Health Care: Governor Jon Huntsman Becomes a Card-Carrying Communist

Government intervention has caused the US health-care crisis. So what is the solution to the problem? Well, more government intervention, of course. Communism seeks to control property as well as economic and social activity. Governor Jon Huntsman's new health care plan is communist, and it won't work. Can you tell I'm angry?

The problem with health care in America today is that government is too involved in it. Today's mantra--that our health care needs to be more like that of the socialistic countries of Europe, Canada, or Cuba--is the height of irony. Good heavens, they don't hold a candle to us! In only two nations do health consumers pay less out of pocket than in the United States. We are their health care role model!

That's why health care is so expensive--because others are paying for it for us! That's why so many people don't have health insurance in the United States. Because the parasitic rest of us have driven up the cost of health care and coverage. Because we let the government do it to us.

I'm glad that Jon Huntsman is thinking about what to do to solve the health care crisis, because there is one. But, goodness gracious Governor, you're thinking us into the abyss.
Eventually, every Utahn would have to be insured, according to a confidential working draft of Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.'s three-year plan to retool the state's health system.

Pursuing higher education? You may have to get health insurance before you would be allowed to register for classes.

Unemployed? You might have to get at least a minimal level of health insurance in order to get a job. Once hired, your boss would verify your insurance status - and check it every quarter.
That sounds efficient! But seriously, with Health Savings Accounts (HSAs)
you get to keep the money you don't spend on health care when the end of the year rolls around. This is a huge incentive to cut back on those health care events that fall into the "gray area" of being neither completely necessary or completely unnecessary.
With HSAs, the costs go down, and so does the demand. And that means more access to health care for the rest of us.

I'm not surprised by the current health care state of affairs as described by this SL Trib paragraph:
For the plan to work, premiums must be reasonable, consumers must have information to help them shop for a plan and no one can be denied coverage because they are considered "high risk..."
Exactly! Are your premiums reasonable now? You can thank government for that. Nothing is ever cost effective when the government gets involved (that's why we should want it to be involved in almost as little as possible). How in the world can we be dumb enough to think that for just this once it will be cost effective? At least you get health care now. If you like daydreaming about the good ole days, just wait for the governor's plan to kick in.

One of the problems with health plans now is that your employer has to pay for it. How did that happen? It starts with a "g". If you want to opt out of the health plan--which would be immensely beneficial to your company--and get even a portion of the savings to your company--you can't. Now, some employers are saying to heck with this crap, and they're not even giving their employees the difference--because more and more there isn't any, because of a cockamamie plan hatched by the federal government.

Governor Huntsman, please consider Health Savings Accounts. This is the only way that we're going to get our health care costs under control. Are people too fat, too lazy, and eat to much sugar? You're darn right we do! Okay, then, hold us responsible. HSA's are that method of accountability.
"You can go online and do all levels of comparison when you're shopping for a car," said Jennifer Cannaday, director of public policy for BlueCross BlueShield. "But that radically changes when you're trying to be a consumer in the world of health care."
Hmm...what's different about the way cars are bought and sold versus health care? Aha! Government intervention! That's the reason that health care choices are so unadvertised, because there are hardly any, because government has gotten in the way of good health care.
insurance companies would have to insure everyone... And Utahns would buy insurance based on a "community rating," instead of their medical history.

In Massachusetts, for example, residents' premiums are based on their age and what county they live in. They aren't asked about pre-existing medical conditions.
Great! Now I get billed based on how fat everyone is in my county and how much they smoke! Now there's an incentive for me to be healthy! What it is is an incentive for me to rat on my fat, emphysematic neighbors to the government. That'll show 'em!

The only thing I like about the Governor's health care plan is that Utahns can eventually get their own health insurance, instead of it being tied to their employer. I would like to solve the health care crisis as much as the Governor.

But please, let us choose. No matter how much compassion you feel for the uninsured, your plan simply will not work.

Comments

  1. As we ask government to require insurers to cover more and more items, we shouldn't be surprised when our insurance costs go up. After all, someone has to pay for the latest and greatest treatment with a 5% increased effectiveness at only double the cost. When we're paying the same amount out-of-pocket, what do we care?

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  2. If many people I know could at last obtain healthcare I would like to sign up for the Communist Party somewhere. Do you know where? Can I call Huntsman's office?

    Watch "Sicko" if you have not had any personal life experiences on the subject of the worst health care system in the western world. We rank just behind Slovenia, #36 in the world.

    Three cheers for Karl Marx and John Huntsman!

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  3. WP,

    I haven't seen Sicko, but I can bet it glosses over the fact that our health care system is languishing due to our government.

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  4. Looks like our choices are: (1) pay the insurance companies or (2) pay as you go. Either way, it's too expensive because we're supporting a for-profit health care industry,

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  5. Frank, check out this ad. It gets at the utter hypocrisy of politicians. They enjoy government health care, but if anyone else gets it that's "socialism."

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  6. "Communism seeks to control property as well as economic and social activity."

    You make it sound so evil. You forget the control is for egalitarian purposes, although it seldoms works out that way. What party does not seek to control some aspect of the economy or social activity? Huntsman plan in not even close to communism. There is nothing even socialist about requiring people to have insurance. It would be socialist (or communist) if the government actually owned and operated the medical facilities and the personel were state employees. For a good example of a socialist system in Utah you should look no further than Utah's liquor laws.

    I think you miss the point why many people point to socialist (or something close) healthcare systems is it allows those unable to have healthcare be provided for. Yes, America has the best medical system in terms of doctors, facilities, procedures, technology, but only if your lucky enough to be at least in the middles class. There are many people who would access to much better health care not in the United States but in a place like Cuba

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  7. But pay-as-you-go, or better yet, Health Savings Accounts, will reduce health care costs enough to make it manageable. For example, if I have that prostate surgery (just...for example...;-) ) I might decide to stay a day less in the hospital than prescribed, because it will save me money. Also, if I know that I have to pay for my health care, I'll probably be a little bit more faithful in my fitness regimen.

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  8. Jason,

    You're right. The poor need to be taken care of. But not by the Federal Government. They've made a mess of that every time they tried it.

    I wondered if my "communist" epithet would be perceived as too evil or too harsh. I clarified the title of my article with the first paragraph. I think Huntsman is well meaning (most communists are/were--except for people like Stalin), but in substance, this health care proposal IS communist. But of course a lot of other things in America are communist as well.

    Richard,

    I agree that it would be a step up if we all had as good of health plans as our federal politicians.

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  9. Mandatory health insurance is already proving to be detrimental in Massachusetts. Why adopt it here?

    My work has an HSA plan, and people really freak out when they see the high deductible. They don't realize the tax benefits or the incentives the plan creates.

    People seem to be attracted by the idea of government-funded health care, without realizing that the result will be rationing, regulation of lifestyle, and reduced quality.

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  10. Speaking as one who has had personal experience related to major medical expense and no insurance, I fully support a plan that will allow every person access to affordable health care.

    Without insurance, many people do not even seek health care until they reach a crisis -- when it is more costly and sometimes too late to help them.

    Health care is an essential need as basic as food and shelter. It should not just be made available to those lucky or rich enough to have good insurance plans.

    Is Governor Huntsman a communist because he supports our highway system, law enforcement, state economic development, and on and on? Government has a role in many areas. Why not in ensuring that people's very most basic needs can be met?

    And there is an obvious moral aspect to this as well. I urge you to open your mind to this topic, Frank, and not resort to knee-jerk party rhetoric.

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  11. Bekkieann,

    I'm sorry you see it as me being knee-jerk. I don't see it that way at all. The items that you list are not communistic (although government's approach to economic development can certainly become communistic), but are rather government promoting the general welfare. Property tax, however, is a communistic idea. We should, rather, be taxed on our consumption, because some government is necessary.

    I urge to re-read my article, as well as, specifically, Craig's comment. There is a solution to the health care crisis, but not the governor's. His plan will only make it worse.

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  12. Great! Now I get billed based on how fat everyone is in my county and how much they smoke! Now there's an incentive for me to be healthy! What it is is an incentive for me to rat on my fat, emphysematic neighbors to the government. That'll show 'em!

    I see this as an improvement. Currently, if we went with my Mister's employee sponsored plan, we'd be billed based on how sick all the other employees are (and that's a much smaller group than a county). Because some coworkers have some major medical problems, we've had to go with private insurance, which is less expensive (for now, although it's doubled in the two years we've had it), but we do risk having rates raised if we ever have any major medical problems (and the coverage isn't very good).

    If someone can explain why a national health care plan is such a horrible idea WITHOUT using the words "communist" or "socialist" to get everyone riled up, I might listen.

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  13. Oh- and yes, we have wonderful health care in the US, if you can afford it.

    Where does that leave the majority? With health care that's ranked 36th in the world.

    That's not good enough.

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  14. Allie,

    I can see that you got riled up at the words communist and socialist, because you don't seem to have caught the gist of my article. I apologize to you for riling, but that wasn't my intent. It was to point out a very important problem, that government is the cause of our health care problems.

    I AGREE WITH YOU THAT OUR HEALTH CARE STINKS. But I completely disagree with you as to the solution. I'd be curious if you can get a Health Savings Account plan where you work. I can't, and I can't get the money that I'm worth if I stop using my employer's plan, so I continue to be a parasite. But at least I recognize that this corner that the government has painted us into is a huge problem.

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  15. Allie: It's simple why it's a horrible idea. It does absolutely zilch to actually lower health care costs. Nada. Goose egg. The costs are hidden behind taxes and government contracts. Remember when the Pentagon got in trouble for those $30,000 toilet seats? Wait until we have $1500 aspirin.

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  16. It did get me riled up. I don't like scare tactics, and I think people use those words to scare people and make them think a national health plan would turn our country into "red-scare USSR".

    We have a cafeteria plan (also called a flex plan I think). We can put pretax dollars into it to pay for our monthly insurance deductible and co-pays. It's helpful. If there's any left in it at the end of the year, we lose it, so we have to plan carefully how much to put in.

    I think it was a different blog that someone commented about the possibility of not being able to get a job or register for school unless you have insurance. Part of me doesn't like this idea (although I think at the U you already have to have health insurance to register, and part of me thinks well, we already do it with car insurance, why not health insurance too? If everyone had to carry at least catastrophic insurance, it would save the rest of us.

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  17. Frank, your words said it for me, "the general welfare". How is a highway of any greater importance to the general welfare than health care? How is it not communistic, by your definition, to take my tax dollars for highways? Government provides services of all sorts. How do we decide which things people need and which they don't? And who decided health care was one certain people could darn well do without. I sincerely hope you are never faced with what so many others are.

    A huge number of people are unable to get the health care they need, and that is simply unconscionable in any society - and particularly in one that claims to be steeped in Christian values. I repeat, it's immoral. People die because they can't get health care.

    Or would you agree with Ebenezer Scrooge who said, "If they're going to die, they'd better be quick, about it and reduce the population."

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  18. Oh, by the way, I wondered if you could be more specific about your assertion that the government is responsible for the health care mess. Can you back that up with some facts? Have you considered the role of the insurance companies themselves and even the healthcare providers too? For example, if you have insurance you get a low, negotiated rate for your emergency room visit, while the uninsured get billed at the full price. Just one of many problems. Please tell us more specifics about how the government has caused this problem.

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  19. Two issues and a couple of great resources for all on this topic:

    1) Having insurance does not mean that all of a sudden health care will become more affordable. In fact, the history of insurance shows that as more people are covered by insurance the higher health care costs actually go.

    2) Why? Because we've forgotten what "insurance" really is. Insurance is for the just in case, not the routine. We currently use our "insurance" as just a health payment plan. And so we never really see the whole cost of our health care and doctors are not held accountable to consumers for what they are charging for their services.

    Solutions: I really like the price transparency idea proposed by Regina Herzlinger in her book "Who Killed Health Care." (bekkieann--Regina highlights how the government has helped really screw up health care along with hospitals and consumers. so the blame goes all around.) Also Clayton Christensen has some pretty out of the box ideas about how to lower cost, which is really the key here, not insurance. His presentation is located here: Disruptive Technologies in Health Care & Education .

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  20. Frank, our health care system is so bad because Nixon opened the door to HMO's and lest you feel skewered on that one you should know that Hillary tried to pressure MM to edit her out of his 'Sicko' movie. He documents her as being the largest recipient of lobby money from the HMO's and the health care industry in the US Senate.

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  21. WP,

    I'll have to watch Sicko, because it sounds like maybe it's more balanced than I thought. I wonder if the US during the Nixon years was trying to solve a mini-health-care crisis when it allowed for HMOs. I hope you agree it didn't work.

    Bekkieann,

    We as individuals can contract with private health care providers and not cause a huge public mess, but if we did the same thing with road builders we wouldn't be able to get anywhere because roads would be all over the place. Interestingly enough, The Federalist Papers talk about the importance of having a standard system of public roads. That being said, it is important for localities to take care of their own; health care (and American society in general) would be much better if government (FDR writ large) hadn't convinced us that it can take care of everything so we don't need to worry about it.

    Allie,

    I didn't mean to conjure up images of Joe Stalin when I talked about Communism. But I understand where that connotation comes from. I apologize. Although, even Joe Stalin was something of an monstrous aberration when it comes to Communism.

    I think your health plan would be MUCH better if you got to keep the money at the end of the year that you put into it that you didn't spend. That would help you make better health choices in both the short and long runs. Don't you agree? (And then, by the way, we would have money left over to help our neighbors in distress.)

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