Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sharron Angle On Health Care: "We're Number One And ObamaCare Sucks"

I found a recent comment made by Sharron Angle very interesting - here is part of an article by Sam Stein from The Huffington Post that explains the statement made:
During an appearance on the conservative Bill Manders show, a caller asked Angle whether she supported the position adopted by, among others, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who came out in opposition to the forcing insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions as part of the president's health care reform package. The caller, who opposed Obama's bill, nevertheless thought Hukcabee's position was a bit callous.

"Well," said Angle. "I'm so glad you mentioned that this is about insurance company cost and not about how good our health care is in this country because we do have the beast health care in the whole world. And our doctors really do deliver for us. So, thank you for mentioning that this is an insurance problem, not a health care problem. And ObamaCare really hasn't addressed the insurance problem.

"We know that the insurance cost problem can be addressed very well by the free market. And when you talk about what those solutions are. Part of them is get rid of the mandated coverages. Another: go across state lines. Another: tort reform. And another: broaden those pools. Allow small businesses to build a pool of their own that spreads out those risks. When you spread out the risk then you can cover pre-existing conditions because the cost comes down. That's really the answer. It's in the free market. And I'm so glad you mentioned that... because you're exactly right: it's a health insurance cost and we can deal with it in the free market."

Angle's answer is garbled enough to lack definitiveness. But the outlines of her response suggest pretty strongly that she believes if risk were spread broadly enough throughout the insurance market there would be no need to mandate companies to cover specific groups of individuals.
 I highlighted the portions above for two reasons.  The first being the fact that America does not have the "best health care in the whole world." 

A World Health Organization's ranking from 2000, which was last produced a decade ago, placed America at number 37 - and considering the rise in premiums and health costs, one can only assume that the ranking probably dropped a couple points.

The second point I wanted to look at was Angle's assertion that the free market would correct the issue surrounding the cost of insurance.  As Stein sums it up, Angle essentially believes that the free market can spread risk around to help drive down costs, which is what the mandate does more effectively - if the free market was capable of spreading risk more effectively, you would also have to get increased participation to fund the pools.

These ideas are still good, and maybe Angle should focus more on developing these options and integrating them into the current health reform, but they would be innefective if Americans depended on them alone - we need the mandate to get the system jump-started, otherwise the industry will just create these pools and still charge their exorbatant rates, making killer profits - literally! 

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