A Society of Criminals-Libertarianism explained


By Vaticanus   Follow   Sun, 28 Feb 2010, 4:12pm   8,482 views   313 comments
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By Ben O'Neill

http://mises.org/daily/4125

A short excerpt from the larger article:

"In fact, what is called "the free market" is just the absence of socially sanctioned theft, assault, robbery, etc., in the context of the relevant market. What is called "deregulation" is actually just the removal of policies allowing socially sanctioned trespasses against person and property. What is called "decentralization of power" is actually just the breaking down of one big criminal agency into lots of smaller competing criminal agencies, with the goal of ultimately making them small enough and competitive enough (with each other) for us to escape from their clutches altogether.

At root, the libertarian position is very simple and must be communicated in this way. It holds that people should not be allowed to commit crimes against one another. All of the talk about free markets versus market intervention, capitalism versus socialism, regulation versus deregulation, and so on, is just a disguised way of presenting the basic dichotomy between a society of criminals and a society of law. This is the essence of the battle.

A battle between the free market and its antipodes, when presented in the garb of political philosophy, is an esoteric battle. It is a battle that can be perverted and misrepresented. A straightforward battle between criminality and law is easier to understand and far more powerful. Libertarians should not shy away from presenting "policy issues" in terms of their actual meaning — in terms of criminality versus law.

Many have been cowed into avoiding this approach by the idea that this "strong language" will put people off, or make libertarians seem unreasonable. But it is precisely this confrontation with the basic fact — that libertarianism supports a society of law — that is the most powerful weapon for its advocates. There is nothing wrong with telling people that taxation is robbery, that regulation is trespass, that drug laws are assault and robbery, that politicians are criminals, and that the state is a monstrous criminal agency."

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  1. Paralithodes


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    274   11:19am Sun 14 Mar 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Food service and medical service are two different planets, anybody who confuses the two has NO F—ING clue of the real world or economics.

    And yet, a sweepingly general tautology that the health care industry has a monopoly on the health care system shows a "F—ING clue of the real world or economics...." LOL! I'm pretty sure that the analogy to the food industry was simply an attempt to show the stupidity of the original argument, but then again, conservatives don't think and they use 8-track tapes, and liberals think and use DVDs....

  2. Vaticanus


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    275   11:37am Sun 14 Mar 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    right you are Paralithodes, if there are monopolies in health care they are created/enabled by government legislation.

    But by and large there is still a market (albiet an unfree/regulated market) in health care and alternative medicine. The left-libs want to argue that: "medicine is a right and since when you need medicine ("there is no elasticity in the market" they say) it needs to be provided by the state."
    Well when you need food there is no elasticity in the market either. So I think the state should feed us too! 1984 here we come!

  3. Paralithodes


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    276   11:44am Sun 14 Mar 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    RayAmerica says

    iwog says


    You keep using words like socialism out of context.

    There you go again. Please copy and post here where I have used the word “socialism” out of context. Again folks, don’t hold your breath. LOL

    Ray, it seems that the correct context for the word "socialism" in this forum is alternatively:
    a) ANY government function whatsoever, whether at the most local or central level; or
    b) NO government function whatsoever, unless the entire system is already socialist...

    The alternates are selected depending upon which absurd strawman can be applied to attempt to refute any conservative argument against any specific government policy or program without delving too much into the details, though sometimes both are applied almost simultaneously. If you do not understand the distinctions above, someone might tell you to read the definition somewhere, like on the Wikipedia site, although you must tread carefully there as well: Only those parts of the explanation that support the context above are valid, and anything that might in any respect be relevant to what you consider to be socialist on the part of the Democrats is automatically invalid. However, at the same time you must remember that we conservatives only think in black/white, while those who throw out the rules above do not.

  4. elliemae


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    277   11:59am Sun 14 Mar 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike   Protected  

    AdHominem says

    Just curious, if you could afford an organ on the black market (and needed one for yourself or someone you love), would you go the non-licensed route? Why/why not?

    I don't know. Unless I was faced with the actual problem, I honestly don't know. But I'm leaning toward hell yes. The problem is that the origin of the organ would be suspect; was someone killed for it? is it diseased? But when you're grasping at straws, you grab the one closest to you in the hopes that it works.

    I was once asked if I could vote for the death penalty. My answer was that I would have to feel strongly enough about the issue to take personal responsibility for that person's death, because I feel that my vote would be the same thing. I have also amazed myself by advocating the death penalty in a few local cases, most notably:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beau_Maestas

    ...except his sister should fry, too. But first they should torture them in cruel, cruel ways.

    http://www.fox5vegas.com/news/19602218/detail.html

    140 years? not long enough. He should be allowed in general population wearing a shirt declaring his crimes, then he should fry.

    Back to the current topic, which has (again) morphed into healthcare. I'm fortunate enough to have a serious, yet treatable disease. Without health insurance, I would remain in excruciating pain and die. I support a change to our current system, because I've experienced it from both the provider's and the patient's point of view.

  5. iwog


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    278   12:26pm Sun 14 Mar 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)   Protected  

    Paralithodes says

    Ray, it seems that the correct context for the word “socialism” in this forum is alternatively:

    a) ANY government function whatsoever, whether at the most local or central level; or

    b) NO government function whatsoever, unless the entire system is already socialist…

    Just to clarify, who used the word socialism in either of these ways? I think you're confusing your nightmares with reality again.

    Socialism is government ownership of industry. Anything not approaching this is not socialism. A government regulated health care system is not socialist any more than government regulated drug production or government regulated offshore fishing.

    Every progressive I've ever had a conversation with understands this. Almost without fail, every single neoconservative I've ever heard speak on this topic has NO IDEA what the term means or how to use it correctly.

    BTW you apparently don't know what a straw man argument is either.

  6. Paralithodes


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    279   3:02pm Sun 14 Mar 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    iwog says

    Just to clarify, who used the word socialism in either of these ways? I think you’re confusing your nightmares with reality again.

    I might be doing that. But If I were you, I would check my memory if I really didn't recall anyone using these types of arguments, or I would try to be a little more honest about it.

    Meanwhile, here is part of the expanation of "socialism" from Wikipedia. BTW, do you support "single payer" or do you support the current health care bill as a step towards "single payer" as do some of the Democrats who specifically want this and see the bill as a step in that direction?

    Socialism is not a concrete philosophy of fixed doctrine and programme; its branches advocate a degree of social interventionism and economic rationalisation (usually in the form of economic planning), but sometimes oppose each other. A dividing feature of the socialist movement is the split between reformists and revolutionaries on how a socialist economy should be established. Some socialists advocate complete nationalisation of the means of production, distribution, and exchange; others advocate state control of capital within the framework of a market economy.

    Socialists inspired by the Soviet model of economic development have advocated the creation of centrally planned economies directed by a state that owns all the means of production. Others, including Yugoslavian, Hungarian, German and Chinese communist governments in the 1970s and 1980s, have instituted various forms of market socialism, combining co-operative and state ownership models with the free market exchange and free price system (but not free prices for the means of production).[10] Modern social democrats propose selective nationalisation of key national industries in mixed economies, while maintaining private ownership of capital and private business enterprise. (In the 19th and early 20th century the term was used to refer to those who wanted to completely replace capitalism with socialism through reform.) Modern social democrats also promote tax-funded welfare programs and regulation of markets; many, particularly in European welfare states, refer to themselves as socialists, despite holding pro-capitalist viewpoints, thus adding ambiguity to the meaning of the term "socialist". Libertarian socialism (including social anarchism and libertarian Marxism) rejects state control and ownership of the economy altogether and advocates direct collective ownership of the means of production via co-operative workers' councils and workplace democracy.

  7. tatupu70


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    280   3:22pm Sun 14 Mar 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Paralithodes--

    Perhaps the monopoly analogy was a bit simplistic, but do you disagree that health care in general presents some unique problems for a free market? Do you think free markets can function effectively in health care?

  8. theoakman


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    281   7:46pm Sun 14 Mar 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    tatupu70 says

    Paralithodes–
    Perhaps the monopoly analogy was a bit simplistic, but do you disagree that health care in general presents some unique problems for a free market? Do you think free markets can function effectively in health care?

    Ask anyone that received laser eye surgery. It's probably the only area of health care that the market is allowed to function.

  9. Paralithodes


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    282   7:59pm Sun 14 Mar 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    tatupu70 says

    Paralithodes–
    Perhaps the monopoly analogy was a bit simplistic, but do you disagree that health care in general presents some unique problems for a free market? Do you think free markets can function effectively in health care?

    Tatpupu, Good, valid questions, but I am not sure I can answer your questions to your satisfaction based on what I assume is their underlying premise: that health care operates in a free market today. I am not sure that I agree that health care, or health insurance in particular, is operating in a "free market" in the first place.

    First, one of the main positions of conservatives is that the Commerce Clause can be used to increase competition across state lines: something that does not exist now. Second, it seems to me that the consumer is way too disconnected from the cost of health care service for it to be considered as operating properly as a "free market."

    The first problem may be caused by inaction at the Federal level. Whether the second problem was actually caused by the free market itself, by itself or in response to government intervention, I can't answer: I just don't know enough of the background of how this situation came to be.

    So maybe I should answer: health care *may* present some unique challenges in a generally "free market." But I don't know for sure because I don't believe that it is operating in such a market, and I don't believe that blaming the generally very low-profit margin middle man as the primary cause of the problem is going to lead to the solution.

  10. tatupu70


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    283   4:14am Mon 15 Mar 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Paralithodes says

    First, one of the main positions of conservatives is that the Commerce Clause can be used to increase competition across state lines: something that does not exist now. Second, it seems to me that the consumer is way too disconnected from the cost of health care service for it to be considered as operating properly as a “free market.”

    Forgive my lack of knowledge, but I've never understood this argument. I've lived in several states and have enjoyed health care benefits from the same companies. Cigna, United Healthcare, etc. support plans in all states, don't they? What exactly would this "increased competition" do? How would it lower costs? Further, most companies with sites in multiple states have the same exact plan for everyone. Again--don't see how it would increase competition.

    The disconnect between behavior and cost is interesting. I'm laughing thinking of peoples' reaction to a sliding scale of premiums based on body mass index or # of donuts eaten/month. I think it's an interesting idea, but it might be a problem politically.

  11. bdrasin


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    284   6:18am Mon 15 Mar 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    tatupu70 says

    Forgive my lack of knowledge, but I’ve never understood this argument. I’ve lived in several states and have enjoyed health care benefits from the same companies. Cigna, United Healthcare, etc. support plans in all states, don’t they? What exactly would this “increased competition” do? How would it lower costs? Further, most companies with sites in multiple states have the same exact plan for everyone. Again–don’t see how it would increase competition.
    The disconnect between behavior and cost is interesting. I’m laughing thinking of peoples’ reaction to a sliding scale of premiums based on body mass index or # of donuts eaten/month. I think it’s an interesting idea, but it might be a problem politically.

    This is a very good question! Of course there is no federal prohibition against an insurance company selling insurance in more than one state, and we all know that if we stop to think about it for a minute. In fact, the McCarren-Ferguson act of 1945 pretty much prevents the federal government from regulating insurance (this is why they are exempt from antitrust laws): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McCarran%E2%80%93Ferguson_Act.
    Health insurance is regulated at the state level for the same reason that almost everything else is regulated at the state level; namely that the United States is a federal republic! There probably are some inefficiencies caused by this, but it isn't the result of a federal ban nor is it any different than countless other industries which are regulated by the states (that is, everything from liquor to lawyers).
    So this is just business in the United States - every industry would like the US Congress to pass laws about how they should operate and say that these laws trump state regulations. (well, lobbying state governments is cheaper than congress, but never mind for now.) This isn't even because they think that they could get congress to pass overly-business friendly laws (though that certainly would be nice from their perspective), it's simply that having one set of regulations to follow, one legislative and regulatory process to track, would simplify their business and reduce their administrative overhead. All businesses that operate across state lines want this. But they don't all get it because in our governmental system we generally see the concept of local regulation as valuable enough to trump the inefficiencies it introduces.
    So another way of saying 'allow consumers to purchase insurance across state lines' would be 'get rid of the rights of states to regulate insurance', which is a bit ironic because the Republicans are supposed to favor states rights. Rhetorically this is brilliant because, while not actually a lie, it creates the false impression that there is a federal law which forbids companies from operating across state lines and once we get rid of that law there will be all this choice and competition. Really it is a red herring designed to make reform more difficult because:
    1) It would require a large legislative effort for Congress to come up with comprehensive regulation to replace what states do now, and
    2) It would create more conflict because the regulations necessarily would differ from some states existing regulations (stricter than some, more lenient than others, etc.) which would make an already difficult representative-by-representative negotiation even harder.
    So in sum, I think this really is a talking point disguised as policy.

  12. Nomograph


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    285   6:30am Mon 15 Mar 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    theoakman says

    Ask anyone that received laser eye surgery. It’s probably the only area of health care that the market is allowed to function.

    Lasik, breast augmentation, and tummy tucks market aren't really the best examples now, are they?

    What AdHominem and a couple others here are really demonstrating is that they place more value on their free market ideology than they do on their fellow human beings. If people must die on the alter of unregulated free markets, so be it because free markets are what is most important in life for these people (or so they think).

    Most people place more value on their fellow human beings than they do on free market ideologies.

  13. Paralithodes


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    286   7:49am Mon 15 Mar 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    bdrasin says

    Of course there is no federal prohibition against an insurance company selling insurance in more than one state, and we all know that if we stop to think about it for a minute.

    And also of course, no conservative has argued that there is such a federal prohibition.... Therefore, your representation of the conservative argument with this statement is completely invalid.

    bdrasin says

    So another way of saying ‘allow consumers to purchase insurance across state lines’ would be ‘get rid of the rights of states to regulate insurance’, which is a bit ironic because the Republicans are supposed to favor states rights.

    You seem to be simplifying things quite a bit to make your point, but the irony is that you seem to not consider the Commerce Clause... Isn't that what the Democrats are basing their argument on that intervention in the health care industry to this degree is Constitutional? The further irony is that one could assume that you are saying that Democrats do not support this approach *because* of respect for state rights...

    bdrasin says

    Rhetorically this is brilliant because, while not actually a lie, it creates the false impression that there is a federal law which forbids companies from operating across state lines and once we get rid of that law there will be all this choice and competition.

    Rhetorically, your assertion is simply a strawman because you are basing it on a false impression of the argument, which you are creating, since the argument is for use of a "law" (the Commerce Clause) not the removal of some non-existent law.

    bdrasin says

    So in sum, I think this really is a talking point disguised as policy.

    Of course. Is there a conservative argument or position that is not a "talking point?"

  14. tatupu70


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    287   7:54am Mon 15 Mar 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Again--you didn't answer my question. How would it lower costs?

  15. Paralithodes


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    288   8:08am Mon 15 Mar 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    tatupu70 says

    The disconnect between behavior and cost is interesting. I’m laughing thinking of peoples’ reaction to a sliding scale of premiums based on body mass index or # of donuts eaten/month. I think it’s an interesting idea, but it might be a problem politically.

    You've unfortunately done this several times ... swap a word in someone's description of a position in order to change the meaning of that position to something other than what was intended.... I never said the word "behavior." That is your word, which, while is broadly accurate, you have narrowly applied... My actual statemement was: "Second, it seems to me that the consumer is way too disconnected from the cost of health care service for it to be considered as operating properly as a “free market.”

    People with medical insurance are generally insulated from either the true or the inflated costs of medical services because all they generally see are premium payments and relatively small co-payments. This may result in many more trips to doctors for minor things that do not require it, or numerous "second" opinions for the same thing, or simple unquestioning of the treatments, medications, etc., required. I know of no person, liberal or conservative, who thinks before going to the doctor: "What is going to be my burden on the whole system? If I incur more medical cost to the system than my premiums cover, for routine/non-emergency treatments, how will that affect the costs of everyone?" The general rule seems to be, if there is any question, go to the doctor: you are already paying the insurance and it costs very little to just get the consulation and peace of mind.

  16. tatupu70


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    289   8:22am Mon 15 Mar 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    I think that's an example of the free market at work actually. As others (Nomo?) have pointed out, there are policies out there with high deductibles/copays, but nobody wants them. For whatever reason, people seem to prefer higher premium policies...

    That's a slippery slope as well Not sure we want to discourage people from visiting the Dr. if they might be sick. Most diseases are much less costly when caught early.

  17. Paralithodes


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    290   8:30am Mon 15 Mar 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    tatupu70 says

    Again–you didn’t answer my question. How would it lower costs?

    tatupu70 says

    lived in several states and have enjoyed health care benefits from the same companies. Cigna, United Healthcare, etc. support plans in all states, don’t they? What exactly would this “increased competition” do? How would it lower costs? Further, most companies with sites in multiple states have the same exact plan for everyone. Again–don’t see how it would increase competition.

    Those are some pretty big gorilla companies you gave as examples, which often have offices/registrations in every state. If you saw a plan by a company based in only TX with no footprint or office in any other state, or plan catered specifically to any other state, and you lived in VA, could you buy into that plan from that company? If not, then your options and opportunities to select a plan to your liking based on price, coverage, or whatever other factors, are limited. If this were addressed, the outcome based on the increased customer choice, expanded company markets (with lower overhead), and associated increased competition could help lower costs. It should be self-evident that increased competition among companies would help lower costs, except to those who deny that competition or market forces ever does this and only government intervention results in cost decreases.

    Here is an older article I found regarding an initiative in Colorado (I do not know the outcome)....

    http://facethestate.com/articles/lawmaker-proposes-revolutionary-shift-health-care-purchasing

    DENVER – Colorado would become the first state in the country to allow its citizens to purchase out-of-state health insurance under a bill proposed by Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Yuma.
    ....
    Currently, state law permits health insurers to sell only policies in Colorado that comply with state regulations and mandates on care, even if the same company does business in other states. Consequently, there is no national market for health insurance, unlike life insurance or banking services, which are regulated by states but may be purchased across state lines.

  18. Paralithodes


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    291   8:41am Mon 15 Mar 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    tatupu70 says

    I think that’s an example of the free market at work actually. As others (Nomo?) have pointed out, there are policies out there with high deductibles/copays, but nobody wants them. For whatever reason, people seem to prefer higher premium policies…
    That’s a slippery slope as well Not sure we want to discourage people from visiting the Dr. if they might be sick. Most diseases are much less costly when caught early.

    It might be the free market at work, and if so then it is a good example of where the free market is not working well in that aspect. It might also be the result of government intervention and policy, or a collission/collusion between the two. I do not have enough background or information on how this came to be so I can't conclude one way or the other. My impression is that neither do you, nor nearly anyone else posting here. The slippery slope argument works both ways: My point is essentially that we are on the opposite slope right now. The issue is how do we get the slope to be flatter or less slippery.

  19. tatupu70


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    292   8:50am Mon 15 Mar 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Paralithodes says

    Those are some pretty big gorilla companies you gave as examples, which often have offices/registrations in every state. If you saw a plan by a company based in only TX with no footprint or office in any other state, or plan catered specifically to any other state, and you lived in VA, could you buy into that plan from that company? If not, then your options and opportunities to select a plan to your liking based on price, coverage, or whatever other factors, are limited. If this were addressed, the outcome based on the increased customer choice, expanded company markets (with lower overhead), and associated increased competition could help lower costs. It should be self-evident that increased competition among companies would help lower costs, except to those who deny that competition or market forces ever does this and only government intervention results in cost decreases.

    OK--I think I understand the issue. But it's really not a lack of competition--any company can offer health care in any state as long as they meet that state's requirements. You're implying that there are barriers to entry that are artificially restricting competition and therefore choice. I don't see that at all.

    Could that little company in TX offer health care to someone in Maine? They don't know the Drs or hospitals there. And, if so, why isn't it operating in Maine? If they could offer better coverage for cheaper, why aren't they doing it??

  20. Paralithodes


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    293   9:11am Mon 15 Mar 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    tatupu70 says

    OK–I think I understand the issue. But it’s really not a lack of competition–any company can offer health care in any state as long as they meet that state’s requirements. You’re implying that there are barriers to entry that are artificially restricting competition and therefore choice. I don’t see that at all.

    You deny that the states' requirements are a barrier to entry? On what grounds?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barriers_to_entry

    You disagree with the article and assert that there is a national market for health insurance, and you can purchase health care across state lines even if the plan you may specifically want to chose for yourself does not comply with your resident state mandates?

  21. tatupu70


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    294   9:21am Mon 15 Mar 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Paralithodes says

    You deny that the states’ requirements are a barrier to entry? On what grounds?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barriers_to_entry
    You disagree with the article and assert that there is a national market for health insurance, and you can purchase health care across state lines even if the plan you may specifically want to chose for yourself does not comply with your resident state mandates?

    No that's not what I said. I said "You’re implying that there are barriers to entry that are artificially restricting competition and therefore choice". Cherry picking phrases is just the sort of practice that you constantly accuse me and others of doing. To get to the crux of the issue--how much do the different state mandates limit competition? And would creating a national mandate reduce or increase costs? In my mind, it's just as likely your costs would go up--it depends on whether the state you currently live in has business friendly or consumer friendly mandates....

  22. Paralithodes


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    295   9:27am Mon 15 Mar 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    tatupu70 says

    No that’s not what I said. I said “You’re implying that there are barriers to entry that are artificially restricting competition and therefore choice”. Cherry picking phrases is just the sort of practice that you constantly accuse me and others of doing.

    That's exactly right, I am implying that the state requirements are in fact barriers to entry that artificially restrict competition and therefore choice. You said that you "don't see that at all." So do you deny that state requirements are a barrier to entry, or do you not deny it? If you do not deny it, then I accept that I misunderstood you and apologize for taking your phrase out of context. If you do deny it, then how exactly did I cherry pick anything?

    How exactly would an increase in competition make costs go up? If a state has a business friendly or consumer friendly mandate, as you put it (though the two are NOT mutually exclusive), then the degree to which it is business unfriendly will simply be a remaining barrier to entry.

  23. tatupu70


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    296   9:32am Mon 15 Mar 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    I deny that the differing state mandates restrict competition and therefore choice. They are such a low barrier as to be almost non-existent. Remember--we're not talking about the mandates themselves as a barrier-only the difference between one state and another state. You're always going to have mandates regardless.

    If you got rid of the individual state mandates, you would almost certainly have to develop a Federal mandate to replace them. This Federal Mandate would likely be more restrictive than some of the individual state mandates. I would argue that costs will increase in those states under that scenario.

  24. Paralithodes


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    297   9:37am Mon 15 Mar 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    So apparenty I cherry-picked nothing!

  25. tatupu70


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    298   9:41am Mon 15 Mar 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    OK--I'm tiring of your semantics. You misrepresented what I said, but whatever. Do you have a comment on the substance of my post?

  26. bdrasin


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    299   9:44am Mon 15 Mar 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    tatupu70 says

    OK–I think I understand the issue. But it’s really not a lack of competition–any company can offer health care in any state as long as they meet that state’s requirements. You’re implying that there are barriers to entry that are artificially restricting competition and therefore choice. I don’t see that at all.
    Could that little company in TX offer health care to someone in Maine? They don’t know the Drs or hospitals there. And, if so, why isn’t it operating in Maine? If they could offer better coverage for cheaper, why aren’t they doing it??

    Establishing a provider list (which means negotiating a rate schedule with doctors and hospitals) is a lot of work and introduces a lot of administrative overhead. I don't see any way that could change without MAJOR regulatory intervention like in Switzerland or the Netherlands. Even the very big insurers can't just dictate rates to doctors (although they do try) and have to invest major resources in negotiating reimbursement rates. This is why your insurer will tell you to double check even with doctors they list to make sure they are still working together.
    As to the extra overhead for an insurer who wants to operate in more than one state and deal with that states regulation, I don't know really but I suspect it is pretty minor for the big players. A friend of mine who did tech consulting for a large national insurer in Florida tells me that almost none of the business rules were for Florida-specific issues or regulations. For a hypothetical small Texas company it probably would be harder.
    I don't really have a problem with replacing insurance regulation at the state level with national regulation, but I think it would be VERY difficult politically.

  27. Paralithodes


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    300   9:50am Mon 15 Mar 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Stop being so anti-semantic! To comment on your post... I strongly disagree with your opinion on the state mandates and the degree to which they are or aren't barriers to entry. I am not sure whether I agree or not about the Federal mandate: I could see the argument for some type of minimums in plans that cross state lines, but the depth or scope is something to think on further: I'm sure we would disagree on the details. I am, however, very surprised that you would oppose this because costs may increase under some states (which we have to assume from your statement might be below those minimum standards in the first place).

  28. tatupu70


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    301   11:41am Mon 15 Mar 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Paralithodes says

    Stop being so anti-semantic! To comment on your post… I strongly disagree with your opinion on the state mandates and the degree to which they are or aren’t barriers to entry. I am not sure whether I agree or not about the Federal mandate: I could see the argument for some type of minimums in plans that cross state lines, but the depth or scope is something to think on further: I’m sure we would disagree on the details. I am, however, very surprised that you would oppose this because costs may increase under some states (which we have to assume from your statement might be below those minimum standards in the first place).

    Actually, I'm a rabid anti-dentite. You really think the DIFFERENCE between state mandates limits competition?? I just don't see how that is possible. Do you have any examples of specific differences that would be a large barrier to entry?

    Like bdrasin said--I would imagine that it costs a heck of a lot more to set up a provider list in a new state than it does meeting any differences in mandates. That is a much larger barrier to entry...

    I never said I oppose it--just that I don't think it will make a hill of beans difference in cost.

  29. Paralithodes


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    302   11:58am Mon 15 Mar 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    tatupu70 says

    Actually, I’m a rabid anti-dentite.

    LOL! Great comeback!!!!!!!!!

    Yes, I think the difference in state mandates limits competition. The article re. Colorado can serve as the example that there is no national market for health insurance due to state regulations making it difficult to put into effect. You may be correct about the provider list, but there is no way to test that theory without opening these state constraints in the first place. If you are correct, if it makes no difference, then what is there to lose with trying this approach? Nothing. A barrier falls and no one does anything. No cost, no new real regulation, etc.

  30. tatupu70


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    303   12:33pm Mon 15 Mar 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Paralithodes says

    Yes, I think the difference in state mandates limits competition. The article re. Colorado can serve as the example that there is no national market for health insurance due to state regulations making it difficult to put into effect. You may be correct about the provider list, but there is no way to test that theory without opening these state constraints in the first place. If you are correct, if it makes no difference, then what is there to lose with trying this approach? Nothing. A barrier falls and no one does anything. No cost, no new real regulation, etc.

    The problem is you can't just "open" the state constraints. Do you mean get rid of all state constraints? Or provide a Federal mandate that overrides all state contraints? Seems like opening up a whole new can of worms to me. For very little gain.

  31. theoakman


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    304   2:21pm Mon 15 Mar 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Nomograph says

    theoakman says

    Ask anyone that received laser eye surgery. It’s probably the only area of health care that the market is allowed to function.

    Lasik, breast augmentation, and tummy tucks market aren’t really the best examples now, are they?
    What AdHominem and a couple others here are really demonstrating is that they place more value on their free market ideology than they do on their fellow human beings. If people must die on the alter of unregulated free markets, so be it because free markets are what is most important in life for these people (or so they think).
    Most people place more value on their fellow human beings than they do on free market ideologies.

    What's wrong with Lasik? It's a procedure that corrects eyesight. If you care to take notice, it works a hell of a lot cheaper and more effectively than the eyeglass industry despite its reliance on equipment that costs 10 times as much than the stuff your traditional eye doctor uses. Hell, they even advertise their prices in every newspaper.
    Most people grossly exaggerate the necessities of health care. They want the government to pay for their antibiotic ointment. They want the government to pay for their pain meds after they get a tooth pulled. They want the government to pay for their flu shot.
    If most people who advocate health care for everyone truly cared about the sick and needy, they would draw a distinction between essential medical care like heart surgery and everyday simple care. We could easily create a safety net for essential health care at relatively little cost.
    I'm pretty sure no one in their right mind wants the government paying for people's aspirin and tylenol. Yet somehow, people think that anything that gets written on a blue piece of paper shouldn't be paid for out of pocket. There is no reason why we couldn't cover expensive medical procedures through the government yet leave your yearly checkup to be paid out of pocket. Am I still sounding like a free market ideologue?

  32. tatupu70


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    305   2:27pm Mon 15 Mar 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    theoakman says

    We could easily create a safety net for essential health care at relatively little cost.

    Really? How do you figure? Essential health is the most expensive... Do you think the flu shots are what is breaking the bank?

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    306   2:34pm Mon 15 Mar 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    tatupu70 says

    The problem is you can’t just “open” the state constraints. Do you mean get rid of all state constraints? Or provide a Federal mandate that overrides all state contraints? Seems like opening up a whole new can of worms to me. For very little gain.

    As the Colorado article states, this already occurs for some other types of insurance, other services, etc. So there is certainly precedent. Whether this means getting rid of all constraints or some, what type of federal mandate, and even whether there would be very little gain is all conjecture at this point. You see very little gain, I see very little lost.... tomatoes tomahtoes, neither of us can definitively prove anything. However, this approach means less Federal government control over the solutions compared to current approaches (though it would actually take Federal government action to initiate), so I can see why one side would more or less dismiss it out of hand - doesn't fit the ideology.

  34. Paralithodes


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    307   2:35pm Mon 15 Mar 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    tatupu70 says

    theoakman says


    We could easily create a safety net for essential health care at relatively little cost.

    Really? How do you figure? Essential health is the most expensive… Do you think the flu shots are what is breaking the bank?

    I might be mistaken but I'm pretty sure his examples went beyond the flu shot, and his examples were only a few of the possibile examples that could be given.

  35. Vicente


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    308   2:42pm Mon 15 Mar 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike (1)  

    As a common peasant I don't see the [Ll]ibertarians ever protesting openly over the failings of capitalism. If there's ever a failing, it's always because we weren't PURIST enough. I never see any of them decrying billion-dollar paydays & insurance cartel behavior. Crony capitalism rigs the game, and that is the endpoint of it all. Alan Greenspan would tell us that fraud is not a valid reason to lock people up, because the "free market" self-regulates and fraudulent behavior results in exile for the bad people.

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    309   3:15pm Mon 15 Mar 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Paralithodes says

    As the Colorado article states, this already occurs for some other types of insurance, other services, etc. So there is certainly precedent. Whether this means getting rid of all constraints or some, what type of federal mandate, and even whether there would be very little gain is all conjecture at this point. You see very little gain, I see very little lost…. tomatoes tomahtoes, neither of us can definitively prove anything. However, this approach means less Federal government control over the solutions compared to current approaches (though it would actually take Federal government action to initiate), so I can see why one side would more or less dismiss it out of hand - doesn’t fit the ideology.

    I guess the devil is in teh details as far as I'm concerned. You ask a bunch of good questions but then dismiss them as if they are inconsequential. They are not, IMO.

    And it seems to me that it would be more Federal control--you're basically taking states' power to regulate health insurance and giving it to the Feds. How does that reduce Federal government control??

    It makes me wonder if you realize what you are asking for?

  37. Paralithodes


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    310   3:48pm Mon 15 Mar 2010   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    tatupu70 says

    I guess the devil is in teh details as far as I’m concerned. You ask a bunch of good questions but then dismiss them as if they are inconsequential. They are not, IMO.

    I don't dismiss them. I just happen to agree that the devil is in the details and I doubt either of us are really educated enough on them to come to any solid conclusions either way.

    tatupu70 says

    And it seems to me that it would be more Federal control–you’re basically taking states’ power to regulate health insurance and giving it to the Feds. How does that reduce Federal government control??
    It makes me wonder if you realize what you are asking for?

    If the state line solution is to have the Federal government force states to remove restrictions that interfere with interstate commerce, without significant Federal regulations of its own, then this Federal "control" is in line with the Constitution. As you say, the devil is in the details.... Do I realize what I am asking for? Maybe, maybe not... It depends upon the details... Certainly there are people who would propose varying government control for the same solution, from practically none to strict oversight.

  38. FortWayne


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    311   12:34pm Fri 1 Apr 2011   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    I think Libertarianism is not about just having small government. In reality government can become a form of oppression and be out of the control by those it governs.

    So I think the goal of libertarianism is to have a government that is too weak to oppress any individual yet have the power to stop those who break social contract or commit crimes if society desires such an action.

    Of course a lot of people miss that point and with tunnel vision for some reason ask for unilateral deregulation instead.

  39. Vicente


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    312   1:08pm Fri 1 Apr 2011   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)  

    Exactly Chris,

    The problem is people like Greenspan. People who believe that "fraud doesn't exist" and that we need no policing and regulations. Ultimately they believe in fire departments at most, but perhaps not police and certainly not SEC. Glass-Steagall Act? Ptooey, don't need such nonsense, megabanks will always do what's right.

    That ultimately was my problem with Libertarian Party and why I first left. There are moderate Libertarians with whom I can agree but far too many for whom "government is always the problem and we don't need any". Those people are unfortunately the ones who give the public face, and are the only ones with any real power.

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    313   5:14pm Fri 1 Apr 2011   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    thunderlips11 says

    You can also remind them that the top rate was 90% back in the 1950s, when evil socialist Eisenhower kept the US economy in the doledrums after WW2, LOL.

    To be fair, would you please also remind us what income bracket had that 90% top rate applied to, what would that be today in inflation-adjusted terms, and how many people in the whole country had been in that bracket? Somehow those who love to talk about that 90% rate NEVER mention those things.

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