CRDaily

Health Care: It’s not Socialism, It’s Corporatism

Well, it’s all but signed now.

Health Care has cleared the House of Representatives. Now, it goes to Obama’s desk. Now, we’ll see how the long-term effects play out.

The bill requires virtually everyone in the United States to purchase health insurance. It contains financial aid to help people purchase insurance, but no “public option” creating a government-owned insurance company. All policies will be purchased from private insurers. On the flip side, insurers will no longer be allowed to deny a person coverage or charge them more due to a pre-existing condition. Both policies require the other – if people were not required to buy insurance, they would simply wait until they got sick before buying. If insurance companies could turn people down, then people legally required to buy insurance couldn’t buy it.

What this essentially does is take away insurance corporation’s freedom to make business choices, while simultaneously supplying them with tens of millions of new customers. The trouble is, insurance companies currently disqualify people with pre-existing conditions because they are not likely to be profitable for the company to insure. Upon being forced to insure millions of unprofitable customers, insurance companies will quite possibly become financially insolvent in the long term and require hundreds of billions of dollars in federal bailouts to maintain our national health system. Insurance corporations would become virtually a part of the government, and the “public option” would effectively become reality.

On the other hand, the influx of new customers could create more profits for insurance companies, since many people currently without health insurance are young and healthy people who choose not to buy it. This will lead to insurance companies standing to gain from the maintenance of the current system, leading to these corporations gaining undue political influence on national policy decisions. An industry getting a  law passed which requires everyone in America to buy their product is unheard of in American history. What’s more, the bill does not contain any price controls on insurance. Once all Americans are required to own health insurance, what’s to stop insurance companies from tripling their prices? No one will have any choice but to pay. Federal financial aid is based on a person’s income as a percentage of the poverty line, not the cost of insurance. Insurance corporations have literally been given the power to bankrupt many people for their own profits if they choose to do so.

What is clear is that the health care bill will not, as Nancy Pelosi predicted, “unleash tremendous entrepreneurial power into our economy.” Neither is it a socialist bill. Instead, it represents a move towards a corporate state, where privately owned corporations become a virtual part of the government and influence the government into passing laws which serve to benefit them by increasing their customer base or harming their competition.  Corporatism is a violation of the way free markets and free democracies are supposed to work. It is not free in any sense of the term.

In short, governments should be for all the people, not just for those with lots of money and influence. Free markets should be truly free. An environment where large corporations use their influence to pass laws creating monopolies, requiring people to buy their product and expanding corporate profits is not a free market. Corporatism is as much of a threat to American freedom as socialism.

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32 replies »

  1. Your last paragraph seems the most naive.

    In short, the government WAS for all the people- 32,000,000 young and poor Americans without "lots of money and influence" now will have insurance, not including those with pre-existing conditions who were not eligible before.

    "Free markets should be truly free"- but are often unfair because of profit maximizing corporations who don't care if some people can't afford their costs- even if it is health care- something lives can depend on. And besides, America hasn't had a Free market in its entire history- there have always been regulations and taxes that affect business models and product creation.

    "An environment where large corporations use their influence to pass laws creating monopolies, requiring people to buy their product, and expanding corporate profits" – welcome to America, where private interests have been pushing and buying politicians for decades-> creating standards that push smaller companies out and making only one or a few products actually available and having those products free to be whatever price the standard allows-> patents are a good example of this.

    Also, Pelosi's "entrepreneur" comment is true: my mother actually quit Blue Cross to start her own insurance company because they were greedy executives who didn't value the extreme effort she put into her work, and since she didn't kiss anyone's ass, she was never promoted. Many other people have the same opportunity to create their own insurance agencies catering to small business firms or young people who would be fine paying less because they are generally healthier. In addition, if someone in the private industry can create a system that will work out the rest of the kinks in the insurance industry preventing another large government bill about it, then that opportunity is now more relevant than ever.

    • I don't get what "liberals" don't get about how their personal stories don't amount to a hill of beans. Personal stories are not arguments. Quit screwing with my country.

      • You know we could all pretend that liberals are the only ones they use personal stories, but that would be insulting to the integrity of this forum. President Bush used a particularly touching selection of personal stories, with respect to fallen soldiers, in drawing support for the war(s). Liberals and conservatives use personal stories and while I agree that personal stories aren't arguments, I would argue that they allow speakers to put their arguments in perspective. When we're talking about health care (and by we, I mean both liberals and conservatives), war, the "war" on drugs, education, etc. it's important to note that we're not just discussing numbers or abstract ideas that have nebulous consequences. These debates, these actions taken by our leaders, have a real influence on their constituents, our fellow American citizens. I say personal stories prevent us from forgetting that we are working with people, not property, not pawns. oh and just for kicks, this isn't your country, it's our country and liberals are just as entitled as conservatives are for trying to make our country more of what it should be just as conservatives try to do

  2. "Instead, it represents a move towards a corporate state, where privately owned corporations become a virtual part of the government and influence the government into passing laws which serve to benefit them by increasing their customer base or harming their competition."

    How is this is different from the status quo? Both parties are almost wholly submissive to the demands of multinational corporations, and it's well documented that corporate lobbyists have long been writing legislation to benefit their clients — particularly in the previous GOP-dominated congress.

    "Second, we have not had a true free market with health care because federal law prohibits purchasing health care policies across state lines. This allows in-state monopolies to develop (e.g. Blue Cross Blue Shield in NC) which makes costs artificially high."

    Unless there is federal regulation of health insurance companies, allowing purchase of policies across state lines will just result in a scenario like we've seen with credit card companies, where they set up shop in the state(s) that have the least regulation. The reduction of prices for consumers would be minimal, if anything at all… It seems equally likely that the reduced regulation would result in higher costs, as it has for credit cards.

    • Oh, good point. It's status quo so let's do it on a larger scale than ever. Awesome! Great idea. Now disease will be cured!!!! God bless the government! Thank God for the government! Nay! Thank government, forget God! Here, here!

  3. I like the way you framed your argument here. I too am curious to see how the balance of the individual mandate and prohibition of denial of coverage based on pre-existing conditions will work out in the long run.

    I can't tell what your opinion of the public option is from what you've written. Do you think it would be a safeguard against corporatism? The government-run insurance option would (theoretically) not collude with private companies, thus putting downward pressure on insurance rates by providing a viable alternative.

    Also, in February the House voted to repeal the anti-trust exemption for health insurance companies. If that bill makes it through the Senate, do you think it will curb the growth of the monopolies you envision? Do you approve of the repeal?

    If you acknowledge that the individual mandate and pre-existing conditions ban must go hand-in-hand, but think that they will ultimately lead to corporatism, what is your solution for people with pre-existing conditions? Allowing insurance sales across state lines is very unlikely to bring costs down enough that a person with cystic fibrosis or diabetes can buy a policy on the individual market. The free market does nothing for those people…so then what? They should die because they lost the genetic lottery? Insurance companies logically won't take such people onto their rolls. Do you approve of government-run high risk pools?

  4. Just a small thing actually, but still worth noting: it was mentioned in the article that there's nothing to prevent an insurance company from tripling a customer's rate. There isn't anything to prevent an insurance company from doing that now, or should I say before the bill was passed. Might we all recall the Anthem premium hikes?
    It seems apparent that we all should have health care, simply because the consequences of not having it, in the case of well needing it, can be disastrous not only to the individual, said individual's family, but also to greater society due to how hospitals treated those without insurance and preceded by driving up the costs for other patients/customers prior to the passing of the bill. While I'm not suggesting as many would and as it certainly is tempting to, that having health care is a right, I am suggesting that as our society is negatively impacted by those who do not have health insurance, that we should all have health insurance to damper the effect left by those who don't have it.

      • You don't go to prison, you just pay a fine. A fine with little enforcement power.

        The main concern I have with the fine is if it affects your credit rating.

      • The principle of being required by law to buy something. This isn't that unusual of a principle. Think for instance of automobile insurance. I could be wrong, but I think that you're not allowed to drive, in any car actually, without automobile insurance, something you're required by law to buy. The reasoning's pretty simple. If you wreck someone else' s car or hurt someone else, you need to be able to pay up. If you don't have the cash, then there's a substantial problem. With health care prior to this bill, people, when they got sick, wouldn't die at home or get better at home, they'd go to the hospital and whether they got better or not, might face financial ruin, and if they couldn't pay, their expenses got passed on to people like me, who were just getting treated for the common cold. One way or another, someone's going to pay. If everyone's paying, then at least, there's the peace of mind, that everyone's paying in some way or another for their own care, i.e. I'm not having to pay for all of it.

      • The automobile insurance example doesn't work. You are not required to own a car. If you do own a car, insurance is just an operating cost, like buying gasoline. Never before has the US government forced someone to buy something just for being alive.

      • That's a good point, but then let me be clearer. The automobile insurance example does work, conditionally. If you live in a city with wonderful public transportation or maybe you live close to your place of work, then you don't "need" a car. This is where my example, admittedly falls to pieces, but in other places throughout the US, where you do need a car, while the government won't require you to purchase the car, your circumstances will and by extension the government will then require you to purchase a good. I should also take note with the idea that this is the first time the US government has forced someone to buy something just for being alive. Taxes are a beast of an animal. You most certainly are purchasing something, through your taxes, albeit a small share, but you have a "share" in your state's public education and come to think of it a host of "social services." Perhaps we've been purchasing state-mandated services for so long, we've become desensitized. Although I should be fair and name a specific service…let's see, what about unemployment insurance. That's a service that you're certainly paying for whether you ever use it or not and because should you meet the qualifications, you get to use it, so there's a service.

      • Once again, there is a crucial difference: The money you pay in taxes goes to the government, but the money you spend on health insurance goes to the profits of a private corporation.

        Do you not see the bad precedent set by a government legislating that people should buy certain products from certain corporations.

      • The money we pay in taxes to the government doesn't stop at the front door of the government though. It's a journey of sorts. Whenever the government purchases services or products through private entities, the government is implicitly legislating that people buy certain products from certain corporations. Think Halliburton, that's just an example by the way, I'm not meaning to approve or condemn this particular instance, but rather just provide an example. Furthermore, with the health care bill in place, there are only so many options for Americans to purchase health insurance and the bill doesn't specify which corporation, which would be something akin to a mob, seeing how corporations are in the business to make a profit, just that Americans purchase some form of health insurance, so the risks that they take in not having health insurance should they get sick or hurt or whatnot isn't passed entirely or as a whole to the rest of us.

    • This is not true. This is abserd.

      People could have a lot of things and be better off. Hmmmm let's make everyone have to buy hot chocolate on cold, winter nights. That will increase the overall welfare! Also, we can regulate the ingredients and service so that the companies will have to raise their prices and go out of business because there is a tax penalty that is cheaper — In other words people will have the incentive to pay the tax after it becomes cost prohibitive to buy hot chocolate.

      Then the government will take over the industry and everything will be better!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      "The prosperity of fools shall destroy them"

      • *absurd. Sorry.

        Also, what a moderate you are! Saying it's not a right! Wozers what a moderate! What a compromise! When my family members are dying because of this crap I'll call you.

      • Ok, I believe that health care is a right. I don't have to prove what I believe. As a matter of trying to come to some sort of civil understanding without insulting my conservative peers, I tried to stay safe, which is apparently something unfeasible. If your family members are dying, I would welcome you to call me. My onyen is wgary and I will most certainly do my best to assist you. Although I must admit that I'm a bit confused. If you're conservative, i.e. not open to the idea of health care, I was led to believe by Fox news, conservative pundits, etc. that it's best left in the hands of God, to each his own (or her own) and that it's the individual's prerogative to the best he/she can with his/her resources. With health care recently written on the books, I find myself that much more equipped to help my fellow man, fellow American citizen. What exactly are you trying to prove here?

      • It seems apparent to me that without health insurance, an American individual is far more likely to experience a bout of sickness that he or she will be negatively financially affected by. Hot chocolate is really not the best example to counter my argument, maybe cold medicine or chicken soup, but not hot chocolate. I'm sure there's a better counter and I'd like to request it, otherwise, this isn't a real debate. Certainly, there are things that we as Americans would be better off for, if we had them provided by the state, but to grossly oversimplify health care or relate hot chocolate to health care is to ignore or belittle the problem. Liberals may indeed be nonsensical on a number of issues, but to purposely overlook the flaws that they recognize in our system is to do no worse than liberals do when they generalize the conservative movement to the movement of racists, bigots, etc. There's a point to heatlh care and it can be argued against, but using hot chocolate isn't going to score any points. Try again. I welcome a challenge.

      • I tried posting this earlier: You seem like a nice guy. I'm sorry if I insulted you, but your perspective is very stupid in my mind. Just because the government now runs (or will) healthcare doesn't make disease go away nor does it lower costs nor does it make people who can't afford it magically afford it.

      • I'll try to be clearer. No one or very few in the democratic party, liberal and leftist, claims that the government's role in health care (by the way, this bill doesn't set the government up to "run" healthcare, at best to regulate it and set standards) will cure all disease. So that's my first point. I nor anyone else claimed that this bill would cure disease, which would be a stupid perspective, had I made such a claim–I did not. Secondly, the congressional budget office, found that it would lower costs. Now I recognize their analysis depends on accurate numbers, which they weren't necessarily given, nonetheless I would argue that they were given accurate numbers and that the congressional budget office was seen as reliable during the Bush years, their staff hasn't changed by but so much. Thirdly, you're making a generalization. The bill will make it possible for some proportion of those who couldn't afford health to be able to afford health care.
        Lastly (and this is just a word of caution), if you're going to attack my perspective and outright call it stupid, I would make absolutely sure, were I in your shoes, that my rebuttal countered points actually made (e.g. I never made a claim about disease going away), that my rebuttal relied upon more than just my opinion if we're talking about future consequences, (e.g. a citation wouldn't be bad if you're going to claim the hc bill's going to raise costs), and those are just for starters. Oh and thanks, I am a nice guy.

  5. Hey Chris, I'm curious what you think we should do about people who have pre-existing conditions. If I'm reading right (which it's very possible I'm not, I'm tired) you don't seem to support the idea of insurance companies being forced to cover these people with pre-existing conditions because it will cause them to lose money. So what do you suggest for them?

    • I suggest a government program that covers people with pre-existing conditions who cannot get coverage elsewhere.

      I'm not against government social programs, just comprehensive government social programs.

      • As a Christian do you not see this as something the Church should probably be doing? As opposed to the government? I know I do.

      • Somehow about this makes me uncomfortable. If the Church were to cover something like this, then I imagine people might be refused, should they in someway not align with the Church's teachings, which by the way has happened on a number of occasions during the past, say 3 decades. The idea of an entity rationing out care contingent upon whether or not I follow its beliefs is far more worrisome to me than the government's "rationing" out care, especially when I have an influence on the government, something many Americans can't claim about the Church, even those who claim to be Christian.

      • You might be pleasantly surprised to know that government programs for people with pre-existing conditions was the solution offered by the Republicans throughout the 'debate' on PPACA (state-administered high-risk pools).

  6. Corporatism is not the term used for the presence of public sector forces in the private market.

    Corporatism is the large political economics theory (encompassing famous subsets such as clientellism), which dictates that the relationships between individuals in a society should be microcosms of the dynamics found in organisms (emphasis on organisms, ie. beings with organ based differentiation). The most common conclusion from this view of society is clientellism, which postulates that due to each organ (group) of society operating differently, they should all have differently tailored rights and legal codes.

    I admit that my point does not really address the substance of your argument, but simply serves to establish that this phenomenom you have observed; it is not clientellism.

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