Health Care: Waiting to Exhale

The US Senate’s Democrats pushed the federal government’s latest corporate welfare scheme — fraudulently labeled “health care reform” — past a key cloture vote on Saturday. The outcome of that vote dramatically enhances the American insurance industry’s prospects for receiving what may be the largest taxpayer subsidy in history.

How big is the subsidy? It’s impossible to predict with any certainty, but we can rationally speculate. The Obama administration’s claims that “health care reform” will reduce patient costs are laughable on their face. When you force everyone to buy something — or, to put it a different way, when you forcibly increase demand versus supply for that thing — the price of that thing goes up, not down.

Per the US Census Bureau (Excel statistics file), there were about 78 million families in the US in 2008. Per the Association of Health Insurance Plans (PDF), the average family paid $5,799 per year for health insurance as of 2007.

If those numbers remain roughly accurate, the “individual mandate” provision of “health care reform” constitutes a guaranteed transfer of wealth from the taxpayers to the insurers of about $450 billion per year.

In fact, I suspect that that estimate is way, way low. The numbers are old. The estimate doesn’t account for non-family insurance purchases (individual policies cost more per person than family policies). And the prices are almost certain to rise dramatically once purchase is required rather than merely recommended. I’ll be very surprised if the final total take of this robbery scheme comes to less than a trillion dollars a year.

What most people are missing is that this corporate welfare package is the whole point of the legislation. Any “health care reform” bill that makes it to President Obama’s desk for his signature will consist of two things and two things only:

1) The insurance industry subsidy; and

2) a bunch of hyperbole designed to disguise the centrality of the insurance industry subsidy.

What about the “public option?” Its chances of turning up in the final Senate bill, or of making into the final bill during the House/Senate reconciliation process, fall into the tiny range separating “slim” and “none.” And if it does turn up against all odds, it will be neutered so as to serve the single purpose of providing its insurance industry beneficiaries with a dumping ground for patients they can’t profitably insure even with a mandate and a monopoly.

The “health care reform” movement in Congress is a con, a fraud, a snow job. And how could it have been anything else? This is what government does. It seizes power — any power it can seize, under any pretext it can invent for doing so — and it uses that power to reward its friends and backers.

In the area of “social welfare,” or “the safety net,” the approach of government resembles nothing so much as the modus operandi of a boa constrictor on the hunt.

Boas are patient and loving predators. They don’t beat, bite or poison their victims. They just … embrace them. Give’em a big, squeezy hug. Each time the victim breathes out, the squeeze gets a little tighter, making it harder to inhale the next breath. The victim eventually dies … not from trauma, but from slow asphyxiation.

Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are waiting for you to exhale so they can squeeze you and so their friends, patrons and benefactors in the insurance industry can eat you. They’re the boa’s muscle. The insurance industry is the boa’s mouth.

If we allow ourselves to be ruled by governments, those governments are, sooner or later, going to involve themselves in health care. And when government involves itself in health care, it does so at the expense of the productive masses and for the benefit of the privileged elites.

Substitute any phrase you like for “health care” and the statement will remain true.

Free Markets & Capitalism?
Markets Not Capitalism
Organization Theory
Conscience of an Anarchist