The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):

  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”

Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Unintended consequences?

There is an old saying, “Be careful what you wish for; you might get it.” The point of this saying is that there are often unintended consequences, which nullify the desirability of something. And perhaps this is the best characterization of “Obamacare.” The goal was to get everyone to have health insurance. (At least, that was the goal of those who enacted it; I think a better goal would have been to get everyone who wanted it to have health insurance.) And, I assume to be certain that the insurance people got was real, it provided for the setting of minimum standards. This seemed reasonable, as you don't want people to be tricked into buying insurance that didn't meet their needs.

The problem is: These minimum standards were not set by determining what would meet the minimum needs of people; they were set up by bureaucrats who simply decided what they would consider adequate. This has had a number of results.

For one, it has led to the contraception impasse. Between people who feel that contraception is so important that it must be available to all and Catholics (and perhaps some others) who consider it immoral, there is no middle ground. Pres. Obama has put through a “compromise” that is no compromise in fact. In theory, insurance companies will provide the contraception coverage free, separately from what employers are paying for. In fact, the insurance companies are not charities; they are profit-making businesses, so the premiums will be adjusted to account for the added costs, so those employers will in fact be paying for it, if one compares the premium with what it would have been without the contraception mandate.

But “Obamacare” has other unintended consequences, too. For example, the mandated coverage is such that many present policies would not qualify. Pres. Obama's promise prior to his election that “if you like your present coverage, you can keep it” is simply not true; people will not be able to keep their present coverage because insurance companies will not be able to offer those plans that fall short of what the bureaucrats have decided to consider minimal. And the costs of insurance will go up because more has to be covered.

The third consequence I want to mention is that the mandate that all full-time workers be covered means that employers are encouraged not to hire full-time workers. If they can hire a lot of part-timers, the cost of training more people will be balanced by the savings in insurance they do not have to provide. And if they can get away with fewer employees in total (not even hiring part-timers) it may be a better deal. This is being anticipated by prospective employers. While the mandate has not yet affected them, they see it in the future, and this is why unemployment, and underemployment, are so high.

These are among the reasons “Obamacare” needs to be replaced by a better plan, and why Mitt Romney needs to be elected Present.

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