The Individual Mandate.

President Obama took universal health care and converted it into an insurance company bonanza. The President claims a great victory and says he has accomplished what many Presidents failed to do. Quite a victory. It reminds me of a quote about a war “They take a wasteland and call it peace.” Well we have the wasteland.

We live in a country where you can at penalty of law be forced to buy medical insurance.

It’s a great precedent. Think of all the things Congress might decide you should buy. From the innocuous like an emergency medical kit to disaster insurance (only if you live on the coast) to forced retirement accounts only in Wall Street Investments (We wouldn’t want the Chinese to get American money). The government has the power to force Americans to make any business profitable.

Back in the days before the Civil War, many people called the new industrial workers, “wage slaves.” What does that make us, “insurance slaves?” Taxes are one thing. I understand that civilized societies need to do things, defense, education, etc. But when did business get to collect taxes? Because that’s essentially what this is. The government mandates that you buy a service whether or not you want it. Everyone has to pay out the money, no exceptions. That’s a tax.

Individual responsibility.

They always cry out this one phrase, whenever they take something from you. Now, they say, once you’re buying insurance, you’ll be compelled to act responsibly. No free riders (Brush those teeth, eat right). You’ll be part of the system. I don’t think I have to worry about you being fooled.

This is an insurance company mandate.

There is no universal health care here. Forced consumers are powerless consumers. What do you get when you have no bargaining power? Tell me, if you have a $4,000 deductible, how inclined are you to get medical problems looked after? Not having insurance is a set of problems. They are formidable problems. Having this kind of insurance is a set of problems. They have you like so many rats in a trap. Bewildering sets of rules, denials of insurance claims, endless games and financial penalties aimed at American citizens. There is indeed insurance here, the insurance companies are insured against loss. They are insured against their own incompetence, stupidity and failure.

They’re too big to fail. Could the government allow an insurance company to go under? Wouldn’t that interfere with the smooth delivery of services? What’s a few billion here or there to keep the system running. And the government will have new ways to make insurance companies on the backs of Americn taxpayers.

How about profit? Let’s have a look.

This is a superb post by one of my favorite bloggers, J.N. Nielson on his blog, Grand Strategy: The view from Oregon.

How about the money?

How much cash flow are we talking about as a result of the individual mandate? I did some very rough calculations — literally on the back of an old envelope — and if we take the frequently cited figure of 47 million Americans without health insurance, and divide this by average household size of 2.59, we get more than 18 million uninsured households. I found figures cited between $46,000 and $50,000 as the median US household income in 2010. I took the lower number of $46,000, and found estimates between 7.5 and 12.8 percent of household income to be spent on healthcare (the Urban Institute’s report cited above gives a rate of 2.5 percent, but this is not to be taken seriously). If we pick a number between the two percentages cited, between the high and the low figure, we get about $4,650.00 annually for health insurance per household. This is an unrealistically low number, but I’m doing a conservative calculation. With these conservative numbers, we find that the individual mandate would funnel another 83.7 billion dollars into the coffers of the insurance industry annually. This is cash flow that they can leverage even if they have to pay out a little more than 83 billion in claims.

83.7 billion dollars. Pretty good chunk of change, courtesy of the United States government.