Tag: insurance

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Last night, I dreamed that I hit someone’s old truck—but then I took a second look, and wasn’t so sure it happened. So my solution was to get the owner, show him his truck, and say, “Do you notice anything different about your bumper?” Remember this next time you run into someone’s vehicle in the […]

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Join Jim and Greg as they cheer multiple health insurers easing up on deductibles, co-pays, and coinsurance over coronavirus. They also wince as the head of the Centers for Disease Control says it will take two years to fully defeat COVID-19. And they fume as the World Health Organization and others pretend Taiwan doesn’t exist in order to appease China and, in the process, ignores one the most successful coronavirus mitigation efforts in the world.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Lara’s Theme Harms California Insurers

 

California’s Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara took the highly unusual step this past week of instituting a one-year moratorium preventing the state’s insurers from refusing to renew their homeowners insurance policies. He did so to ease an affordability crisis when homeowners insurance rates spiked in response to the $24 billion in claims that these insurers had to pay to cover losses from the disastrous fires across California in 2017 and 2018. Heeding constituent calls, Lara aims to protect homeowners who had “been dropped after decades of premium payment and loyalty.” At a minimum, 800,000 homes are covered by the new policy, with more to come.

The insurance companies have loudly protested this move, but to no avail. They suffer collateral damage from catastrophic losses not of their own making. Unfortunately, it is easy to identify the parties responsible for these devastating losses. Start with Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), the heavily regulated public utility company, which recently agreed to a $13.5 billion settlement to be paid for death, personal injury, and property damage claims from the 2017-2018 wildfires. Next is the California legislature, whose ham-handed regulations in the pursuit of “environmental justice” and “diversity and inclusion” have contributed to PG&E’s chronically poor performance. Nonetheless, a strong wall of government immunity for discretionary functions insulates the state treasury from all liability—yet another classic illustration of undue power without correlative responsibility.

The obvious scapegoat for government responsibility and public wrath is global warming. True to form, the New York Times, among others, treats the California nightmare as yet another example of the perils of climate change, without offering a shred of evidence to support that conclusion. In fact, mountains of evidence point in the opposite direction. To most people’s surprise, global temperatures went down in 2017 and 2018. Whether or not part of a trend, the movement undercuts any claim about the short-term effect of global warming. In addition, there has been no substantial change in summertime temperatures in northern California, where the fires raged. Global losses from natural catastrophes from all sources declined from $350 billion in 2017 to $160 billion a year later—a huge drop that cannot be explained by trivial annual changes in global temperature.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Natural Law

 

Good Ads“When the Gentiles, who have no knowledge of the Law, act in accordance with it by the light of nature, they show that they have a law in themselves, for they demonstrate the effect of a law operating in their own hearts. Their own consciences endorse the existence of such a law, for there is something which condemns or commends their actions.”
— Romans 2:14-15, J.B. Phillips New Testament

J.B. Phillips wrote a much-read paraphrase of the New Testament in mid-20th Century colloquial English. His paraphrase of this passage seems faithful to the underlying text and makes the point clearly, as a good paraphrase should. We see here the idea of a law encoded in the natural world, the world we all experience, whatever religious teachings we do or do not receive.

A hotel and a car commercial prompted thoughts about humans yearning for something more than fame and fortune, more than material comforts and the false sense of security attached to them. I noticed ads by Marriott and Hyundai on television screens recently, and thought perhaps they marked Madison Avenue responding to polling that showed a desire for an appeal to something positive and higher than our navels. A bit of research did not unearth any obvious white paper or trade paper tips, but these are major players in competitive industries.

Daniel Foster of National Review Online and Greg Corombos of Radio America applaud President Trump’s nomination of Bill Barr to be attorney general and also sound off on Trump’s choice of Heather Nauert for UN ambassador and rumors that White House Chief of Staff John Kelly may soon resign. They also fire back at liberals in New York pushing legislation requiring residents to have a million dollars in liability insurance before buying a gun – and that’s only part of the story. And they groan as comedian Kevin Hart is forced to give up hosting the Oscars because he refused to apologize yet again for tweets he made a decade ago.

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For those unfortunate enough to be “covered”* by an ACA insurance plan, paying cash at an out-of-network practice, apparently, constitutes an act of fraud. Never mind that a thousand financial-planning websites advocate exactly this practice. No, it’s fraud. Evil. Contemptible. Horrible. Hideous. A family member of mine learned this great, undeniable truth recently, after she […]

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The latest FEMA “strategic plan” mentions “risking natural hazard risk” but not a peep about global warming, rising sea levels or devastating weather. Alice Hill, a Hoover Institution research fellow focusing on building resilience to catastrophic events, discusses the Trump Administration’s reluctance to utter the phrase “climate change” and where scientific debate stands in 2018.

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Would mandatory liability insurance for gun owners violate the 2nd Amendment? Congress should realize private industry is in a much better position to regulate the consumer than the federal government and pass a single law: mandatory firearm insurance. Just as it is an offense to not have car insurance, the same approach should be applied […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

Tonight someone from church posted a link to an article with the headline, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster’s veto blocks birth control for the children of state employees. The article then says Gov. McMaster says the children will have to pay for their own birth control and draws the link that not paying for is […]

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America’s current medical care systems are terrible. Not the worst in the world by any means, but also not the most efficient in the world. I believe that one of the current problems is how medical care and medical care insurance interact. I see incentives for insurers to either provide as cheap or as little […]

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Good and Evil

 

Is there something in the human condition that makes us yearn for epic battles between good and evil? Are we as a species driven to ignore obvious facts if they contradict the narrative that our political choices are between heaven and hell rather than about picking the least bad option from a lot of less than stellar choices?

I ask this because a dear friend who is otherwise thoughtful and rational became extremely upset over Congressman Mo Brooks’ statement regarding pre-existing conditions during an interview with Jake Tapper. He said, “…we need to take into consideration all those people who have lived good lives, they’re healthy and they’ve done the things to keep their bodies healthy. Those are the people who have done the things the right way and they’re having their costs skyrocket and it’s not fair…”

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Fourmicare: Reforming the US Health Care System

 

This post is adapted from a comment I posted yesterday on a Member Feed discussion about Larry Elder’s column about charity vs. government entitlements. I have been thinking about solutions to the US health care mess along these lines for some time, so here I’m going to lay it out so everybody can launch projectiles at this fixed target.

Essentially none of this is original; it is a synthesis of proposals from others, drawing in particular upon the heretical (to most conservatives and libertarians) insights of John Derbyshire.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

This is my daughter’s Nissan. Or was. It will soon belong to her insurance company. Last week a 15-year old girl, driving unsupervised, executed a left-hand turn at a traffic light and put herself right in the path of my daughter who was on her way to work. Luckily, the only casualty was the car […]

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Autumn walks in northwest Montana Preview Open

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I read an article and watched a video from CNBC on possible price hikes from insurers for Obamacare. It seems to me that money has been and will continue to be an issue for this federal law. Preview Open

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Cartels and Concierge Bureaucracy Management

 

Several years ago I heard an amusing story on NPR’s Planet Money program. The story described an Indian entrepreneur who, frustrated with India’s local political corruption and red tape, started a new business: Concierge Bribery. For a fee, he would seek out and pay off all of the sundry local officials whenever a local business needed something done. I thought how lucky we were that America had not yet descended to that level. I was deeply wrong. We, in fact, have had concierge bureaucracy managers for some time.

While it is generally a good maxim to never ascribe to mendacity that which can be explained by incompetence, normal logic seems rarely to apply to any of the corruption and rot stemming from Obamacare (and for the record, I refuse to call it “The Affordable Care Act”, or ACA). The act seems explicitly designed, among other things, as a tool to force a cartelization of the entire medical industry. We see this in the rapid demise of independent practices, as they close up shop and merge into large provider networks — effectively regional medical cartels. What we are not yet seeing, or rather noticing, on any scale is the very similar effect Obamacare (when coupled with the many other business strictures in place) is having on general employment itself.

Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Two Things to Remember About Health Care Policy

 

0fc53_doctor_bill0906235When trying to formulate a logical, humane health care system, the key is to start from this fundamental understanding: In our wealthy Western countries, we’re not going to let people die in the streets because they can’t afford readily available health care treatments.

Since everyone knows we aren’t going to turn people away from emergency rooms, a completely free market won’t work. The free rider problem is insurmountable. People can and will choose not to participate in the market until they become sick, and they will then rely on the good will of society to care for them. So the government will be involved in the health care delivery system in some way. Given the free rider problem, it should do so realistically: It should help people at the bottom while keeping government distortion of the market to a minimum.

third-party-2The next thing to consider is the big question: Why is health care so expensive? There’s widespread agreement that third-party payment through insurers is the main problem. There’s no cost control, because neither doctors nor their patients have any incentive to control costs. The only way to gain control over costs is to increase bureaucratic oversight – which adds to the cost.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Taking The Chance Out of Insurance

 

shutterstock_151145456People buy insurance — well, used to, at any rate — to mitigate the costs and impact of unpredictable and expensive future events, and to share the risk of being that one-in-a-million unlucky person. Sure, paying monthly premiums is no fun, but it beats getting an unexpected $200,000 bill for life-sustaining surgery.

Of course, insurance is not just a way to pre-pay for services: insurers are smart and — entirely appropriately — try to hedge their bets by estimating the likelihood that they’ll have to pay out and charging appropriately. This requires them to get information about their customers, such as their driving habits, age, family history, educational attainment, credit scores, and whether (and how much) they drink and/or smoke. At least in theory, this allows insurers to charge high-risk people a steeper rate, while offering low-risk clients more competitive prices. And while the predictive quality of this information isn’t good enough to say much about any given individual, it’s more than adequate to work in the aggregate.

Neither the insurers’ desire for information about their customers nor their customers’ general reluctance to share it are new. What is new, however, is the increasing ease and affordability of new streams of data available to insurers that could help them make much more accurate and personalized predictions. As member Merina Smith points out, genetics — including in-utero testing — is one such stream of information:

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We received our notice today of our 2015 health insurance rates. As per predictions, our costs are going up dramatically. For our Bronze HSA plan, our rates for 2015 are going up by 25.55%. You read that right – our insurance costs are going up by over 25% this year, on the cheapest, most bare-bones […]

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