Insurance mandate: Should the healthy pay for irresponsibility?

Discussion in 'Politics' started by RationalAltruis, Mar 13, 2010.

  1. RationalAltruis
    Offline

    RationalAltruis Rookie

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2010
    Messages:
    23
    Thanks Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Ratings:
    +1
    Many Democrats are arguing that an insurance mandate is necessary so that everyone will be forced to get health insurance. This is for the sake of cost sharing; nowadays, for instance, many consumers are looking to tighten their belts and find savings everywhere they can. One bet many poor healthy people have made is to not get health insurance because they won't need it enough to justify the cost. Insurance companies lose many of their healthy subscribers, so they lose profit; as a result, those who are too sick remain on the plan, but for the company to offset its losses, it has to increase premiums. This is probably what caused the recent 39% premium increase Anthem imposed in California (statehealthfacts.org/profileind.jsp?ind=346&cat=6&rgn=6). A mandate will prevent the possibility of this happening in the future; people will have to get insurance even if it would not be economically rational, and insurance companies get more profit.

    I have two main disagreements with this:
    • Healthy people should not have to pay for sick people directly because sickness is often caused by poor lifestyle behaviors. If some people make poor decisions about their health, others (the healthy who would be forced to get insurance for cost-sharing) should not be forced to pay for it. Call me heartless, but I think if you eat so much that you're 300 pounds and need coronary bypass surgery or something, you should be the one to pay for it. It's basic personal responsibility.
    • The government has no imperative to force citizens to buy something simply so that an industry can make more profit. Without the mandate, the people in need will disproportionately desire health insurance more - but that's how it is for every single other good and service the market provides. It's not unfair to the companies, they're voluntarily providing a service (hopefully) and others are voluntarily choosing to purchase that service or not.

    Firstly, the healthy should not have to pay for those who make bad decisions and make themselves sick or require expensive surgery or drugs. Of course, there are many ailments which are not caused by negligence, but many are. For instance, eating at McDonalds every other day, or taking the elevator up to the 2nd floor, or using a motorized lawn mower you ride on, or not exercising, etc. Recent advances in technology and manufacturing have increased our ability to stay inactive or to buy cheap, unhealthy goods. You can see the effects of thsese things today:

    Obesity:
    upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c1/USObesityRate1960-2004.gif
    2/3 of all Americans are overweight.
    1/3 of all Americans are obese.
    ($1425 per person * ~300 million people = $427,500 million, or $427.5 billion)

    Diabetes:
    Alcoholism:
    The bottom line is that poor lifestyle choices are a significant cause of much of our extravagant health care spending. These poor choices should not be subsidized by unrelated third-parties (the healthy) - it creates a moral hazard. People are more likely to make bad decisions if they know others would pay for potential consequences.

    Secondly, even if the lack of a mandate gives a company greater cost pressures, that's no reason to interfere with the market simply for the sake of providing the company more profit. We don't force corporations to operate at a loss; why should we force some consumers to operate at a loss (be forced to buy insurance)? This would simply be a giveaway to the insurance companies. They're already making billions of dollars in profits; why should the government interfere simply to give them more, hurting healthy citizens in the process?

    Of course, there is one caveat applicable to both of these, which is that some sicknesses are not caused by risky behaviors. It would be quite difficult to fairly and consistently separate those responsible, and given that reducing costs is one of the main reasons for health reform, I don't see a solution, other than the following:

    There is also the idea that, whether or not one is responsible for one's ailment, the state nevertheless has a duty to help out financially. While this may have philosophical merit, I don't think it's workable here, given that personal freedom is supposed to be one of the main principles of the country, and that cost control is absolutely necessary.

    One last argument for the mandate is that some will buy health insurance only when they get sick, decreasing the insurance industry's profits if they decide to carry you. A possible counter is that the firms may be free to deny your insurance application, which would incentivise getting insurance before you need it, for the sake of cost-sharing among the healthy.

    What do you think?
     
  2. WillowTree
    Online

    WillowTree Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2008
    Messages:
    68,162
    Thanks Received:
    10,168
    Trophy Points:
    2,030
    Ratings:
    +14,730
    I think in 4, 3, 2, 1 the libruls on this board will call you a hearless bastard with zero compassion..
     
  3. Cuyo
    Offline

    Cuyo Training a Guineapig army

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    5,681
    Thanks Received:
    942
    Trophy Points:
    98
    Location:
    Denver, PA
    Ratings:
    +942
    You are a heartless bastard with zero compassion! :)

    Seriously though I didn't even get to finish reading it yet.
     
  4. oreo
    Offline

    oreo Gold Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2008
    Messages:
    12,481
    Thanks Received:
    1,960
    Trophy Points:
    255
    Location:
    rocky mountains
    Ratings:
    +4,160

    Hey--man then drag out your own freaking wallet for all those kids that are eating at Mickey dee's.


    Then drag out your wallet to stop me from drinking too many beers--while I am on this board- talking to you-:lol::lol:


    BTW--Thanks for your support--:lol::lol:


    That is if you're not one of those "restless" leg syndrome patients or those that have ecrkitle dysfunction patients or all the new pharmactucial drugs that have come out of the market "that WE ALL GET to pay for through higher medical insurance PREMIMUMS--that the pharmactuical industry has been PUSHING on of for several YEARS now.

    Congrats--our medical insurance pemiums are paying for an old Man's hard on--ENJOY your bill
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2010
  5. Cuyo
    Offline

    Cuyo Training a Guineapig army

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    5,681
    Thanks Received:
    942
    Trophy Points:
    98
    Location:
    Denver, PA
    Ratings:
    +942
    This is the crux of the mandate right here, not that the insurance "Won't make a profit" but that they won't carry you period -- And the person then becomes a non-paying burden on the system. When you're uninsured and you crush your femur - At home - with nobody to blame - Who do you think pays for that? The paying members of the system do, whether it's through premiums or higher bills for those paying cash.

    Not to be a jerk, but the rest of your post sounded like a lot of white noise.
     
  6. Care4all
    Offline

    Care4all Warrior Princess Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2007
    Messages:
    32,790
    Thanks Received:
    6,624
    Trophy Points:
    1,170
    Location:
    Maine
    Ratings:
    +11,109
    ahemmmm, that IS THE BUSINESS MODEL for health insurance....

    the HEALTHY ALWAYS pays for the unhealthy....THAT is just the way insurance is... and has always been.....it is the definition of insurance.
     
    • Thank You! Thank You! x 1
  7. Care4all
    Offline

    Care4all Warrior Princess Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2007
    Messages:
    32,790
    Thanks Received:
    6,624
    Trophy Points:
    1,170
    Location:
    Maine
    Ratings:
    +11,109
    as far as the Mandate....one of the primary reasons i am against it.
     
  8. Zona
    Offline

    Zona A guy in ariZONA

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2009
    Messages:
    13,874
    Thanks Received:
    941
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ.
    Ratings:
    +942
    The top 1% of the country who got Bush tax cuts should pay for this. Fair is fair. They got, now they pay.

    God bless America.
     
  9. RationalAltruis
    Offline

    RationalAltruis Rookie

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2010
    Messages:
    23
    Thanks Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Ratings:
    +1
    Just as an example, here's one summary of the argument I've heard involving company profits:
    I don't get it. If the company "won't carry you period", why would you be a "non-paying burden on the system" if you don't even have a contract with the company? If you crush your femur, and you don't have catastrophic insurance at least, then you should be the one to pay for it. This incentivises everyone to get some kind of insurance before something bad happens (else, if you apply for insurance right when you have the accident, the company will be free to deny your application because it wouldn't be profitable).
     
  10. RationalAltruis
    Offline

    RationalAltruis Rookie

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2010
    Messages:
    23
    Thanks Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Ratings:
    +1
    While I agree with you in principle that they should be the ones to pay for programs like these (for the most part), that's a different issue. Health care affordability in general, differentiating the rich from the poor, is different from differentiating costs of the healthy vs the unhealthy.
     

Share This Page