The politics of market suppression

By Tom Quiner


Why in the world did the POSSIBILITY of Obamacare ever arise?

There seemed to be three driving forces:

1. Some 43 million Americans (a dubious figure, but one touted ad infinitum) did not have health insurance.

2. People with pre-existing conditions were unable to find any sort of affordable coverage.

3. The cost of both health care and health insurance continued to rise at unsustainable rates.

Ultimately, liberals insisted that the marketplace had failed, that capitalism did not properly work when it came to health insurance. They intoned that the government had to take firm command of one-sixth of our economy for the sake of us little people. Otherwise, evil capitalism would bury us.

It IS curious to ponder WHY, why so many things are more affordable today than yesterday. I’ve owned a small business for 26 years. My phone bills are half of what I was paying when I started the business. Why? Deregulation, that created more competition.

The price I pay to buy printing has plummeted. Why? The internet has created more competition. Local companies have taken a hit. Some are no longer in business. But I am paying about a quarter of the price for printing today than yesterday.

Technology has plummeted. I think back on what I paid for my first Mac and laser printer compared to what I pay today and I am amazed. I pay half the price … even a quarter of the price … for a thousand times the fire power.

Why? Because of competition (and the need for the Steve Jobs of the world to innovate to compete and stay ahead of the competition).

Because of an unregulated marketplace.

Because of the beauty of the free enterprise system.

On the other hand, I am paying more than ever for my kids college education, and I am paying more than ever for health insurance, both areas where government has gotten involved and screwed things up.

Let us focus on health insurance where government involvement has wreaked havoc. The expansion of Medicare over the years distorted the marketplace. The government would dictate what they would pay for Medicare patients, which was less than the marketplace would allow. To compensate, insurance companies raised prices on the rest of us.

The government wouldn’t allow interstate commerce of health insurance products, unlike car insurance. As a result, we end up with monopolies in each state. Here in Iowa, Wellmark controls 90% of the marketplace.

To top things off, both the federal and state governments have imposed mandates on health insurance products, forcing us to buy (and pay for) coverage we do not necessarily want.

The result? Health insurance premiums have skyrocketed far, far beyond the rate of inflation. Government is the problem. What is the solution? For Democrats, it is MORE GOVERNMENT. And Obamacare was born.

This leads me to a news item in the morning’s Des Moines Register. My insurance company, Wellmark, is NOT going to raise my premiums next year after raising them in the double digits the past two years.

It turns out that Wellmark is sitting on $1.35 BILLION in cash reserves, a chunk of change. They say they need it to pay claims. They may be right. I don’t know.

Anyway, ultra liberal Iowa legislator, Matt McCoy weighed in with a guest column in the Des Moines Register. He leveled two claims, one sincere, and one less than sincere.

1. Wellmark is sitting on cash and driving up premiums for us little guys. This was his less than sincere claim. Don’t get me wrong, maybe there is truth in it, maybe not. But this leads to his sincere claim …

2. Wellmark has REFUSED to participate in Obamacare’s exchanges the first year. He is livid over this, since he is completely onboard with Obamacare. The exchange needs Wellmark to provide consumers with “more competition.” Wellmark won’t play ball because they know the exchanges are going to be a “trainwreck,” a word leveled by a DEMOCRAT (Max Baucus).

Says Mr. McCoy:

” … I will be working with my colleagues in the Iowa Legislature, Democrats and Republicans in both chambers, and with our regulators to encourage a robust marketplace where true competition can play an important role in bringing down the staggering costs of health insurance to individuals and small businesses.”

In other words, Mr. McCoy is in reality an advocate for the politics of market suppression, not an advocate for more competition. Ultimately, Democrats want to remove ALL competition and move to a single payer system.

Obamacare is simply a stepping stone, an important one. It will makes things worse by subverting the marketplace even more. Democrats will once again scream that this proves that competition doesn’t work.

So what is the solution?

1. Scrap Obamacare.

2. Scrap ALL mandates.

3. Allow interstate commerce.

4. Remove corporate deductibility for health insurance.

5. Implement tort reform.

In other words, allow the marketplace to work its magic.


  1. kodonivan on July 11, 2013 at 10:52 pm

    How does one initiate impeachment proceedings to get Nobama out of office? As I recall, Nixon committed only a fraction of high crimes and misdemeanors than the current community organizer in chief, and he got nailed. What’s the deal here? Why are people in this country so stupid? Why are they drinking the Kool-Aid being poured out by this government? I am angry and genuinely concerned about the future.

    • quinersdiner on July 12, 2013 at 6:43 am

      Nothing will get Obama out of office until the next election. Any talk of impeachment will not not work, and will destroy the Republican brand. I, too, am angry and genuinely concerned about the future. We learned from the Clinton years, though, that a Democrat is immune to impeachment charges.

      • kodonivan on July 12, 2013 at 10:17 pm

        Well, Mr. Quiner, at least I am not alone in my frustration and worries for the future on the country. It is very disheartening that the American people are so weak at this point in time.

        • quinersdiner on July 12, 2013 at 10:47 pm

          A majority of Americans don’t like Obamacare. But the technocrats in Washington know what’s best for us.

          • kodonivan on July 14, 2013 at 7:45 pm

            This is so in opposition to the way I was raised. Where did this entitlement attitude come from? People actually expect the government to provide everything? Really? I am happy to work for what I have. There is a sense of accomplishment or success to that effort. Our country is dying!!

  2. sally1137 on July 12, 2013 at 9:51 pm

    Exactly. If health insurance wasn’t a regulated monopoly/duopoly and we had real competition, it would make a huge difference. The other important piece is to make sure people use health services wisely. I know a woman, on Medicaid, who called an ambulance because she was out of her meds and was in pain. A little judicious planning ahead would have prevented that cost.

    • quinersdiner on July 12, 2013 at 10:46 pm

      Amazing. Thanks for writing and sharing your story.

  3. justturnright on July 15, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    Great post, Tom, and all five of your suggestions are sound.

    There is so much misinformation out there on Obamacare and insurance itself. Trust me: as a longtime insurance professional, my perspective is a bit different than most.

    If you’d ever like to use it as source material, feel free to take a peek at (one of) the posts we did on O-Care back in April: “THE solution to Obamacare, and Healthcare costs in general”.

    Again, nicely done here.

    • quinersdiner on July 15, 2013 at 2:05 pm

      Thanks … I will read your take on it.