Friday, October 15, 2010

The Freedom to Get Sick and Die

Greg Sargent has a post about whackjob Sharron Angle's response during her debate with Harry Reid in which she was asked to name anything she thinks health insurance companies should be mandated to cover, and she responded with:

What we have here is a choice between the free markets and Americanism. America is about choices.  And we need people to have those choices. The free market will weed out those companies that do not offer as many choices and do not have a cost-effective system. 

Let the people decide where they want to buy their insurance.  You don't have to force them to buy anything.  And you don't have to force anyone to offer a product that no one wants.

And first off, the choice between free markets and Americanism?  Am I reading that wrong, or is she saying that Americanism is the opposite of free markets?  And is that even a word?  I guess it is, though I'm unclear as to how she was using it. 

Dying's Not an Option

But my real point is how this just shows the tunnel-vision thinking found so often in folks on both ends of the political spectrum.  People who somehow imagine that we could completely revamp our current system and still get all the benefits that it provides without any of the downside.  People who don't seem to realize that we had a system before labor laws and corporations, and things sucked a heckeva lot more than they do now. 

It's like the magic trick where the magician pulls the tablecloth off the table and everything stays the same.  But what you don't see is all the times the magician screwed it up during practice.  Unfortunately, in real life, we don't get to practie.  If we pull out everything holding up our system, we don't get a second chance at it.  And since we've already seen how things were like without it, there's no reason to take that chance.  Unfortunately, these people seem to forget that we've already seen that life can totally suck without labor laws or capitalism; and somehow imagine that prior generations invented this stuff just because they're stupid or cruel.

But in the case of Angle, it's even worse as the system she prefers is still in existence, yet she still imagines it works just fine.  We're not talking about someone who fails to grasp the reason why our current system was created.  We're talking about someone who insists that the free market will "weed out" crappy insurance; seemingly unaware of how prolific such insurance is.

Pony Insurance for the Free

Because yeah, I like freedom.  I like to be able to choose cheap products if I don't need the do-dads of a more pricey one.  And normally, that's great for me.  I don't want to be forced to buy a Mac if I can get by with a crappy netbook.  But health insurance is different from that, because eventually, I'm going to need it.  It's not a matter of me getting by with a no-frills plan.  It's a matter of me gambling with my life; which is a gamble I'm sure to lose eventually. 

And of course, nobody wants crappy insurance.  They all want the golden plan that takes care of them no matter what.  The problem is that most folks can't afford the insurance they need.  But...there is a way they CAN afford it, or at least a close approximation of it, and it's the very plan that dopes like Angle oppose.  Not only does it give everyone insurance, but it makes it so good insurers don't have to water down their products to compete with crappy insurance that people buy because they're gambling with their lives. 

So everyone's happy.  Well, everyone except for the morons who want to pretend as if dying is an option.  And so they'll cling to their ideals of freedom while ignoring the real world around them; imagining that the free markets will do what we clearly know they won't do.  The reality is that the only way the markets could be self correcting in this case is if people who get sick could hit a Do-Over Button, allowing them to go back in time and buy the insurance they now realize they need.  Short of that, we give everyone good insurance from the start and have them bitch and moan all the way to better healthcare.

And of course, the reality is that insurers want to give you crappy insurance, because it's cheaper for them.  They want to hook you in with cheap rates, which they'll raise without cause every chance they get, and then dump you once you really need it.  The reason Big Business opposes Big Government isn't because they love freedom.  It's because they want to screw over the little guys and Big Government won't let them do it.  There's nothing else to it. 

If the free markets would give us all pony insurance and good wages, Big Business wouldn't mind that the government was forcing them to do it.  And for as much as there are good insurance companies that want to offer good products, this law will only help them with that; as it forces all the crappy insurance companies to compete on the same basis.  And the only people complaining are the scumbag insurers and the people who don't know what they're talking about.  The rest of us should be happy to have the freedom to get good healthcare at a reasonable price.

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