Me vs. Coulter — Kicking the Ultimate RW Liar’s ASS on Health Insurance

I got this in my
email yesterday, and had to laugh my ass off. You'll see why when you look at
the title.


I'm not even going
to lead into this one; I'll just say it's typical Coulter; red meat and pure BS
for the droolers who will believe anything she says without question. I'm just
going to dive right in.


Once more, my
comments are in  red




Lies About National Health Care: First In a Series

by Ann Coulter

Posted 08/19/2009 ET

Updated 08/19/2009


(1) National health
care will punish the insurance companies.


Okay, this is vintage Coulter. Take an extreme
minority position and impute it to all liberals.


The above is not a reason for
national health care. It is also not a component of any of the health care
bills currently before Congress. But here's the question; if  the above is a lie, and national health care 
punish private insurance companies, then why is the industry so dead set
against it?


Once again, it's that cognitive dissonance that
everyone on the far right of the political spectrum shares.


To my surprise, I actually agree with a couple of
the points she makes next. But overall, 
it's still Ann Coulter, so one can expect here to lie and contradict
herself pretty consistently…


You want to punish
insurance companies? Make them compete.


As Adam Smith
observed, whenever two businessmen meet, "the conversation ends in a
conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices."
That's why we need a third, fourth and 45th competing insurance company that
will undercut them by offering better service at a lower price.


I agree with this, which means she's preparing to
contradict herself. She's insinuating that the problem right now is a lack of
competition, and that IS a PART of the problem. Ironically, HR 3200 — the bill
Coulter and her ilk are railing against most vociferously — actually creates a
competitive environment for the private insurance companies. These people
simply don't get the concept of irony, however, so it's not all her fault.


Tiny little France
and Germany have more competition among health insurers than the U.S. does
right now. Amazingly, both of these socialist countries have less state
regulation of health insurance than we do, and you can buy health insurance
across regional lines — unlike in the U.S., where a federal law allows states
to ban interstate commerce in health insurance.


Before I start refuting this nonsense, I would like
to point out, once again, that the United States is 37th in the world when it
comes to basic health care statistics. France is first in the same survey, and
Germany is 25th. Just sayin'…


I'm going to start with the last statement first.
States can't "BAN interstate commerce in health insurance" or
anything else. Most states have strict regulations and requirements on all
insurance, and states have traditionally regulated ALL insurance for a very
basic reason, which is called state sovereignty. It's not the same level of
sovereignty as nations enjoy, but it covers the people and the property of tat
state. Insurance covers people and property, and the states have greater
sovereignty over the citizens and property of their state than does the federal
government . Even when health care reform passes with a public option, it will
most likely  be administered by the
states, just as Medicare and Medicaid are right now, with the federal rules and
regulations serving as a baseline for state regulations. That's why Dennis
Kucinich was able to insert an amendment into the current bill allowing states
to set up single payer; as long as the benefits of state regulations exceed the
standards set up by the federal government, states can do what they want.


Now, about the French and German systems…


The French system, called Sécurité Sociale, is a
hybrid system, remarkably similar to our Medicare system, and (ironically?)
remarkably similar to the system currently being debated by Congress, that
these loons are whining about. The French government provides 70% of all health
care funding in France, which is a far greater percentage than is currently
being proposed by HR 3200 and its off-shoots. The reason private insurers
aren't highly regulated in France is because they only provide supplemental insurance,
just as private insurers do here under the Medicare Part B program. Just like
the system being proposed here, the French health care delivery system is
entirely privately run.Coulter Barbie


The German system is actually the oldest universal
coverage system in the world; it dates back to 1880, and was set up by Otto von
Bismarck. Every German is required to carry a health insurance policy, no
exceptions. How much Germans pay is based on their income, but most people pay
14%, split evenly between employer and employee. The insurance itself is
private, but non-profit, and Coulter's assertion that there is little
regulation is absurd; German regulation of health insurance is among the
strictest in the world.


So, look at what Coulter chose to compare here. One
system, considered the best in the world, is almost exactly like the system
that would be set up under the Obama health care plan, and the other is
actually far stricter and more rigid than the Obama plan. Nothing like
undermining your own position by making up "lies" about your
opponents and then proving them right. Only right wing logic allows such a
thing, dontcha know…


U.S. health
insurance companies are often imperious, unresponsive consumer hellholes
because they're a partial monopoly, protected from competition by government
regulation. In some states, one big insurer will control 80 percent of the
market. (Guess which party these big insurance companies favor? Big companies
love big government.)


I am sure as hell not going to argue with her
characterization of health insurance companies. But she's wrong about big
insurance preferring the Democrats. Their support is  pretty much evenly split between the parties.
And it's one of the main reasons we're going to tackle political finance reform
once we pass the health care reform bill. Legalized bribery, regardless of
party, has to be done away with.


Liberals think they
can improve the problem of a partial monopoly by turning it into a total
monopoly. That's what single-payer health care is: "Single payer"
means "single provider."


Now, this is just an out-and-out lie. Single-payer
only has to do with INSURANCE; it has nothing at all to do with providers.
Canada and Britain both have a single-payer system, but only the British
medical system socializes the health care delivery system. Canada's provider
system is almost completely privatized. 


It's the famous
liberal two-step: First screw something up, then claim that it's screwed up
because there's not enough government oversight (it's the free market run
wild!), and then step in and really screw
it up in the name of "reform."


You could fix 90
percent of the problems with health insurance by ending the federal law
allowing states to ban health insurance sales across state lines. But when John
McCain called for ending the ban during the 2008 presidential campaign, he was
attacked by Joe Biden — another illustration of the ironclad Ann Coulter rule
that the worst Republicans are still better than allegedly
"conservative" Democrats.


It's impossible to fix 90% of the problems with the
system by simply creating competition, because a lack of competition isn't even
the biggest problem. The biggest problem is the ever-increasing numbers of
people who are cut out of the system, and can't get insurance. The uninsured
cause an  incredible level of inflation,
because their bills go unpaid. In fact, if we were to increase competition
under the current system, without changing anything else, we would likely
exacerbate the problem. Think about it. 
If premiums are driven down by competition, and nothing else about the
system changes, wouldn't that  increase
an insurance company's incentive to drop people, and refuse to pay for health


Remember the private health insurance business
model, which is to do everything possible to prevent spending on health care,
and preserve every dollar you collect and call it "profit." How is
competition supposed to magically fix a system based on such a warped economic


(2) National health
care will "increase competition and keep insurance companies honest"
— as President Barack Obama has said.


Note that Coulter's purpose here  is ostensibly to clear up lies we liberals
are telling. So, why is a direct quote from President Obama (hey, she left out
the "Hussein;" is she slipping?) declaring his intent with the
legislation he's proposed on health care considered a "lie"? And more
importantly, if you're attempting to clear up lies, isn't it best to tell the
truth yourself?


health care isn't a competitor; it's a monopoly product paid for by the
taxpayer. Consumers may be able to "choose" whether they take the
service — at least at first — but every single one of us will be forced to
buy it, under penalty of prison for tax evasion. It's like a new cable plan
with a "yes" box, but no "no" box.


Obama himself
compared national health care to the post office — immediately conjuring
images of a highly efficient and consumer-friendly work force — which, like so
many consumer-friendly shops, is closed by 2 p.m. on Saturdays, all Sundays and
every conceivable holiday.


But what most people
don't know — including the president, apparently — with certain narrow
exceptions, competing with the post office is prohibited by law.


Expect the same with
national health care. Liberals won't stop until they have total control. How
else will they get you to pay for their sex-change operations?


Can you say "irony deficient"??


 In fact, HR
3200 actually creates a competitive environment where nothing exists currently.
Even she admits there is little to no competition currently.


The bill creates an insurance exchange, in which
all insurance companies licensed to operate in a particular state AND the
public insurance option, are offered to every employee signing up for
insurance. There is nothing preventing insurance companies from competing, and
in fact, countries such as France and Canada actually have an extremely healthy
and robust private health insurance system.


Now, about the Post Office. The Postal Service was
created as a monopoly by the US Constitution, but the Postal Service itself has
allowed exceptions to its monopoly, and has quite a bit of competition. Ask
FedEx and UPS whether they're able to compete and make money. But there is no
way a private corporation would be able to deliver letters from one side of the
country to another, or to extreme rural areas of the country, for less than a
half dollar. Many economic analyses have been done over the years, and it's
been determined that privatization of all mail delivery would end up costing
the economy more than the current system. Just like the current state of health
insurance does.


The parallels to the Post Office are actually quite
striking. The people who would suffer most under a privatization of the Post
Office would be those people who choose to live in the middle of nowhere.
Private companies could easily deliver mail in and between cities for a profit,
although I doubt that they could do so for less than 50 cents. But they would
have to charge an arm and a leg to make a profit on rural delivery, which means
that they would likely force rural people to drive to a large city or town for
their mail.


But just as people who live in rural areas have a
right to mail delivery (which would take a constitutional amendment to repeal),
those folks without insurance have a right to health care at some point.
Someone has to insure them, or you simply can't fix the system.


(3) Insurance
companies are denying legitimate claims because they are "villains."


Obama denounced the
insurance companies in last Sunday's New York Times,
saying: "A man lost his health coverage in the middle of chemotherapy
because the insurance company discovered that he had gallstones, which he
hadn't known about when he applied for his policy. Because his treatment was
delayed, he died."


Well, yeah. That and
the cancer.


Assuming this is
true — which would distinguish it from every other story told by Democrats
pushing national health care — in a free market, such an insurance company
couldn't stay in business. Other insurance companies would scream from the
rooftops about their competitor's shoddy business practices, and customers
would leave in droves.


This is 
vintage Coulter; just plain cold blooded. But it also undermines the
right wing's main arguments against health insurance reform.


This is why this is not just an economic issue, but
a moral issue, as well. How much is the life of a loved one worth? How much
would an extra year, or even a few months, with your mother, father, brother,
sister or best friend be worth? What if the chemotherapy was just short of
being successful  when the insurance
company pulled the plug on the treatment? Beyond that, why does a goddamn
insurance company have the power to play God, and decide who lives and dies, based
on their financial bottom line? Have we become so incredibly cynical as a
society, that we can only see lives in terms of dollars and cents?


 Yes, the
cancer killed him. But the insurance company killed him faster than the cancer
might have. To imply otherwise is characteristically (for Coulter) cold hearted
and immoral.


But wait…


Doesn't this constitute "rationing"?
Isn't that what everyone's afraid will happen when the government offers a
public health insurance option? Won't they cut off care right in the middle,
when they decide you've had "enough" care? You mean, the current
system already RATIONS care, and people like Coulter actively oppose attempts
to change it? How odd…


And what is this CRAP about health insurance
companies and a "free market"? Can we stop this deception? Please?
Health insurance is not a consumer commodity, and to think otherwise ignores
several realities. First of all, health insurance companies don't make money by
producing goods and services. The only way they can make money by
"saving" (in this case, meaning "not spending") money. In a
competitive environment, premiums would be competitive, but it doesn't solve
the two basic problems facing for-profit health insurance companies. How do
they charge less for premiums and increase profits every year, without denying
insurance to all but the healthiest people and/or denying as many claims as
possible? As I said, those are the biggest problems with the system.


If only customers
had a choice! But we don't because of government regulation of health


Speaking of which,
maybe if Mr. Gallstone's insurance company weren't required by law to cover
early childhood development programs and sex-change operations, it wouldn't be
forced to cut corners in the few areas not regulated by the government, such as
cancer treatments for patients with gallstones.


Quite obviously, insurance companies aren't
required by law to cover much of anything, and they absolutely are not required
to cover sexual reassignment surgery. In fact, the Heritage
Foundation's blog
notes that such procedures are currently forbidden, but
that some "liberals" want to include them in universal coverage.


If she's going to follow the talking points, she
would do well to be more accurate.


And there is no excuse for an insurance company to
refuse continued coverage of cancer treatment due to gallstones; none. If
private insurance companies can’t make money by doing the right thing by the
people who pay them good money for their coverage, then they're making the best
case possible for a public option, don’t you think?


(4) National health
care will give Americans "basic consumer protections that will finally
hold insurance companies accountable" — as Barack Obama claimed in his
op/ed in the Times.


You want to protect
consumers? Do it the same way we protect consumers of dry cleaning, hamburgers
and electricians: Give them the power to tell their insurance companies,
"I'm taking my business elsewhere."


That incredibly ignorant observation actually
serves to demonstrate why health insurance CANNOT be a market-based activity.


I sometimes go several years between dry cleaning
trips, and the worst that can happen should they screw up is, I'm out a suit.
Of course, if I don't have insurance, and I 
pass out in the dry cleaning shop to pick up the dry cleaning I dropped
off five days earlier, because I contracted a disease when another customer
sneezed on me, I could potentially lose everything due to the expense.


Electricians are extremely heavily regulated, and
their work is usually subject to inspection. Of course, if the electrical
contractor screws up and I get electrocuted, if I don't have health insurance,
I could end up losing the house before I can get a chance to get the electrical
work redone, because of the bills I'm left with.


If a hamburger tastes like crap, I am out a few
dollars and a meal.  Of course, if that
hamburger makes me ill, and I either don't have health insurance or that health
insurance company, I could very well die, or at least be financially ruined.


See the problem? Health care is an absolute
necessity when we need it, and there is no way to predict when we will need it.
Health insurance  is NOT a consumer
product. In fact, this example allows me to prove that it's NOT a consumer
product, subject to market forces.


If I pay for dry cleaning, I'm entitled to dry
cleaning. If I pay for a hamburger, I get a hamburger. If I pay an electrician
to do electrical work, I'm entitled to his best work. If we are to consider
health insurance as a "consumer product," it's the only one  I'm aware of that I can pay for over the
course of many years,  even decades, that
they can simply refuse to deliver because they don't want me to have it.


(5) Government
intervention is the only way to provide coverage for pre-existing conditions.


This one is just asinine.


I'd like for someone to find me someone — anyone
— who is looking for, um, "coverage for pre-existing conditions."


What we object to is the constant denial of
benefits to people who have been paying for them religiously, and to  base that denial on such specious claims as
"pre-existing conditions."


The only reason most
"pre-existing" conditions aren't already covered is because of
government regulations that shrink the insurance market to a microscopic size,
which leads to fewer options in health insurance and a lot more uninsured
people than would exist in a free market.


The free market has
produced a dizzying array of insurance products in areas other than health.
(Ironically, array-associated dizziness is not covered by most health plans.)
Even insurance companies have "reinsurance" policies to cover
catastrophic events occurring on the properties they insure, such as nuclear
accidents, earthquakes and Michael Moore dropping in for a visit and breaking
the couch.


If we had a free
market in health insurance, it would be inexpensive and easy to buy insurance
for "pre-existing" conditions before they exist, for example,
insurance on unborn — unconceived — children and health insurance even when
you don't have a job. The vast majority of "pre-existing" conditions
that currently exist in a cramped, limited, heavily regulated insurance market
would be "covered" conditions under a free market in health


So strange…


What, exactly, is preventing a free market in the
insurance system? And please don't tell me state regulations, because that is,
in a word, pure bullshit. These companies have billions of dollars; there is no
way they can't buy themselves into a market, if they really want to. The
problem is, they make a hell of a lot more money by controlling geographic
areas. And as I touched on earlier, they are the only industry other than Major
League Baseball, with a specific antitrust exemption in the law.


There is nothing so
magical about a free market, especially in an industry that doesn't actually
provide a product. Think about what health insurance does. They collect money
from policyholders, and in order to make a profit, they have as a goal to spend
as little of that money as possible. It is simply not possible to expect
for-profit insurance companies to offer insurance to everyone, which is the
only thing that will save the current system from collapse. And to expect them
to simply go against their instincts and pay every claim that comes their way
because they're a part of that magical "free market" is just plain
nonsense. The reason every other industrialized country in the world has a huge
public component to their health insurance system, even if they still have a
relatively strong private insurance industry, is because they can't be expected
to handle 100% of the risk and still make a profit. It's the same reason why
the government picks up the slack when there's a natural disaster; private
insurance can pay most claims , but when a catastrophe hits, they simply don't
have the capital to pay absolutely every claim.


I've hit my word
limit on liberal lies about national health care without breaking a sweat. See
this space next week for more lies in our continuing series.


More lies? You haven't uncovered one yet. But I'll
be glad to unmask yours next week… see ya then…


Me vs. Coulter — Kicking the Ultimate RW Liar’s ASS on Health Insurance — 5 Comments

  1. On the point about leaving your insurance company…
    Our coverage choices are limited because our system rewards companies that provide health insurance. If we seek health insurance outside the employer-sponsored plan, we are penalized by higher taxes on our income.
    And that’s where the pre-existing conditions restiction becomes a sticking point. If you have an pre-existing condition (such as a liver condition), you can often still get insurance through your employer, but won’t qualify for a private plan.

  2. David, you must not read this blog. Go to the top of the page. On the far right, at the top, you will see that I HAVE read the bill.
    The government HAS been running health care for more than 40 years. It’s called Medicare and Medicaid, and it’s the smoothest working part of the health care system.
    As for the claim that EVERY entitlement program has been a failure, I challenge you to name one. Ask any person over 65 that you know if they’d like to give up their Social Security and Medicare. Even welfare worked until neocons started taking it apart and cut the hell out of funding.
    As for the countries with a strong single-payer system, like the four above, name one of them that has given up on single payer and adopted anything resembling ours.
    I would strongly suggest that you really stop embarrassing yourself, and at least try to sound like you know what you’re talking about. I give you credit for one thing; at least your polite, which is something that too often can’t be said about people on the right…
    PS — as a working stiff, you should appreciate that your boss is about to save approximately $300-500 per month right out of the box, and even more a decade from now. Now, when you ask for a raise, he’ll be able to offer you one.

  3. I am thinking that you have not read HR 3200, you are not alone. I doubt that many of the 545 that work for US in Wash. DC {along with a cast of thousands.} have read it either.
    You say:
    The more apt question is;
    “How do we pay for NOT enacting health care reform?”
    I think that the more apt question is how can we possibly trust our care to a clearly corrupt and inept government?
    You say that life is wonderful in France, England, Canada and Spain.
    I say you need to look up a few facts my young friend.
    The FACTS remain, every entitlement program enacted by the left has failed and continues to fail, at our expense.
    Could the system use a tweek? Certainly. Is it broken and do we need the government to run it?
    Competition is a good thing, yet not commonly allowed state to state as most state legislators limit the number of insurance companies allowed to operate in a given state. This makes a major difference.
    Now if you want to give me the same health care that Ted Kennedy gets and not raise my taxes or the national debt, well I will take another look.
    If you want to jump on tort reform, I would be behind you and beside you.
    In the meantime, I recommend you read the bill and encourage your reps. to do the same.
    Best Regards, David
    Just a working stiff paying my taxes in Kentucky.

  4. Wow…more wingnut bullshit. And one of the best ones yet. She states in point 3
    “…such an insurance company couldn’t stay in business. Other insurance companies would scream from the rooftops about their competitor’s shoddy business practices, and customers would leave in droves.”
    This is a completly valid point, that companies customers would leave. The problem is that all of the companies are doing the exact same thing, so what difference would it make if the customers left? They would just have the same thing happen with another company.