huckabee has been forced to ignore a glaring reality in the health care world.

It really boils down to two paths for modern-day conservatism. Are we going to promote limited, but effective governance that responds to the needs of Americans or are we going to promote no governance at all?

Cross posted at The Cross Culturalist.


illinoisguy said...

Good job Pablo. Shedlock's 7 point plan looked about like what a 5th grader could have produced...not necessarily because he is stupid, but simply because there simply is nothing else that will work.

Bill589 said...

There are a lot of ways of reducing the costs of healthcare and therefore healthcare insurance. The conservative way is for people to govern their own lives and get insurance before they are sick. Then they can’t have “pre-existing conditions.” Get healthcare costs down, so healthcare insurance costs go down, so people can afford it.

We can’t add entitlements. We have to fade away the ones that are already breaking us.

The less government involvement, the less taxes they take from us, the better. Typically speaking, no governance involvement at all, is best. Think Reagan’s scariest nine words: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.

Anonymous said...

So Pablo, what are the conservative suggestions to deal with pre-existing conditions that would also satisfy the republican ideals of personal responsibility and individual liberty? Shedlock's 1 and 2 I suppose. But the rest all depart from Republican ideals and say, hey, my problem is now your problem to deal with and pay for.


ConMan said...

If you don't live in Massachusetts, It's NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS what bills they pass there. If MA voters don't like something, they can change it at the ballot box. THEY HAVEN'T!

hamaca said...


Mitt is running for President and his track record is everyone's business.

ConMan said...


And his TRACK RECORD is giving Massachusetts voters what they wanted!