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Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Pity the poor professors

If this isn't an excuse for well-justified schadenfreude, I don't know what is:
"Deplorable, deeply regressive, a sign of the corporatization of the university."  That's what Harvard Classics professor Richard F. Thomas calls the changes in Harvard's health plan, which have a large number of the faculty up in arms.

Are Harvard professors being forced onto Medicaid? Has their employer denied coverage for cancer treatment? Do they need to sign a corporate loyalty oath in order to access health insurance? Not exactly. But copayments are being raised and deductibles altered, making their plan ... well, actually, their plan is still extraordinarily generous by any standard:

    The university is adopting standard features of most employer-sponsored health plans: Employees will now pay deductibles and a share of the costs, known as coinsurance, for hospitalization, surgery and certain advanced diagnostic tests. The plan has an annual deductible of $250 per individual and $750 for a family. For a doctor’s office visit, the charge is $20. For most other services, patients will pay 10 percent of the cost until they reach the out-of-pocket limit of $1,500 for an individual and $4,500 for a family.

The deepest irony is, of course, that Harvard professors helped to design Obamacare. And Obamacare is the reason that these changes are probably necessary.
Demonstrating, yet again, that nothing is more short-sighted than an activist rabbit. Give them exactly what they want, provide them exactly what they are agitating for, and they are outraged!

"When I demanded more comprehensive government services requiring more taxes, I didn't mean that I wanted to pay for them myself!"

Is it any surprise that college educations are increasingly worthless, given that idiots like these are supposedly the creme de la creme of the professoriat?

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88 Comments:

Anonymous harry12 January 06, 2015 12:06 PM  

What was that saying?
Something about a petard...

Blogger Josh January 06, 2015 12:07 PM  

I'm reminded of the lady in Austin who sold her house because she couldn't afford the property tax increases that she had voted for.

Anonymous Stilicho January 06, 2015 12:09 PM  

"When I demanded more comprehensive government services requiring more taxes, I didn't mean that I wanted to pay for them myself!"

It dovetails nicely with classic "liberaltarianism" where the individual liberal wants to be left alone to do whatever he wants while simultaneously desiring a big government nanny state to force everyone else to act only in accordance with what the individual liberal feels they should be allowed to do. Today. Especially when behaviors engaged in by the individual liberaltarian are not allowed for the hoi polloi.

Anonymous Earl January 06, 2015 12:14 PM  

Moistened upon their own peetard. That's the saying harry.

Anonymous WinstonWebb January 06, 2015 12:14 PM  

You asked for it, Professor Thomas, now you're getting it nice and hard.

Blogger Bluntobj Winz January 06, 2015 12:22 PM  

Isn't there a quote somewhere that goes:

"But I didn't want this!

Anonymous Mike M. January 06, 2015 12:23 PM  

Poor widdle liberals. My heart weeps for them.

NOT!

On the other hand, maybe I can make some money on the side with pre-tied nooses so they receive self-administered Obamacare. Got to look on the bright side. :-)

Blogger JartStar January 06, 2015 12:24 PM  

Everyone will eventually have bronze, silver, gold and platinum plans regardless. It looks like they have the top tier plan, platinum.

Anonymous p-dawg January 06, 2015 12:26 PM  

@Josh: But if you read the story, then you'll know that it was evil white corporations that drove her out, according to her. Amazing thing, the human mind. Capable of contortions a Chinese acrobat couldn't match.

Anonymous dh January 06, 2015 12:27 PM  

Jart--

It's way better than platinum. I just read over the summary of benefits. These plans did have to be changed because the old Harvard plan would have been considered a "cadalliac" plan, and been heavily taxes starting next year. Plans that have a value of over $~12.5k a year would be subject to a heavy tax. Meaning of course you'll have fewer of those plans.

This is what people want when they want cost-containment. It means when you are sick, you want people to stop and think if they really want to pay $20 for a doctors visit. And if the answer is no, they want you to stay home.

Anonymous Stilicho January 06, 2015 12:28 PM  

I'm reminded of the lady in Austin who sold her house because she couldn't afford the property tax increases that she had voted for.

Indeed. It's not that all of the Harvard professors are too dumb to realize that Obamacare could affect them (unlike the Austin woman), it's that they are so stuck on who/whom that they couldn't imagine that it would be applied to them as well. They believed that Obamacare was a tool to punish Rupert Murdoch, the Koch brothers, and bitter clingers in flyover country.

Anonymous Will Best January 06, 2015 12:29 PM  

That healthcare plan sounds ridiculous. The Harvard premium support on something like that has to clear 20k. I would rather find a 12k family plan and then pocket the extra 10k annually.

Anonymous Stickwick January 06, 2015 12:31 PM  

The university is adopting standard features of most employer-sponsored health plans...

That's almost exactly what my husband's insurance plan changed to after O-care. Welcome to the club, crybabies.

As for the ironic part, leftists tend to be irony-deficient, so, of course, it's lost on them.

Anonymous Jack Amok January 06, 2015 12:36 PM  

They believed that Obamacare was a tool to punish Rupert Murdoch, the Koch brothers, and bitter clingers in flyover country.

They just thought they were part of the in-crowd and would get exemptions. Warrens within warrens...

Anonymous A Paradigm Is More Than Twenty Cents January 06, 2015 12:39 PM  

Remember, the professoriat of Harvard is the group that mentors future political, economic and social elites of the US. These dimwits that can't grasp cause and effect? They are the teachers of future Senators, Fortune 500 executives, Wall Street traders, Ford foundation execs, etc.

At some point the "elite" will be replaced with more competent people. One way or another, this will happen. The question is "how" and "who".

Blogger JartStar January 06, 2015 12:42 PM  

dh – you know more about this than I do, but from the people I've spoken with insurance companies in the US are simply turning into middlemen, pencil pushers as there’s little wriggle room for cost savings and benefits to the plans.

Two companies I know which are self-insured are now forcing their employees into HRAs and giving them quarterly physicals and charging them extra for being fat if they don’t meet weight loss goals. Everyone wanted lower healthcare costs and everyone but the fatties like seeing the fatties kicked around but now cost is being based off from BMI to start with. I’m sure there are exemptions if a doctor writes a note but fat = paying more. This is only the start.

Anonymous Anonymous Cowherd January 06, 2015 12:42 PM  

Demonstrating, yet again, that nothing is more short-sighted than an activist rabbit.

As Sandra Fluke showed when she campaigned to get something already covered on a health plan to be covered by the health plan it was already covered on. I guess broadcasters new something to broadcast.

Blogger pdwalker January 06, 2015 12:44 PM  

The worst part? They will have learned nothing from this.

Anonymous Salt January 06, 2015 1:03 PM  

Oh, they'll find reason to double down.

Anonymous Rolf January 06, 2015 1:38 PM  

A person needs to be a very highly educated ivory-tower sort to achieve that level of idiocy and utter lack of real-world common sense.

I hope the Cadillac tax leaving tire-tracks across their collective back-sides is a heavily-loaded Escalade with really phat rims and chock-full of diversity.

Who knew the Obama administration had a Caddy bus to throw people under?

Blogger bob k. mando January 06, 2015 1:46 PM  

Stilicho January 06, 2015 12:28 PM
It's not that all of the Harvard professors are too dumb to realize that Obamacare could affect them (unlike the Austin woman), it's that they are so stuck on who/whom that they couldn't imagine that it would be applied to them as well.



no.

it's that they thought that the law would be written WITH A HARVARD LOOPHOLE. and it wasn't.

this goes back to me pointing out that many people spend their whole lives agreeing to pretend to believe stupid shit A and B if the people they are talking too agree to pretend to believe stupid shit X and Y.

all parties know that they are lying.

all parties know that the other parties are lying.

why, then, do they do this? because all parties believe that they are getting *the best of the scam*, that someone else is getting the shit end of the stick ... maybe even the other people they are talking too.

this is what happens when you're too clever by half. it's also how most Con Games function, by baiting the Mark into thinking he's the smartest person in the room and that he's going to get over on somebody ... when all along, he's actually the Sap.

would there normally be a HARVARD LOOPHOLE? sure. even scumbag Lieberals pay each other off once in a while. but the only way you can actually be *certain* that there will be an HL is if you have your own hands on the levers of enforcement.

they were fool enough to trust Obama to look out for their interests ... now they find out that Obama doesn't respect them any more than he respects God Clingers.

Anonymous Fran January 06, 2015 1:47 PM  

My heart...it bleeds so for them.

Anonymous dh January 06, 2015 1:50 PM  

dh – you know more about this than I do, but from the people I've spoken with insurance companies in the US are simply turning into middlemen, pencil pushers as there’s little wriggle room for cost savings and benefits to the plans.

Yes this is literally the goal. Standardization of the plans available. It's actually one of the few things that the people who wrote the ACA got more or less correct, which is that increase market information leads to more perfect competition, which will increase price pressure.

When you look at the effects of the ACA, there are three categories of effects - ones that tend to raise prices, ones that tend to decrease prices, and ones that have no effect on pricing. The plan levels (bronze, silver, gold, platinum) is a policy that tends to decrease prices, in that it removes many options from the market, and allows easier direct comparison. These are hallmarks of highly regulated markets. It's why it's easy to shop for insurance for your car or home and compare apples to apples, because all providers have to provide a similar product described in standard ways. It's low hanging fruit for increasing competition and is only a little bit destruction to liberty (that being, the liberty of a company to sell something described as 'insurance' that is not, or to hide what is and is not covered in fine print that gives the product an unfair market advantage to do information disparity among customers).

Anonymous Stilicho January 06, 2015 1:58 PM  


it's that they thought that the law would be written WITH A HARVARD LOOPHOLE. and it wasn't.


That's what I was referring to with the who/whom part...they thought they were on the bus, at least navigating if not actually driving it. They weren't.

Anonymous Anubis January 06, 2015 2:08 PM  

Perhaps they didn't think themselves rich enough to have their wealth redistributed.

Anonymous Enlightenator January 06, 2015 2:11 PM  

And why is the poor, poor, pitiful professor crying about the "corporatization of the university"? It's long been known that the universities are simply tax-exempt, government subsidized entertainment and real estate development companies.

Blogger CarpeOro January 06, 2015 2:11 PM  

Hear that? I believe it is the world's smallest violin. Being smashed into pieces.

"That healthcare plan sounds ridiculous. The Harvard premium support on something like that has to clear 20k. I would rather find a 12k family plan and then pocket the extra 10k annually."

You forget a key aspect of the Left - they desire to be taken care of. They won't admit to it in so many words (though one did say to Bill Clinton in a town hall held during a presidential race that we should be treated as the presidents children), but they really want to be absolved of responsibility for themselves and their actions. They don't want to hear about the cost because then they would be accountable for the decision to support the idiocy.

OpenID cailcorishev January 06, 2015 2:15 PM  

it's that they thought that the law would be written WITH A HARVARD LOOPHOLE. and it wasn't.

If I had time, I'd go find it, but I know there's at least one scene in Atlas Shrugged where James Taggart and the other looters are sitting around bitching at each other because the spoils are running out and now they're having to make concessions of their own to keep the game going. There's a bit where Taggart suddenly realizes the rest of them are about to turn on him and make him the next target, and he basically craps himself.

Anonymous Stilicho January 06, 2015 2:17 PM  

The plan levels (bronze, silver, gold, platinum) is a policy that tends to decrease prices, in that it removes many options from the market

/facepalm

This up there with your baseless assertion that gifts are taxable income to the donee. Removing competition does not tend to reduce prices. Just the opposite. Limiting choices to various models of Fords while prohibiting Kia's, Toyota's and BMW's only ensures that you will pay more than you otherwise would have for your Ford. The low-end Ford will cost more than it did before the Kia was eliminated, the mid-range Ford will cost more than it did before the Toyota was eliminated, and the high-end Ford will cost more than it did before the BMW was verbotten.

Anonymous Jimmy the Prole January 06, 2015 2:28 PM  

I have my choice between a Bronze plan that covers pregnancy; a Silver plan that covers pregnancy; and a Gold plan that covers pregnancy. I'm a single man. All of these plans must charge enough to stay in business, which means they cost more than a plan that does NOT cover pregnancy, chiropractic, alcohol treatment, mammograms, breast cancer . . . .

Hard to see how I'm saving money, dh.

.

Anonymous Aeoli Pera January 06, 2015 2:34 PM  

I decided not to burn down my university because I figured they'd probably just build it again. True story!

And that's how I learned how government works.

Blogger Vincent Castrillo January 06, 2015 2:44 PM  

I think if my son came home from college one day and said he was kicked out of school because he roughed up one of these clowns, I would probably not only be kind of proud, I would spend the rest of his college fund on buying him a house, getting him a trade, or starting his own business.

And he would be better off for it.

Perhaps the upside to all this decline is that when whites become less and less of the population and men almost nothing at colleges, these college will no longer be able to fund themselves and simply fall apart in oblivion.

Anonymous dh January 06, 2015 2:49 PM  

This up there with your baseless assertion that gifts are taxable income to the donee
Publication 950. It's all there.

Removing competition does not tend to reduce prices.
Alone, this is true. However, standardization does tend to reduce prices. The healthcare insurnace market was deeply fragmented, and plans could not be compared. That's the "wiggle room" that was mentioned. One plans is less expensive because it decides not to do thing X which is expensive.

Just the opposite. Limiting choices to various models of Fords while prohibiting Kia's, Toyota's and BMW's only ensures that you will pay more than you otherwise would have for your Ford. The low-end Ford will cost more than it did before the Kia was eliminated, the mid-range Ford will cost more than it did before the Toyota was eliminated, and the high-end Ford will cost more than it did before the BMW was verbotten.

The problem here is that in auto's, you have makers that are full line, and makers that are not full line. You cannot compare a niche player against a full line maker, in auto's, except for a single model.

The proper analogy is in other financial products, where the offers are standardized. To get a proper analogy for cars, you would have to acknowledge a limited set of vehicles that are able to be created. In this case, it's not the brands that are limited, it's the make and models. In the current auto world, you do see the effect of standardization, which is that low-end cars, that meet only the basic standards, have very similar price points, features and styling. This is a result of a combination of market forces (i.e. poor people can't afford nice cars), as well as government regulation dictating a set of minimum features. Compare the 2013 Chevy Sonic, 2013 Hyundai Accent, and 2013 Ford Fiesta. Three entirely different products, very similar features and price points.

I have my choice between a Bronze plan that covers pregnancy; a Silver plan that covers pregnancy; and a Gold plan that covers pregnancy. I'm a single man. All of these plans must charge enough to stay in business, which means they cost more than a plan that does NOT cover pregnancy, chiropractic, alcohol treatment, mammograms, breast cancer . . . .

Requiring more covered services, and requiring plans not discriminate based on sex are factors that tend to increase costs, obviously. I am not claiming that the ACA as a whole tends to decrease prices. Just that there are elements to the law that do tend to decrease costs (as well elements that are neutral, and that go the other way as well).

Blogger bob k. mando January 06, 2015 2:54 PM  

Jimmy the Prole January 06, 2015 2:28 PM
Hard to see how I'm saving money, dh.



it's not designed to save you money. it's designed to fuck *YOU* ( single, white, young, healthy, male ) in particular.

don't you remember first year implementation of this, when the Dems were running around crying because not enough young people were signing up? because they had to have young people to offset the costs of the old people? they were actually admitting that the young people HAD to buy more expensive plans than they would get otherwise.

you're who that piece of shit Hah-vahd professor thought he was getting over on.

really, it's just a bunch of thieves arguing about who is going to get to carve up the American citizen. they all think they are making out best.

Blogger Josh January 06, 2015 2:54 PM  

Perhaps the upside to all this decline is that when whites become less and less of the population and men almost nothing at colleges, these college will no longer be able to fund themselves and simply fall apart in oblivion.

Harvard's endowment rivals the GDP of several countries, so they should be financially set for the near future.

Anonymous Get Smart January 06, 2015 2:55 PM  

The professors of political correctness have never considered themselves subject to the rules. Only the top most levels of the leftist cadre will continue to be exempt from the poison they peddle to the masses. The rest of the liberal rabbits will be devoured as indiscriminately as an Archie Bunker. Watch for more defectors coming from behind the rainbow curtain.

Anonymous sawtooth January 06, 2015 3:02 PM  

Elite's, what with their towering intellects and piercing insight deserve the very best health care that modern medicine has to offer. After all, it's the elites that are the ones that are tasked with pushing human evolution higher and higher.

We none-elites are but livestock; we eat, burp, fart and breed. The county farm veterinarian is quite good enough for us.

Blogger Vincent Castrillo January 06, 2015 3:04 PM  

Think about it for a sec. If you are white and/or Christian what are the only reasons to send your kids to the Khmer Rouge indoctrination camp known as college that doubles as a free brothel Olympic slut village??

1)networking (basically this is it) - the hope that one or more of your college friends have powerful daddies to get you "in"
2)name and " I got a degree" for employers that this might matter to. Good luck this mattering as bosses now want diversity fillers or females brownnosers only. Got a degree from Duke or Vandy and are applying to a simple local bank? No one cares as the HR rep wants a gay, the company wants a woman, and no one wants anyone who might be smarter or more capable than them.
3)for women to find a MRS degree. Considering the N counts on college girls now, good luck with finding a good guy to buy that load.

So basically college has boiled down to "go big or don't bother". Your kid has to be more than smart and capable. They have to be bombastic. They have to be natural super alphas by 19. Or they need to be Asian robots that know exactly what they want to do their whole lives at 16. This is it. If you kid is normal and smart, you are better off sending him on a long trip and then helping him start a small business.

I started my own business at 21 during school and another at 29 which I still run. I worked some shitty jobs in between. I'm a lucky one so to speak. I know tons of college grads who are in their 30s still bussing tables or working at 40K a year accounting cubicle jobs. This is not entirely about desire and drive (though some surely is),it is literally stacked deck against workers and white males.

Unless you kid is going to be a doctor or an engineer (an even this is not full proof anymore) and they want to be this with every fiber of their being, they better be the life of the party or you are wasting your money.

Anonymous WaterBoy January 06, 2015 3:05 PM  

dh: " It's low hanging fruit for increasing competition and is only a little bit destruction to liberty (that being, the liberty of a company to sell something described as 'insurance' that is not, or to hide what is and is not covered in fine print that gives the product an unfair market advantage to do information disparity among customers)."

So caveat emptor becomes caveat venditor"? This increased regulation hasn't worked out so well for consumers in other fields, where prices are raised commensurate to regulatory costs...contrary to your assertion that prices fall in such an environment.

Anonymous Stilicho January 06, 2015 3:05 PM  

Publication 950. It's all there.

Look up "donee" dumbass. Let's go to the Internal Revenue Code:

26 U.S.C. 2501(a) Taxable transfers
(1) General rule
A tax, computed as provided in section 2502, is hereby imposed for each calendar year on the transfer of property by gift during such calendar year by any individual resident or nonresident.


26 U.S.C. 2502(c) Tax to be paid by donor
The tax imposed by section 2501 shall be paid by the donor.

and plans could not be compared.

Horseshit. We did it every year when evaluating plans to offer employees.

To get a proper analogy for cars, you would have to acknowledge a limited set of vehicles that are able to be created.

Wrong. To get to your preferred analogy you must first prohibit certain types/makes of autos.

Compare the 2013 Chevy Sonic, 2013 Hyundai Accent, and 2013 Ford Fiesta. Three entirely different products, very similar features and price points.

Exactly. It's called competition. Now ban all three unless they include a full range of expensive options as"standard" features and observe what happens to the price.

Blogger Chris Mallory January 06, 2015 3:11 PM  

"This up there with your baseless assertion that gifts are taxable income to the donee
Publication 950. It's all there."

The person receiving the gift (donee) does not owe any tax. The donor does have to pay a tax if the gift if over the yearly exclusion amount.

From Pub 950:

"No tax on the person receiving your gift or estate.
The person who receives your gift or your estate will not
have to pay any federal gift tax or estate tax because of it.
Also, that person will not have to pay income tax on the
value of the gift or inheritance received."

Blogger Josh January 06, 2015 3:12 PM  

If you are white and/or Christian what are the only reasons to send your kids to the Khmer Rouge indoctrination camp known as college that doubles as a free brothel Olympic slut village??

3)for women to find a MRS degree. Considering the N counts on college girls now, good luck with finding a good guy to buy that load.


Depends on the school, depends on the girl.

Anecdotally, each of my brothers has been in roughly two dozen weddings of their college friends over the last two years. Easily half of their college social circle is married, and probably another quarter is engaged.

They both went to SEC schools and were both active members of RUF.

The southern Presbyterians are still making this assortive mating thing work for them.

Blogger Vincent Castrillo January 06, 2015 3:15 PM  

Josh-" Harvard's endowment rivals the GDP of several countries, so they should be financially set for the near future."

I understand this, but this is perhaps too short sighted and micro for what I was saying. That 30 billion or so endowment can quite easily shrink by 3-5 a year as their costs spiral further beyond inflation and their "students" increasingly have little to no ability to pay for the obscene tuition. As whites attend less, current intake will go down, less rich white alumni will be around to feed it, and as soon as the government goes full on debt forgiveness for student loans, even paper bs loans will not be able to fill in the gaps. Since they are a private school, they can only ask for so much government cream....

And this is for the richest school on Earth. Imagine all the other brainwashing camps without the endowments of the Ivies. They will have to become actually useful and worthwhile as investments or they will surely perish.

Blogger Vincent Castrillo January 06, 2015 3:21 PM  

Josh -
"Anecdotally, each of my brothers has been in roughly two dozen weddings of their college friends over the last two years. Easily half of their college social circle is married, and probably another quarter is engaged.

They both went to SEC schools and were both active members of RUF."

You do see the difference between Ole Miss and an Ivy, do you not?? If not there is no point in discussing this with you.

As for each brother being in two dozen weddings over the last two years, prove it as that is literally outrageous. One a month for two years including holidays and winters? Just because your brothers hang out with heavily Christian kids at a southern low-end school does not in any way reflect the rest of the college and filth therein in this country....

Blogger Giraffe January 06, 2015 3:23 PM  

@ Stilicho.

I think the analogy is more like telling Ford, Chevy, and Toyota that they all have to build and sell Volkswagons. If there is nothing different in the plans, it all comes down to price. Whoever is cheapest wins. You don't pay a little more for yours to actually have an engine in it. That option has been taken away. And you have to buy one with child seats whether you have kids or not.

You are complaining, rightfully so, that we are losing freedom to buy what we want. DH is pointing out that doing so results in lower prices. I'd add, only for awhile.

Blogger Vincent Castrillo January 06, 2015 3:27 PM  

The point before we go off on tangents is that college cannot continue to exist in this crazy Portlandia bubble into perpetuity. They will by economic forces have to purge some of the silliness eventually or fail. The decline in whites coupled with less men in school will only speed this process up.

I fully expect some form of "going public" mantra to evolve around the Ivies as this process happens.

Blogger Josh January 06, 2015 3:27 PM  

As whites attend less, current intake will go down, less rich white alumni will be around to feed it, and as soon as the government goes full on debt forgiveness for student loans, even paper bs loans will not be able to fill in the gaps. Since they are a private school, they can only ask for so much government cream....

There's only 1700 freshmen each year at Harvard. Five years ago the Harvard number was $5mm for a competitive kid, $10mm for an uncompetitive one. That's a lot of potential revenue.

Anonymous Stilicho January 06, 2015 3:31 PM  

DH is pointing out that doing so results in lower prices. I'd add, only for awhile.

But it doesn't result in lower prices. Not even for the VW from your analogy (because it must come equipped with the Ralph Lauren interior and the suspension package from a 3/4 ton truck) and the lower priced Toyota Corolla is no longer allowed.

Anonymous dh January 06, 2015 3:33 PM  

Horseshit. We did it every year when evaluating plans to offer employees.

Yes, that's true. A competent person (brokers basically do this for a living) easily compare them. It's solving a problem that wasn't that big of a problem. The individual market is quite a bit different from the group market, but only because people are trying to solve a delivery problem on the front end, the payment side. The individual market was already very volatile before the ACA, and the ACA hasn't really changed that. Two years in, it's almost as volitile. Secondly, the insurance markets for group plans especially, have been regulated by state insurance regulators for a while, and those markets were quite mature and stable before the ACA. A stated goal of Obamacare that I take them at their word at was was to simply force people who are typically too dumb/lazy to do some basic comparison shopping.

Wrong. To get to your preferred analogy you must first prohibit certain types/makes of autos

Which we do. Gross weight, gas mileage, and features are all banned. Try to by a car that doesn't have an airbag. Or certain specs of brakes.

Exactly. It's called competition. Now ban all three unless they include a full range of expensive options as"standard" features and observe what happens to the price.

We already did that in the auto market, and initially prices went up. The regulations involved have set a minimum floor what's in a car, and there are many cars at that floor, and the competition is very stiff. At the top end, competition is less stiff, there are a lot more options, lots of opinions about what is good and not, and lots of margin. This mimics the health insurance somewhat in that there are options above the minimum, at the low end there is stiff competition around the minimum plans.

I think you are basically making my argument for me. Setting a minimum acceptable product, and highly regulating what things are in that, congregate a lot of options around the low-end, and increase competition. The immediate impact is that there is less choice, because "things", in this case plans, that are below the minimum go away. But the tendency is for more competition, and thus lower margins, and eventually for consumers lower costs.

Where I think you are confused is that we are not talking about lower costs than the old minimum. I am talking about a lower cost when compared to current minimum. And that is being borne out right now. When the government reports statistics about costs, what they are comparing is not the old pre-ACA minimum, to the new ACA minimum. What they are comparing is something closer to the old median and the new minimum. If you go back to the analogy of cars, this is also borne out. The old lowest priced car you could have purchased, in inflation adjusted dollars, is far less than what you can buy now at the bottom end of the market. The reason is that the old minimum car was probably not fuel injected, had older style disc brakes, had relatively bad fuel economy, had no airbags, no crumple zones, and no roll-over suitability. Those are all things that are regulated now. Comparing the old minimum and new minimum will yield a vast price difference, because the products are different. Simply put, every new regulation limits the choice in cars, and increases the minimum average price of a car (or anything, for that matter).

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 January 06, 2015 3:33 PM  

Sadly, this is probably the only thing that gets rid of Obamacare. When the liberal elite are directly affected by their policies in a negative way, those policies will disappear quickly and their existence will be denied.

Blogger Josh January 06, 2015 3:38 PM  

Just because your brothers hang out with heavily Christian kids at a southern low-end school does not in any way reflect the rest of the college and filth therein in this country....

Hence my "depends on the school, depends on the girl"...

Anonymous Discard January 06, 2015 3:41 PM  

Vincent Castillo: I think I've said this before, but I am a long time acquaintance with a distinguished professor at a very distinguished college. He has been saying that the current model of higher ed is wasteful and unsupportable, and will come apart in the very near future. He agrees with your "go big or don't bother sentiments. His daughter is a lawyer from a renowned school, but his sons are tradesmen, with his complete blessing.

Anonymous dh January 06, 2015 3:42 PM  

But it doesn't result in lower prices. Not even for the VW from your analogy (because it must come equipped with the Ralph Lauren interior and the suspension package from a 3/4 ton truck) and the lower priced Toyota Corolla is no longer allowed.

Yeah, you are right on this. The new price comparison does not compare to the old minimum. It will always be more, always, because the old options that had fewer things in it are gone (i.e. the plain interior and regular suspension).

Which is to say, that people who wrote the ACA all knew that this would happen. They "could" have kept all their promises if they instituted minimum coverage standards that were way below what most people were getting before. That would have eliminated almost no plans, and increased competition at the bottom end. But they went for more coverage/fewer plans, which has settled us above the old minimum.

DH is pointing out that doing so results in lower prices. I'd add, only for awhile.

Well I was careful to say that this a factor that ends towards lower prices. There are many, many factors that tend towards higher prices. For the most part, the predictions of "rate shock" have not happened, because there are a many factors, and only some of them tend towards higher prices. There are some countervailing forces that are tending towards lower prices, namely insurers looking to scoop up new subscribers to lock in premiums and a few measures that increase competition and a few that increase transparency.

Blogger Josh January 06, 2015 3:43 PM  

As for each brother being in two dozen weddings over the last two years, prove it as that is literally outrageous. One a month for two years including holidays and winters?

During wedding season, two or three a month.

What proof would suffice, a link to each wedding's site on theknot.com? Tuxedo rental receipts?

Blogger Josh January 06, 2015 3:44 PM  

The point before we go off on tangents is that college cannot continue to exist in this crazy Portlandia bubble into perpetuity. They will by economic forces have to purge some of the silliness eventually or fail. The decline in whites coupled with less men in school will only speed this process up.

In general, yes.

Anonymous Discard January 06, 2015 3:46 PM  

Correction: ..."go big or don't bother"…

Excuse my 'spurgieness

Anonymous Stilicho January 06, 2015 3:47 PM  

I am talking about a lower cost when compared to current minimum. And that is being borne out right now.

So, in essence you're saying that what is classified as a "bronze plan" under Obamacare costs less than a plan with the same coverages used to cost before the enactment of Obamacare. This works if and only if the bronze plan is subsidized by forcing new insureds to pay for bronze plan coverages that they do not use or by direct gov't subsides, or both. It is not cheaper, it merely shifts the costs. Some individuals may be able to buy an bronze plan for less than they would have before Obamacare, but only by forcing others to pay the difference. Then, in this environment, the absence of competing options will keep the floor price higher than it would otherwise be.

Simply put, every new regulation limits the choice in cars, and increases the minimum average price of a car (or anything, for that matter).

Indeed.

Blogger Outlaw X January 06, 2015 3:51 PM  

When I worked for the feds they paid (tax payers) for 75% of our government negotiated premiu. Most people bitched it was too costly while my sepf employed bro was paying over 8000 bucks a year for his family. Then I go to work and hear them for Obamacare in 2009 saying it would make the "dead beats" pay their "fair share". I would always retort , "Your fair share is determined by the services you use and not a share that the collective use." They missed the point. Now the point is headed for their ass, and when it hits their pay check. Get ready for rationed care (death panels)

Anonymous dh January 06, 2015 3:56 PM  

This works if and only if the bronze plan is subsidized by forcing new insureds to pay for bronze plan coverages that they do not use or by direct gov't subsides, or both.

Yes, that's right. Overall, there is more money in the system. There is very liuttle true cost containment. There has been some very marginal reduction in insurance company profits, it looks to be on the order of 5-10%.

The truth is that the insurance companies don't really add a lot of overhead to the system in raw percents. It's fairly small numbers. They are essentially pass-through, with some administration and profit taken of the top. Which is how the rest of the insurance industry is.

It is not cheaper, it merely shifts the costs

Agreed, the only real cost savings comes when someone elects not to get treatment and not to pay for it, or margins and costs are reduced in the delivery chain. It's why trying to solve cost issue on the front-end (i.e. payment end) is stupid.

Then, in this environment, the absence of competing options will keep the floor price higher than it would otherwise be.

This tend to raise prices. The otherside of it is insurance companies looking to collect tax credits are offering more plans at the baseline, and willing to accept lower margins, which tends to lower prices.

On balance it's probably too early to say how much prices have been raised by the ACA. The factors tending towards lower prices are minimal and have already been swamped by other factors. The question is how much, really.

Stil, I have no idea what the context of the discussion on taxes was about, from memory. If it's about gift taxes, it was probably related to me having to pay taxes on a gift that was given to me because the income was previously untaxed. One way or another, the tax on the gift has to be paid.

Anonymous dh January 06, 2015 3:57 PM  

Get ready for rationed care (death panels)

People are already ready. Anyone with an insurance carrier already has one. It's death by government or death by spreadsheet, either way, you end up dead.

Blogger Vincent Castrillo January 06, 2015 4:15 PM  

Josh, I didn't mean to sound overly doubtful of your claims as they are possible especially if your brothers know a ton of people. I meant it to mean that it sounded like a lot of hyperbole to support a very narrow claim. " I knew a guy once who xyz,...so it applies to the whole country as well"

I myself went to an SEC school, but it was Vandy so it's a bit different. They so want to be an Ivy of the South but are still having to deal with pesky conservatives at every turn. Still they have managed to be a complete brainwash center at least since I arrived there in 1998.

As for depends on the girl, of course, you can still find a good woman almost anywhere.The problem is it is no more like buying a scratch of ticket hoping to win 10K instead of 1 in 3 or 4 odds 50 years ago.

Blogger Vincent Castrillo January 06, 2015 4:19 PM  

I scrambled that last sentence into meaninglessness. I meant the odds of finding a good girl at college are now closer to 1 in 500 than 1 in 3 or 4 from fifty years ago. This fact is known to most guys so it does in fact harm those girls there for an MRS degree. Significantly

Anonymous Stilicho January 06, 2015 4:20 PM  


I myself went to an SEC school, but it was Vandy so it's a bit different.


Now that is funny

Blogger Josh January 06, 2015 4:21 PM  

I myself went to an SEC school, but it was Vandy so it's a bit different.

Anchor down.

They so want to be an Ivy of the South but are still having to deal with pesky conservatives at every turn. Still they have managed to be a complete brainwash center at least since I arrived there in 1998.

Absolutely agree.

Blogger Vincent Castrillo January 06, 2015 4:22 PM  

Heck, I found my wife in the real world working at the bank with me. Pretty brunette with a Baptist minister for a father. Good head on her should and loves God. I scooped her up at 22 and she hasn't worked in any capacity other than the most important, homemaker/mother of two children, since.

Considering I started my own business in a field totally different from my majors with no outside help or monies and met my wife outside of school, I can't think of any reason why I needed to spend 6 years in college/grad school. None.

And more and more white guys are finding this out earlier and earlier. The trades and off the grid contractors prove this.

Anonymous dh January 06, 2015 4:34 PM  

Considering I started my own business in a field totally different from my majors with no outside help or monies and met my wife outside of school, I can't think of any reason why I needed to spend 6 years in college/grad school. None.

I have never ever regretted dropping out of community college after 3 semesters. Ever. My lovely wife, bless her, went to 4 years of private college, and was luckily relatively un-ruined when she left. We have three kids, and she hasn't worked out of the home in >10 years. We just paid off her student loans.

Blogger Nate January 06, 2015 4:35 PM  

" I meant the odds of finding a good girl at college are now closer to 1 in 500 than 1 in 3 or 4 from fifty years ago."

Mate the odds were never 1 in 3. They have always been over 1 in 100.

Blogger Vincent Castrillo January 06, 2015 4:40 PM  

Perhaps Nate, but that does seem pretty high considering all the relatives, neighbors, and friends of my family that met in college 40+ years ago that are still married. Think about an average campus in the 60s/70s. Maybe 500 to 15000 girls depending on size. At 1 in 100 that means you are saying only 5 to 150 girls at each school were worth a dam. A little pessimistic perhaps.

Though those odds now are dam near desirable.

Blogger Nate January 06, 2015 4:41 PM  

"As for each brother being in two dozen weddings over the last two years, prove it as that is literally outrageous. One a month for two years including holidays and winters? "

Obviously you have never lived in Mississippi...

The women folk do weddings there like men do the NFL. Its literally their favorite pass time. They arrange them.. plan them... and execute them... like a damned machine.

Anonymous Dan in Tx (poor) January 06, 2015 4:41 PM  

Seriously. They're crying over a $250 deductible? Shit, I wish. I would like to send the Harvard Professors a memo from the real world: try $3000.00 deductible! I will also go out on a limb here and venture that it's a safe guess that I make quite a bit less than a Harvard Professor.

Blogger Outlaw X January 06, 2015 5:15 PM  

@Dan

Obamacare is for the poor and uninsured middle class. It makes sure they stay poor and uninsured. And they get to pay to be uninsured through the IRS garnishing wages and foreclosing on property.

Anonymous Dan in Tx (poor) January 06, 2015 5:22 PM  

My plan is though my employer. I work for one of the few small businesses left that are still struggling to provide health coverage for their employees. Of course, with the deductible / co pay, I still can't afford to actually USE it but I do appreciate the gesture and as you point out Outlaw, at least the IRS can't fine me.

Anonymous dh January 06, 2015 5:37 PM  

And they get to pay to be uninsured through the IRS garnishing wages and foreclosing on property.
What do you mean by that?

The IRS cannot fine, garnish, sieze property or take any collection activity other than asking. They can't even sieze your return to pay the Obamacare tax. It is essentially a sternly warning request.

Blogger Rantor January 06, 2015 5:52 PM  

My company's recommended policy has a $12,000 premium and a $3,000 deductible for me and another $3,000 for Mrs Rantor. After that, I would get to pay a 20% copay on most things. Fortunately I have other options.

My coworkers who do have corporate insurance all say the premiums have at least doubled and some have tripled in the last three years.

Harvard profs are so ignorant, they don't know how good they have it.

Blogger Outlaw X January 06, 2015 6:08 PM  

It is essentially a sternly warning request.

You forgot your sarcasm tags.

Blogger ChicagoRefugee January 06, 2015 6:47 PM  

The IRS cannot fine, garnish, sieze property or take any collection activity other than asking. They can't even sieze your return to pay the Obamacare tax. It is essentially a sternly warning request.

When you owe money to a credit card company, any payments you make will got to paying penalties and interest first, before paying down the balance. Do you not think the IRS will do the same with Obamacare penalties?

They'll credit your regular tax payments to your Obamacare penaltax and take your stuff for not paying your taxes. Simple.

Blogger frigger611 January 06, 2015 9:18 PM  

Sometimes a thing can be so outrageously stupid that only a fool or a college professor could think it a good idea.

Anonymous Jack Amok January 06, 2015 10:47 PM  

Who can connect the dots between

Taggart and the other looters are sitting around bitching at each other because the spoils are running out and now they're having to make concessions of their own to keep the game going. There's a bit where Taggart suddenly realizes the rest of them are about to turn on him and make him the next target...

and

Harvard's endowment rivals the GDP of several countries, so they should be financially set for the near future.

I mean, I imagine they'll come for the 401(k)s first and bank accounts second, but the college endowments won't be far behind.

Anonymous real union worker January 06, 2015 10:47 PM  

If dh wants Obamacare, he can keep it.

Anonymous Jack Amok January 06, 2015 10:49 PM  

standardization does tend to reduce prices

Not when it's regulatory standardization it doesn't. When the "standardization" is forced via regulation, what it tends rather strongly to do is reduce quality. Maybe the average price remains the same or even drops, but only because the highest quality offerings are eliminated and the remaining lower-quality offerings drop in quality while retaining the same price.

On a bang-per-buck basis, prices skyrocket. You're liberal history is manifesting itself in a fubarred comprehension of economics.

Anonymous Jack Amok January 06, 2015 10:58 PM  

Overall, there is more money in the system.

But the money is going to pay for adminstrators, clerks, "coding specialists" politicians and lobbiests instead of doctors, nurses and health care providers.

The actual amount of money reaching the people who do the work is decreasing, and as a result, the cost is increasing because even though we've poured more money into the system, we've jacked up the overhead so we have to pour even more money in to get back to where we were in terms of service.

Blogger Josh January 06, 2015 11:41 PM  

The actual amount of money reaching the people who do the work is decreasing, and as a result, the cost is increasing because even though we've poured more money into the system, we've jacked up the overhead so we have to pour even more money in to get back to where we were in terms of service.

Just like our education system.

Anonymous Isidore560 January 07, 2015 2:16 AM  

It's so easy to become self-absorbed in academia. Virtually everyone around you is. If you're remotely original in your politics and thinking, count on trying to weather that storm making your self-absorption even worse. One of the most heinous ideas that the pinkshirts have pushed into the culture is the idea that universities are remotely truly revolutionary. They are actually the temples of the ruling god-kings, and woe to any thinker who refuses to bend the knee.

Screw these pricks-they pushed it on everybody else, now they need to spread em and take it. They have contempt for the actual students, and respectably for their parents. Of course the most hated are their non- pinkshirt colleagues, who are highly sought after by students who actually want skills knowledge that will benefit them.

It's a crazy world when an actual academic is wishy- washy on whether or not to send his children there.

Anonymous Isidore560 January 07, 2015 2:20 AM  

"Especially," not "respectably."

Anonymous map January 07, 2015 2:57 AM  

dh,

"Alone, this is true. However, standardization does tend to reduce prices. The healthcare insurnace market was deeply fragmented, and plans could not be compared. That's the "wiggle room" that was mentioned. One plans is less expensive because it decides not to do thing X which is expensive."

This does not make any sense. "Standardization" does not lower prices at all. What it can do is create high costs for low standards that would not be achieved in a truly free-market. You're comparison between the Kia, Fiesta, and others makes no sense either. There are competition market forces operating on what your getting in car.

The wide variety of plans have nothing to do with competition. Insurance was always a heavily regulated field.

Anonymous map January 07, 2015 3:56 AM  

dh,

I don't know what you are talking about, but I believe your thinking is the fault of the hybrid left-wing/right-wing position you take.

Look, the car analogy works like this: The government gives you a Ford Fiesta with all of the available options...and charges you $40,000. The complaint is that, before, no Ford Fiesta ever approached $40,000 even when optioned out and the complaint now is that every Ford Fiesta costs $40,000.

You are seeing insurance policies where single, healthy people are paying $350 a month at least, with $3,000 deductibles or more. This is, effectively, not insurance. These are simply taxes.

Anonymous Hoss January 07, 2015 8:20 PM  

When the government removed the actuarial tables it ceased being insurance.

Blogger Joshua Sinistar January 09, 2015 4:40 AM  

This is why the Marxists refer to these fools as useful idiots. They carry the little red books, and tow the party line, and when the Glorious Revolution Frees the people from their liberties, comrade Che puts them in front of the firing squad.
Why? Why, comrade? I'm one of you!
Why? says, comrade Che. Because there's only so much to go around and we don't need you anymore!

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