Incentives

Hard Decisions Regarding Obamacare And More Signs Of The Times

In response to Megan McArdle’s piece: ‘Republicans Should Save These 3 Unpopular Parts Of Obamacare.

Via The Goldwater Institute: ‘Where The Right Shouldn’t Go Wrong On the ACA

‘The usually spot-on McArdle misses the mark this time.

It is no exaggeration to say that, because it is immune from judicial, executive and legislative review and oversight, IPAB is the most dangerous consolidation of unchecked government power in American history. That is why it should be a top priority in ACA repeal efforts.’

Meanwhile, A. Barton Hinkle at Reason has a few suggestions:

‘Obamacare tries to solve the problem of pre-existing conditions the Rube Goldberg way: Make insurers cover individuals no matter what, then guard against people buying coverage only once they get sick by forcing everybody to purchase a policy through the individual mandate—an unprecedented expansion of government power.’

Hard choices will have to be made, choices which may quite literally mean death, or a sooner death, for some people than otherwise would occur.

Yet, in a world of scarce resources, these decisions are being made every day, and this blog believes if you want the greatest number for the greatest good, you must treat health care like the market it is, getting the incentives right and letting as many individuals (you and me) negotiate those hard choices with as many market and price signals as possible.

Once health-care becomes a ‘right,’ it becomes a sacred cow to be slowly milked by people who claim to have the knowledge to milk that cow, but whose claims to knowledge, I don’t believe, can negotiate reality beyond the political and economic influence they seek and the often ideological lights which guide them.

This failure of design will fail more spectacularly in the long-run, and lead to more suffering.


On that note, I don’t necessarily dream of a world of old W.A.S.P. establishment types making the important decisions which affect my life; nepotistic, clubby, but hopefully honorable and capable of broader sacrifice beyond their spheres of belief and interest.

I would just rather have the guys out on the golf-course swapping stories, finding camaraderie and making subtle judgments about each other’s characters to have the right incentives, having to serve customers and do right by their families when possible.

You know, be held to their own past decisions and frankly, not to have too much power.

Let’s spare everyone the bullshit of having any individuals be inherently any better or worse by their status as a group-identity member.

That way lie(s) fiefdoms and Balkanization.

On that note, I would rather as few people as possible getting rich solely through politics, but some signs are not good.

Culturally, I suspect many are drifting towards ideals that will retrench some of the old government/big business connections found throughout the boomer generation, but now with the standard-issue European secular humanistic ideals and their discontents playing a more important role.

Please tell me all the ways I’m wrong, here:

I keep putting up this quote from Ira Stoll:

‘Indeed, if there is a single fact that sums up the state of American political economy at the present moment, it is this: the Boston office building once home to Inc. Magazine and Fast Company, which chronicled and celebrated small and fast-growing businesses, is now the headquarters of a publication called “Compliance Week.”’

From Via Media: ‘Wonkblog: Obamacare Will Raise Premiums…a Lot’

Full post here (links to GAO report, Wonkblog and WSJ included)

‘As it has become clearer to the public that (at least according to the best data available) Obamacare will raise, not lower, health care prices, ACA supporters have made two arguments. First, they note that existing plans may be cheaper, but they’re also “skimpy” and often come with high deductibles. So Obamacare is worth the higher costs it will impose. Second, they argue that even if premiums skyrocket, the subsidies will help make insurance affordable for most people.’

Ugh.  Still up in the air, and if this thing gets in there, it will likely stay in there.

One of the key ideas, though, is that the sick and uninsured will be subisidized by the young and healthy, by first trying to entice, then levying fines, then forcing by law the young and healthy to keep paying into the system.  The nationalization and socialization of health-care is truly a goal for many who pushed this bill. 

AdditionAndrew Malcolm has audio about the data collection and storage required to implement Obamacare.

Related On This Site: From CATO@Liberty-’You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby: Barack Obama On Health Care Fraud ‘Avik Roy At Forbes: ‘Democrats’ New Argument: It’s A Good Thing That Obamacare Doubles Individual Health Insurance Premiums’

Richard Epstein At The Hoover Institution: ‘The Obamacare Quaqmire’

Richard Epstein At The Hoover Institution: ‘Watching Obamacare Unravel’

From The New England Journal Of Medicine Via CATO: ‘The Constitutionality of the Individual Mandate’From If-Then Knots: Health Care Is Not A Right…But Then Neither Is Property?… From The New Yorker: Atul Gawande On Health Care-”The Cost Conundrum”Sally Pipes At Forbes: ‘A Plan That Leads Health Care To Nowhere’

Repost-Francis Fukuyama And Walter Russell Mead At The American Interest: ‘None Of The Above’

Full post here.

The two have a back and forth on how they see current American politics.  Here’s Fukuyama:

‘A lot of the increasing homogeneity of the parties and the fact that they overlap very little is that there are very few House districts that are competitive anymore. That’s not an accident.’

A Reason video on gerrymandering.  Do we really want politicians incentivized to redraw their own districts, and thus stifle intra-party debate?

If not, who decides how we keep up with moving populations?:

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From Via Media:  Texas Vs. California 6-0, 6-0, 6-0.  Maybe one last dance with Moonbeam wasn’t the best way forward, but then again, maybe no one can stop the union and green alliance with the incentives of California politics.

Related On This Site:  Mead takes a look at the blue model (the old progressive model) from the ground up in NYC to argue that it’s simply not working.  Check out his series at The American Interest.  Technology is changing things rapidly, and maybe, as Charles Murray points out, it’s skewing the field toward high IQ positions while simultaneously getting rid of industrial, managerial, clerical, labor intensive office jobs.  Even so,  we can’t cling to the past.  This is quite a progressive vision but one that embraces change boldly.

Francis Fukuyama has started a center for Public Administration at Stanford…it’d be interesting to imagine a conversation between Eric Hoffer and Fukuyama: Francis Fukuyama At The American Interest: ‘Mexico And The Drug Wars’…Has Fukuyama turned away from Hegel and toward Darwin?

Update And Repost-Adam Kirsch Reviews Francis Fukuyama’s Book At The City Journal: ‘The Dawn Of Politics’

Update And Repost- From YouTube: Leo Strauss On The Meno-More On The Fact/Value Distinction?’

From The NY Times: ‘James M. Buchanan, Economic Scholar and Nobel Laureate, Dies at 93’

Full obituary here.

Link sent in by a reader:

‘But Dr. Buchanan contended that the pursuit of self-interest by modern politicians often led to harmful public results. Courting voters at election time, for example, legislators will approve tax cuts and spending increases for projects and entitlements favored by the electorate. This combination can lead to ever-rising deficits, public debt burdens and increasingly large governments to conduct the public’s business.’

Via Volokh, more here on his accomplishments.