Badger Blog Alliance

Sic Semper Tyrannis

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Re: HSAs = More Government

Can you guys stand a really long post about the comments to another post?


Yesterday, in this post, I pointed out the irony of Jack Lohman's support for single-payer health care, when he argues against HSAs, because "...we certainly don't need another bureaucracy to protect the public."

Jack says I'm twisting his words. So. Just to be fair, I've pulled the appropriate comments out and left them here for your perusal.

Lohman first wrote:

You assume that it is catastrophic coverage and the company is not going to bail out (read that; cancel your contract) when you get really sick and you need it. They are already doing that today (ask Blue Cross for details)...When your money runs out and *they* have to start paying, you are in trouble.
I countered:

Insurance of any kind – not just health insurance, and certainly not just HSAs – is a pay-first, receive-later business. The possibility exists that a business might take your money now and not pony up their end when you need it. Just ask seniors and near-seniors who are concerned about losing future Social Security and Medicare benefits.

That’s why we have things like DATCP and the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance, to give people some protection.
This part of Jack's response seems to apply:

At least Medicare doesn’t need the added bureaucracy of the DATCP and the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance to protect its beneficiaries. I get sick, I get care, and the caregiver gets paid.
Then he quoted this story as proof (although it isn't) and wrote:

"New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo will sue UnitedHealth Group and subpoena 16 other insurers to investigate reimbursement practices that allegedly cheated customers out of hundreds of millions of dollars."

HSAs are just an extension of standard insurance plans. No thank you.
I replied:

Jack, that story doesn't mention HSAs. In fact, the examples they use sound more like comprehensive-type plans.

Point being: if a company is going to be dishonest, they'll be dishonest. HSAs are no more likely to be targets of that dishonesty than any other type of plan. You're better off making that argument about insurance in general than about one specific type.
Now, here's Jack's money quote (emphasis added):

But they never seem to mention Medicare as cheating their patients, do they?

Medicare is not perfect, and I've written much about that. See

But we certainly don't need another bureaucracy to protect the public. And HSAs are just an extension of current insurance plans.
Then, on BBA, I wrote:

That's right, this champion of single-payer "universal" health insurance doesn't like HSAs because they'll create "another bureaucracy."
And Jack commented that he didn't say that, and I shouldn't twist his words.

I don't think I did twist his words - I think I responded to an irony in his argument.

As far as Medicare goes: maybe Medicare itself doesn't "cheat" its "customers," but is there really any difference, if the government cuts back on service because of cost? That's what happens in "universal" health care systems.

Anyway, go ahead and judge for yourselves.