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State of the Debate
George Pyle
George Pyle has been a newspaper writer in Kansas, Utah, Upstate New York, and now Utah again, for more than 30 years - most of it as an editorial writer and columnist. Now on his second tour of duty on The Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board, he has also done a stretch as a talk radio host, published a book on the ongoing flaws of U.S.agricultural policy and, in 1998, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing. His most active bookmarks are Andrew Sullivan, Christopher Hitchens and Tina Brown. And he still thinks the Internet can be used for intelligent conversation and uplifting ideas.

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Extension of remarks: About those private health plans ...

The question not enough people are asking: The private health care plans that are supposedly being cancelled in the wake of Obamacare - should anybody really miss them?

We said this:

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Most cancelled health plans are no great loss — Salt Lake Tribune

"... Obama, on the stump and in office, should not have told us, over and over, with so much emphasis and assurance, that Americans who had a privately purchased health insurance policy they liked would be able to keep it, even after he was able to keep his larger campaign promise of overhauling the way America pays for health insurance. It wasn’t true and, if he wasn’t fully aware of that, he should have been.

"But even those Americans who are justly steamed at the commander in chief for his misleading sales job should stop and consider: What if he had asked our permission?

"What if Obama had told us, straight out, that a great many of the health insurance policies on the market — those purchased by the relatively small number of people not covered by an employer-provided plan or by Medicaid or Medicare — were garbage? ..."

Which was largely inspired by reading this:

Obama shouldn’t apologize for blowing up the terrible individual market — Ezra Klein and Evan Soltas | Wonkblog

"... The individual market -- which serves five percent of the population, and which is where the disruptions are happening -- is a horror show. It’s a market where healthy people benefit from systematic discrimination against the sick, where young people benefit from systematic discrimination against the old, where men benefit from systematic discrimination against women, and where insurers benefit from systematic discrimination against the uninformed. ..."


— Meanwhile, down in Phoenix, Robert Robb of the Arizona Republic claims "I told you so" rights:

Obamacare deception politically necessary

" ... I wrote two columns months before Congress passed the thing, detailing why the claim that if you like your health insurance you can keep it was false. Yet, if there had been an honest debate on the point, Obamacare would undoubtedly have gone the way of Hillarycare. ..."


In the Everett (Wash.) Daily Herald, health care expert Brendan Williams explains how the rollout of healthcare.gov was handicapped by so many key people running for the exits, where they could make money for themselves.

ACA insiders parlay roles into private sector

"... There was no statement that Larsen left to be closer to his family. Instead, he left in July 2012 to be closer to our nation’s largest health insurer, UnitedHealth Group, which he serves as executive vice president of subsidiary OPTUM. ..."


And here’s another explanation as to why something had to be done about health care in America:

A free market can’t solve healthcare — Brian King | For the Deseret News

" ... Absent laws preventing insurers from excluding coverage for these ‘undesirable’ consumers, the market will increase, not decrease, the number of people without insurance. This is because the insurance that exists would be affordable only for the healthiest individuals and leave unhealthy or higher risk people, those most in need of medical care, without coverage. It’s not the insurers’ fault they would act this way. It’s simply how an efficient, unregulated free market for health insurance would work. ..."


And Thomas ‘The World is Flat" Friedman says government-guaranteed health care is necessary as we transition to an economy where lifelong, benefits-included employment doesn’t exist any more.

Why I (still) support Obamacare

"... asking large numbers of people to go from being an employee to a work entrepreneur feels scary and uncertain. Having a national health care safety net under the vast majority of Americans — to ease and enable people to make this transition — is both morally right and in the interest of everyone who wants a stable society."

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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