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OpenMarket: Insurance

  • "Health Care Freedom" Bills Pass Virginia Senate

    February 6, 2010
    The Virginia State Senate passed "health care freedom" bills giving citizens the right not to be forced to buy health insurance.  This sets up a potential conflict with the federal health care legislation backed by President Obama and congressional leaders, which contains an "individual mandate" requiring uninsured individuals to buy health insurance. The bills have a useful function, but not the one offered by many of their supporters, and the federal "individual mandate" is constitutionally dubious for quite a different reason than many of its opponents claim. Supporters of the bills...
  • Insured Buildings in Haiti Still Standing

    January 25, 2010
    One could consider it ironic that the buildings in Haiti most likely to receive insurance money are those that experienced the least amount of damage. It is more likely that those buildings experiencing the heaviest amounts of damage during the 7.0 magnitude earthquake had no insurance coverage at all. However, it is not irony; it's the logical consequence of profit-minded insurance principles. As a condition of writing policies many insurers require buildings to meet certain standards or building codes in order to mitigate the amount of possible losses. As a result of the codes structures are sturdier and less likely to result in damage and death. While state-run insurance policies might eventually require certain standards, they aren't incentivized in the same way private insurers are to guarantee that consumers are holding to the building codes and to make sure the codes actually...
  • The bright side of flood insurance

    January 22, 2010
    Some Michigan residents are boiling mad that their mortgage lenders are forcing them to purchase flood insurance. The notifications were sent out to residents as a result of FEMA's adoption of updated flood maps. There is, however, good news here. Consumers have options. FEMA is certainly not infallible.  The maps may not be accurate (I know it's hard to believe) and homeowners can hire their own property surveyors to determine if they are in a floodplain and how likely it is that a flood will occur on their property. With these actions they may be able to avoid the mandatory purchase of flood insurance or at least they can reduce the cost by giving details about the risk of flood (as I wrote in an earlier blog...
  • Experts Question Enormous Cost and Constitutionality of Healthcare Legislation

    January 13, 2010
    The health care legislation backed by the president and congressional leaders will increase Americans' health care costs by more than $200 billion, concludes an expert at the federal Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services. Earlier, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), a lawyer, argued that the "individual mandate" in the health care bill legislation, which forces people to buy health insurance, is unconstitutional.  Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum likewise is ...
  • Nobel Prize Winning Economist Says Obama Policies Delaying Economic Recovery

    January 8, 2010
    In the Wall Street Journal, Nobel Prize-winning economist Gary Becker and others explain how President Obama's policies are delaying and retarding the inevitable economic recovery, keeping unemployment high even though the recession Obama inherited was similar to others in the past that gave way to rapid recoveries:
    In terms of U.S. output contractions, the so-called Great Recession was not much more severe than the recessions in 1973-75 and 1981-82. Yet recovery from the latest recession has started out much more slowly. For example, real GDP expanded by 7.7% in 1983 after unemployment peaked at 10.8% in December 1982, whereas GDP grew at an unimpressive annual rate of 2.2% in the third quarter of 2009. Although the fourth quarter is likely to show better numbers--probably...
  • More Enron-like Behavior by Administration Officials Comes to Light

    January 7, 2010
    Earlier, the Washington Post reported on how the Obama administration pressured Freddie Mac not to disclose to investors and the SEC the $30 billion in losses it was incurring as a result of Obama's mortgage bailouts for undeserving (including high-income) borrowers. Now, Bloomberg News reports that then-Federal Reserve Bank head (and now Treasury Secretary) "Timothy Geithner, told American International Group Inc. to withhold details from the public...
  • Louisiana auto insurance at a crossroads

    December 31, 2009
    Louisiana drivers pay the third highest expenditures for auto insurance in the country (with N.J. taking second and D.C. taking the top honor). On average, consumers pay $1,096 a year for their insurance. This Friday it will get even more expensive as the new minimum coverage mandate is adjusted. The reason for the increase, among other things is due to the rising costs for medical care and accidents. While the actual amount of increase is likely to be minimal (an additional $71 per year per policy according to the chief actuary for LA's dept. ) the unintended consequence (as noted in the NYT article) could be the reduction in auto coverage state-wide not an increase. The folks who couldn't afford more insurance before the...
  • Florida Attorney General Questions Constitutionality of Healthcare Bills in Congress

    December 31, 2009
    Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum is questioning whether it is constitutional to force people to buy health insurance, as the health care bills backed by the Obama administration require.  This "individual mandate" is unprecedented and appears to exceed Congress's power under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. As the Congressional Budget Office...
  • MI Senate not "FAIR" and it's a good thing

    December 30, 2009
    The Michigan Senate recessed last week without passing the proposed insurance reforms that would, among other things, prevent insurers from using factors such as education level, occupation, credit scores, and would prevent them from setting rates without approval from the state's insurance commissioner. The proposal which was passed in the House hopes to reduce Michigan's exorbitant premiums which rank among the highest in the nation. Of course, simply suppressing rates insurers charge has never really worked in the long-run, usually causing more problems on a catastrophic scale. Additionally, this proposal completely ignores the actual reason for Michigan's high premiums:...
  • Is ObamaCare's "Individual Mandate" Unconstitutional?

    December 29, 2009
    The health care bills backed by the President require that individuals buy health insurance if it is not provided by their employer. Is that unconstitutional? It may well exceed Congress's power under the Commerce Clause and other constitutional provisions. But would the courts strike that down as unconstitutional? Probably not, if Obama gets to replace one of the five moderate or conservative justices on the Supreme Court with a more liberal appointee. This is just one of several potential constitutional violations in the bill.

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