Wednesday, August 19, 2009

National Public Radio's lying host

Yesterday afternoon at about 1:30 or so I happened to catch a brief part of a talk show on National Public Radio. During the segment I heard the host, a woman, make a clearly false statement about health care.

She said words to the effect that health care reform is needed because insurance companies cancel the policies of people with pre-existing conditions, and her guest made no effort to correct her lie.

The true state of affairs is that insurance companies must continue to cover the medical expenses of people who develop new medical problems. There is no way they can cancel someone's insurance once they have agreed to provide it.

The NPR commentator was trying to blur the fact that the current health care reform legislation requires insurance companies to write new policies for people with pre-existing conditions at the same price as for people without pre-existing conditions. This is complete madness. Writing a new health care insurance policy for someone who needs an operation tomorrow, or who is already known to have an expensive to treat condition, is welfare, not insurance, and it would quickly result in driving all of the insurance companies out of the health care market.

It's exactly the same thing as requiring a fire insurance company to write a new policy on a house that's already on fire, or requiring a flood insurance company to write new policies on houses downstream of a dam that just broke.

The day after the government passes a requirement that insurance companies cover people with pre-existing conditions the smart people in the country will cut back their health insurance to the bare minimum. While they stay healthy they will save money. When they get sick or need an operation they will apply for a full coverage policy as soon as they learn that health care is going to cost them a lot of money. Insurance companies, if they want to stay in business, will have to hugely raise their rates to cover the new consumer behavior, and that will make even more healthy people cancel their policies. It will result in a spiral that will quickly kill off private health care insurance.

This sounds like a complex matter; but it's actually very simple. Would you pay for flood insurance on a beach house every year if you knew that you could always call and get a new flood insurance policy whenever a hurricane is forecast? Would you pay for auto insurance every year if you knew you could call from the scene of an accident and get a new insurance policy to cover the damage you've already done to your car? Would you pay for life insurance all your life if you knew that you could call from your deathbed in a hospital and apply for a new life insurance policy? Would you pay all your life for health insurance coverage if you knew that you could wait and apply for a new insurance policy after your doctor tells you some bad news?

Medicaid, which is a welfare program, already exists to provide health care for people who can't afford to pay for it. The attempt by President Obama and the democrats in congress to ban pre-existing condition clauses in new insurance policies is nothing but a naked play to destroy the health care insurance industry and thus force the country to a single payer government system.

And. . . a single payer health care system will put your health care in the hands of people who are not ashamed to baldly lie to get what they want, like the National Public Radio host I heard yesterday.

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