Wednesday, March 24, 2010

We Don’t Need Insurance – We Need a Warrantee

We just bought a new truck, well, new to us. It’s a Toyota. Perhaps this is why I’m thinking of automotive metaphors.

As we finished up our negotiations and prepared to sign up for a loan, the finance fellow asked if we wanted an extended warrantee.

“How much?”

“$980 for three years.”

“What does it cover?”

He laid out the advantages. As he talked, I recalled my daughter’s adventure. A year ago she bought a used Japanese car. I encouraged her to buy Japanese. It was the salesman who convinced her to buy a comprehensive warrantee. It cost her $1,000. I thought she’d been snookered. But, come this past December, her transmission went out. The repair cost $2,300; covered in full by the warrantee. She had thrown the dice and won $1,300.

I considered her luck, and my own, and we added the warrantee into the financing. Here’s my gamble: within the next three years, my truck’s transmission fails at a cost of $3,000. Bam – I win two thousand bucks.

You know what would have been really nice? If I could have told the guy, “I’ll buy the warrantee if and when the transmission goes out. Wouldn’t it be great to wait until I was betting on a sure thing? Now you might think that the car man would laugh in my face –such a suggestion is ridiculous. But isn’t this what requiring Health Insurance companies to accept all applicants regardless of pre-existing conditions is. How can any car company survive while accepting a $2,000 loss on every warrantee they sell, how can any insurance company? Of course you could charge $3,000 for the warrantee up front, but what would be the point. No one would pay – unless there was a law requiring everyone to buy a warrantee. Wouldn’t that be a good idea?

I have wanted a Toyota for a long time. My Uncle Thayer had one clear back in the sixties. It looked like a jeep, but he told me it was better. He was a Marine – he knew. I went to Japan on an LDS mission and fell in love with all things Japanese and I have a friend who has had a Toyota truck “forever”. Now we have one. I dream that it will last long into my retirement – decades after the last payment.

I think that everyone needs quality transportation. Americans should really see quality transportation as a right, and shouldn’t the government be providing rights to the people?

One might argue that the government is already providing trains and busses, not to mention highways and traffic cops, but here’s an idea. What if the government required each of us to buy a car? They could claim that public transportation is ineffective and costly, and while 270,000 000 Americans already have access to cars, 30,000,000 do not. Is that fair? Think of all the suffering these people must endure!!!!

We need a law that every person must buy a car. If you don’t buy a car you will be fined. What if you don’t want a car? Too bad, sooner or later you’ll need to go somewhere and then it will be too expensive to provide you with one in such an emergency. So, if you don’t buy a car, there will be a fine and if you don’t pay the fine – jail.

What about people who can’t afford cars? That’s easy; those who can afford cars will be taxed to pay for the cars of people who can’t.

Look at all the benefits. Think of all the money our country will save on bus and rail transportation they won’t have to provide. Of course the government will have to deal with people who want nicer cars than those purchased by taxes for those who can’t afford them – but that too will prove a boon to the economy. Just tax them for having a nicer car. I bet we’ll have the budget balanced by the end of the decade.


Reach Upward said...

Yes, force everyone to buy a car whether they want one or not. But only a GOVERNMENT APPROVED car, say one of four models. And make it illegal to produce any other kind of car while you're at it.

If five of nine lawyers in black robes sitting on thrones in Washington DC agree that it is legal for the federal government to force everyone to buy a personal product, there will be no limit to what the government can force individuals to buy. That doesn't sound very comforting.

Shoes. Everyone needs shoes. Why not mandate that everyone buy from a selection of six models of government approved shoes? Or food. Why not limit everyone to a limited selection of government approved "healthy" food choices? Or beds? Or houses? Or toothpaste?

In 1773, a group of citizens carried out a protest against a government requirement that American colonists that wished to drink tea be forced to purchase government approved and taxed tea.

These people could have boycotted by refusing to drink tea, but they instead chose a gesture that the British government understood. We now know that years of armed conflict were ahead for the insolent colonists.

The health care takeover will make it illegal even to boycott the purchase of government approved health insurance. It would be as if the British government had forced each colonist to purchase its government approved tea whether they chose to drink tea or not.

Even if lawyers in the robes of a false priesthood think this is constitutional, it can't help but lead to a very unhealthy place.

Lysis said...

You miss the point. Don’t you realize that “car companies” are actually making a profit out of people’s right to transportation? These greedy few rake in billions of dollars for CEO’s and stock holders, billions of dollars that belong to all of us, while there are mothers in California who have to leave their children unattended in order to travel on dangerous and dirty public transportation. Where is your compassion? Would you throw these suffering women into the sea? Shame on you!!!!

By-the-way, many of these car companies are owned by foreigners. You know - like Toyota!!!!!

Reach Upward said...

Good point!

Dan said...

Sorry, this analogy is so far off as to be unable to be compared to the health care debate. And, this is the main problem with most political discussions now a days. But specifically to the health care debate. Straw-men, hyperbole, wild claims, and wild misinterpretations of the constitution (not all on display here, but in the larger debate).

There are things I don't like about the bill, and things I do like, but the individual mandate? I have been a big fan of that ever since it was championed by Mitt Romney and the Heritage foundation as a wonderful way to help close the insurance gap without falling into a government run healthcare system.

Lysis said...

You know Dan; I actually heard a better analogy the other day. What if we nationalized the legal profession? After all, the Supreme Court has already ruled in Gideon v Cochran that every American is entitled to an attorney. Why not just have the government hire all the lawyers; it works so well for teachers. Once private doctors are forced to accept government set payments for their services, it will lead to the same situation in medicine. Then a citizen could just show up to the local “Law Office” and hand their case to the lawyer on duty that day. They wouldn’t have to pay, not for contracts, not for wills or litigation, or criminal defense; just get in line and get a Lawyer. The government could then set the wages for Lawyers at a level taxes would cover, think of all the money we people would save and everyone would have the same fair chance of getting a “good one” the next time they went to court.

Anonymous said...

However the government already HAS required people to buy a personal product....what is car insurance? You can argue it is your legal right not to buy car insurance, that can't prove you will be in an accident right? What right does this government have to require every car on the road to have something like car insurance when just over 6 million of those cars will have car accidents each year. That is just a drop in the bucket.

Now I'm not saying that I agree with requiring all Americans to have health insurance, but at the same time you can't honestly say you don't get fined for not caring the personal product of car insurance if you are pulled over, or in an accident. Not only that but EVERYONE is required to have it if they drive no matter how many accidents they have been in. Their premium is higher, their deductable is higher but they are insured so what makes people less valuable than cars?

Why because a fine young man had heart problems as an infant, but no issues now, why can't he get health insurance? What makes his life less valuable than anyone else? Infants born premature also can't get health insurance because they have lung problems from that early delivery. Not only does that mother feel horific guilt from not being able to be pregnant past 31 weeks now they will be paying 4 times as much for his well check ups than his twins who didn't have complications from an early birth?

Where do we draw the line?

Lysis said...

And if I don’t buy liability insurance, what will the STATE do to me? Take away my drivers license, a privilege they granted me in the first place. What will the FEDERAL GOV. take away if I don’t buy health insurance? My health?

As for those few who have conditions that make it impossible for solvent private insurance companies to help them – that does sound like a place were first private charities and then taxpayer support could be applicable. In fact as some of the hype Obama stirred about people not having health care proved, such people are receiving help under the present system. This accomplished without bankrupting and taking over insurance companies, forcing Americans to buy a product or go to prison, or increasing the national debt past any reasonable limit.

There are many things I want to have which I do not. I don’t have them because I can’t afford them. But what I need to survive is provided in this country; first by my own labor, then by my family, then by my friends – including my church and other charitable organizations – and finally by my fellow citizens through taxation. We need to fix a healthcare system which has grown like a mushroom patch, ordering and improving it. We do not need to institute another government program which forces a one-size-fits-all approach to the problem.

I must deal with this constantly in Education. A few kids in the school are having problems. Some collage professors invent an expensive program, vendors appear to sell the goods, programs are crafted and force fed to the schools by the carrot and stick of federal funding, and after millions of dollars spent, teaching disrupted, carriers ruined, and children disadvantaged, the original students who needed help in the first place are, if anything, worse off than before. Such programs can be well intentioned – such as No Child Left Behind. But they just don’t work!!!!

Reports are now out that after the entire Obama Care monster is in place, 23 million Americans will still be without healthcare. Obama claims there are 30 million without health care now. That means we are spending trillions of dollars of money which could have been used by people to buy what they wanted, improve the economy, employ the workers, and strengthen the nation, on providing support to 7 million people. Just give them the money – maybe they will spend it on some of the rest of us.

The problem with the President’s program is that no one knows what it is about. What are the harms it seeks to ameliorate, what are its solvency and workability, what are the advantages and disadvantages? Where is the high school debate squad when you need them? Trying to get reelected, no doubt.

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