The Oil Change Co-Pay

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If using insurance to pay for everything is such a marvelous idea, why not expand the concept? How come, for example, we tolerate paying for tire rotations and oil changes out of pocket?

Why not carry Car Maintenance Insurance (CMI) instead? Wouldn’t this make owning a car more affordable? More fair?

Is it not outrageous that so many millions of Americans aren’t covered?

I’ve asked people who defend Obamacare about this. They immediately see the silliness of using insurance to cover minor routine car maintenance. But somehow, they don’t connect the logical dots and grasp that the same reasoning applies to minor routine maintenance of one’s body, too. People in this country didn’t always whip out an Aetna or Blue Cross card – and fill out myriad Byzantine forms – when it was time to settle up with their doc. They opened up their wallet or their purse and handed the man (or his nurse/office manager) a $20. There was no need for an entire staff of sour-faced fraus to handle the endless reams of paperwork – each paper-rustling sour-faced frau costing the doc (and thus, you) a considerable chunk of change.

There was no army of cube workers down the line processing your paperwork – and doing all in their power to dodge the bill and send it back to you.

It was a pretty good system. It still works pretty well, too – when it comes to fixing our cars. We carry insurance for catastrophic – or at least, major – events. But we don’t - yet – expect – CMI to cover our next $29.99 oil change or tire rotation. Because most people still seem to understand that it would drive up costs – and not just a little bit – because routine maintenance is, well routine. It’s going to be necessary. One hundred percent certainty. Which in the context of insurance means it would be madness to use insurance as a way to pay for it. Because the whole point of insurance is to reduce the cost of the relatively isolated catastrophic event by pooling resources. One hundred people pay in – in relatively small amounts – to defray the cost (at a reasonable cost to each person paying in) of a loss or damages incurred by a relative handful. Most of the people paying in don’t take out – collect a payment. They pay in to insure themselves against the possibility of having to deal with a huge bill for something unexpected – something they hope will never happen. And which very probably won’t happen.

This is what makes insurance make economic sense.

But if it is known going in that everyone paying in will also expect a payment – that the insurance will be used to pay for everything, no matter how minor and not just the unexpected exceptional event – well, now you’re just playing a variant of musical chairs.

Only when the music stops playing, none of us have a place to sit.

What good does it do me to use insurance to pay for an oil change when the cost of that insurance is much higher than the amount I’d be paying if I just paid for such routine maintenance out of pocket? Sure, I’m “covered” – but that’s not much security (a treasured thing in the Age of Clover) when said coverage is unaffordable. And as a consequence of which, the services rendered are inexorably rendered less often as those rendering them do their best to staunch the financial hemorrhaging.

Which is precisely what has happened as regards “health care” – precisely because people have become accustomed to not paying for “routine maintenance” directly, out of pocket, as they would – as they still do – when it comes to their cars.  They see the seemingly inexpensive $20 co-pay and think happy thoughts about affordable care. That they are “covered.”

They universally neglect to consider the annual fee – typically in the many thousands of dollars – for the insurance itself.

It never occurs to them, apparently, that it might be a better deal to pay $50 out of pocket when Junior has the sniffles – instead of $4,000 a year for the covers-it-all insurance. That they’d have money in the bank – as opposed to their money in the insurance company’s bank account – if they paid for the small stuff themselves, directly – cutting out the expense of all the middlemen involved in the transaction when insurance is involved. If they only used insurance in extreme circumstances, to cover the big ticket items – the unforeseen, unlikely occurrences that may occur – but which usually (for most people) don’t.  Then, their overall costs would be much lower – simply because they’re not paying for everything for everyone –  just some things for some people sometimes.

They get it when it comes to their cars.

They pay their wrench directly. He gives them a bill, they settle up – it’s done. The wrench does not need a front office full of sour-faced fraus – each frau costing him $40,000-plus a year in wages and benefits – to deal with make-work paperwork over an oil change or a tune-up. As a result, he is able to charge less for the work he does – because there’s much less overhead.

Specifically, there are fewer useless eaters to feed.

Just imagine how much an oil change would cost if your mechanic had to have that office full of fraus. If he had the overhead that your doctor has. If every little thing launched reams of paperwork – as opposed to a simple invoice, a receipt – and a thank you for your business.

If  oil changes were “covered” – a la routine visits to the doctor – people would probably avail themselves of oil changes more often as opposed  to when necessary. And they would probably be more likely to abuse – or at least, neglect – their cars.

After all, the repairs are “covered.”

But it’d cost us all a small fortune – for even the small stuff.

This is exactly what’s happened with regard to health care. And instead of addressing this fundamental – and should-be-obvious – problem, the problem has been institutionalized and made the very basis of the whole sorry program.

Math skills – and common sense – are in short supply these days.

Which is why we got HMOs. Which led inevitably – inexorably – to the idea of Obamacare for the innumerate and economically illiterate.

Just wait until the idea is applied to car “health care.”

Because it’s coming, too.

Throw it in the Woods?

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eric

Author of "Automotive Atrocities" and "Road Hogs" (MBI). Currently living amongst the Edentulites in rural SW Virginia. 

  196 comments for “The Oil Change Co-Pay

  1. August 22, 2013 at 8:03 pm

    Courts that have adopted a dual residency standard have realized that the concept of no fault car insurance grace period new car,
    is often the last. If you have two basic options for acquiring insurance.

  2. charles
    July 9, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    Good points but hardly novel for anyone slightly educated about traditional insurance – which is to say 95% of the sheeple out there.
    The one point to make is that deductibles are far from an entire answer. In addition to the paperwork, perhaps the major cause of rising costs is that a third party is paying these cost so neither the patient or Dr has incentive to ration consumption or be cost conscious. Deductibles would help but, the statistics tell us that about 1/3 of our medical costs occur in the final 6 months of life. These are big bucks far beyond any deductible. When you add in that most of us have at several big medical expense earlier in our lives (accidents, cancer,cataracts etc) then clearly more than half of medical expenses will involve third party players which keeps alive the inflationary dynamic of this sector.
    As an aside, I have had high deductible policies and very low claims in the past and my premiums were going up 10-15% per year just like the people with sugar daddy policies.

  3. GregM
    July 9, 2012 at 2:50 am

    The “We” people are really saying “You all will live for me or else I will have my mafia gang government kidnap you and bury you alive in a cage…If you resist I will murder you”.

    Clover is not human – Clover is a collectivist APE.

    Planet of the Apes, indeed.

    And not the Roddy McDowell kind either.

  4. Ned
    July 8, 2012 at 10:08 pm

    Good points, Eric.

    Incidentally, you may soon be responsible for moving the term “Clover” from the third spot into first in the urban dictionary as well as the internet lexicon. Thanks mostly to Clover, of course…

  5. Jim
    July 8, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    Thank you Eric, and for the record, your points are well taken. I too hold the belief that so long as the actions of a singular person or that of a group are not injurious to others or violate the public good, then there exists an absolute right, but inherent and legislatively so, to be left alone. Spot on. Further, I object to *any* entity that assumes it has the right to insert itself between the fruits of my labor and it’s own ends.
    That said, it’s my belief that given the choice, for profit enterprises, while not inherently evil, will more often make morally questionably choices in the name of huge earnings than not. As a result, it’s those entities, and less the individual, that need to be monitored and regulated. Enter the role of goverenment.
    I appreciate your time, thoughts and civility.
    Cheers Eric,
    – Jim

    • July 8, 2012 at 9:14 pm

      You bet, Jim – and likewise!

      I agree, by the way, that the private health cartels are odious. Which is why it’s important to keep in mind that they were intimately involved in drafting the Obamacare legislation. And why not? Now they can force you to buy their product. Prior to Obamacare, you still had the option of saving your money and so having funds on hand to pay for medical care as needed. Now, they’ll shove a gun under your chin and tell you: Send your money to the HMO – or us – or else. Note, too, that you’re not getting medical care. You’re merely being coerced into buying insurance. And the same SOBs that currently pull every nasty trick in the book to avoid paying for actual medical treatments will continue to do so when you’re covered under Obamacare. There is no legal requirement that they pay for whatever care you need. It will be rationed – meted out in the same way that gruel was meted out to Dickensian proles. Please sir, may I have some more? More! He wants more!

      The root problem here is the collectivist-coercive system. Making it more collectivist and coercive isn’t going to benefit most people. It will simply add new costs – and transfer wealth. The Maggot Class – the moochers and parasites; the feckless and irresponsible – will benefit.

      At our expense.

      • RICK
        July 9, 2012 at 6:34 pm

        Eric,
        I have been reading on your site that non-clovers are against the Gov getting involved in health care.

        However, some of the non-clovers, like Meth, to reduce crime, would like the Gov to provide needles, shooting gallerys, Michael Jackson cocktails, and a DR Murray to watch over self-addmitting dope heads to protect from hot shots.

        Have I miss read something?

        • July 9, 2012 at 6:39 pm

          Rick,

          Yeah, I’d say you missed something. Or rather, you’ve added something. To my knowledge, Meth has never advocated that “government should provide needles, shooting galleries” and so on… that’s your confection. Meth has merely said it’s none of the government’s business – properly speaking – to interfere with people’s private choices as regards what substances they partake of.

          Quite a different thing.

          • RICK
            July 9, 2012 at 7:16 pm

            Eric,

            On June 13,2012 5:18 am Meth pointed me to Portugal drug laws and implyed that our Gov should do what Portugal does. Give away free heroin, with clean
            needles.

            • July 9, 2012 at 10:20 pm

              He “implyed” no such thing.

              Meth has been a regular here for a long time. He has articulated his views on the subject repeatedly. At no time has he ever “implyed” what you suggest. What has stated is that it’s outrageous to prosecute people for victim-free crimes such as partaking of arbitrarily illegal drugs. You know it as well as I.

              Why smear Meth? Why attribute to him statements/arguments obviously at odds with the core beliefs about individual liberty and non-aggression he’s articulated literally scores of times?

          • RICK
            July 10, 2012 at 12:07 am

            Eric,

            No smear intended. That is why I ask if I miss-understood.

            He did say he should be able to drive drunk and if he t-boned me , only that damages count, not the drunk driving.

            Did I miss-understand that?

            So I ask then if drunk driving should be legal, should my drunk flying a 747 be legal and only the damages from big fireball when I go off the end of the runway when I hit him count?

            Since non-clovers want Gov out of health care, when a drug O.D. goes to the emergency, who should pay?

            • July 10, 2012 at 10:33 am

              Meth did not write that “he should be able to drive drunk.” Rick, you have a bad case of package-dealing and question-begging and straw man-arguing!

              Here’s what Meth did write (in essence; I am paraphrasing and if I misrepresent him he’ll correct me):

              A person is not necessarily “drunk” just because he’s been drinking. To stop/arrest someone merely because they have an arbitrarily defined quantity of whatever in their system – note carefully, irrespective of their actual driving – is outrageous.

              In my state (VA) it is statutory “drunk driving” for a person under the age of 21 to have a BAC level of .02 – an amount equivalent to less than a single beer in their system. That’s “drunk”? (Or even impaired?)

              It’s nonsense – vicious, evil nonsense.

              Likewise what is done to those over 21. Most people know about the .08 BAC threshold – which incidentally is far below the old .10 standard, which actually did correlate with impairment sufficient to result in a motor vehicle accident. Well, most people don’t know that a .05 BAC is legally sufficient probable cause for a DUI arrest too. The .08 standard is what’s called presumptive – but they can still arrest you at .05 and prosecute you for the same offense. The only difference is that if you are below .08, they have to present additional evidence (such as “you were weaving” or ran a stop sign) while with .08 all they have to prove is that you blew .08.

              What the Clover never considers – or does but despises – is that people are individuals. They have different capacities and capabilities.

              You’ve indicated you’re a pilot – a commercial pilot, which means you’ve got IFR and multi-engine ratings. You must have higher-order skills to achieve this. A person with poor vision/reflexes/cognitive abilities hasn’t got the innate capacity to fly a commercial jet.

              Even with a beer or three in you, you’re more capable than the average person with respect to flying an airplane.

              Driving is really no different in terms of the essential point I’m trying to convey. Some people are just naturally higher-skilled, or have had more training – or they can handle more in the way of distractions (or even alcohol) while still controlling their vehicle more ably than a sub-par or average person who is not “distracted” or who has had nothing at all to drink that contains alcohol.

              Is it even necessary to argue the point? It’s an obvious thing.

              So, what should the standard be for intervention by “the law”? How about when a given person’s actions cause an actual harm?

              As Brent pointed out, whether you’re T-boned by a “drunk” – or an addled old person or a distracted teenage girl – ultimately matters not at all to you in terms of the injury/damages you’ve suffered.

        • Brad Smith
          July 9, 2012 at 7:05 pm

          I have never seen Meth advocate any such thing.

          Furthermore, we had a privately funded Methadone clinic. (East Salinas) They had to come in and drink their fix. You can’t hide a pill in liquid form. It worked great. Our brilliant state (CA.) shut it down and started handing out pills (wafers) instead. The addicts sell the wafers to kids and then go buy heroin, because it’s cheaper and gets you high. Then when the kids can’t afford the wafers they sell their asses and mouths for heroin.

          • MoT
            July 9, 2012 at 7:34 pm

            Just goes to prove the biggest “junkies” are your government types. They get high on control.

        • Brad Smith
          July 9, 2012 at 7:35 pm

          Rick, pointing out that something is better than nothing does not mean that it’s ideal. Pointing out that a step in the right direction is far from saying that it’s perfect. You say he implied. What exactly does that mean? Did he imply that it’s better than what we have or the best?

          • RICK
            July 9, 2012 at 7:54 pm

            Brad,

            That is why I ask if I mis-understood him.

            This ties into Health Care. Here in my county we have Herion ODs showing up at the emeregency room a couple of times a week. Does the non-clovers want them turned away?

            Who pays?

        • Scott
          July 10, 2012 at 12:59 am

          Rick, you bring up heroin overdose twice and ask “who pays”? It’s a valid question but the answer isn’t determinate without assuming someone has an obligation to pay. The technique you use is common among clovers, in structured argument its refered to as “begging the question” (petitio principii, “assuming the point”). It present a logical fallacy by relying on an initial premise that is undefended, in this case that “someone” should pay.

          There’s no obligation for anyone to pay. You need to start there.

          • RICK
            July 10, 2012 at 1:34 am

            Scott,

            If there is no obligation to pay, are they treated for free? Do non-clovers think we should have free health care?

          • Scott
            July 10, 2012 at 1:39 am

            Rick, who knows if they’re treated for free? Why is it my problem? Why should the be treated?

            If you think they should be, by all means feel free to treat them on any terms you find acceptable. Charity is good for the soul. No obligation exists though.

            I’m a medic myself. I treat people for free and have never once asked for compensation or received it. That’s my choice.

          • methylamine
            July 10, 2012 at 3:12 am

            Who treats them, and why, Rick?

            You seem to assume they get treated–or MUST be treated! But why, and by whom, and who pays?

            Actually the question itself assumes they can only be treated at an ER at great expense.

            In fact there was recently a bill in several states to allow pharmacists to provide Narcan (naloxone) no-questions-asked. It’s and instant overdose cure; it displaces any opiate from the endorphin receptors. If you remember the scene in Trainspotting when the protagonist gets a shot in the hospital following an overdose, and immediately wakes from his coma, that’s it.

            So–the heroin OD’s, in the absence of State intervention, can be fixed for pennies by their friends.

            Sadly I don’t think the bill passed anywhere…so once again, government fucks you over THREE ways in this case…drugs are illegal so you’re afraid to go the ER, you can’t have an instant cure on-hand for OD’s, and their regulations have made ER’s ruinously expensive.

          • Scott
            July 10, 2012 at 3:32 am

            Methyl, you can buy Naloxone by mail, it isn’t a scheduled chemical. Now then, using it to *treat* someone is a whole different thing but then again if you’re in a room with someone in respiratory arrest who’s to know? Or care for that matter?

            Not that I’d ever do something like that myself. Just sayin’

          • RICK
            July 10, 2012 at 3:42 am

            Scott,

            I see that you treat people for free.Do you pay all the supplys, drugs, room rent,iv needles ect? In the real word that cost money.Alot to treat an OD.

            But it sounds like you say its ok for drug user to have a hot shot, and we as humans can walk away and let them die because we have no oblication to pay for supplys.

            • July 10, 2012 at 9:42 am

              Rick,

              No one here – not me, at any rate – is advocating that “we as humans can walk away and let them die.” The argument is that no one of us has an obligation enforceable at gunpoint to “help.”

              Can you appreciate the distinction?

              Collectivists try to obfuscate the distinction. They try to reverse roles, actually – imputing callousness to those who advocate for liberty because they don’t “care” – while they, the collectvists, do … even though violence is implicit in everything they advocate, i.e., “help” at gunpoint. (The “help” provided by the stolen resources of others, to be distributed by the collectivist.)

              The liberty-minded believe in, well, liberty. A colloquial way of rephrasing this is “leave me alone-ism.” If I am not causing you a harm, leave me alone – and I’ll do the same in return. Help me if you want to. But I have no authority to force you. Etc.

              A society based on such an idea would be much less violent than the one we live in now.

              And wouldn’t that be nice?

          • Scott
            July 10, 2012 at 4:02 am

            Rick – Yes I pay for all my supplies, my uniforms and my training (which isn’t chicken feed by the way). I need to re-certify at least semi-annually and often annually. I pay for the whole thing. I also end up paying my expenses when I’m called out, including meals and gas, airfare when necessary and of course lodging.

            I’m not allowed to administer drugs so I only have a few hundred dollars worth of antibiotics I use on my dog. Some anti-histamines for those close encounters with poison oak, maybe a few aspirin. Most of what I carry has to fit in what we call a “twenty four hour” pack so I like to keep it simple. Benzoin swabs, steri-strips, a few of those really cool see through dressings you never have to change (which are about eight bucks each).

            I work in an environment that doesn’t have “definitive health care” within an hour, or what some of us call “the golden hour”. I might be the only medical help my patients will see for a week or more if we can’t land a helicopter nearby.

            It’s a great job. I highly recommend it.

          • RICK
            July 10, 2012 at 1:49 pm

            Scott,
            That is very noble of you. I have a ham license and belong to a s/r myself.
            I supply my own radio, back pack ect and have worked with medics like you.

            But in the e/r we have people raising familys that need to get paid for their work.

            So when OD’s come in, it costs money.

          • methylamine
            July 10, 2012 at 2:55 pm

            @Scott:

            Sure–but I should be able to walk into a pharmacy and ask for it (naloxone). At present I don’t believe that’s the case.

            Of course, prior to the 1917 Harris Act, I could walk into a pharmacy and buy heroin. And yet, the country was free and prosperous…amazing!

            I’m sure ya’ll have probably read it already, but it’s worth Googling the history of cannabis law–and the odious 1937 Marijuana Tax Stamp act and the unctuous little tyrant Henry Ainslinger.

            It will really make your hackles stand up!

          • Scott
            July 10, 2012 at 4:28 pm

            Hey Methyl – I sort of knew you knew about nalexone’s availability, I apologize for using your observation as a foil in the discussion of treating heroin OD’s, it allowed me to bring the possibilities before a larger audience without directly advocating practice.

            Naloxone is just one more case of government creating a problem then making it worse. This example is particularly egregious since naloxone is cheap, perfectly safe and easy to use, but by making it hard to get people die.

            Who really cares though? Certainly no one you or I would be concerned with. They’re just heroin addicts. Bad people to start with, right?

          • Scott
            July 10, 2012 at 4:41 pm

            Rick, thanks for the thoughts. Yeah, I buy my radios too, there’s another grand or so out of pocket :) Did I mention the AED? Even the factory re-manufactured units run about $800, but who wants to do CPR for 3 hours?

            I’m a little sensitive on this whole subject right now because I just quit working with a group I’d been with the past 5 years after finding out they’d started charging people up front for my presence at events. To make matters worse I discovered the situation in the worst possible way.

            A couple months ago we had a minor injury at a concert that had been held for the local elderly population (this was in town, not a wilderness situation). One old fellow tripped and smacked his head on the pavement. I got the “incident report” detail and after filling it in I took it to the organizer, who promptly lit into me for not filling it out right. I was a bit miffed but I kept my mouth shut. Later I was talking to one of the other guys I work with and mentioned. That’s when he told me the group was charging these charities for our service. Seems our new BoD had decided that donations just weren’t cutting it any more so they started quoting prices for our support. No one had mentioned this to me.

            So I quit. I feel strongly about this sort of thing, and your “who pays” question set me off. People who can pay will pay and if that isn’t good enough then it just isn’t. I won’t be party to using force of any kind to get paid. It just won’t happen on my watch.

          • methylamine
            July 10, 2012 at 5:05 pm

            @Scott–no problem compadre, I took no offense, your purpose was noble.

            That last–“they’re just heroin addicts, right?”–is SO true. The (typically “christian”) self-righteous war-mongering conservatives LOVE the War on Some Drugs. They’re quick to throw Christ’s teachings under the bus when it comes to vitriol and mercilessness toward “addicts”.

            I hate that label; if you’ve read Thomas Szasz I bet you do, too. Psychiatry has become nothing more than a taxonomy useful for prescribing psychotropics.

            I had a dear childhood friend who moved to New York and took up a full-time devotion to heroin; she died two years ago at age 43, wrecked–an absolute waste of a perfectly good woman. Yes, it was her choice. But I feel certain that had she had access to pure pharmaceutical quality heroin in a less condemning social environ, she might have survived it.

            If you make addiction a social and medical problem–not a criminal problem–you move them into a class amenable to merciful treatment in the open…not skulking about in the shadows.

            I also think legalization would take the glamor and “lifestyle” out of it; it would no longer be an act of rebellion, just a dirty habit.

          • Scott
            July 10, 2012 at 5:36 pm

            “had a dear childhood friend who moved to New York and took up a full-time devotion to heroin”

            And I have a dear child who moved to San Francisco and took up a full-time devotion to meth.

            She isn’t dead yet so there’s still hope.

          • Scott
            July 10, 2012 at 6:25 pm

            I used to smoke at 40,000 feet regularly and it never bothered me. I wonder where your surgeon gets his evidence?

            We did re-cycle the atmosphere but we also took in new gas, people metabolize oxygen so you really do need to replace it. Doesn’t matter if you burn it with ATP or a cigarette, it gets burned. Cabin O2 needs to be replenished.

            Putting on a mask with a burning butt would of course be a bad idea :) I had the misfortune once to test my mask when I had a little chapstick left on my lips. Never did that again.

          • RICK
            July 10, 2012 at 7:43 pm

            Scott,

            My Flight Surgeon has a stack of the “Federal Air Surgeon Bulletin” and makes copies of the case studys, talks about when the blood has the co that it displaces the ability to carry Oxygen,
            ect,ect. Goes to seminars put on by the FAA.

            Talks about the FAA bans on smoking on planes, ect,ect.

        • methylamine
          July 10, 2012 at 3:01 am

          Only my entire point.

          I never said government should provide anything; in fact, government can’t provide anything, it can only steal from the productive, skim off the top, and throw the remainder at the “problem” it likely created in the first place. It’s worse than a Mafia.

          I pointed to Portugal not because it’s ideal, but because it’s an example of how even small steps toward total legalization reduce the problem dramatically. It’s not perfect. Only 100% removal of government influence over substances fixes the problem.

          The underlying principle is so simple:
          Who owns your body?

          If it is you, then it is yours to dispose of as you see fit. The old shibboleth–and a massive logical fallacy–the old “but if people are high they’ll commit crimes or wreck their cars and hurt peeeeeeeeople!”

          Once again: regardless of the reason you T-boned me, I am equally injured. If you were high, drunk, tired, sexting your hottie, reaching in the passenger footwell to retrieve the cigarette you dropped…I’m still T-boned, and the consequences are the same. You’re at fault, I’m injured, you must make me whole. Your state of mind at the time makes zero difference; it’s purely a red herring used to justify draconian laws but of no logical substance.

          In a truly just society, the State would have nothing to do with it. After all the State–a fictitious entity to begin with for it has no real manifestation–has no stake in the game. In a just society, you and only you would make me whole; whether through an insurance payout, or by garnishing your wages until you’d fixed my car and paid my medical bills. Prison is a barbaric, antiquated concept for property crime; it serves no-one, and in fact furthers the insult by forcing me to pay for your incarceration–which is time you spend fruitlessly instead of earning my recompense.

          I’m encouraged by the fact that you came back, Rick. It indicates to me that these ideas are scratching away somewhere in your mind, and it bothers you that you can’t quite dismiss them and leave them alone…you come back to them. Keep thinking it through! It’s the red pill from the Matrix…if you remember, Neo experienced quite some pain as it took effect–but waking up on the other side is worth the struggle!

          • RICK
            July 10, 2012 at 1:31 pm

            Meth,
            In your world, your drunk driving should be legal, and only the damages to me from the t-bone would count.

            Should it be legal for me to get into a 747 drunk, miss my takeoff point, and turn you into a very big fire ball and only the damages count?

            I would not be around for paying for the zillions of dollars of damages.

          • methylamine
            July 10, 2012 at 2:50 pm

            Rick you assume that, if it were legal, everyone would suddenly go on a massive bender, driving and flying high and drunk in an orgy of violence.

            You assume the worst. You also assume an obvious fallacy–that laws restrain people from doing these things in the first place. I can prove the laws don’t restrain people: there are still drunk/high driving/flying accidents in spite of draconian laws.

            Ultimately the restraint is internal and depends on the moral compass of–are you ready for it?–the individual.

            You also conflate two very different situations: the individual drunk driver, and the commercial pilot.

            I’m not opposed to private prior restraints against impaired driving/flying. In the case of the Boeing pilot, I’m certain (facing immense liability) the airline would enforce sobriety in its pilots. As well, some insurance companies might offer reduced rates for people willing to install an ignition lock-out breathalyzer.

            The commonality between the two is that those are private, consensual arrangements.

            When the State is involved, it assumes guilt (warrantless checkpoints etc) and it uses violence to enforce its decrees.

            One last point: yes, drunk driving should be “legal” in the sense that all crashes should be treated the same, regardless of one’s mental state*.

            * one exception: if it can be shown there was malice, as in someone intentionally running you over intent on harm

          • RICK
            July 10, 2012 at 3:31 pm

            Meth

            You said I am comparing private driving to Commerical flying.

            John Travolta has a Private licence and a Boeing 707. Should that make a difference?
            He does not have a contract with Boeing.

            The fireball would not be as big.

            I don’t assume that people drink and drive. You told me people still drink and drive/fly. That is what the random checks are for. To get drivers/pilots of the road
            that are not fit to fly/drive.

            You did mention insurance. I am sure your
            auto insurance , which is a private contract, has something to say about drunk driving.

            They just use a third party to enforce the contract.

            Which comes to the point, the insurance company, by contract, can give you a list of approved drugs to use when you are driving.

          • Gil
            July 10, 2012 at 4:33 pm

            Actually, yes,Rick in theory, if a drunk were to crash into your family car and killed himself and your family yet had little in personal assets then it’d be a case of tough luck for you. After all, your beef can only be with him and since he’s no longer around to make restitution . . . well too bad.

          • RICK
            July 10, 2012 at 5:13 pm

            Gil,

            Here in Mich we have no-fault insurance.
            So if a drunk hit’s me, my insurance pays me.

            In other states I would buy “uninsured driver” which pays me if the driver is un-insured.

          • RICK
            July 10, 2012 at 5:31 pm

            Meth,

            In talking about private contracts, now some of the hospitals in MI are having new workers sign a contract for no smoking on or off work subject to random checks. If caught with the smoke in there blood they get fired.

            That is why more and more companys use contracts to control drug use. Gets the Gov out of the control loop. Also good for buisness.

          • Scott
            July 10, 2012 at 5:55 pm

            Rick, does everyone now believe that smoking tobacco harms anyone other than the smoker? The evidence that unadulterated tobacco harms the smoker is thin to begin with, the evidence it harms anyone else in the vicinity is completely absent.

            In a former life I did experiment design for a living and I feel confident saying there have been no controlled experiments to prove the dangers of second hand smoke.

            There have however been many controlled studies to demonstrate nicotine’s positive effects on mental acuity. Did you know that the incidence of Alzheimer’s is reduced in smokers? Reflexes are improved? Driving performance increases under the influence of tobacco?

            One needs to study this problem carefully with an eye towards removing the cruft and revealing truth.

          • Scott
            July 10, 2012 at 6:10 pm

            Rick, are you of the opinion that an insurance company has no obligation to pay claims when the operator has something other than the list of approved drugs in his system at the time of an accident?

            I am. I’m pretty sure that my insurance doesn’t cover me if I’m drunk. It’s even possible I wouldn’t be covered if I were under the influence of Diphenhydramine (benadryl). I wonder how many uninsured drivers we have on the roads today despite the State’s requirement for every driver to carry a policy.

            This would imply Methyl’s argument that the State has no dogs in the fight is real. We have a series of draconian laws that have no positive benefit to society; they serve only to collect money from the tax cattle.

          • RICK
            July 10, 2012 at 6:15 pm

            Scott

            Does not make a difference when a company want a person to sign a workers contract.

            They could ban orange juice if they wanted to.

            I will say that smoking and flying at 40,000 feet is not a good idea. My flight Surgeon has provided me with a bunch of
            information that shows me 2nd had smoke reduices the Oxygen level in the cockpit.

            He has studied the medical aspects of flying at 400mph at 40,000 ft with smokers in the cockpit.

            Leads to all kinds of problems.

          • Scott
            July 10, 2012 at 6:29 pm

            Rick: this thread has gotten too long, I posted the reply in the wrong place.

            I crewed a C-141 Starlifter for years and held a high altitude flight rating the whole time. A 141 has a service ceiling well above 40K and we used the heck out of it. Never had a problem with cigarette smoke but the fumes from baking menudo could get to be a problem :)

          • RICK
            July 10, 2012 at 6:43 pm

            Scott,

            What I am saying the Insurance company can write a contract, without the hated GOV, getting involved. Meth agreed that
            the insurance company can restrict the use of unapproved drugs to keep people from drunk driving/flying.

            And if you bend something when drunk,no pay.

          • BrentP
            July 10, 2012 at 6:44 pm

            Rick, why are some negligence causes of wrecks just “accidents” while others are serious crimes?

            Today if a driver crosses the center line because he was cleaning his windshield while driving and hits my car, that’s an accident. If the same driver has a 0.081 BAC and crosses the center line and hits my car doing the exact same damage, that’s a crime. Why?

            Both are people acting negligently. Both people decided to do something that impaired their ability to control their vehicles. Why is one a crime and one just an “accident”?

            If a driver neglects his vehicle and then a mechanical failure causes a crash, that’s just an “accident”. If a driver neglects his body over a period of decades and then can’t operate a car safely and crashes into someone, that too is just an accident. If someone neglects his body for a few hours and gets drunk and then crashes his car into someone, that’s a crime. It does not make logical sense. They all neglected a vital component of driving that resulted in a crash.

            I loathe incompetence. People have so much at their disposal today to learn and don’t. They choose incompetence. Why can’t that be a crime? This incompetence ruins people’s lives or ends them. Why is it not a crime? Incompetence kills far more than drunk drivers. Yet this form of negligence is rarely punished or requires even compensating the victims.

            Yet someone competent with an arbitrary BAC level who poses a risk higher than he would with a lower BAC level but still a risk lower than the sober incompetent person has to be punished in a life-changing way?

            It’s nonsense. emotional nonsense.

          • RICK
            July 10, 2012 at 7:07 pm

            Scott,
            I am sure you have been in an altitude chamber, trained in Hypoxia, smokers have co in blood, causing sea level to be like 7,000n ft. ect ect. Hypoxia sneeks up on the person.

            Smokeing is not banned by the FAA but my Flight Surgeon, you rember those, guys and gals, tell me the effects of second hand smoke can cause me trouble with my Medical in some cases. Not worth the risk. If someone has some marginal lung trouble thay can flunk the lung test after long term exposer.

            Never been on a C-141. Took some hops on KC-135 from MI to CA.

          • Scott
            July 10, 2012 at 8:00 pm

            True that CO concentrations in the blood of a smoker increase, reducing O2 uptake. Not sure about the second hand effects on others in the vicinity. Again, I don’t know of any empirical evidence that supports the claim. I can say that we held our cabin altitude at around 6000 and I didn’t feel hypoxic, but then as you mention hypoxia is insidious and yes I have been in a chamber (12 navy pilots eating bad food suddenly blown up to 24K, then a grinning sargent tells everyone to take off their mask. The smell alone will kill you :)

            I crewed C-130s, never been in a 135. Great planes. I have to admit I prefer the 141.

  6. Jim
    July 8, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    Let’s try this, huh? Eric, I’d be happy to engage in a grammatically correct, cogent debate on your premise. Free of juvenile insults. Game?

    • July 8, 2012 at 8:19 pm

      Sure, thing Jim.

      This last post of yours was much better. Thank you. And pardon me for ripping into you – it’s the result of dealing with too many Clovers. (Clovers are control freaks and collectivists; people who reject the idea that a person has a right to be left alone – to not be the object of physical force or coercion – so long as he is not causing other people harm. Not theoretical people – i.e., “society.” Real, specific victims. Not may or might – but did or does.)

      I object to Obamacare because I object to the idea of being threatened with violence if I decline to hand over my money to a private, for profit cartel with the government acting as its bully boy.

      I object to anyone telling me that their health issues are my problem – just as I would hope they reject the idea that my health problems are theirs. Not in terms of sympathy – not in terms of any voluntary assistance I might provide. Rather, this business that someone else’s doctor bills – or their kids’ bills, or the bills of their parents -or whomever – gives them a right to compel me to “help” them. Or else.

      Mean spirited? Selfish? Only if your premise is that it’s humane to threaten others with violence to coerce their assistance. To literally threaten to put them in cages, take their property – even to kill them – in order to compel them to provide you (or others) with a material benefit.

      Health care (i.e., medical treatment) is no more a right or an entitlement than housing or food or car ownership is a right or an entitlement. Why? Because none of these things just exist – or fall from the sky. They must be produced and provided by others, directly or indirectly. And no one has the right to force someone else provide him with sustenance or material assistance or any other thing.

      The only thing we owe one another as human beings is goodwill – and mutual respect for our equal and individual right to ourselves, the fruits of our labor and our right to be left in peace so long as we leave others in peace.

      That’s the moral argument.

      If you’d like to debate it, I’m ready.

  7. Jim
    July 8, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    Ha! That’s great Tor! I appreciate your insults, well played sir, well played! Man, you guys are just chopping me up! C’mon, how about some dick jokes? Who’s “Up” for it??!!

  8. Jim
    July 8, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    Ah! You expanded your thought! A thousand thank youz, I’m borderline eliterite. Thanx!
    So, it’s a grammatical lesson we’re pursuing? I’m happy to engage!

  9. Jim
    July 8, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    A well thought out retort sir! Two intelligent people can disagree, well done on insulting mine.
    So clover you say? Based on your “Clover” screed, you opine that a clover thinks that you’re the one that needs the help. To accept that, one has to accept that your premise is the tested and correct one. I simply disagree. But I appreciate your attempt at saving me from my own stupidity.

    • Scott
      July 10, 2012 at 3:14 am

      Jim, you want to look out for “that”. It’s a commonly overused filler word and going through your prose eliminating it whenever you can makes your stuff sound more intelligent.

      Just a suggestion.

      • July 10, 2012 at 3:52 am

        It irritates the hell out of me too.

        The word “that” is often substituted for the word “who.”

        Example: “You’re the one that needs help” instead of “You’re the one who needs help.”

        That pertains to things. Who/whom pertains to persons.

        Actually, I’m being generous. More often than not the actual sentence is “Your the one that needs help.”

        Often followed by sentences such as “But your to dumb to know it, because your an idiot.”

        • Scott
          July 10, 2012 at 4:37 am

          Well that’s just you’re opinion though. I wasn’t discussing graymer, I wuz talkin’ about extra herbage.

  10. Jim
    July 8, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    This is the most simplistic, off-the-mark argument to national health care I’ve read to date. Ok, sooooo…your premise is that we don’t carry insurance for routine auto repairs, so why carry it for minor ailments? We ah…do. They’re called HMO’s, you know, Health MAINTENANCE Organizations. Preventive care if you will. See, we already HAVE national insurance, it’s called the ER, and it’s the least efficient delivery system on the planet. And we’re all paying for it. Look, say what’s REALLY on you mind, “You’re going to die, and I simply don’t care”. That’s what this is really all about, isn’t it? So stop the thinly veiled arguments, and go have your revolution. I’m happy to cede Arizona, you and the rest of the rugged individualists can go blow s@/$ up and live off the land. Hell, I may even grab a bag of popcorn and watch a real time example of natural selection at its finest. Enjoy!

    • July 8, 2012 at 6:45 pm

      Well, Jim, let’s see:

      First, you might try constructing a coherent sentence before accusing me of being simplistic.

      “This is the most simplistic, off-the-mark argument to national health care I’ve read to date.”

      Non sequitur – and borderline illiterate, too.

      It’s “HMOs.” Not “HMO’s” … .

      Next up, the hysterics; the emoting:

      ““You’re going to die, and I simply don’t care”.”

      Puerile demagoguery that tries to obfuscate the real issue:

      Don’t try to tell me your “health care” status entitles you to point a gun in my face and demand my “help” – or else.

      Sympathy is one thing. But your problems are not a claim on my rights. Capece?

    • Tor Munkov
      July 8, 2012 at 7:00 pm

      Jim-
      If your goal is to live longer, you might want to look into castration. Castration extends the life expectancy of men by an average of 13.6 years.

      Here’s some research you might be interest in:
      http://www.webspawner.com/users/castration/

      • dom
        July 8, 2012 at 7:06 pm

        Oh Mang! Too Funny…

        I think Eric increased the power this morning on the clover magnet.

      • July 10, 2012 at 8:51 am

        Dear Tor,

        Now you tell me!

  11. Susan
    July 8, 2012 at 3:38 am

    When we are infants, we demand that everyone else live for us 24/7.
    When we become children, we start to demand less.
    When we become teens, we want to be left alone – mostly.

    The evolution of the conscious human is from total Communist at infancy to individual man as we become adult (about 20 years of age). Those who still demand that everyone else live for them when they reach 20 years old are MENTALLY RETARDED sociopaths. A liberal is really a mentally retarded child. I have known humans who are well into their 50s and have the mental capacity of children demanding everyone else live for them. These are Obama supporters and they are the voting majority. The USA is done…It has become like a “planet of the apes” to those who have the adult brain capacity and observation skills. Statism/Democracy has destroyed itself because the mental retards always become the voting majority. Just like math and science destroys sky-daddy religion.

    • July 8, 2012 at 9:34 am

      Excellent synopsis, Susan!

      I call such creatures Clovers – in honor of the resident archetype here (you can find more about Clover by rooting around the boards).

      Invariably, they emote – they rarely reason. Just like a little kid throwing a tantrum because he’s not being given what he wants… right now!

    • liberranter
      July 8, 2012 at 4:18 pm

      Good points, Susan, although I’d add a couple of thing.

      1. Human mental/emotional evolution is actually more of a “full circle” phenomenon in that as humans age, they begin to revert, in many cases, to the Communist “I-am-the-center-of-the-universe-and-it’s-your-obligation-to-care-for-me” mentality (senior citizens on social security and medicare, please flame away – even though you know I’m right).

      2. Amplifying my first statement, it’s not just Obama supporters or leftists/liberals who are collectivist leeches. I hear many self-described “conservatives,” especially in the senior citizen demographic I mention, expressing the sentiment “shut down the government, but DON’T YOU DARE TOUCH MY MEDICARE!”

    • Rob
      July 8, 2012 at 5:13 pm

      50+ year old retarded children – I think Robin Williams.
      Maybe Bono – Barbra Streisand – Bill Maher…..

    • July 10, 2012 at 4:07 am

      Children is exactly right.

      It’s no accident that we speak of the “paternalism,” the “nanny state,” and “Big Brother.” These are Freudian slips that give the game away.

      Government under “democracy” is the external manifestation of the inner longing of voters/sheeple who long to be taken care of by others.

      Far from being a “advanced” political system that reflects “political maturity,” democracy is a primitive, puerile, political system that reflects emotional immaturity and psychological dependency.

      • Scott
        July 10, 2012 at 4:30 am

        The Big Nipple. :)

        Sorry, but my dog just gave birth to 11 (count ‘em ELEVEN) puppies a mere nine weeks ago. She gets mobbed by them and the sound of eleven puppies sucking frantically is enough to bring out vampire fantasies in any thinking human…

        • Jay
          July 13, 2012 at 2:55 pm

          It’s the same sound you hear when you visit Washington DC…The souud of 100M parasites sucking the taxpayer tit. Most people think it’s the sound of Cicadas.

  12. Al Sledge
    July 8, 2012 at 3:06 am

    Actually I heard two adds on the radio today for full coverage maintenance “insurance” on your car, provided the car has less than 150k miles. I suspect it is like “extended warrenty” the dealers sell. I used to sell cars myself and got involved with this a little. Our near-scam required the owner to have scheduled maintenance performed at the dealer and they would cover power train repairs. The dealer had a log for each car covered that recorded dates and mileage. If an engine blew and the customer pulled out his coverage paperwork he expected free work. But the service department might show the oil was changed at 3100 miles and the contract stated 3000 miles. No coverage! If the customer changed his own oil he had to prove it was done in under 3000 miles. Mosty difficult to prove. This car insurance is very close to our new and improved medical. But there are suckers born every minute.

  13. Carl
    July 8, 2012 at 12:04 am

    Hi Eric,

    I’ve been out of the country working and I wanted to check up on you since your bout with salmonella. My response really doesn’t address your oil change post but I wanted to post on your most recent article so you be sure to see it. I’d judge from your posts that your doing better?

    I’d like to say hello to Anarchyst and Tor. I hope both of you are well.

    I read your recent BMW article and really enjoyed it. I sent it on to my son who is a huge BMW 3 series fan. Now that I’m back in the U.S. I’ll be reading you as often as possible.

    Take Care,

    Carl (the retired cop)

  14. Alex Zayachkov
    July 7, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    Want better and cheaper health care? Avoid Health Insurance and negotiate it away in exchange for more cash from your employer. By paying for medical services in cash, you can expect a 30% – 40% discount from physicians and hospitals. Not only will you save hundreds of thousands of dollars in wasted premiums, you’ll save up to 40% on all medical services! Note: I’ve saved over $1000.00 on my medical services in just the last six months.

    You’re generally better off without Health Insurance. If this was not the case, it would not be such a profitable business model. Do the Math:

    $1200/month – typical cost of Health insurance for a “family” that include both employer and employee contributions.
    $259,000.00 is what you will spend for this insurance over 18 years. If your family consumes even 10% of that amount for health care over the course of 18 years, you’re probably buying services you don’t even need.

    But wait! we aren’t done with your costs – Deductibles and co-pays! You’re paying $14,400 a year for the privilege of paying most of your medical costs anyway, and at the highest price! Care providers charge more for insurance covered services because of all the administration involved in submitting claims and getting paid, often at a discount they haven’t agreed. And they may have to wait six months to get paid by Health Insurers.

    But what about catastrophic situations? The fact is that even with the best health care insurance available, a catastrophic illness or accident will bankrupt you, they simply do not cover all the costs.

    So why are so many people clamoring for health care? Because they’ve been trained to believe that they need it, even though in most cases they don’t. And let’s not forget the Insurance Lobby that never misses an opportunity to make their product mandatory by law.

    • paul
      July 7, 2012 at 10:43 pm

      I’ve got a good one for you all. What’s something we all have to have no matter what? Food & water. There are currently more people on food stamps now than ever before. So why don’t they require us to purchase food insurance? Also, we need shelter. There are more people getting their homes foreclosed and more people getting evicted from their apartments than anytime in recent history. So why don’t they require us to have Shelter insurance? How about personal liability insurance? I read an article about a woman who was texting on her phone and walked out into traffic. Luckily she was not injured, but 3 cars ran into each other trying to avoid her and at least one person went to the hospital.Where will it end?

      • July 7, 2012 at 10:45 pm

        It’s the logical end of the daisy chain, isn’t it? In a way, it’s a happy development – because the insanity will shortly become obvious. We’ll either be utterly reduced to penury (and slavery) or we’ll grow the balls and the will to end this thing – and start over.

        • methylamine
          July 10, 2012 at 2:44 am

          Eric, by “…end this thing” I think you mean the tyranny we live under.

          But I’d take it even further–or perhaps you meant this.

          I’d like to end the idea of a nation-state entirely. It’s outlived its usefulness by a good hundred years at least; and in that hundred, the idea of a nation-state has permitted sociopaths to kill, conservatively and not including war dead, 260+ million people.

          I’m a big fan of the idea of “phyles”, somewhat like those outlined in Neal Stephenson’s excellent Snow Crash and The Diamond Age. “Phyles” are groups of like-minded people who live in proximity and adhere to the same philosophies of life. They choose to obey the same morality. If you cross to another ‘phyle, you agree to obey their rules while you’re with them–while retaining allegiance to your own ‘phyle.

          The community on this board is in essence a ‘phyle; and I’d gladly share any of you…well, RickGilClover excepted…as neighbors and friends.

          We’ve outlined enough of the infrastructure of that type of anarchism to fill a book in various discussions here so I won’t reiterate.

          But the idea of stateless ‘phyles, coexisting through peaceful commerce, appeals to me enormously. Remove the ability to enslave people by propaganda, delusion, and force, and you remove the ability to gather sufficient forces to wage deadly war. AND, you eliminate the machinery that’s killed 260 million people.

          • July 10, 2012 at 10:03 am

            Yes!

            By coincidence, I happened to be re-reading that old (and obscure) work, “The Coming Race” last week. This short book is about an explorer who discovers that the interior of the Earth is inhabited by an advanced race of people who live in loosely knit smallish communities – phyles – organized (informally) on the basis of their shared values. When a member of one phyle visits a neighboring phyle, he abides by the “terms and conditions” of that phyle.

            What makes this all work – well, one of things – is that these subterranean dwellers have discovered Vril, a sort of “life force” that permeates everything and which has great power. Every individual who has mastered Vril has virtually unassailable defensive power – and so cannot be compelled to do anything. So, people associate on the basis of mutual agreement/consent, working out their differences peacefully among themselves. There is no government as such; only “village elders” who get together occasionally to ponder the larger problems and suggest solutions.

            If you haven’t read the book, I recommend it. Not so much for its literary value but rather for some of the intriguing ideas it lays out.

          • methylamine
            July 10, 2012 at 3:00 pm

            Thanks Eric, excellent tip. I’ll grab a copy ASAP.

            It sounds very much like Stephenson’s ideas, possibly he borrowed them?

            Of course the village-eldger, shunning, small community system is not a new idea; it’s been in practice in rural India for many thousands of years, and saw its fullest manifestation in Middle Ages Iceland…and example of purest libertarianism.

          • methylamine
            July 10, 2012 at 3:13 pm

            Jeez. Spellcheck:

            eldger = eldger;
            “AN example of…”

    • Douglas
      July 8, 2012 at 5:37 am

      Comes to the same conclusion, no matter how it’s sliced and diced. Your employer merely writes the checkes (or sets up the EFT). YOU pay for it, whether it’s pre-taxed or taxed monies. From the employers perspective, your wages are but part of what you “cost” (and therefore have to earn to justify your place on the payroll). In the final analysis, you always pay for it.
      This is why we need to let employers and employees arrange salaries/benefits to what suits their respective needs best, and keep the Government out of it. The section 125 model works best…let the employee pick and choose. Some need a robust health plan, some less so, some none at all (their spouses have them covered).

  15. william
    July 7, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    I would suggest a mandatory policy to cover civil, and criminal fines, cost of court, and car insurance increases. Then people could drive as fast as they wanted, and not worry about punishment. As long as they didn’t receive any jail time, no law, or ordinance would be a deterrent to them. Parking would be so much easier.

  16. Tim
    July 7, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    Mr Peter:

    We here at the Department of Motor Vehicles have been reading your articles and it is apparent that you don’t purchase full and comprehensive automobile insurance. The penalty, er excuse me, tax for this is $1,000 per year. You’ll be receiving a postage paid envelope and invoice for this. If you chose to ignore this, please remember we know where you live.

    • July 7, 2012 at 9:00 pm

      Hey Tim,

      I’m not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree, but I try not to be blatantly stupid! Therefore, I have the minimum-mandated coverage on all my stuff. Not because I believe I need insurance on all my vehicles – several of which see only limited use. I just don’t want to be flogged by the Clovers at the DMV.

      A hearty Nixon-esque salute to them!

  17. Mumashik
    July 7, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    You want to know what health care will be like under a socialized system with no co-pay – I’ll tell, and I know, I’m and M.D. who’s practiced in Canada and the U.S.. Canadians will tell you their health care is “free” – and they REALLY BELIEVE IT – even though taxes are far, far higher than in the U.S.. Canada made a HUGE MISTAKE when they didn’t institute co-pays for non-serious conditions. Here is a true case from a family doc friend of mine still in Canada:

    Woman’s two year old daughter gets an ear ache and temp of 102 degrees on a Friday night – she takes the child to the ER, gets a diagnosis and antibiotic prescription, which she fills and starts giving her daughter. Saturday, the daughter has no fever but still an ear ache, she takes her to a walk-in clinic for a “second opinion” – they make the same diagnosis and tell her to continue the same antibiotics the ER doc prescribed. Monday, her daughter has no fever and no ear ache – she takes her daughter to my friend’s office “to make sure the other two docs were right”. Canadian tax payers pay for all three visits – only one of which was necessary.

    I see it here with Medicaid patients – who have “free” health care and no copay. I’m an ER doc. We call it the “family plan” – a Medicare mom (never a dad in sight) comes in with 6 kids with runny noses and “high fevers” of 98.6 (mother doesn’t have a thermometer and has no interest in getting or using one). In my city a basic ambulance ride is about $500 – that’s if you get no treatment. I have had Medicaid patients come in the ER on the “free taxi” for ear aches and TOOTH ACHES. I couldn’t make this stuff up.

    I work with a group of docs – we could cut our fees at least in half and make just as much if we didn’t have to pay so much for malpractice insurance (our group pays over one million dollars a year) and dozens of people to handle insurance claims. Yes, you need catastrophic insurance in case your kid gets leukemia and needs a $200,000 bone marrow transplant to save his/her life.
    Insurance for every little thing is just nuts.

    • July 7, 2012 at 9:02 pm

      Hi Mum,

      Thanks very much for your first-hand input about the effects of “free” heaf cayhuh!

      The only thing I’m optimistic about is that it’s unsupportable – and so, won’t last very long. I give the whole works – by which I mean, the United States as currently constituted – ten years at the very outside. Five’s more likely.

      Maybe less than two.

      • July 10, 2012 at 3:41 am

        Exactly the same thing is happening here on Taiwan.

        “Free” health care is leading to gross abuse, by providers and patients alike. That is bankrupting the system. A classic textbook case of “moral hazard.” Those who don’t know what it is, Google it.

        And as anyone with even a smattering of economics knows, any system that operates at a loss can only do so until the money runs out. It’s not a question of whether. It’s a question of when.

        • July 10, 2012 at 9:51 am

          What was it old Ironpants said?

          The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money….

    • DD
      July 8, 2012 at 3:09 am

      $1M per year in malpractice insurance!?
      How many doctors in your group?

      Why does a bone marrow transplant cost $200K?
      NOTHING should cost that much!

      • Scott
        July 10, 2012 at 5:24 am

        Bone marrow transplants aren’t all that easy to do you know. There’s tissue matching to be done, which sort of implies a “bank” or at the very least a database of typed donors. Then there’s convincing the donors; ever had a 6 gauge drill bit hammered into your pelvis? Not fun.

        And you can’t really plan on making it up with volume on low margins. At least not unless you’re a ghoul.

        • methylamine
          July 10, 2012 at 2:58 pm

          LMAO Scott that just made me snort loudly in the middle of our quiet office–thanks for the laugh and the embarrassment!

          I have this vivid mental video of people lined up, DMV-style, with a Nurse Ratched frau holding a pneumatic gun-mounted needle…

        • DD
          July 13, 2012 at 8:16 pm

          Huh? I could see it if you had to bribe a marrow donor with $180K that the procedure might cost $200K.

  18. lee
    July 7, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    I had a dental insurance plan that would, according to the policy, pay for a portion of the cost of a gold crown. The paperwork involved dozens of forms (with the proposed payment always being whittled down)and scads of approvals that required so much detail that the dentist’s office finally said, Forget it.”

    But they’d agreed, so they did the procedure. Then they tried to get paid. One of the frau’s in the billing office (who is quite nice) told me that they have now spent over 20 hours on this one claim. I’ve spent easily a dozen hours of my own time. If the frau and I were making a modest $20/hour, it’s costing the dental practice and I about $650 to receive a payment of $400 (down from an initial promise of $850). Never mind the frustration.

    Small dental and medical practices will have to go out of business, sending us all to the giant corporate medical and dental practices which will be owned in partnership with the large insurance companies. These large practice mills will likely operate like ER’s with patients and their families filling out volumes of forms and paperwork in crowded waiting rooms (and forever afterwards) even for simple exams and procedures.

    These millions of hours will subtract from the time during which people could be doing productive work — or be out looking for jobs as the unemployment rate continues to rise. The bureaucratic parasite will eventually consume its host and then itself, but it doesn’t care.

    Co-pays for oil changes? Jiffy Lube would love it.

  19. Jim Dandy
    July 7, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    oil changes should be a right. They “force” us to drive cars by not having mass transit accessible by all the people, so if we have no choice but to drive a car then the maintenance of that vehicle should be born by all of us. We shall overcome the cruel and mindless libertarian life these people in power have forced down our throats.

    Resist! Vote romney/obama 2012!

  20. Steve Cross
    July 7, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    Great article. I started selling health insurance in 1969 when adequate coverage could be purchased for $50/month. The policy had a $500 deductible and I counseled young people to set up a savings account for their medical and auto insurance deductibles.

    In my own case, in the ’90s, I used to carry major med coverage with a $2500 deductible, which cut the premium by 60% over a policy with a $100 deductible.

  21. Gonzalo Leon
    July 7, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    I used to take my F-150 to an area repair shop that has several locations. I got my tire, oil change and other small things there for it was cheaper than the dealership. I started having one problem and when I took it in for a diagnostics, they gave me a written estimate of more than $1,300. Not having the money, I left, hoping that the vehicle would continue to run for several thousand miles. However, I started inquiring, and a friend told me tot take the car to this dumpy, out of the way place. This one man shop looked at it and said: “It is not that. If it were that I could do it for less than $1,000. It is this, and I can do it for $250.” The noise went away, and I have put more than 50K on it since then.

    In another instance, in another town, the coolant started leaking under the dash. I took the vehicle to one of these fancy shops, and I was told that they would have to remove this and remove that to see where the leak was. With practically no knowledge about cars but good common sense, I thanked them and left. I went to see a fellow who is a tinkerer, and he suggested I pour a sealing compound that comes in a small container that cost three dollars at an auto parts store. That was twenty thousand miles ago.

    • Douglas
      July 8, 2012 at 5:30 am

      “My Momma told me…Ya’d better shop around”.
      I’m convinced that sixty percent of all auto “repair” businesses owe their existence to the mechanical ignorance and utter gullibility of so many motorists. Any one that uses a “service writer” I avoid like the plague, which they usually prove to be to my wallet. Most service writers, IMHO, are supreme bullshit artists, about one level of proficiency below the charchter that Nicholas Cage portrayed in “MatchStick Men”.

      • July 8, 2012 at 9:12 am

        I know some of these “service writers” work on commission. In other words, the make money based on how much service they sell.

        Lovely.

        Your point is very well-taken. The average person’s almost-complete ignorance of even the most basic mechanical things leaves him at the mercy of these sharks. Well sir, your Johnson rod is loose and I recommend a complete overhaul of the entire assembly – otherwise the car won’t be safe to drive. $1,500 ought to cover it.

  22. BobJ
    July 7, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    When we moved to Juneau, AK in 1972 a filling at the local dentist was $15. The state of Alaska added dental coverage to their insurance and within a year the cost of a filling was $60, the insurance paid $45 and we paid, wait for it, a $15 co-pay. Dentists from Washington state and Oregon flocked to Alaska to get in on the new windfall insurance money. The person losing the most in this arrangement was the dental patient who had to pay half of the insurance cost.

  23. John K
    July 7, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    Eric,
    Similar in thought…but my take slightly different. We not only have ‘free’ ObamaCare, but then would have ‘free’ EriCarCare, then ‘free’ CarInsurance, then ‘free’ FoodInsurance, then ‘free’ CellCare, etc. At the end of the day our ‘Uncle Sam’ will have it all…and we will end up like the Jimmy Dean song…work all day and owe it all to the ‘Company store’.

    Yes, one stop shopping for everything..unless we vision and understanding of where we are going.

    Healthcare is THE largest sector of the GDP (17%-20%). Our ‘Uncle Sam’ needs money…and when they cannot print ‘no more’, they will only have two places left to go for MORE $$$: the people & business. It has already begun with both. Taking over the healthinsurance industry revenue and profits and calling it taxes….whew….then it will be pharma, then medical supplies, physicians, hospitals, etc….which means they will then control that sector. Then they will move to the next sector…and so on until they virtually own it all.

    Yes, there should be a picture portraying George Washington, Jefferson, Franklin and other founding persons who lived and died to found this country because they actually ‘cared’….

    …overviewing who we are today with a single tear of sadness…

    ….and the President, Congress and Supreme Court looking up at them with tears of shame and embarrassment for letting this happen to the greatest story of freedom and opportunity in the history of the world.

    This November…we must remember…95% of most businesses losing money can be turned around when you do one thing: change the people running the business. Our government is a failing business…we need to realize it…and the sooner we change the people running this ‘whatever’ and change the attitude that ‘Uncle Sam’ does not need to own ‘everything’, the sooner we will be on the road to recovery.

    Change the people running ‘whatever’

    Utilize the natural resouce assets (oil, gas, technology) and sell them to the world and pay down debt.

    Encourage the people assets to increase technology and productivity for growth and prosperity

    …with that in mind, we can ‘get r dun’.

  24. SimonP
    July 7, 2012 at 11:05 am

    In Australia we have universal public health insurance, which provides basic medical care for everyone. It’s mostly paid out of income tax, but if you don’t have private health insurance you pay an extra “Medicare Levy” if you’re over a certain income bracket
    Both the public and the doctors agree it works really well (mind you doctors and the health system as a whole cost a lot less than in the US)
    Traffic accident treatment is paid by the transport accident commission (funded by car registration levy) and work place accidents are paid by Workcare (funded by employers)
    The possibility that a family could lose all their money and the family home to pay for a member’s serious illness is anathema in Australia

    • Bill in NC
      July 8, 2012 at 1:58 am

      But most countries with socialized medicine do try to control costs.

      Here if there is a billing code for a procedure a doctor does, Medicare MUST pay for it, whether or not it improves the patient’s health or quality of life.

      We have drug companies developing gene-specific medicines that might extend an end-stage cancer patient’s life for all of 3 months, and they charge Medicare $100,000+ for the privilege.

      One drug heavily advertised on U.S. television has so little proven clinical efficacy that the U.K. dropped it from their formulary, but here Medicare still covers it at a cost of several hundred dollars/month.

      Somehow I don’t see Commonwealth countries paying for the above boondoggles in their national health plans.

      • Kerry
        July 8, 2012 at 2:38 am

        I have a friend in Ireland whose government healthcare has almost killed her. In the latest round of stupidity I watched, she waited for a year to get an MRI. Conversely, A insurance plan approved doctor of mine got upset because I wouldn’t go get an MRI within 30 days of him saying I should. I couldn’t see the point of going and I didn’t want to spend the money on the co-pay.

      • July 8, 2012 at 9:55 am

        Hey Bill –

        Right – but these are problems caused by corporatized (government-business) “health care.” Will more government – more corporatism – provide relief?

        The solution is to remove collectivist coercion from the equation.

  25. Dan M.
    July 7, 2012 at 7:32 am

    A few weeks ago, my 20 year old daughter called me in a panic because her ’99 Ford Taurus wouldn’t start. She knows how to jump start a car (I made sure of that), but jumper cables weren’t doing the trick this time. I went out to her location, found a loose wire on the starter solenoid and got her going in about fifteen minutes. Crisis averted, thanks to Dad’s pro bono mobile car repair service.

    Now, let’s ponder what an incident like this might entail if insurance companies got their meat hooks fully into the auto repair business. First of all, it would probably be illegal for me to work on her car without some sort of license or certification, and almost everyone would be blankly illiterate about how their cars worked. I would have to contact an “approved” towing service to take the vehicle to a “member” garage or repair facility. A costly diagnostic would be required, even if the problem were obvious. The mechanic might decide to replace the starter, solenoid, fusable links and maybe even the battery and alternator just because it generates revenue for the shop and because it’s all covered by insurance. My kid would be without her car for a week and insurance copays would wind up costing a lot more than just fixing the original problem.

    • July 7, 2012 at 9:22 am

      Dan,

      Well-said!

      The broader issue, of course, is that they – the Clovers (see Jen’s post) want to take the decisions away from us and force us – at gunpoint – to defer to their (cough) superior wisdom. Jen, for example, trots out the “we need” cliche. Well, no, Jen – we don’t all need … whatever. Maybe you do. Maybe others do. But others don’t. What in god’s name gives you or anyone else the right to step in and force others to do as you think they should?

      Leave us alone to run our own lives – unless we’re causing you a provable, real harm.

      • Dan M.
        July 8, 2012 at 12:28 am

        Eric;

        There’s something that irks me even more than that about Jen’s line of reasoning. That is the notion that if I’m not in favor of a bloated government solution to the health care problem in this country, then I must by default be in favor of letting elderly people and indigent little children die.

        It’s the same dishonest argument that the left uses in the gun control debate and the right uses in the marijuana debate. If I don’t favor disarming non-violent citizens, I must be a dangerous, armed to the teeth raving lunatic. If I oppose ruining some young person’s life because they are in possession of a *plant*, I must be a shiftless, self indulgent, irresponsible addict.

        Why can’t we just drop all the hyperbole and just have an honest discussion about what our problems are, what’s likely to work at fixing them and what isn’t? It’s because the mendacious folks who stick us with these “solutions” don’t want an honest debate, that’s why.

        • ExitTheMatrix
          July 8, 2012 at 12:54 am

          They (Clovers) don’t have the mental capacity. I’m totally convinced.

          • ExitTheMatrix
            July 8, 2012 at 1:03 am

            At least, it sure doesn’t seem like it a majority of the time.

        • Kerry
          July 8, 2012 at 2:33 am

          What the Clovers really want, I have no clue since my brain can’t comprehend the stupidity involved in their thought process. I would say processes but I don’t think they have more than one.

          I am sure that many among them think that “we” have a problem. Since I am not a Clover, I don’t have a problem other than trying to keep their hands out of my pockets. I do love how the phrase “we have a problem” always requires me to pony up large amounts of cash.

          As regards this latest “we have a problem” I’d like to recommend that anyone who didn’t really have a problem use an idea I acquired elsewhere.

          They want a tax so give it to them. Unless your earned income exceeds $240,000 per year, your tax is less than insurance premiums now. In some cases, you’ll have to make even more than that. I might be wrong assuming that about 99% of the posters here make less than that, but I doubt it. Anyway, since pre-existing conditions are covered, if you get sick go buy some insurance and get treated.

          I would add that I based this upon the cost of the United Health Care Plan supported by my employer and my income which is average +/- @approx. $50K.

          The plan costs close to $6000 per year and @ 2.5% penalty that would be $1250. I am thinking quite seriously of giving up my insurance since I can visit my doctor 12 times per year for that and have money left over for whatever drugs I need. I might have to toss in some extra to top it out but it’ll still come in under 6K.

          • BrentP
            July 8, 2012 at 2:32 pm

            Clovers want conformity to their preferences and they want other people to work so they don’t have to.

    • Douglas
      July 8, 2012 at 5:24 am

      It reminds me of how back when I was “reduced” (thanks to a divorce) to being a renter for a while, how dealing with the Property Management company was an utter hassle. They were so “concerned” about protecting their client’s “interests” that they utterly pissed off the tenants. My landlord finally got wise to it after about a year and fired them. He and I worked things out between us. He wanted the rent paid on time and the joint taken care of. I took care of the small stuff and only called upon him when I’d be in over my head (or it was major enough to be inappropriate for me to attempt repairs/upgrades). When I re-entered the homeowner ranks, the man nearly cried.
      With ANYTHING (but ESPECIALLY health care), we need to ask ourselves, before we need an “advocate” (Re: “Gubmint”) for our interests, why can’t we take care of those interests for ourselves?
      I’d say the only thing that we need “collective” action for is mutual defense against foreign aggressors (though the domestic ones have been a pain in the ass too!), but even then, give me about a million and a few years, and I’ll have a 100Kt “Teller-Ulam” thermonuclear device ready to go. However, you could probably scrouge four or five from the erstwhile Soviet Union for that sum, so my services are probalby not required…

  26. John Genzano
    July 7, 2012 at 5:06 am

    The real absurdity of Obamacare is the coverage of “pre-existing conditions.” It’s the equivalent of having an auto accident and THEN buying the insurance to cover the damages.

    • July 7, 2012 at 9:25 am

      Absolutely – and they know it, too.

      It’s set up that way – to fail – so that they can take the next step: Outright government-run “health care” at gunpoint.

      • liberranter
        July 8, 2012 at 3:32 pm

        The publik skoolz and yoonaversatees have done their jobs well in erasing all economic knowledge from the body public, an absolute prerequisite to being able to force this nonsense upon the nation.

  27. david
    July 7, 2012 at 4:59 am

    Great argument, Eric–it also explains why you just about have to have medical insurance that covers about everything. Since it is so ubiquitous, it’s driven the cost of medical care for even routine matters to unaffordable levels. So medical insurance makes medical insurance necessary. Gotcha! It’s a a similar situation with–and I know you’re going to hate this one–automobiles. The all-pervasiveness of the car in our culture makes owning one almost a necessity, even if you’d rather not. The entire infrastructure is built around, predicated upon, the auto. (It’s been said that if beings from another planet were to visit Earth, they’d conclude that the inhabitants of this planet are cars, and that they’re attended by these two-legged servants!) Technology, including financial technology, makes itself necessary. Thus the original advantages of it are lost, as everything only goes faster, and faster, and faster…

  28. Mike
    July 7, 2012 at 3:56 am

    Great article, but this won’t get Obamacare repealed. Where were all these people against obamacare when the idiots name Pelosi, Reid, and Obama were shoving this down everyone’s throats ? how did so many people let these criminals destroy the system ?

    Now we are stuck with it folks ! What are you going to do ?

    Are you going to allow Obama to get re-elected or are you all going to get out there and vote the idiot out of office ?

    The guy ought to be impeached, and Pelosi and Reid ought to be in prison for how they circumvented the rule of law, and pushed this garbage through. Everyone of them has committed treason against this country, yet we have half the population who now thinks these turds are hero’s !

    • July 7, 2012 at 9:30 am

      True – but Mittens (and the GOP) ain’t the solution…. you realize that, right?

    • liberranter
      July 8, 2012 at 3:29 pm

      Are you going to allow Obama to get re-elected or are you all going to get out there and vote the idiot out of office ?

      Mike, take a look at the “platforms” of both the Obamunist and Willard the State-Corporatist and tell me how they differ in substance.

      Very simply, it doesn’t matter whether the current sock puppet/figurehead is retained or if he’s replaced by the Willard the Ratmaster. We the People are thoroughly screwed either way. The only remote chance for salvation we might have had is if Ron Paul had gotten the GOP nomination (something anyone with only a single IQ point knew would never be allowed to happen), and even then only if, through some miracle, a new Congress were elected that consisted in the majority of Ron Paul clones.

      Bottom line: it doesn’t matter whether Barry Soetero or Willard Romney is crowned in January 2013: the puppet masters have already made up their minds as to how they’re going to destroy us, using either Barry or Willard as the figurehead. Short of a complete civil insurrection backed by a majority of the population (can you spell F-A-T–C-H-A-N-C-E?), there isn’t a damned thing that will stop it.

      • Scott
        July 8, 2012 at 6:21 pm

        I pretty much made a vow that if Ron didn’t make the primaries I was leaving. I’m just tired of it.

  29. Jen
    July 7, 2012 at 3:41 am

    This is a slippery slope argument that uses false reasoning. If I tried to make an argument like that on a law school exam, I’d get an F. The situations  are not analogous. This is why:

    Think about it like this. We have a problem in this country, and that problem is that 44 million Americans do not have health insurance. This is a problem because when these people need health care, they usually wait until it’s an emergency and then they go to the ER. By that time, they need REALLY EXPENSIVE healthcare, because they have waited until their health situation is so bad that it’s an emergency. If they couldn’t afford routine care, they definitely can’t afford emergency care. So they incur massive costs that our health insurance premiums and tax dollars offset when these people can’t or don’t pay.

    The easiest solution to this problem is to refuse care to people who have emergent health situations but can’t pay–that would ease the load on the existing health insurance system, and we’d save all that money on Medicaid. We would just stop letting them freeload on the system.

    Obviously, such a solution is morally repugnant and inhumane, because a lot of people would die. We don’t want that to happen because that just wouldn’t be right.  

    The ONLY OTHER WAY to take the strain off the system and keep people from freeloading on our tax dollars is to create a different system in which healthcare is more affordable and available to everyone.  The way Congress tried to do this is to make sure everyone has health insurance so that they can go to the doctor for preventative and maintenance care without going bankrupt. Is that the RIGHT way to go about this? Maybe not. But it’s more moral than solving the problem the other way–by just letting people die. 

    The car maintenance insurance problem is not analogous to the health care situation because there is no moral problem with denying people access to cars, even if they need to get somewhere in an emergency. 

    On the other hand, if someone comes into the ER at death’s door, our doctors have taken an oath to do no harm and to save that life to the best of their ability, even if that person can’t pay. Moreover, our laws require that they do this.  The hospitals and doctors are REQUIRED legally and morally to expend money (thousands and millions of dollars) and effort to their detriment, and for no or little compensation. That’s contrary to the idea of a free market or a capitalist system. Nor is that in any way right. In fact, this situation discourages many people from becoming doctors and opening their own practice, which is a great social detriment to the rest of us–this situation makes care even LESS available and MORE expensive, and this state of affairs will eventually spiral out of control. 

    So what’s better? Requiring hospitals and doctors to provide free care that will eventually put them in a financial hole and force them to shut down, or requiring people to pay for the care they receive? What decent Republican thinks it’s okay to let 44 million Americans freeload at others’ expense?

    Again, the medical directive to intervene in a health emergency means that the health care mandate is not really applicable to ANY other situation, because the same moral and practical considerations do not apply. 

    Furthermore, a law like the car maintenance program you mention would likely be unconstitutional under the Commerce Clause AND under the Spending and Taxing clause pursuant to United States v. Butler, which limits the types of tax programs the government can use to encourage particular actions.  The health care ruling is not the last word on the matter, and must be read in conjunction with other precedent to be fully understood.

    Finally, keep in mind–when the states brought suit against the federal government to prohibit the mandate under the Commerce Clause, their motive wasn’t to protect any sort of individual liberty interest. There are absolutely ZERO limitations on states that would like to pass a similar law at the state level, and one state has already done so–Romney’s state. The states simply wanted to keep that power for themselves. If anyone is guilty of a major government power grab, it’s Romney. He basically invented Obamacare.

    I hope that makes sense. The people who think this law has opened the door for some huge power grab and that it’s somehow Constitutional for the government to mandate that we “buy car maintenance insurance or be taxed” are wrong. They don’t understand the law. And they don’t understand the limits on the federal spending and taxation clause put into place by previous precedents that would NOT allow this. They also do not understand that the situations are not analogous, for all the reasons listed above.

    See? Think about it. Think about the alternatives.

    • July 7, 2012 at 9:17 am

      Jen,

      “We” have a problem? Really? Who appointed you spokesman for me? And for the millions of others who prefer to take their own decisions with regard to their health (and whether they need insurance) – and who prefer not to be lumped in (at gunpoint) with your “we”?

      Some people also neglect to take care of their cars – and then the car suffers a catastrophic failure. I suppose you think “we” ought to be pick up the tab for that, too?

      Congress did not provide health care to your 44 million, incidentally. It merely mandated that they – that everyone – buy health insurance or a pay a tax.

      No moral problem denying people access to health care – but morally ok to threaten people with lethal violence if they don’t buy a health insurance policy – the “service” of a private, for profit HMO?

      Perhaps your law school pettifoggery has taught you Talmudism. But I prefer to use logic – and moral reasoning.

      • Matthew
        July 7, 2012 at 11:55 pm

        Funny, I stopped reading as soon as I saw “we.”

        • liberranter
          July 8, 2012 at 3:21 pm

          Never having seen her here before, I assume that she’s a hit-and-run troll we’ll never see or hear from again.

          • July 8, 2012 at 3:32 pm

            Yup – no response from her to date. A possible date for Clover, though!

      • Douglas
        July 8, 2012 at 5:05 am

        Not only did Jen utterly miss the point about “we”, as you noted, Eric, she missed the most salient point about REQUIRING doctors to treat indigent patients. Sez who? As it is, doctors and hospital have ‘dumped’ indigent paitents on charity hospitals for years, and laws that force them to treat the indigent merely cause more creative dodging. Doctors used to take care of this privately…it was understood by the wealthier patients that the doctor factored his “charity” workload in setting his fees. If the man was worth his hire, you paid him anyway.
        The last thing that Jen completely forgets is the role of personal responsbility and integrity. There are those who have hit a rough patch and simply need a boost to keep their heads above water. Then there are the professional freeloaders. In my faith which I pay nominal homage to, the bishop of the local ward gets to know the folks that come to the Church for help. Since the “welfare” funds come from “fast offerings” (the value of two meals skipped on the first weekend of each month for members of humble means, much more so on a voluntary basis for those in a position to do it), this bishop has the responsibility to evaluate the genuine needs of the supplicant. And frankly, there are those that need a boot in the hiney much more than a handout! This is the main reason WHY “Gubmint” involvement is inevitably doomed to failure…the idea is to SPEND the money, and to hell with accountablility. Ideally, a bona fide welfare program would measure its success by how many of its clients became self-respecting and sufficient, but what bureacrat is going to work himself out of a job?

        • July 8, 2012 at 9:20 am

          Amen, Doug –

          You point out the very important reasons why charity must be voluntary – if it is to be a helping hand as opposed to a perpetual handout.

          If one is in a position to freely give, then one is in a position (as you note) to decline to give when it is clear the would-be recipient is just a freeloader or grossly irresponsible and deserves to come face-to-face with the consequences of his irresponsibility, as opposed to being able to force others to bear that responsibility.

          The other thing is that government charity corrodes human brotherhood. One feels good about helping another person – when it’s one’s choice. But when you are forced at gunpoint to “help” – and the people being “helped” are obvious maggots (people who shit out one kid after the next, who are fully capable of working but refuse to, etc.) it is enraging. You come to hate your “fellow man.” To view him – your neighbor – much as you’d view a street mugger. Only your hate burns deeper because you’re defenseless against a mugging buy the state.

    • Tor Munkov
      July 7, 2012 at 2:42 pm

      Dear Jen,

      Eric’s article uses Reductio ad absurdum for humorous effect, and not the slippery slope fallacy.

      In formal logic, the reductio ad absurdum is a legitimate argument. It follows the form that if the premises are assumed to be true it necessarily leads to an absurd (false) conclusion and therefore one or more premises must be false.

      The premise that we need car maintenance insurance for every item of maintenance is proven false. This is his area of expertise, and he is a convincing authority.

      A sound mind can then journey with him and his reasoning outside of the box of car maintenance and into the box of body maintenance. Might not that same premise be true in that domain? Tell us why it wouldn’t, if you can.

      In regards to health caree he is arguing ad ignorantium, as a layman with common sense in regards to health care. The burden is on you to show how body maintenance is different than car maintenance. You fail to do that and instead only use an appeal to emotion.

      While many of us are arguing ad ignorantium, which means “a specific belief is true because we don’t know that it isn’t true.” In fair arbitration, we represent a superior argument
      to yours because the “pluribus” of our many interactions with health care are akk in agreement and thus yields an “unum” of logical conclusion.

      Our wisdom of the crowd trumps whatever paltry arguments from authority you have so far presented. Eric’s poor grade by some tenured hack of an “F” is unpersuasive. Especially when we have only your hearsay that he would grade Eric thusly.

      You persuade no one except possibly Clovers who in their befuddled state are already easily led by the nose ring of confirmation bias.

      Hoc facere sensu? (Does this make sense?).

      • July 7, 2012 at 9:05 pm

        Thanks for that, Tor – accepted humbly and with gratitude!

    • BrentP
      July 7, 2012 at 5:46 pm

      Jen,

      The others have the rest covered. But what you are arguing is essentially that a problem created by government is going to be solved with more government.

      This logically does not work. Government caused the problem. How is the same mentality going to solve it? It won’t. It will make the problem worse, because the problem is rooted in politically motivated interests making money via state control.

      The problem is that health care started on the road to state control almost a 100 years ago. Government started with licensing to monopolize to a single kind of health care. Different approaches used to be legal before then. It’s continued to snowball since. Wage controls and tax law brought about the health insurance for every little thing. Then the government got more involved with medicare and so on…

      What happens? Health care services get more expensive. Now they are going to start getting scarce.

      Now look at what the government doesn’t mess with much. Electronics. What happens there? Better, faster, cheaper. Not cheaper in constant dollars, cheaper in numerical dollars. Faster than inflation. But alas, some people think health care is too important to leave to the innovators. So we get what we get…

    • sam
      July 8, 2012 at 3:01 am

      Beware the “We” nannies and their gubbermint grade school grading systems trying to use gubbermint school “reasoning”.

    • July 8, 2012 at 8:29 am

      Cut through jen’s verbal sophistry, and her “moral appeal” is revealed for what it is: “an offer you can’t refuse.”

      She offers two alternatives.

      One. Point guns at the heads of doctors. Force doctors into providing “free” medical care for all comers.

      Two. Pay the doctors, but point guns at the heads of patients. Force patients into paying for “free” medical care for all comers.

      She “reasons” that since Alternative One is immoral, therefore abracadabra, Alternative Two must therefore be moral.

      And she has the chutzpah to talk about how if she tried to make a false argument on a law school exam, she’d get an F?

    • K.M.
      July 8, 2012 at 4:57 pm

      You have the “reasoning” of a humanities department university grad…Is that right?

    • Scott
      July 8, 2012 at 5:08 pm

      “the medical directive to intervene in a health emergency means that the health care mandate is not really applicable to ANY other situation”

      What medical directive to intervene? There is no such animal. There may be people who practice medicine that also subscribe to the Primum non nocere doctrine, and others who have a self imposed moral obligation to treat the sick to the best of their abilities, however these are personal choices. They are not medical directives.

      An example of a medical directive might be to debride a wound before dressing. That would be a medical directive.

      Lawyers, in general, should not attempt the practice of medicine.

  30. Kerry
    July 6, 2012 at 11:37 pm

    $8 for a filter and 16 @ 7 would eat up my $100 plus $20 more. Would still have to crawl under it. lol Luckily, I can buy lunch for our mechanic at work and he’ll do that for me. Valvoline 15-40 on sale is a little under $20 per gallon. I do know one thing, though, and that is when people try to say the oil refineries are not making a profit when oil goes up are full of crap. At even making only 10 of the dollars on a gallon of oil they are making over $400 a barrel, not counting all the other stuff they end up with. If they crack it down to hydraulic oil, they charge over $500 a barrel and end up with far more than a barrel of product.

  31. Richard
    July 6, 2012 at 11:22 pm

    What a specious argument, unless you’re arguing for a single payer government sponsored system. That would cost far less. What makes the system now cost so much is the law Ronald Regan signed forcing all hospitals and emergency rooms to accept and treat any in need regardless of ‘warranty’ or ability to pay.

    Try taking your car to a mechanic if you’re broke. If this were high school and this were your paper I’d give you an F for lack of logic.

    • July 6, 2012 at 11:38 pm

      Really? How so? Just throwing out “specious” doesn’t show me how it is specious.

      A “government sponsored” system? Why speak in cheesy euphemisms? You mean a government-controlled system. One imposed at the point of a gun. Since when is such a system more efficient? Leaving aside the moral issue of pointing guns in people’s faces and forcing them to submit to someone’s else’s notion of the greater good…. Ever look at the typical Briton’s teef? Ever wonder why so many people who live where there is a “government sponsored” health system travel here for fee-for-service care? Well?

      You think that the removal of cost incentives – a function of using insurance to pay for even routine office visits – has no effect on the cost of insurance? Really?

      PS: Most people can still afford to get their cars fixed – or at least, get routine work done – without resorting to insurance. Why might that be?

      • DD
        July 7, 2012 at 1:15 am

        How long are the waiting lists in Massachusetts now under the RomneyCare terror attack against free people in free markets? Gunnermint’s “Free” medical care actually means free access to waiting lists. So…Yeah…Gunnermint Medical care can be inexpensive when everyone dies waiting for treatment.

        What did Stalin always say – No people…No problems – Right?

      • DD
        July 7, 2012 at 1:26 am

        The hospitals in Buffalo NY make their money servicing Canadian refugees escaping their gunnermint “sponsored” non-medical/violently impossed terror system. The cars in the parking lots all have Canadian tags. In Canada, you can get a MRI for your dog today but as a human you have to wait six months…Hmmm…Do I get F in “logic” as well?

      • Douglas
        July 8, 2012 at 4:46 am

        It might BE, because it’d be down-right “un-American” to dictate to Americans what sort of ride they could have, if any, but ever-so-slowly the “Gubmint” has decided that it (re: the bureau-rats, of which unfortunately I are one, but at least not EPA “scum”) knows better than Joe six-pack. Look at how weight, complexity, and reliability of cars have been affected for the past fifty years, especially in the name of “safety”. Which is non-sensical that the Government NEEDED to step in. The almight insurance industry has long favored some makes over others for loss rates, especially bodily injury. And it’s a trade-off anyway. Drive the new Fiat 500 (pronounced “Chik-kew-Chen-To”, you “Eye-Tallian” wannabes) and get sideswiped by a full-size American pickup, and you’re “spam in the can”. Don’t even need to get a coffin, you were driving it. OTOH, that squat little thing isn’t going to batter other cars too much. So you pay more for Uninsured motors BI, but less for liability. And so it goes. The market is sufficient for insurance companies, car makers, and car owners to work this out.
        The best thing we could do for the cost and quality of health car is to take the directors and top management of the AMA, hang them from every street lamp on Pennsylvania Avenue, then disembowel them and use their guts to grease the treads of our ATVs. Same with all the members of (Con)gress that accepted all the payola from not only the AMA but big Pharma. It’s all about choice. Criminy, this ain’t 1906, and we don’t have a nation where half the population is semi-literate rabble only a generation from the boat, utterly ignorant of things scientific. I have great faith, indeed, in the average American to figure out best how to take care of himself, provided he(or she) gets his ass off the couch, exercises, watches the diet, and assumes personal responsibility for his health.
        One thing I strongly recommend: GARDENING. Teaches self-reliance and humility. Getting back to the soil is good for the soul. You can learn practical skills which could very well make a difference in a SHTF scenario. Plus, with the bending, kneeling, digging, and lifting, it’s damned good exercise, regardless of your condition. Think of all the arable land being wasted! Having a small plot of land growing one’s produce is the best goddamned “Delcaration of Independence” that I can think of!

    • DD
      July 7, 2012 at 1:35 am

      What if I want to opt-out? What if I don’t want to participate? What if I refuse? Will you demand that your political terrorists murder me? That is EXACLY what you support if you support ObamaCare.

    • Tor Munkov
      July 7, 2012 at 3:02 pm

      I don’t think he’s actually arguing for car maintenance insurance. He’s being absurd to prove a point.

      But why not a mandate for all autoshops? Shouldn’t they have to treat all broken down cars in need regardless of circumstance?

      Wouldn’t it be a lot better for the environment? No more junkyards full of non-working automobiles. Mandatory car care insurance for everyone is good for you and good for America.

      Isnt it wasteful to build new cars when we have plenty of repairable used cars all around us? Isn’t it also discriminatory to build new cars while neglecting to maintain our old cars?

      By mandating the continued repair of all vehicles, we can stop wasting resources and never again suffer the indignity of bankruptcy due to the high costs of auto repair.

      Really, isn’t everything possible when you deny factual circumstances and treat words on a page as the true and tangible reality?

  32. Kerry
    July 6, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    While I understand and agree with the article, I have not been able to get a $29.95 oil change in over a decade. My F-250 Powerstroke has cost me $60+ ever since I bought it new and it is almost $100 just for the oil and filter and do it myself. If it comes down to it, I’ll give up eating a few times to save the difference though. I wouldn’t trade my diesel for 2 gas engined trucks. Really enjoy your articles Eric, keep pecking the keyboard.

    • July 6, 2012 at 11:21 pm

      Hi Kerry,

      Yup – point taken!

      Even DIY, changing oil has gotten pretty costly. I did one of my vehicles the other day; about $7 a quart (on sale) for synthetic plus the filter, so close to $50, even doing it myself.

      • Douglas
        July 7, 2012 at 4:48 am

        The cost of “motor earl” HAS gone up a great deal. Still, it’s false economy NOT to change oil when needed.
        Consider whether synthetics, blendeds, or simple mineral oils are needed. Most new cars do NOT need a synthetic (but check your manual). I change oil in my cars every four months regardless of mileage, since I don’t operate delivery vehicles or taxicabs. The time intervals handles the issue of “hard” miles (stop-and-go, frequent cold starts, pulling heavy loads), versus “easy” (steady highway driving not boogying so fast that you’re flying low…). I find that conventional oils last long enough with those intervals, so I keep the typical change down to about $20 with filter. Still cheaper than a premature engine rebuild!

        • UncleSim
          July 7, 2012 at 5:12 am

          An oil change still costs about the same as filling the tank. You can still get about 10 gallons of gas for an ounce of silver, same as in the 1960’s.

          All that price inflation we’re told is so good for bolstering the economy is why the dollar prices have risen, but the ratios of values between commodities hasn’t.

          Healthcare isn’t getting more expensive. Our wages and savings are being artificially reduced by inflation, more quickly than our wages rise.

        • July 7, 2012 at 9:28 am

          I agree, Doug.

          I’m relentlessly fastidious about maintenance – and not just oil, either. I change out brake – and clutch – fluid every two years, coolant every three, check/grease once a year and pull plugs and check – and re-install with fresh anti-seize – every four at the outside.

          • Douglas
            July 8, 2012 at 4:23 am

            I’ve been advised by an HONEST mechanic (the same one that wouldn’t perform a request transaxle flush, filter replace, and fluid change because the gearbox is desgined to be a ‘sealed’ unit, it doesn’t even have a dipstick!) that most cars since 2001 don’t usually need to have the plugs changed before 100K miles (I know, that defies everything that I ‘grewed’ up with working on cars). He sez watch your fuel economy, especially on trips taken under the same conditions (destination, weather conditions, loading, traffic). As long as it holds up to normal levels, and the vehicle “bypasses the Dragon” (or, passes “Smaug” (SMOG)), there’s no reason to touch the plugs. It’s a matter of more modern fuel delivery systems have obviated the need to clean and regap, or replace plugs (less maladjusted chokes, and computer-controlled emissions setups of today tend to be far more accurate and reliable than the old vacuum-modulated monstrosities of the 70’s and 80’s). HOWEVER…even then overall in the vehicle life-cycle we ain’t saving squidoo. I can remember not that many years ago that a set of six “Chumpion” RN12Y plugs for the slant six in my dart was about three bucks. You could clean and regap as long as the electrodes weren’t broken or eroded and get another year. The REAL trick was to learn how to properly adjust the Carter BBS for the choke pull-off and the accerlerator pump. Keep those right and you avoided running rich. Anyway, NOW a set of six plugs for the Pacifica will run about forty-five bucks (some exotic metals), AND it’s strongly recommended, since you’d have to pull the shroud and intake plenum (and commit twenty more bucks for a plenum gasket and sealant), to replace the upstream (from the catalyst) O2 sensor. Needless to say the downstream one needs to be changed as well. There’s about 120 bucks more. But, if the engine has been well-maintained, it should be good for another hundred grand.
            Methinks the engineering has been to make sure that enough of the beasties survies the “seven years, seventy grand” powertrain warranty, but who gives a crap what it takes to keep ‘em going forever. As a practical matter, you can own a car for eight years or about 120K miles and then it’s a financial sinkhole (as if the payments or opportunity cost of the down payment weren’t?).
            So, ol’ Doug will dispense with this crap and LEASE his nice ride. For example, once I’ve sold off the Pacifica (I have an interested party and I know they’ll take care of it), I can take over the lease of a Mercedes C-class for about $350/month, with no back end costs. Plenty of folks right now needing to dump their leases. About as much engineering as anyone needs, and I only have to “date”, not “marry” (wish I had taken THAT advice in a related matter, LoL). Then play with my Mustang and my Mercedes diesel. Look for a VW Beetle and slowly (more an issue of time than money, I’m a single dad raising a 12 y.o. girl) fix it up. Accumulate spare parts and learn that beast inside out. The Beetle’s a “girl” that was never much for looks, though they grow on ya. But she’ll take ya around the block with the least amount of fuss, and as long as you give her proper attention, she’ll be faithful.

            • July 8, 2012 at 9:27 am

              On those “100k”plugs –

              It’s true they may last that long – or longer. But here’s the pratfall they don’t tell you about: If you fail to take them out well before then – and reinstall them with some anti-seize on the threads – you may never get them out. Or they’ll come out, all right… with the threads, too. If you plan to keep the vehicle indefinitely, it’s a very smart idea to pull the plugs out every 50k or so and reinstall with the anti-seize as above.

          • methylamine
            July 9, 2012 at 5:30 pm

            Careful with the anti-seize, Eric.
            Many modern plugs–including the NGK’s I use–come pre-coated with a magical shiny metal coating that serves as its own anti-seize.

            If you put additional anti-seize on it, you risk overtorquing the spark plugs and causing a massive headache.

            Here’s NGK’s site on it.

  33. July 6, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    With respect, I don’t think you are comparing like with like. If your car craps out entirely, well, you do not go bankrupt as a result of it, you just use the bus or try to get another one.

    If your health craps out entirely, well, you go bankrupt and many others are affected, including your family and creditors.

    Some people buy pet insurance, probably a closer to comparison to healthcare, but again you have a choice of euthanasia with a dog or cat to avoid bankruptcy.

    I don’t know when you last went to a doctor, but $20 out of pocket with no insurance is unlikely nowadays. Long may you remain healthy!

    PS Blame the doctors for the medical costs, much more than in any other civilized country. The costs were there LONG before any Healthcare legislation.

    • July 6, 2012 at 11:22 pm

      Hi Alan,

      Sure – but the point I was trying to make is that routine expenses ought to be paid for out of pocket. Having insurance to cover catastrophic events is something else entirely.

      I think it’s pretty self-evident that insurance would be much more affordable if it were used only for major events – by dint of the fact that claims would be fewer relative to people paying in.

      And: Routine health expenses would become more reasonable, too – because of less overhead and layered expenses, as well as inducements for people to be more rational with regard to both health care and their own health.

      • Rex Brocki
        July 7, 2012 at 5:41 am

        Sorry, but i have to take exception to the “Blame the doctors” line, specifically the idea that the costs were excessively high long before any legislation… because they weren’t.
        I will tell two short stories rather than dig up a raft of statistics.
        Item: in 1963 or 4, a friend of the family who still worked as a housebuilding carpenter in an organization my father had quit in 1960 to become a teacher (no raise, but more opportunity for advancement), was severely injured in a car accident and spent six weeks in the hospital, and then spent more months at home recovering. He had no insurance, but the hospital (as all hospitals did in those days… they weren’t stupid), said “Don’t worry, go home, get well, we’ll send you a bill, and after you’re back to work, call us and we’ll work out payments,” which he did AND HE MANAGED TO PAY OFF THE ENTIRE BILL BY THE END OF THAT SAME YEAR (i REMEMB

        • Rex Brocki
          July 7, 2012 at 5:52 am

          Sorry, have to continue:
          I remember vividly the celebration party he invited us to once he finally paid off the bill… and remember, this man made only what a beginning teacher made, and he paid off a six-week hospital stay in about NINE MONTHS. Yes, things were a bit tight while he did it (I remember hearing him bitch during the party), but neither he nor his family missed any meals.
          Item: in 1965, all of this changed: Medicare, and Johnson’s never-to-be-sufficiently-damned “Great Society.”
          Item: in 1970, only five years after Johnson’s scam, my sister-in-law had her daughter by Caesarian section, and stayed in the hospital for five days–not six weeks, five days–, also without insurance, AND IT TOOK HER FOURTEEN YEARS TO PAY OFF THAT HORRIFYING BILL!!! (and she, for almost all of that time, made significantly MORE than a teacher did!).
          In less than a decade, the “free” government insurance scam had raised prices so high that it cost, in practical terms, nearly twenty times as much for five days in the hospital as it had for six weeks seven years earlier.
          …and by the way, these two stays occurred at THE SAME HOSPITAL!!!
          I rest my case.

      • Tionico
        July 7, 2012 at 6:07 am

        I’ll also take exceptionn to the “its the doctor’s fault” line. When I was a kid, oldest of (eventually)nine we’d often catch some creeping crud, strep throat, etc, and Mom would pile us into the car and drag us off to Dr. Carnahan’s office….. five, maybe six of is. He’d take a quick look at one or two of us, perhaps swab a throat or two, prescribe some antibiotic or other drug for the lot of us… and we’d pay something like twenty five bucks for the five-kid office visit and exams. He’d take as much time as needed with us. The drugs would cost, at the local Sav-On, maybe ten bucks for enough to dose the lot of us for the full time. One office call charge, one prescription… made out to “(family name” children”.

        Such a scenario would cost a doc his license today… separate office call, charge, charts, etc, for each of the six kids, separate scrip (the batch of pills likely costing fifty bucks per kid now, or more), separate forms, etc etc etc… and I’m not THAT old, either.

        Second, a friend of mine here where I live is an MD.. a fellow cyclist (how we met). I turned to him for the rare occasion I needed medical care… maybe once every two years? He lamented one visit that, when I first started seeing him, his premium for “medical malpractice” insurance cost him about six hundred per year. four years later, it cost him twelve hundred PER MONTH. He had done nothing to warrant the incraese. He dumped a few designated “high risk” parts of his practice (mainly old people in the care facilities.. they had to come into his office for treatment or he would not see them… higher premiums if he treated that category). No more house calls for anyone. AND he now had to hire TWO MORE full time office frauen to take care of the incredibly complex insurance and government paperwork debacle…. which meant a larger office facility, as there was no room for the two new “functionaries” to work. His accounting also went through the roof, as they now had to manage missed and delayed payments on a higher frequency.

        I have taken care of all my “medical care” out of pocket for decades now, never had health insurance. Premiums would, when I checked three years ago, cost me about $450/month for basic, no vision nor dental. I have spent less than two hundred per YEAR on average for the past few decades.

        As to cars…. I drive old stuff I fix myself… we have no mandaged inspections in this county, but when I considered moving to an area that did, I smogged my ancient old Mercedes diesel.. passed with flying colors. If one of them fails totally, it will be parked and become a parts donor for another. they are cheap, reliable, comfortable….. and simple to diagnose and repair. Parts available nearly anywhere.

      • Scott
        July 7, 2012 at 12:49 pm

        You know Eric it’s been my experience that you can have what you ask for now, or at least you could before this “individual mandate” was passed.

        I held a high deductible policy for my wife and I while I was living in a place that didn’t have very many doctors. One of the things I discovered was that having any kind of policy made my cash payments more reasonable. I’d go in for something simple like having my finger sewn back on at the ER and the bill would be a lot lower than it would have been if I didn’t have any insurance at all. Usually about half the normal cost.

        So if you’re willing to buy that kind of insurance you can still get a good deal paying cash. I’ve never tried bartering chickens for medical services under that system though. Perhaps we’ll leave that as an exercise for the student :)

    • Brad Smith
      July 6, 2012 at 11:37 pm

      Many people like me purchase major medical or catastrophic insurance. Over the years it has saved me tens of thousands of dollars. I take the saving and put them in a Health Savings Plan (HSAs). This has saved me tons of money since 2003 when they went into effect. However Obama(doesn’t)care, Reduces the tax benefits of the HSA’s as well limits those who can even use it. On top of this nobody had been able to give me a straight answer as to whether or not my insurance will be “good enough” so that I don’t have to pay into their revenue scam.

      So basically now I am left in a position where my choice has been taken away from me. Twice I have had to use my insurance. Once for my shoulder and once for my son’s knee. Those two operations paid for my premiums and I saved Tens of thousands of dollars. If my current insurance plan isn’t up to code. I could easily be forced into a position where I am over insured and am basically being forced to pay to subsidize other people’s insurance.

      Please read this article. It does a much better job of explaining it than I can.

      http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/health-care/item/11982-obamacare-putting-squeeze-on-health-savings-accounts

      “What we call “health insurance” has little to do with health and nothing to do with insurance. We do not face a “health insurance crisis.” We face the consequences of a set of economic and social problems rooted in a futile effort to make the distribution of health care…egalitarian…

      What we choose to call “health insurance” is, in fact, a cost-shifting masquerading as a system of insurance. We treat a public, statist political system of health care as if it were a system of private health insurance…

      [As a result] Americans now view their health insurance as an open-ended entitlement for reimbursement for virtually any expense that may be categorized as “health care,” such as birth-control pills or Viagra.”

    • BrentP
      July 7, 2012 at 12:13 am

      Current prices are a by-product of the insurance system.

      There are doctors out there that work on a cash basis. They do not take insurance. They do not take medicare. They take cash. (maybe check or charge card too) Turns out their costs are pretty reasonable.

      There was a practice with a few doctors in NY somewhere as I recall. They worked on retainer. Set annual fee, unlimited visits and care per the contract. Above and beyond that by set fee. The retainer was reasonable too as I recall. Way less than what insurance costs. Last I heard these doctors were being charged with selling insurance without a license. Why? Because their system of retainer based care threatened the cartel. They sold medical care in an affordable manner that provided them with a solid dependable cash flow and profit. Good business sense. Free market. Well that gets a person jail in the USSA.

      • Mithrandir
        July 7, 2012 at 2:17 am

        Those doctors sound reasonable. I guess the middle men did not wish to be cut out of the loop.

        A retainer is a fee paid to an attorney or other professional in advance, for services. Often, retainers are paid monthly, based on an estimate of the amount of work to be done for the client each month.

    • methylamine
      July 7, 2012 at 3:13 am

      @Alan–
      No, don’t blame the doctors. I’ve seen it my whole life; my dad’s a doctor, I was a doctor, and my wife’s a doctor. Believe me, they’re NOT the ones sucking the money out of the system. My dad’s income steadily went down after the 80’s; he kept it up by getting into side businesses, which the government no longer allows. So, for instance, an orthopedic surgeon may no longer own the physical therapy practice on the side, because that would be (ready the drumroll)…a conflict of interest. How asinine! Any idiot going to a car dealership can see the attached service department, and knows the dealer has an interest in referring him there; how’s the physical therapy center any different?

      My wife’s income is steadily approaching five figures. She makes less than I do–and I’m just a software engineer. It used to be she made less per hour; now it’s just less, period. It’s sickening, considering the late nights on call, getting pulled out of bed at midnight (like last night) to deliver a Medicare patient’s baby (paid for by us)…and for less and less each year.

      The insurance companies–which are really just proxies for the megabanks that own them–are making a fortune.

      And guess who wrote ObomberCare? The same companies, who were just handed the gift of the 30 million “uninsured”. Most of those “uninsured” were that way by choice–not by poverty. They’re healthy and decided for themselves not to get it; but now, by god or government, they’ll get it, good and hard.

      Looking for someone to blame for high “health care” (it’s really “sick care”) costs? Blame government, and the banksters who own said government…’cuz it ain’t doctors getting rich off it.

    • UncleSim
      July 7, 2012 at 5:04 am

      But the costs were NOT ‘there long before’ health insurance gained the prominence it enjoys today. You can’t blame the doctors… some things are expensive, but if another doctor would do the same work cheaper, you could hire them, instead. That competition keeps one market actor from gouging the rest too badly. It is what keeps pricing in line with costs of providing service.

      Govt-controlled insurance replaces competitive price-signals with bureaucratic oversight, for controlling costs. If you can name a govt agency with a good history of controlling costs, ie, it has not increased or reshuffled its budget more than it has actually cut its expenses, I’d love to hear about it.

  34. BrentP
    July 6, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    Eric, there is an old short story on this very thing.
    It is told in a series of invoices and letters. People get insurance for car repair and maintenance. The prices charged go up and up. The premiums go up and up. Then the whole system collapses and is back where it started. It was written back when people didn’t think of government intervention, so that variable was not in play in the story. I wish I could find it. I have somewhere and haven’t found the right search terms to find it online.

    It was part of a science fiction class I took. When I went to look up the professor to tell me what the name of the story was I found he had passed away. I believe it was written by a famous sci-fi writer. It was probably 1950s early 60s vintage story.

    • Rex Brocki
      July 7, 2012 at 4:56 am

      The only sf stories I can think of written that long ago (to show you what an old fart I am, they didn’t HAVE classes in sf when I was in college… it wasn’t “respectable” enough)expressed as a series of letters, are “A Medal for Horatius,” by Brigadier General William C. Hall (a brilliant expose of gubmint bureaucracy), and the triplet of “The Longest Science Fiction Story ever Told,” and “Herbert George Morely Roberts Wells, Esq.”, both by Arthur C. Clarke, and on the same theme of “The Anticipator,” another tale by an author I can’t remember, with the main character named “Tod Thromberry.” There’s also another Clarke tale, title I can’t recall exactly, but might be “Superiority.” I hope these will at least help you avoid some false leads, as none of the above deal with the insurance industry. I have read every single issue of Astounding, F&SF, Galaxy, and Worlds of If (along with shorter-lived publications like Unknown, and Weird Tales) published between their inceptions and the mid-1960’s, so if the story you’re after was written then, it either wasn’t published in one of the magazines, or I’ve forgotten it… either is possible. (Eric proved that my recall isn’t perfect recently with an old story about the slant-six mopar motor which I repeated, in error, to my shame).

      • BrentP
        July 7, 2012 at 6:01 pm

        Well these weren’t the usual sci-fi classes.

        Much of what I learned is directly applicable to present. Not only that short story, but the analysis of HG Wells’ “Things to Come” and other things.

  35. DD
    July 6, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    And they will threaten to kill you if you don’t change your oil….Or if you change your oil….I’m confused.

    It is getting difficult to figure out under what circumstances the government will kill you…or not.

    • Rooney
      July 6, 2012 at 4:06 pm

      Actually my post was meant to illustrate the benefits of free association and unfettered commerce between individuals. I believe that healthcare needs are better served in a similar manner. Was your comment meant to be satire?

      • Rooney
        July 8, 2012 at 4:20 am

        Just an update.

        Truck’s fixed….starts fine.
        Pick-up’s fixed….starts fine.

        Daughter’s Camaro’s fixed…..starts fine.

        Popped the T-tops,took the camaro out for an after dark “evaluation” (ahem) run.

        Back at the house two hours later.

        Starts fine.

        It’s been a good day.

        • July 8, 2012 at 9:32 am

          T-tops….

          I’ve owned two F-bodies that had them… I remember (and miss) the days of driving around with them off. But I don’t miss the leaks… and the musty seats/carpets!

  36. Rooney
    July 6, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    Hmmm…..

    List price for recommended starter for daughter’s 1994 Camaro-$114.00

    List price for recommended starter for 1990 Ford Ranger-$139.00

    Labor rates for both repairs(figuring 4 hours for each one@$90.00 an hour)-$720.00

    Total-$973.00

    Tax-(roughly,doing quick figuring in my head here)-$54.00

    Final Cost-$1012.00

    What I’m actually gonna pay:

    Ford starter from salvage yard-$37.50 with tax

    Chevy starter from discount auto parts store-$90.00-$40.00 core charge+1 year warranty=actual cost of $50.00

    Labor=my time and sweat…

    Actual out-of-pocket cost=$87.50

    Satisfaction quotient at escaping stealership system=Priceless!

    • BrentP
      July 6, 2012 at 4:03 pm

      My mazda… exhaust system. Flange between the header pipe (cast iron) loose. Hanger welded to main pipe resonator assembly broken.

      The dealer would have to replace the entire exhaust system to fix this.

      The flange I had repaired once before many years ago. But now it was loose because the piece of the casting that the clamp gripped had rusted away. Solution: 2″ exhaust clamp. Clamped that to the cast iron pipe. Flange could grip that and pull the joint closed. Cost: $2.72 with tax. I had to use a left over bolt and nut from when I first did it as one broke when loosing it.

      Hanger. Couldn’t get a good weld working under the car. Bought another 2″ exhaust clamp. Welded the remains of the hanger to the clamp. Installed the clamp and hanger.

      Total cost less than $6. Replacing the exhaust system… I don’t even want to know. Even the aftermarket prices were in the hundreds.

      • Mark
        July 7, 2012 at 9:47 am

        How much did your welder cost? I only ask this because sometimes we forget how much we’ve invested in the tools to do “cheap” repairs.

        I do much of the small stuff on my cars but, when it comes to torque specs of 300#+ on the F150, that’s when I use my local guy.

        • July 7, 2012 at 10:09 am

          The trick is to limit your tool buying to tools you will actually use regularly. Otherwise, rent – or borrow – the tool you need.

          I have several friends who are into cars; usually, one of us has the tool someone’s looking for. It’s an economical way to share resources.

          • Mark
            July 7, 2012 at 12:21 pm

            Agreed. My point was more toward the “total cost was $6″ weellll, not quite. Total cost is what keeps guys from starting businesses, like the post above, because when you start including ALL the cost you can see why 75-100/hr may not be out of line.

            Also, you have to figure the time you waste going to a shop and waiting on the repair. “well, my friend picked me up…” and all those “costs” often make doing a repair yourself more viable.

          • BrentP
            July 7, 2012 at 5:29 pm

            I buy good tools for what I use regularly. For what I rarely use, harbor freight or similar. Plus growing up without the proper tools there isn’t much I can’t do now.

        • BrentP
          July 7, 2012 at 6:08 pm

          The welder wasn’t purchased for this purpose. The welder was purchased because I wanted to learn how to weld and to do body work. The rust repairs I have made with it already paid for it.

          • BrentP
            July 7, 2012 at 6:11 pm

            Oh, and I could have purchased a functional hanger replacement via amazon for ~$10 plus shipping. But I didn’t want to wait for it. Nobody local stocked it. I could have also made this same hanger with a drilled hole or two and some screws. Wouldn’t have worked as well though.

            To me, putting the cost of the welder on this repair is sort of like adding the cost of stove to dinner tonight.

    • Douglas
      July 7, 2012 at 4:42 am

      Exactly the point…spending $87.50 to replace a starter in each car (one a discounted remanufactured, the other used), both of which are well-depreciated in monetary value (but hopefully well-appreciated for their utility), versus a grand to take them to a “certified” repair shop. I wonder how with their prices these shops remain in business.
      You make a reasonable decision (having the skills to perform a relatively simple starter swap and knowing where to get the appropriate part,e.g., one that doesn’t outlive the car making it someday a junkman’s dream), because you’re spending YOUR OWN MONEY.
      The trouble with health care and “co-pays” is that people have been sold this socialistic bullshit that medical “care” should be free. First off, how many problems can be averted by common sense lifestyle changes…eat right, exercise, deal with stress, avoid smoking, drinking to excess, drug abuse. Amazing how many medical problems, especially amongst the “Ghetto” types, are self-inflicted. Second, too many goddammed hypochodriacs. Sometimes you get sore or have the sniffles. Suck it up! Lastly, most HMOs and health insurance companies do a great deal to make checkups and preventive procedures affordable, understanding that it’s both humane and far more cost-effective.
      Part of the problem is that medical plans came about as a way to sidestep wage freezes during WWII, when Government increased greatly in the fight against the “Nippos” and the “Nazzis”. Just think…in fighting these enemies, we became them…

    • Tionico
      July 7, 2012 at 5:50 am

      FOUR HOURS to change a starter motor in either of those cars? Are they nuts, or merely criminal? Neither one should take more than an hour.. I used to work in an auto electric shop, I could remove, tear down, repair/rebuild, reinstall either of those in about two hours, typically for a parts cost of about twenty bucks. Most of the time on the Jap starters, the problem is merely the copper contacts in the solenoid… takes ten minutes and four bucks in parts to fix. New brushes into the bargain for another ten… Fifty bucks for the Delco is also a rip…. they are the epitome of simple. Brushes and perhaps a solenoid….. ten bucks max.

  37. Jim
    July 6, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    $4000 a year for family health coverage? Where? Sign me up!! Until my wife got coverage with her job, I was paying out of pocket – $450 every two week payday, the least expensive one available. And that was 3 years ago. It’s got to be far, far worse now.

    • July 6, 2012 at 2:11 pm

      Right you are, Jim – point taken!

  38. Blake
    July 6, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    Eric:

    Fantastic points.

    The argument about “covering pre-existing conditions” needs to be addressed as well. Even people allegedly “against” Obamacare seem to be “for” this part of it.

    It sounds great on the surface. However – insurance is a bet – nothing more. You are betting you will make a claim that will cost more than the cumulative total of your insurance premiums and the insurance company is betting you wont. Insurance companies base their premiums on the probability that they’ll have to pay a claim. A preexisting condition is simply a 100% probability that they’ll have to pay a claim.

    To say “these evil insurance companies can’t charge people with preexisting conditions higher premiums” is like saying car insurance companies cannot charge somebody whose already wrecked their car and killed a bunch of motorists more than someone who has never had a wreck in their life.

    If an insurance company cannot charge more for preexisting conditions – there are only 2 solutions. One, raise the premiums of all the young and healthy people. Two, go out of business.

    I actually think number two is the endgame. Then – the much promoted “single-payer” can be implemented. We all know what the dinner bill ends up costing when it’s “single-payer” (e.g. the “company” is picking up the check).

    • Blake
      July 6, 2012 at 1:32 pm

      That should be who’s – not whose.

    • July 6, 2012 at 2:16 pm

      Thanks, Blake – and, amen. It’s amazing, isn’t it, how such an obvious thing can be overlooked by so many.

      It really is true: You can’t cheat an honest man. And, of course, the reverse.

      • ExitTheMatrix
        July 8, 2012 at 12:31 am

        I have a preexisting condition… couldn’t agree with you more. Only, for me, preventative is the way to go. Got healthy and haven’t seen a doc’s office in well over a year. I’ll never EVER purchase health insurance again. The triad gang, oh, sorry… Big Pharma, Big Gov and Big Insurance… can all stick that mandatory insurance where the sun don’t shine.

  39. Eric_G
    July 6, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    Don’t think it isn’t coming. Like another poster said, the manufacturers are getting into the pay-first model for routine maintenance. It’s just a matter of time until Progressive and State Farm decide to cover the routine stuff too. Most policies already cover windshield replacements, something that is basically routine in states where the DOT throws boulders on the road every winter.

    I just about bought Audicare before I started reading some of the reviews of our local dealer (there’s a somewhat expensive transmission service that happens at 50K miles). Instead I found a local wrench who gets good ratings and likely knows more than the dealer flunkies, and I’ll take care of the routine stuff myself.

  40. Boothe
    July 6, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    Kudos Eric…as usual. Why not car payment insurance for high risk borrowers like they do on mortgages now? I realize that a borrower is required to carry collision, but if your credit rating is a tad questionable, it would seem logical that they would roll a premium into the note in case you lost your job or went broke. Hell, why don’t we just pay our whole take home pay into the insurance companies and let them decide which clothes we wear, food we eat, music we listen to, mode of transportation, etc. It would be sooo much easier and safer that way… (Clover’s panting just about now I suspect).

    • Mithrandir
      July 6, 2012 at 12:58 pm

      I guess if it is good (or logical) for health care it can be applied to other areas of our life.

      Too bad that logic does not work in the opposite direction.

      Insurance for the (hopefully rare) real big things, pay as you go for the small things.

    • July 6, 2012 at 2:22 pm

      It’s depressing, isn’t it?

      Not so much the thing itself – but what it so obviously implies – and where it will inevitably lead….

  41. harry p.
    July 6, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    I know what you mean, i live in a place that has only seem modest price increases.
    Some places are ridiculous as I learned 2 years ago. I have tended to do my own work and when a teenager was very good friends with the owner of a local garage so he almost always gave me a break. At any given time he would have a buick or a honda or toyota but then could even fix peugot’s and renault’s, that guy was a real mechanic.
    my sister lives between reading and philly and needed a significant amoutn of work, timing belt, alternator water pump for good measure and a trans flush. she went to a local garage and then to the midas/meineke shops, she flipped out when she got the quotes. From far away the shops rates looked like $65/hr but they were actually $65 per half hour. Many of the people in that area work for GSK and Merck so they all have Lexi and Infiniti’s and wouldn’t be caught dead working on their own car so they prices are ridiculous. This isn’t even 100 miles away from where i live.
    It made me think about getting one of my friends who is a mitsu mechanic at a dealership in york and start our own garage out there and undercut them by just (lol) charging $90/hr. But property out there is obscenely expensive so i ended up shelving that idea.

    • swamprat
      July 7, 2012 at 1:52 am

      Yeah. It’s a hoot when these places sell people “services” that they don’t really need for $65.00 or so and it takes them like 10 minutes and about $3.00 of “flush” bought in bulk. I guess it makes up for their $29.99 oil changes. Then, when you have real work to do on your car, they hit you for a grand without blinking an eye, telling you that you can finance the repair for 6 months same as cash.

      I have had it with the fascist tactics of the whole damned system. They all play into it in one way or another. Repair shops (especially chains) love mandatory inspections because it adds to their revenue stream. they like overly complicated cars because it forces more people into their shops. They like cheap car parts from Autozone, Advance and O’reilly’s because they know that people will be back to replace their crap every few months or so.

      Twenty some odd years of buying in, being scammed, wrenching on my own (when I can) and watching my world around me have given me a hard bitten cynical perspective on the car business in general and service shops in particular. There are always exceptions, but I avoid service chains if at all possible. Don’t even get me started on car dealers.

  42. swamprat
    July 6, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    Harry p – you’re lucky. The rates in Houston TX are $110 per hour at a Toyota place, $100-130 per hour at “chain stores” and $95.00 at mom and pop places. Price inflation is raging here. The rapid spread of chains during the 1980s and 1990’s with their fancy pamphlets and their real estate buying power has crowded out the private mechanic along heavily traveled routes. Couple that with carmakers “paid maintenance plans” and you have a car maintenance mess on the near horizon. Another thing. All these new cars have their engines covered in plastic, which scares away any idea of working on your vehicle yourself.

    So what do we have now. Shops of every kind trying to sell you Fuel Injection cleaners every 10,000 miles and a declining number of mechanics that can actually repair a vehicle.

    I could go on and on and on.

  43. harry p.
    July 6, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    awesome article eric, i have been using the same argument ever since the HC ruling.
    The specific possible events I reference are if oil changes were “free” then some people would get them when they didn’t need them and there wouldn’t be enough jiffy lubes in existence to handle the demand. Or if they didn’t want to they would just ignore all regular maintenance and drive the car until the engine seized because the insurance would cover the replacement. Essentially everyone would drive their car like it was stolen or a rental. Car companies might also be in favor of this because cars would no longer last even 100k miles.
    I will add that there definitely will be requried auto maintenance insurance, optional insurnace is already out there, it is essentially extended warranties. Soon this option will become a requirement.
    This could also give them an avenue to force people like me to “retire” my 23 year old MR2 or for you to give up your Trans Am.

    I would also add, there are mechanic shops that are starting to resemble doctors offices already, the local toyota dealership has 18-20 year olds in polos and khaki’s handling all the paperwork.scheduling etc and they don’t know much about cars.
    It’s no wonder the labor there is $80/hr and the local shop I go to where it is just a guy and his wife charges $55/hr.

    • July 6, 2012 at 12:28 pm

      Thanks, Harry!

      I added a paragraph about the incentives issue, based on your comments. Top drawer!

  44. swamprat
    July 6, 2012 at 11:53 am

    Eric – that is the most coherent argument against regular insurance in general I have read for years. I have held that view for years as well. I can’t imagine what an oil change would cost (it is high now) if it was ‘covered.’

    Another analogy is what has happened to collision insurance. It has skyrocketed because of two reasons – it is mostly “covered” when people get into metal bending scrapes and also because of insurance company pushed safety mandates.

    Supporters of Obama care generally don’t like cars, so they would never consider covering their car for oil changes, but fail to make that logical connection. Supporters of Democrats and Republicans are incapable of making logical connections when it comes to politics anyway.

    Nice article again.

    • July 6, 2012 at 11:58 am

      Thanks Henry!

      I’m trying to pour the coals to her….

      • Jeremy
        July 7, 2012 at 12:17 pm

        There are lots of other problems with the system. You don’t buy pre-existing condition auto insurance after you get into an accident and demand the insurance cover your vehicle. And insurance is not health care. I recently had an accident in my truck and insurance wouldn’t cover it. I’m still driving my truck with a primered hood, no grill, and a dented bumper.

        • ExitTheMatrix
          July 8, 2012 at 12:10 am

          Have you ever used your insurance for a doctor visit, only to be sent a bill within 30, or so, days? Used to happen to me constantly until my husband and I decided to ditch the worthless insurance. Also, I had a $,14,000 procedure done in 2009, only to have the ins company go bankrupt and decline to pay. Now it’s on me. It’s a huge scam and now Obombya is going to try and cram it down our throats… and fine us if we say no?

          Definitely throw that shit into the woods!

          Great parallel, Eric. I enjoy your columns. BTW, the Clover link… LMFAO

    • John Mullis
      July 7, 2012 at 12:11 pm

      Why not carry it one more step further and have home maintinance care and everytime your house needs to be cleaned,lawn mowed,painted et al.

      You might even throw in on your health care to be expanded to maid service serving up meals for” health reasons”,baths,launderycleaning of house etc.

      Enjoyed your article.

      • Scott
        July 7, 2012 at 12:37 pm

        That’s already here John, in the form of HOA dues.

        Depending on the community they may include maid services and food preparation.

    • Rod Carlson
      July 8, 2012 at 9:00 pm

      “There was no need for an entire staff of sour-faced fraus to handle the endless reams of paperwork – each paper-rustling sour-faced frau costing the doc (and thus, you) a considerable chunk of change.”

      Ha Ha Ha Amen Brother!

      Only a bureaucrat bean counter won’t get this honest to God argument. I’m wondering how long before private payments are squished out of existence by Obamacare? I mean its a given right now that I can take the penalty and still have some choice in paying cash to my local doctor. How long before that becomes an illegal activity, like ordering antibiotics from another country. I’ve had a threatening letter from an agent of the government stating I don’t have a right to self medicate (aka get antibiotics) without a prescription. The irony and no fault to the farmers is the echo heads always say something like “people won’t finish their antibiotics and the bugs will become resistent”. Explain to me then why ranchers use antibiotics to fatten up their livestock? Or better yet how is a licensed doctor going to make sure I swallow every last one of my antibiotics.

      Eric the relevancy of your autos to health care is amazing. I realize very shortly the elite will be making it illegal to service your own car as well. There will soon be a tamper seal on your car hood, with a 15K government penalty for getting in their without their permission. And ordering parts for your old clunker will also be a federal offense especially if not from GM or Chrysler (their company). Mark my words this idiocy is only the beginning. And sadly, the dummies will take your brilliant article as why do we pay and fix our own cars…as Yeah Government should protect the poor people from expensive repair men. Its all going to be a state sactioned monopoly I believe

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