Tuesday, February 2, 2010

More conservative mischief

So now "conservatives" are trying to put mandatory healthcare prohibitions on state ballots. As usual for the conservative agenda, this is an anti-people move couched in the language of "independence", "states rights" and "freedom."

Except for the very rich, everyone would like to buy affordable health insurance. The only people who aren't rich but have misgivings are those those who can't afford it. In order to make healthcare affordable -- in order to may any kind of insurance affordable -- it is necessary to "spread the risk." This leads to a two-fold conceptual problem.

1. By its nature, insurance is mathematical, and people tend to be impatient or totally resistant to mathematics and its careful logic. They would like to have insurance, but only if they are going to need it. Of course, if the only people who bought insurance were the ones who will need it, then it wouldn't be insurance, it would be: "pay for the service you need." There is no free lunch here. If only people who are going to crash their cars bought insurance, then the premiums would be equal to the cost of repairing the damaged cars; in other words, it would be very expensive to buy the insurance. Thus, to keep rates down, insurance companies want to sell insurance to as many people who won't get into accidents as possible. They would also like to charge higher rates to as many drivers as possible, using any excuse to do so. They would also like to avoid paying settlements as much as possible. The insurance companies hire mathematicians who are experts in maximizing profits and minimizing losses over many thousands of policies. These are statisticians or actuaries, and they know this business far better than any average person could. A handful of people might beat the odds and pay a low premium yet get into a very expensive accident, but on average most people will pay much more in premiums than they will ever collect. That and investing premium money is how insurance companies make most of their profits. If you don't believe how well they do, look at the value of their stock offerings.

Because insurance spreads the risk, it is, in a very real sense, a kind of socialism. This leads to a wonderful contradiction, since socialism is the biggest dirty word in the American English. (Unless it's socialism for the rich, in which case it's called "trickle down" economics or "Reaganomics".)

2. Hardly anyone outside the insurance industry thinks that people should have their claims rejected for a "pre-existing" condition; even the Party of The Rich is against this kind of nastiness. Yet, if we are to stop insurance companies from doing this, we can't allow people to purchase health insurance only when they are sick, since if we did, only sick people would buy it, violating the need to spread the risk (see 1 above). No insurance provider, public or private, could possibly survive such a situation.

It follows that, except for the rich, no one could logically support purely voluntary purchase of health insurance at the same time they support preventing rejection of previous condition claims.

Thus, what the conservatives are doing is trying to prevent the vast majority of people from having meaningful and reasonably-priced health insurance. This is not a matter of opinion, it is a matter of unalterable logic -- as in items 1 and 2 above. It is essential that this message be gotten out as soon and as often as possible, since the conservative Big Lie machine is already cranking out the nonsense about "independence", "states rights", "freedom" and other claptrap.


This is an unalterable, logical, mathematical fact, equivalent to the non-existence of the proverbial free lunch.

It is time to stop all this "bipartisan" nonsense -- that somehow the PTR and the "conservatives" have some truth and justice on their side. They don't. Their position is to transfer as much wealth to the already wealthy and powerful as possible. They have waged undeclared class warfare for decades now, and it is time to call them on it. This latest move to prevent mandatory health insurance on the state level shows once again that they want to destroy health insurance.

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