Thursday, June 11, 2009

But How Will We Pay For Healthcare?

The Senate struck a historic blow against smoking in America Thursday, voting overwhelmingly to give regulators new power to limit nicotine in the cigarettes that kill nearly a half-million people a year, to drastically curtail ads that glorify tobacco and to ban flavored products aimed at spreading the habit to young people.

Want to spend other people's money on someone else? Raise cigarette taxes! That's the first thought in the legislature every time we want to fund a new health care initiative, especially if it pertains to children.

But if we tax or regulate smokers out of existence, how will we then pay for all these health care initiatives?


Ellen K said...

As with most teachers, I have health insurance that is one of the few perqs of employment. Our insurance is utilitarian and offers three levels of increasing coverage and expense. Employees can range from a bare bones program to one that includes childcare, disability and vision care. But because we are such saps and believed that buying health insurance to defer our debts was a responsible, mature action, we will now be charged more to cover Obamacare in addition to losing tax advantages and deductions. I know people who make more than we do who choose to go without insurance. When they or theirs go to a hospital they must either pay up or default. More often than not, defaulting has resulted. To cover the staffing, facilities and such at hospitals, insurance companies and patients who DO have insurance pay more. So once again, responsibility gets punished. And what is worse is that the lack of tort reform and the ambulance chasing antics of trial lawyers such as John Edwards, has resulted in doctors being so afraid of a lawsuit that they overprescribe medicine and procedures. In every single case, government's fingers in the pie have resulted in higher costs. Do you remember the days before HMO's? HMO's were supposed to save us. Instead they created layers of bureaucracy that cost more to the consumer, return less in services and require doctors to hire additional personnel just to fill out forms. Anyone who has had to help a senior deal with Medicare knows that the proposal for Obamacare is a fraud now and a disaster down the road. People have got to wake up and learn that there is no "free" to free healthcare. Everything has strings attached.

allen (in Michigan) said...

How will we pay for health care?

Easy, while we lose money with every sale we make it up in volume!

People have got to wake up and learn that there is no "free" to free healthcare.

It's been my contention that the collapse of HillaryCare was due to widespread realization of the anticipation of getting something for nothing and the further realization of what one who chooses a deal like that actually ends up with.

MikeAT said...

“If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it’s free.”
P.J. O’Rourke

Ellen K, your note on HMOs reminds me of something. You know you was big in pushing HMOs in the 70s? Little Teddy Kennedy. Now he’s the one pushing for nationalizing the health care industry. Gee, I wonder if he’s great record is any indication of what will come if he gets with way with nationalizing?

maxutils said...

Allen, is that choice sort of like the one between freedom and security?

The real problem with health care is that NO ONE pays the actual cost of the services rendered. Those without insurance pay next to nothing; those with insurance overpay premiums to help subsidize those without, and underpay the cost of an office visit; HMOs represent an additional layer of bureaucracy and cost that benefits actual health care not one iota.

Until people start to be forced to pay for what they use, in some form or another, they will continue to see it as being essentially 'free'.

allen (in Michigan) said...

Nope, it's more like the realization, and this dates me, that the assurance that he'll marry you in the morning becomes null and void the instant he gets what he wants.

Bill Clinton's mistake was in promising too much which resulted in the realization that after he got what he wanted all promises would become null and void.

mazenko said...


I think part of the point is - as you have advocated - people become more responsible for their own health and their own bills.

Incidentally, if far fewer people are smoking - and this sort of action has always reduced numbers - then we will have to pay for less health care anyway.

Ellen K said...

Mazenko-look at the demographics. We are an aging population. That means that regardless of smoking or drinking or weight, there will be more healthcare issues as the population ages. Obamacare would filter a person's ability to have specific procedures based on the same narrow scope that Medicare handles now. And believe me, that isn't very fluid and I am not sure it saves a dime.

mazenko said...

Currently, we have hundreds of insurers making the same decisions on "specific procedures," and they do so with a profit motive in mind. However, that said, I am not advocating a single-payer system only. I support the HAA or FEHBP which preserves all private sector divisions and decisions - but simply removes the employer-based restrictions for those who want the freedom.

Additionally, I would argue that committing yourself to expensive health problems as you age is rather jaded. And, how does the issue of an aging population not matter with the current system?