More Comfortable Lies and Painful Truths

By Mike Cronin

Comfortable Lie: Healthcare is a right. The US is the only developed country without universal healthcare. Obamacare reduced the gap. We must close that gap, but the Republican just tried (and failed) to open it back up.

Painful Truth: We have the right to life, but not the right to live at the expense of someone else. We have no more right to use the coercive power of government to take our neighbors’ money than we do to rob our neighbors in person, regardless of whether the loot is to be used to pay for healthcare.  Universal healthcare has been made to sound wonderful by the people who stand to gain the most power by implementing it; and it has been made to sound ghastly by the people who stand to gain the most by not having it. The fact that the US is the only developed country that does not have universal healthcare is irrelevant. We have been the first, or only, country to do, or not do, many things – one of which is to be the first nation established on the principles of individual liberty and freedom – which require individual responsibility and self-reliance. Reliance on the state leads to stagnation and mediocrity and the erosion of liberty and freedom.

Comfortable Lie: “fake news” and “alternative facts” are a recent phenomenon born of the 2016 election and social media.

Painful Truth: All news is fake; some news is useful.  This has been the case since the days of the town crier and before. Events that make the news involve, and/or are witnessed by, people – some of the least effective or reliable data recording and play-back devices known! (Remember the game called “telephone” from grade school?  Line everyone up and whisper a story into the first kid’s ear, then have him whisper it to the second kid, who whispers it to the third, and so on.  By the time the story gets to the last kid, it’s unrecognizable.) Sometime the “fakeness” of the news is due to misconceptions; sometimes it is deliberate, as mentioned in previous posts.  Sometimes the reason for the deliberate fakery seems not worth the effort, as when, in the days long before Photoshop, Life magazine retouched this shot of the infamous 1970 Kent State incident. Were they worried that somehow the public would assume the girl is screaming because a fence post seemed to be growing out of her head (right) in the original, and not because her friend lay dead in the street?

Or: What return on investment did the publishers of TV Guide gain by grafting Oprah Winfrey’s head onto Ann-Margaret’s body?  Did they think a genuine picture of Oprah would not sell as well at the check-out stand?

Comfortable Lie: The “experts” know when to raise interest rates, “inject liquidity,” or otherwise enact some control over the economy.

Painful Truth: An economy is an incredibly complex interaction between independent agents, the items they wish to buy and sell, and the relative scarcity of those items. “The economy” is impossible for even the most brilliant humans to understand at a level sufficient to make effective control decisions.  Invariably, those that try end up making small problems bigger and big problems into disasters. They also manage to steal from us by devaluing the currency we have left after paying taxes.  Consider: The humble candy bar cost a nickel a century ago, now it costs $1.25. The chocolate didn’t become 25 times more valuable in that time; our dollars have lost 75% or more of their buying power!

Obamacare: Dysfunction & Chaos!

Kathleen Sebelius

By Mike Cronin

Why has the Affordable Care Act (AKA Obamacare) been a failure so far? Because it was doomed from the start. Just like any other sector of the economy that gets taken over by the government, health care cannot and will not be improved by central planning and control.  But don’t we need Obamacare, so that people who don’t have health insurance can finally get coverage?

According Dr. Michael Hurd, a psychotherapist who writes a comprehensive mental health blog:

Health insurance started out as hospital insurance. People purchased hospital insurance in the marketplace so that they could afford catastrophic care when and if they needed it. Government regulations (e.g. mandating coverage for primary care) and tampering with/restricting the marketplace (e.g., no purchasing insurance across state lines; tax credits for large companies, but not individuals) are what led to health insurance premiums skyrocketing in the first place.

Piecemeal government interventions made the health care industry dysfunctional and insurance premiums un-affordable, so now the solution is…higher premiums for total government control of health care? Insane.

Health care providers will be unsatisfied because they will be paid based on what the government says they should be paid, not what free-market factors allow them to earn. Further, they will, be micromanaged and second-guessed by bureaucrats and bean-counters, and they will have to comply with ever more red tape.  Bright young people, realizing this, will opt out of medical careers, exacerbating the shortage of care providers. To compensate, the government will be forced to either pay bonuses to medical providers…or draft people into the medical profession.

Beneficiaries are discovering that, enrollment debacle aside, they will be charged exorbitant premiums, (especially the youngest, healthiest adults, in order to pay for the more medically needy); sometimes including mandatory coverage that they don’t need (such as pregnancy coverage for males);  that they won’t be able to keep insurance they already have (not because they law says they have to change companies, but because the economics of implementation have caused their employers to drop their old insurance), or the doctors they already have (again, because their insurance has changed). Some of the sickest beneficiaries will also discover that the government can arbitrarily decide that a given care regime is too costly, so it will be denied to them.

Think of it another way:

Imagine if we relied on auto insurance for “primary care” for our vehicles (fluid changes, tire rotations, wiper blades). Think of the paperwork and billing hassles we would endure for each little oil change. The overall cost of auto maintenance would increase to cover the business overhead. Soon, fewer Americans would be able to afford auto insurance, with serious ramifications for liability, setting the stage for a national crisis. It’s a ridiculous idea, isn’t it? Yet this is the way that health care works in America today. (from dpcare.org)