Just So Damned Curious How This All Works

By Jesse Taylor
Thursday, April 9, 2009 20:20 EDT
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imageI suppose that Ramesh Ponnoru has proposed a solution to the problem of the uninsured, if you believe that the problem of the uninsured is about people not having something called insurance rather than people being unable to obtain medical care. It’s a clever answer to a twisty brainteaser, like how the dog that never stops rolling over is a hot dog, or how gays and lesbians threaten marriage by getting married.

After steadfastly proving that universal health care is undesirable because of conjecture and bad logic, Ponnoru proposes the following two changes:

An alternative approach would be to make it easier for people to buy insurance that isn’t tied to their employment. The existing tax break for employer-provided insurance could be replaced with a tax credit that applies to insurance purchased either inside or outside the workplace. At the same time, state mandates that require insurers to cover certain conditions, which make it expensive to offer individual policies, could be removed.

This is quite literally a plan to get more people insured. It is also quite literally a plan to get more people insured by giving them something worthless and calling it insurance. Everyone in America can be a millionaire if a million dollars would buy you a bottle of Coke, but it doesn’t mean that you’ve made any progress. This is what I never quite get about Republican healthcare proposals – it would be nice if they could at least propose something which had a payoff, however marginal, contradictory or unsustainable. Instead, this is a system which would ensure that virtually everyone except the super-wealthy found themselves covered by high-deductible catastrophic insurance which would be useless in the 95% of cases in which one would normally use insurance, meaning that healthcare would get drastically more expensive.

We could, however, reduce the cost of the useless insurance by making it even more useless and removing any requirements for the insurance to cover anything, which means that you’re going to have $75 a month protection against your second gallbladder exploding in a bricklaying accident.

This is suspiciously like a massive governmental subsidy of insurance companies, and not a healthcare plan at all! What a curious mystery this all is!

Jesse Taylor
Jesse Taylor
Jesse Taylor is an attorney and blogger from the great state of Ohio. He founded Pandagon in July, 2002, and has also served on the campaign and in the administration of former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland. He focuses on politics, race, law and pop culture, as well as the odd personal digression when the mood strikes.
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