Friday, March 16, 2018

Willfill Blindness or Simple Fanatacism?

There is no question that insurance companies, primarily as a result of the politics and economics of ObamaCare, contribute less value and drive more out-of-pocket than ever before. And it's also true that Direct Primary Care (DPC) continues to offer a viable alternative method of health care delivery and (to a much lesser extent) health care financing.

But I'm concerned that DPC proponents are, as the saying goes, becoming the abyss:

To which I replied:

And this is becoming a real problem. Regular readers know we have no compunction about calling out Stupid Carrier Tricks, but the fact is, insurance can (and does) play a uniquely vital role in most people's ability to afford catastrophic health care expenses.

Yes, re-introducing true Cat plans would be a tremendous step in the right direction, but we don't have that yet, and aren't likely to any time soon (more's the pity).

But the fanatical DPC Brigade risks losing whatever credibility it's built up by ignoring the actual costs of major claims and presuming that regular folks can bear the brunt of them.


Thursday, March 15, 2018

Ides of March Health Wonk Review

Our good friend David Williams hosts this month's round-up of all things health wonkery.

Do check it out.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Another opinion survey

Civis Analytics (CA), a firm started by 2012 Obama campaign veterans, conducted a telephone opinion survey February 28 about American policy priorities.  Powerline reported their results hereand Vox here.

Powerline excerpts two charts from the CA survey.

The first chart shows responses of likely Democratic voters - of whom 45% give top priority to “health care”!  Whut!? Because Obamacare didn't work?  Because this time, they’ll get it right fer shur?  

Reminds me of an old Flip Wilson punch line:  “Hell no, you broke yours off already!” 

The second chart shows responses to the same questions, only this time the sample group is all likely voters – in other words, not just Democrats.  Notice how the percentages change from the first chart to the second.  The second chart reveals far less less support to “health care”.

Yet Civis Analytics has this to say:  Democratic voters, and voters in general, seem very clear in their preference that health care come first.”  Vox opines that “the numbers are strikingly similar, with answers more concentrated around health care and guns”.   Really? Voters in general?  Strikingly similar??

I don’t think so.  I say CA and Vox have it wrong.  I say Powerline has it right: “the results skew when all likely voters—not just Democrats—are reported”.  How much does it skew?  Assuming CA surveyed roughly equal numbers of likely Democratic and non-Democratic voters, the results in the two charts imply about 17% support for “health care” among likely non-Democratic voters. Do 45% and 17% seem strikingly similar to you?   Do 45% and 17% mean underlying agreement?   

Of course not.  CA and Vox both err in looking at the average of the combined surveys as though that average reflects unified public opinion. It’s an error because the responses of the two survey populations show a clear and sharp difference of opinion about “health care”.  Therefore it’s false to claim the overall average represents any general preference.   CA’s conclusion is like claiming that, on average, Americans have one testicle and one ovary.  It’s only “true” when you ignore the reality underneath the average. 

Yet despite Civis Analytics’ (and Vox’s) equivocations, I think the CA survey does reveal two important truths – (1) “health care” remains a divisive issue among Americans and (2) the division still appears to have more to do with politics than with the actual substance of “health care”.  

Low Opinion or Xenophobia (or both?)

Well, have to do the (stupid) Anti-Money Laundering course again (don't ask). Each time I do so, I find something else that's ironic and/or humorous (or, more often:  dumb).

[click to embiggen]
So what are they saying here, exactly?

And aren't the folks who actually write and enforce this material in an "elected or appointed government position?"


Monday, March 12, 2018

On Severability

We first noted this issue way back in 2010:

"[A] federal judge in Virginia has ruled the (Evil) Individual Mandate unconstitutional ... Since the judge has ruled that the precept of "severability" does not attach"

Um, Henry, what's your point?

Well, it actually involves The Lone Star State (and 19 of its closest buds), The Constitution, and the law. Severability simply means that if one part of a particular law is deemed unenforceable, the rest of it could still be fine. But its absence would mean that if one part is tossed, then the rest is, too  (baby, bathwater, you understand). Most legislation includes a "severability clause" that essentially says "hey, even if Part 2 is deemed non-enforceable, the rest of this law still stands." It's pretty standard wording.

Unless you're the Party in Power
©, in which case you ram through a hastily written revampling of our entire healthcare financing and delivery system, and decide one's not necessary [ed: we would also accept "You're the Party in Power© and are too stupid to catch its absence"]. And here's where it gets .... interesting:

The theory behind the suit is that, since Justice Roberts (et al) deemed the Mandate 'kosher' as a funding mechanism, and since  the  Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 explicitly set that funding at $0, the entire platform on which ObamaCare was built is null-and-void.

Whoa there, Henry, went a little fast there, didn't you?

Okay, remember that "severability clause:" we discussed? Well:

"Once the heart of the ACA — the individual mandate — is declared unconstitutional, the remainder of the ACA must also fall."

Of course, the Supremes will do what the Supremes will do, but this seems like at least a viable argument.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

'Nuff said

[Hat Tip: tsrblke]

Friday, March 09, 2018

Breaking: CMS puts kibosh on Gem State ACA plans

Back in January, we reported on Idaho's decision to circumvent the #ACA by allowing carriers "to sell cheap policies that ditch key provisions of the Affordable Care Act."

At the time, we wondered how that would play out from DC's perspective.

Well, now we know:

"CMS Rejects Idaho Proposal for non-Affordable Care Act Plans"


CMS honcho Seema Verma [ed: which would be a great name for a rock band] points out (correctly) that ObamaCare "remains the law, and we have a duty to enforce and uphold [it]."

So that's that.

For now, anyway.

InsureBlog meets Mercatus

Yesterday, I had the distinct privilege of meeting longtime Friend of InsureBlog Bob Graboyes, Senior Research Fellow and Health Care Scholar at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, and esteemed co-blogger Patrick Paule. Bob was in Columbus for a speaking engagement, and so Patrick and I drove in so that we could all meet, break bread, and shmooze:

[click to embiggen]

It never fails to amaze me that one can develop such strong bonds over these electronic tubes, and what a delight it is to actually meet "in the real world." Our conversation ranged from family, to background, to policy (of course!), and it was just a great opportunity to share ideas and get to know one another on a more personal level.

Thanks, Gents!

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Triumph of Socialized Health "Care"

For certain values of "triumph," of course.

First up, the caring, compassionate folks at the Much Vaunted National Health Service© seem to really enjoy killing newborns:

"The parents of a seriously ill toddler have lost their appeal against a High Court decision to end his life support."

Alfie Evans, a 21-month old Brit, has been fighting hard for his young life. But the Powers That Be at the MVNHS
© are (literally) pulling his plug, even though his parents have requested to send him abroad for treatment.

And I'm sure that there's no irony ion the fact that the hospital he's being treated at, well, was being treated at, is in Liverpool.

Interesting Pathway, nyet?

But we really shouldn't be that surprised, since we see similar results here in our own version of government-run healthcare:

"Obamacare Medicaid expansion is causing more disabled people to die on waitlists."

Shades of the VA, no?

Again, what good is having "insurance" if you can't actually access care?

Inquiring minds....

[Hat Tip for Baby Alfie storyNDH]