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September 19, 2008

McCain: Let’s Make Health Care More Like Banking

One of Paul Krugman's readers sent him this quote from a recent article "by" John McCain called "Better Health Care at Lower Cost for Every American" (pdf):

Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation.

The only way McCain could be doing more to help Obama win is if he went on stage for the first debate next Friday, pulled a kitten out of his pocket, and bit off its head. Yet despite McCain's assistance, I still have faith the Democrats may manage to pull this out of the fire at the last second and lose.

—Jonathan Schwarz

Posted at September 19, 2008 09:31 PM

This election is about one thing: giving it away harder.

Posted by: buermann at September 19, 2008 09:59 PM

That kitten was Spanish. He had it coming.

Posted by: dcs at September 19, 2008 10:20 PM

WE now OWN AIG (80%)lets insure ourselves.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at September 19, 2008 10:38 PM

When a politician uses long, complicated sentences and promises "better health care at a lower cost" instead of simply saying,"Single payer,universal health care", BEWARE. His plan will mean more uninsured, higher profits for the "health care industry"---note specifically the word 'industry', less healthcare available to inner city poor with closing of public health care facilities and greater mortality among the poor, the working poor and many more.

Posted by: Rupa Shah at September 19, 2008 10:38 PM
...pulled a kitten out of his pocket, and bit off its head.

Don't discount the Ozzy fans. We're a powerful demographic.

Posted by: Labiche at September 19, 2008 10:44 PM

If we apply the lessons of Wall Street to the health care market, health insurance policies will be repackaged and sold as risk-free, AAA securities allowing greater profit margins for health care providers which will push costs down and make treatment available to more people. What's not to like?

Posted by: eatbees at September 20, 2008 03:23 AM

If health care deregulation follows the Wall Street trajectory, in 10 years we'll have to nationalize the health industry.

Vote McCain for national health care!

Posted by: Carl at September 20, 2008 07:36 AM

Carl: I never thought about THAT ONE. My only concern is, what happens during the remining 9 years?--I mean to the uninsurd and underinsured and sick people! I guess, no one in the govt cares about them anyway now and they will suffer from benign!!!! neglect.

Posted by: Rupa Shah at September 20, 2008 10:51 AM

I think, if we deregulated health insurance so as to make it a "free market" (which it isn't), there would be price wars which would make it more affordable but pretty soon you would have insurers unable to pay claims. It would be a disaster -- more affordable but worthless.

As I understand it, the health insurance business is regulated so as to guarantee high costs for the consumers and high profits for the insurers but the official rationale for this is to protect consumers, to guarantee that the insurers will always be able to pay claims.

Has anyone written a good history of the health insurance business in The U.S.? I assume the system of regulation that we have now must have been a response to problems with a "free market" system but I really don't know much about it.

Posted by: cemmcs at September 20, 2008 11:06 AM

Question hardly ever asked any longer is: what in the USA should NOT be like a business? Just about everything is--education, health, the arts, publishing, sports, the gummiment--even "thinking" has become a business. We don't have or know about philosophers, we worship business gurus as thinkers. We are like the boy in the bubble, a business is the measure of all things bubble.
Is there a way out? How can there be if any other way can't even be imagined anymore by the best and brightest and not so bright and good as well?

Posted by: donescobar at September 20, 2008 11:54 AM
what in the USA should NOT be like a business?

But donescobar, doesn't the wisdom of the markets replace the elitist wisdom of bureaucratic democracy? Isn't this exactly the goal we've been striving for the last 60 years?

If all things weren't examined and focused through a business prism, then it's just socialism, no?

We don't ask that question for a reason.

Posted by: Labiche at September 20, 2008 09:44 PM