Friday, July 17, 2009

The latest prescription for your ills

So, let's see if I have this right. In a few years, the federal government might send people to wrestle you to the ground for a forced vasectomy, run up massive costs in the process of performing the procedure, and deny you access to private insurance to get yourself unsnipped? Does that about summarize the situation?

Don't know what I'm talking about?

Well, according to David Freddoso in The Washington Examiner, it turns out that John Holdren, President Barack Obama's Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, co-authored (with once trendy doom-and-gloomer Paul Ehrlich) the book Ecoscience back in 1977. In the book, written when the words "population bomb" played roughly the same scary role that "global warming" does these days, he discussed, in variously approving or ethically neutral terms, policies such as forced abortions, forced contraception, forcing women to give up children for adoptions and adding "sterilants" to drinking water.
Several coercive proposals deserve discussion, mainly because some countries may ultimately have to resort to them unless current trends in birth rates are rapidly reversed by other means. Some involuntary measures could be less repressive or discriminatory, in fact, than some of the socioeconomic measures suggested.
[R]esponsible parenthood ought to be encouraged and illegitimate childbearing could be strongly discouraged. One way to carry out this disapproval might be to insist that all illegitimate babies be put up for adoption -- especially those born to minors, who generally are not capable of caring properly for a child alone...It would even be possible to require pregnant single women to marry or have abortions, perhaps as an alternative to placement for adoption, depending on the society.
Note, this was over 30 years ago, when different concerns captured the public attention. Holdren's opinions may well have changed since then. But he was an adult at the time, and was somehow capable of dismissing moral and ethical objections to coercion in the name of necessity.

The cost issue comes in courtesy of the Congressional Budget Office. Douglas Elmendorf, director of the Congressional Budget Office, told the Senate Budget Committee:
"We do not see the sort of fundamental changes that would be necessary to reduce the trajectory of federal health spending by a significant amount. On the contrary, the legislation significantly expands the federal responsibility for health-care costs."
Specifically, according to preliminary estimates (PDF) published July 14:
On a preliminary basis, CBO and the JCT staff estimate that the proposal’s provisions affecting health insurance coverage would result in a net increase in federal deficits of $1,042 billion for fiscal years 2010 through 2019. That estimate primarily reflects $438 billion in additional federal outlays for Medicaid and $773 billion in federal subsidies that would be provided to purchase coverage through the new insurance exchanges.
Taken togather, the congressional testimony and the preliminary estimate demonstrate that massive new costs are involved in the government health scheme, and that no significant cost-control measures have been developed. That suggests we're likely to see the sort of sky-rocketing expenditures that have been associated with Medicare in the past, at a time when the federal government is already drowning in red ink.

As for not being able to use private insurance to get that uber-expensive snip-job reversed, well, according to Investors Business Daily, the health care proposal does, indeed allow people to keep private coverage they like, just as promised. But plans won't be able to sign up new customers after a cut-off date, effectively letting private coverage die by attrition.

It turns out we were right: The provision would indeed outlaw individual private coverage. Under the Orwellian header of "Protecting The Choice To Keep Current Coverage," the "Limitation On New Enrollment" section of the bill clearly states:

"Except as provided in this paragraph, the individual health insurance issuer offering such coverage does not enroll any individual in such coverage if the first effective date of coverage is on or after the first day" of the year the legislation becomes law.

So we can all keep our coverage, just as promised — with, of course, exceptions: Those who currently have private individual coverage won't be able to change it. Nor will those who leave a company to work for themselves be free to buy individual plans from private carriers.

That means everybody would eventually have to migrate to the "public option" by necessity.

Now, Obamatons counter that the bill doesn't actually ban private insurance. A Daily Kossack says, "the bill is directed at making reforms that have nothing to do with a public health insurance plan, and plans that enroll people after it becomes law have to comply with those reforms."

That sounds to me like pretty much the IBD interpretation, with a bit of spin added. You still will be able to get privately offered insurance afterthe cut-off date, but it won't be the old plan you were happy with, but a new one tailored to government specifications -- rather than as a competitive product in a diverse marketplace -- that just happens to be offered with a private label.

As Heritage's Conn Carroll says:

[A]ll health insurance plans must confirm to a slew of new regulations, including community rating and guaranteed issue. These will all drive up the cost of health insurance. Furthermore, all these new regs would not apply just to individual insurance plans, but to all insurance plans. So the House bill will also drive up the cost of your existing employer coverage. Until, of course, it becomes too expensive and they just dump you into the government plan.

So remember, if you get tackled to the ground, clamp one hand over your crotch, and the other over your wallet.

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Blogger Johnny said...

EcoNazis. I hate these fuckers.

July 17, 2009 2:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i hate the fuckers too. especially the fuck fuckers. the ones who stick their fucking noses onto my fucking or the results of said fucking. fuck em!

July 17, 2009 4:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

meant to say 'into' not 'onto' eeeeew! didn't mean to fucking gross anyone out. fucking apologies.

July 17, 2009 4:17 PM  
Blogger J.D. Tuccille said...


Fucking accepted. ;)

July 17, 2009 9:08 PM  

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