PPACA – Maybe more of a Rant

I read the article Jim posted about the PPACA, and there is one line I wanted to focus on.  I know it’s a good article, with a lot of info, but I’m going to start with this quote from the article:  “Few pieces of legislation have been subject to as much confusion, deception, and outright lies as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA)

No truer of a statement has ever been uttered.  I’ve seen all kind of misinformation regarding the ACA, and it’s been sad to see how people will pull this Act apart, over what I can only understand is political gamesmanship.

First, this act reduces uncompensated care.  The healthcare equivalent of a ‘dine and dash’ scenario.  Doctors, and hospitals are getting paid, at least a portion from uninsured people.  This brings healthcare costs down.  And because more people are insured, your wait times will be reducing at the E.R. as people won’t be waiting until a minor issue becomes life threatening, or just going to the E.R. in the first place because they can’t refuse to treat you there due to non-payment.

Second, it reduces insurance costs.  It puts the “young invincibles” into the insurance pool.  They don’t get sick as much.  If you take those people combined with everyone else who now has care, the insurance pool isn’t paying for just sick people anymore, because healthier people are now insured.  This reduces the cost for the entire group that is rated together.  The more people with insurance, the cheaper it is.  Sure, costs have kept rising for a while, but the rate they are rising has dropped dramatically year over year.  I expect, it’ll start reversing in time, unless someone does something foolish like repealing the act.

Basically, every doom and gloom scenario imagined has been proven wrong.  This is the best shape our healthcare industry has been in for years.  It’s not perfect, and needs some adjustment though.  Given time, and a commitment to improvement, we’ll be better off than ever before.

The main issue with PPACA is fear of what people don’t’ understand.  Insurance is complex, there are a lot of issues, and many have been taken out of context and turned into political weapons.  All in all, this is helping the majority of us, and needs to continue to prove it’s full worth.

Hans Rosling – DON’T PANIC

Having finished watching it, I was pleasantly surprised at the Hans Rosling  documentary.  I thought population was more of an issue that it seems to currently be.  His statistics seem to show that world is starting to more or less self govern it’s growth.

It did present a new concept to me though.  Mostly, that I’m dead wrong about my perceptions on the world as a whole.  The best example is that my thoughts on poverty were off.  As he pointed out, from a certain income level, it takes a little more thought to see the different levels of poverty.  The same is said about energy consumption.

I’ve noticed a few more videos of his I’ll probably be watching soon.  He’s got a really interesting worldview, and a does a great job of keeping it interesting, and entertaining.

 

Unit 4 – My Take Overall

I’m going to start here by acknowledging that I’m still learning.  I’m seriously looking at economics for the first time with this class, and anything I say at this point, I reserve the right to take back as I learn more about economics.

I see unit 4 as developing the poorest among us to benefit the economy.  The southern part of Africa is an excellent example of this, and I’m assuming that’s why it’s included in this unit.  It seems there are two approaches to the poorest nations, people, and the economies that they benefit.

The first is to exploit them.  I’m not saying that to get too political, or even to imply that it’s intentional in every case.  But it seems as though when the developing world encounters those who have not yet developed an strong industrial economy, it’s a parasitic relationship where oftentimes the only economy to benefit, is the one that is using the resources of the poorer group.  The poor or undeveloped have an pyramid effect where the benefit of the resources sold only go to the richest, and is often hoarded by those who don’t put the money back in to the economy, creating even more poverty after an initial boom.

The other approach I’m seeing is to do everything you can to lift the poor from poverty.  The concept that if poverty is reduced, then there are more people to produce, sell, and consume in a particular area.  The more people actively participating in economics, the stronger the economy becomes.

The one thing I’m not certain of, is which approach is more effective, and valuable to an economy.  There are obvious moral implications to the different approaches, but looking at this from the stance of a highly developed nation, which grants the most benefit to our nation?  I’m not advocating for a parasitic relationship, but I am curious as to why nations don’t all chose to reduce poverty when they have the option available to them.

 

Southern Africa – Limitations to Trade

Just a short post, but is anyone else surprised by how much a continent can be split by natural forces when the land is connected?

I had never before considered the impact of the Sahara desert, combined with prevailing winds preventing return trips, and how severely the would’ve limited trade.

At first glance, I saw a continuous continent.  It amazed me with the limits to shipping, how overland trade was made nearly impossible for a very long time.

Trusting The Poor?

It’s an interesting question raised if we need to dictate how the poor can spend the aid we give them, or if they can mange it themselves.  As for myself, I believe the poor can in fact be trusted.

The problem with the government facilitating the distribution of income, is they fail to see the greatest opportunities for each individual to escape from poverty.  They are simply too far separated from the problem to determine the solution.

One of the easiest things to understand, is that nobody wants to be poor.  Given a chance to change that, almost everyone will if granted the right resources and abilities.  It seems to me to be a nearly self solving problem, as long as the resources to solve that problem are granted.

Having been below the poverty line in the past, I really enjoy the quote:  “Poverty is fundamentally about a lack of cash. It’s not about stupidity,”, as I’ve experienced this firsthand.