Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What HR3200 really is

Previously I noted that there are five proven ways to provide universal healthcare, and the Republicans be agin' all of'em. So what is HR3200/ObamaCare amongst those five ways?

Well, basically, HR3200 is a strange amalgation of the German system -- which has publically owned nonprofit sickness funds and for-profit insurers largely funded by employer contributions with all citizens required to purchase insurance if not provided by employer (and all employers required to provide insurance for their employees) -- and the Swiss system, where individuals purchase insurance in a heavily regulated must-issue must-have individual insurance market (that is, insurers are required to issue insurance that meets minimum standards w/no pre-existing conditions exclusions, and individuals are required to purchase insurance). Subsidies are provided in both systems so that people who cannot afford to buy insurance on their own can afford to buy insurance, and HR3200 includes similar subsidies. One thing HR3200 does *not* do is force employers to provide insurers -- if employers refuse to provide insurance, instead HR3200 taxes them 8% of payroll in order to fund subsidies so the employees themselves can afford to buy individual insurance.

There's no reason why HR3200 should not work as designed -- the public option in the German system keeps costs low, the 8% tax encourages employers to provide employer-provided insurance, while the various mandates and subsidies insure that all Americans can afford and obtain insurance that will cover all common health costs -- but of course it is nowhere near the most efficient way to provide health care. The system HR3200 sets up will provide universal healthcare, but at a cost much higher than a single-payer system. Still, it's a whole lot better than the current system, which is "let them eat cake" filled with rescissions, refusals to insure due to pre-existing conditions, discrimination against women, older Americans, and against families with young children, and far too many people who cannot afford to purchase health insurance and cannot obtain any subsidy for doing so. And the costs situation is self-limiting in the end... when the costs become too huge to bear, the American public will simply turn to their democratic mechanisms and do something about it. Which will probably make providers accustomed to billion-dollar profits scream, but so it goes. It's called DEMOCRACY, and it would be a good idea...

-- Badtux the Democratic Penguin


  1. BT - Nobody is pounding home the fact that after 9 years of Republican administration, the Great Depression hit. This was not because they were Republicans - it's because the GOP then and now, bought into the notion that 'bubble' wealth is real wealth.

    I like how you handle economic theory - 'wealth is not paper with pictures of dead people' - it's represented in the goods & services produced by the people. Ron Paul is wrong - it's not prudent to tether the value of the currency to precious metals.

    Rich people don't see that the industry of the worker is the precious thing of value of the dollar should be tied to, and it's by investing in the worker that business can see their best return, something Henry Ford saw.

    But to get back to GOP 'bubbles' in the time of Coolege, Wall Street became one giant Ponzi scheme - and with the huge gains in the stock market - Wall Street perpetuated the myth that anyone could be a millionare. Huge gains in stock prices bore no relation to the production or profits of those companies.

    In our most recent GOP bubble, it was the housing market, not Wall Street that became artificially inflated. Home prices bore no relation to the building costs and it was deemed impossible for housing prices to fall.

    Where we are is "deja vu' all over" as they say.

  2. One major flaw in the German system is that the private insurers can cherrypick the patients. This concentrates the higher-risk folks in the public system, with the result that those who are publicly insured pay more for less-good care.

    But having lived in it for most of the 1990s, I'll agree that the German system works quite a bit better than ours.

  3. great post..thank you for that....( btw loved your little obit to the novack..cough...seriously you made me laugh..thank you for that )

    keep blogging the eff out of this...we gotta get this moving in the right direction,...

    fight on penguin friend...fight on..

  4. Doug - But actually, it IS because they are Republicans. By their actions shall you know them.

    Now, where is the Novak obit? I seriously do not want to miss it.

    JzB the snark-loving trombonist


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