Saturday, January 23, 2016

Cruz Has Insurance After All

Do you think he will blame Obama for his having insurance?


  1. Yeah, I figured that what he was saying was probably one of those things that technically had some truth but was presented in a manner that was bullshit. Turns out he did have insurance, but I will acknowledge something in the article that Cruz said that has some merit. It did seem fair to say that the ACA did have a role in the cancellation of his insurance policy, despite Cruz's presentation which was intellectually dishonest.

    A claim by the left is that all the insurance policies that got cancelled were crappy policies to begin with that didn't really provide good coverage. This is not true, but neither is it entirely false. Surely there are those like Lou who had a policy they liked, that was canceled because of industry wide restructuring's that occurred due to the ACA. This shouldn't be dismissed as insignificant. That said, I don't believe the canceling of shitty plans that pushed people onto better plans should be dismissed as insignificant either. However, a promise was made that no one would lose something they wanted to keep, be it a plan or a doctor. I can understand why some are not going to let that go and that is unfortunate because clinging to that complex fact is one of several things blocking reform.

    This link notes that in order to get similar coverage to what Cruz had under the PPO, his premiums will be about 50% higher. This makes sense to me, though it will be easy to grab that sentence and spin it to claim the ACA caused all insurance to go higher. There is truth to that, IMO, because the insurance companies are no longer able to cherry pick their patients and clearly, a PPO type plan that has many bells and whistles and that allows significant ability to choose a provider and so on is going to be expensive no matter who is paying for it. These higher costs incurred by insurance companies, IMO, are not NEW. Rather, they are some of the costs that have been shifted OUT of the public sector via hospitals eating the cost of uninsured or tax payers eating the cost via funding county hospitals, and INTO the profit based realm of insurance companies running a risk pool. Lo and behold, insurance companies cannot both cover these people who impact their risk pool while maintaining a profit for changing money from one hand to another. Technically, it is the fault of the ACA. Functionally, the entire story is more complex than that.

  2. Thanks for that good information.

    1. This is anecdotal, but I think still makes a point. When I worked at the hospital here in Vegas, my health insurance was pretty cheap. It was a mega HMO, but my personal cost for my wife and I was very cheap, and our co pays for office visits was like 5 bucks and our prescription benefit was really good. When I left the hospital and went to the hospice, I literally, and I mean literally had the same exact plan from literally the same insurance company. The difference was that my monthly cost for the plan went up a couple hundred bucks a month and my copays went from 5 dollars to 25 dollars. Additionally, my hourly pay rate dropped by 8 dollars an hour.

      This is why I remain obsessed with risk pools and why I complain about insurance companies. Ultimately, I did not change insurance plans and functionally, I never left the risk pool that i was a part of when I worked at the hospital. However, what did change was the paperwork and the ability of the insurance company to claim that I was now somehow different from my former colleagues still enrolled in the plan through my former employer. I was no less healthy and nothing physically changed about me. Yet, my costs skyrocketed because I was now part of a smaller group buying the exact same coverage as a larger group. I think that's bullshit.

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  4. Wow, this is so important compared to the issues of the day.

    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Well, considering how much people complain about the ACA, I'd say it is a big issue of the day. You disagree?

    2. Is it as big as ISIS?
      Is it as big as immigration?
      Is it as income inequality?
      Is it as important as the economic impact of the nifty Free trade agreements?
      Is it as important as predatory foreign trade practices undermining U.S. industry.
      Is it as important as our out-of-control trade deficits.
      Is it as important as our out of control debt?
      Is it as important as our BROKEN taxation system encouraging business to leave profits overseas?

      Need more?

      Colorado mountain residents struggle to pay for health insurance
      Residents say medical costs can rival mortgage payments
      By David Olinger
      The Denver Post
      GLENWOOD SPRINGS —The new era of affordable health care bypassed Terri Newland.

      She runs a small land-use planning business with her husband, who has diabetes and needs hearing aids. She lives in one of the most expensive places anywhere to get medical care. For people buying their own policies, health insurance premiums in her western Colorado region jumped by an average of 25.8 percent this year.

      Her premium costs alone shot up more than $300 to $1,828 per month, or nearly $22,000 a year. Her policy also contains a $4,000 deductible each for her and her husband, and she's still trying to figure out what it will pay when he needs medical equipment.

      They looked at other options with lower deductibles, but "we couldn't quite swing the higher premiums," she said. "It's actually like another mortgage payment. I have friends who are uninsured right now because they can't afford it. Insurance is hard up here."

      But affordable care act is just a perception isn;t it.

    3. ISIS is one small piece in a larger puzzle and no, it is not as important as this issue. As for the others, I do believe it is as important. I believe as I said above that much of the increase has to do with the fact that previously uninsured people, who were off the books of private insurance, are now pushing the cost out of the shadows and into reality. If I read you correctly, we should have kept 40 million uninsured so that people like the one you show here could have kept more affordable insurance. Neither outcome right now is efficient, but I believe we can do better.

      Ahh, taxation again. Sorry Lou, we flat out disagree here. People and corporations do not want to pay tax period and will do anything to dodge it. No matter how low we set the tax rate, people will still bitch and will still try to dodge it.

    4. The tax issue.

      Changing the tax code to reflect today's international business makes sense if you keep it revenue neutral.

      Today US business that do business solely in the US are paying far more than international companies. Is that the objective???

      The U.S. has a worldwide tax system. A corporation headquartered in the U.S. must pay the corporate income tax on all its income, regardless of whether it is earned in the U.S. or overseas. The corporation pays this tax when the foreign earnings are “repatriated” by bringing the income back to the U.S. This is known as “deferral,” because the income tax owed can be deferred until a later date when the income is repatriated.

      Under a territorial tax system, the U.S. would tax only the U.S. income of a corporation and would exempt most or all foreign income. By doing this, a territorial system would allow U.S. corporations to compete with foreign corporations on a level playing field. In order to prevent erosion of the tax base, a territorial system could still cover income from financial assets held by a foreign subsidiary that could easily be held by the U.S. company.

      Changing the tax system would allow international companies to bring money back to the US for investment, distribution etc. Instead today they buy foreign companies like Microsoft did with Skype. 6 billion in untaxed dollars. a 39% savings for Microsoft.

    5. And Max, the issues this country faces today are by far more important than the ACA. It's here for now and will not change for at least another year.

    6. "Today US business that do business solely in the US are paying far more than international companies. Is that the objective???"

      No, it's absolutely not fair or objective. Local businesses that are truly American and that contribute to our well being have far fewer benefits than multinationals do. And I think that's crap. Even if we changed as you suggest, we would still have the same issue wherein companies would manipulate the paperwork to say that profit earned in one place was actually earned elsewhere. I know you believe strongly Lou that ONLY IF we made changes, these companies would flood American with reinvestment money. Respctfully, I just dont' buy it. They had that chance and they predictably did just the opposite.

      These companies are just scammers who are using the size of their company to dodge taxes in a way that true American companies cannot. It should be fixed. As for the ACA though, it is important because we are now paying for it. The sooner we start to improve it, the better off we will be. Even it is was suddenly abolished, we would not get back what we had before.

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    8. You have an inherent distrust in business. No matter what I say or reasons I give you still would believe business to be corrupt and evil. I have the same inherent distrust in Government and they are truly self serving and corrupt.

    9. That's not entirely accurate. When you are talking about large corps who are so large and have so much money that they don't have to play by the rules everyone else does, then your assessment is more on point. I don't dismiss all of your arguments out of hand Lou. I'm not particularly opposed to your idea of the territorial tax setup. However, that tack sentence at the end that this would allow money to come back for investment and so on is something I don't buy. And we have pretty solid recent proof this won't be the case.

      The local place I buy pizzas from, and the local independent guy I take my car to can't buy a mailbox in the Cayman islands and doge tax. I further believe this country really stacks the deck against small businesses who actually have a link to the community they do business is. Maybe this is quaint bull crap, but when I grew up, banks and retailers had a connection to the communities they operated in, and money would recirculate. Now, money goes pretty much one way, and that is out of the community. I'm usually pretty careful to not use the word evil, because that doesn't really describe my feelings. I just think that at some point, the focus shifts from running a business based on passion to simply protecting profit. That's pretty much what I have a problem with

  5. That tack sentence at the end that this would allow money to come back for investment and so on is something I don't buy. And we have pretty solid recent proof this won't be the case.

    And the tax system the way it is guarantees that the money will remain overseas.

    What you ask for is in the past. The mom and pop hardware store replaced by Lowes/HD. The mom and pop grocery store replaced by Kroger. The mom and pop toy store/ clothing store replaced by Walmart. Unfortunately it is the way it is and nothing will turn back the clock.

    The big box stores rule as well as the chain restaurants.

    1. I'm not really asking to return to that setup, but I am describing what I think is a downside of what we have gotten for not keeping our markets competitive. We are going to disagree until the end of time that currently sequestered money will come home and unleash a tsunami of growth if we remove the tax barrier. But that is just one piece of the puzzle.

      For several years now, I have watched the Blackhawks get destroyed in a mid season game by some last place or near last place team. The crappy team comes out skating like they are on fire, hitting everything in site. The Hawks may match that intensity for awhile, but then a goal goes in. And then another. Pretty soon after that, the Hawks look like they thinking to themselves, "Whatever. This game is worth two points, which is not enough reward to play our asses off against a shitty team, especially one that we won't see in the playoffs when we are playing for the big prize" That's a simple example,, but I think it holds true at most levels. Those who don't have anything want competition, those who have already won do not and more often than not seem to look for ways to defend their turf that doesn't require genuine competition.