Insurance Insurance

I have discovered a proposal for “fixing” health care on the Cato Institute website that is an absolute hoot.

The plan (see PDF) is to eliminate employee health benefit insurance and all government health care support, and throw everyone into the private insurance market. Insurance companies would be allowed to risk-rate premiums, so that as people got older and/or sicker their premiums would go up.

However, Cato says, this doesn’t have to be a problem. The solution is … wait for it … insurance insurance. They call it “health status insurance,” but essentially it’s insurance insurance. It’s a separate policy you take that will insure you against catastrophic increases in your health insurance.

I’m not kidding. That’s the brilliant plan.

Of course, the insurance insurance would only be reasonably priced if young and healthy people are willing to pay for it along with their regular health insurance premiums. And Cato is against any kind of mandates. But young people are certain to be willing to pay for two separate insurance policies to pay for health care, even if the second one isn’t something they think they will need for years. Wouldn’t they?

You can’t make this stuff up.

21 thoughts on “Insurance Insurance

  1. Sounds like a derivative!!! That’s just great!! Great for making pile of money that evaporates and then the government gives you more, and then you pay your top employees a full bucket of money. What could go wrong???

  2. You have to wonder what is in their water or the air system ducts in their offices… or if they are smoking or doing dope of some other kind. You’re right of course, you can’t make this stuff up.

  3. This actually tells us what’s going on in their head. It’s insuring your insurance, not your health. You get sick, too bad! Pay more now or pay more later. Either way, we’re going to scam you because if you fell for insurance, why say no to insurance insurance? Ughhh…!

  4. It’s obvious somone misunderstood a word somewhere. These aren’t “Think Tanks,” they’re Drunk Tanks.
    Have another round boys, and tell us about how “Double Secret Insurance” will cover us if the first two fail.
    Paging “The Onion!”

  5. Do you think the fine folks at Cato actually believe this kind of stuff they’re constantly spewing out, or are they just putting us on? I can’t figure out if they’re stupid, or if they just think we’re stupid. Can grown adults who can read and write really believe this stuff?

  6. Just for curiosity, I checked Wikipedia on Cato the Younger, the one I’m guessing the Cato Institute draws its name from. I think maybe he wants his name back, since he is noted for “…his immunity to bribes, his moral integrity, and his famous distaste for the ubiquitous corruption of the period.”

  7. The Cato crowd imagines living in some great utopian greed where every greed can be satisfied – ideally.

  8. maha, are we sure the Cato Institute isn’t comprised of solely of 14-year olds who’ve stumbled onto Ayn Rand in the high school library?

  9. It’s obvious somone misunderstood a word somewhere. These aren’t “Think Tanks,” they’re Drunk Tanks.

    How about “I think I’m drunk tank”?

  10. The simple phrase: “A public option that competes against private health care” seems beyond a righties ability to comprehend. You say: “Why not just go along with it and let it fail to teach us liberals a lesson?” and they’ll go into a GlennBeckian spiel about socialized medicine. I understand the wingnuts position – they’re zombies.

    But the Cato deep thinkers seem to have in their rulebook: “Do not anger our corporate sponsors! Must overwhelm the opposition with distractive noise!”

  11. To a right wingnut, all problems MUST be solved by business. The only exceptions to this rule are national defense and deliveing the mail. Those are the ONLY problems government is allowed. To a left wingnut (and there are a few) all problems MUST be solved by govenment. To these people, the law od suppply & demand and the function f a free market are myths. The truth is – there are problems tat are best suited to govenment and others that are best suited to government and some that are best resolved through a partnership of business and govenement.

    As you look at the job, it’s not always going to be obvious WHAT tool you want. That’s the artistry of real governement, but to the extremists on the right or the left, there is only one tool either can see. This explains the thought process of the Cato plan of insurance insurance.

  12. “Viridian Dynamics. We’re the people you pay to make sure you can pay other people so they can pay if you get sick. Like that duck on TV, only backwards. You keep paying us when you get sick, or else you’re screwed.

    Viridian Dynamics. Yum. Duck tastes good.”

  13. Actually, I think someone at Cato fell asleep with his head in a book on cosmology and woke up thinking that instead of the proverbial turtles, it’s insurance companies “all the way down”.

  14. Alright. It looks like alot of wingnuts believe that since government agencies can operate at a loss, and that corporations will opt to give up their medical benefits to save cash, they’ll force private insurers out of business. Wingnuts are sure it’s part of some grand government scheme to grab power. Now I wish I knew who that grand master schemer was.

  15. This plan is all hand-waving and magical thinking about “the magic of the market” of course, and would never work in reality. The end game is a lot of dead people who cannot obtain health insurance and die from their diseases, you simply can’t pay $1M for leukemia treatment out-of-pocket. But being feasible not the point of this plan. The point is to have something with appropriate buzz words attached to point at if we ask Republicans, “if you don’t like our plan, what’s your plan?”. The fact that the buzz words are meaningless — that it is, in fact, impossible to have a free market health care market if you are pooling resources via risk pools so that the few people who get the illness can obtain $1M leukemia treatments (the pool pays, so that bypasses the market mechanism) — is irrelevant. This isn’t intended to convince anybody who isn’t already convinced, it’s only intended to keep the true believers from bolting the fold, and confuse enough of the rest to scrape off a few votes here and there.

    – Badtux the Health Care Penguin

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