Getting Things Done Faster

What’s amazing to me is that people spend so much time learning about “time management.” My attitude has always been that people should quit screwing around learning about “time management” and just spend their time doing stuff.

Nevertheless, I am currently reading David Allen’s Getting Things Done, as it comes highly recommended by various friends. My basic evaluation so far is positive, but I think most readers could save a lot of time by skipping much of the book.

Basically, the entire first part — the first 81 pages — boils down to two points.

1. To reach your goals, you need to define your goals and figure out effective ways to reach them.

2. You need a good way to process information related to your projects. You’re getting all sorts of ideas and information coming at you, all the time, from many directions. Moreover, you do a lot of good thinking at odd times. You need a good way to capture and organize all this information and all those ideas, so that you can effectively use them, and so that you can work in a more relaxed, enjoyable way.

Part 2, which I’ve just started, explains specifically how to accomplish the second point. I really don’t think I would have missed much if I had simply skipped the first part. It seems to me that much of effective time management is about figuring out what not to do.

Gazette: Obama’s Republican Health Plan

Today’s Colorado Springs Gazette published my op-ed, “Republican plans for health care reform similar to Obamacare.” (The print date is later than the online date of September 18).

I point out that the three core tenets of Obama’s plan — mandatory insurance, forcing insurers to ignore pre-existing conditions (and meet other political demands), and expanded subsidies — have all been endorsed by Republicans.

Meanwhile, the “public option” isn’t a central element of Obama’s plan, as the other controls alone effectively nationalize the insurance industry. (And, as John Lott suggests via Brian Schwartz, something like the “public option” already dominates the insurance industry.)

Read the entire op-ed. And share it with your Republican friends!

Below is the complete text:

Republican plans for health care reform similar to Obamacare

Democrats pretend that Republicans are just a bunch of obstructionists when it comes to health proposals. Meanwhile, Republicans debate minor aspects of Barack Obama’s plan such as whether it subsidizes illegal immigrants and abortions.

The reality is that every key element of Obama’s plan either came from Republicans or arose with Republican support.

Obama underplays this fact because it is an embarrassment to his self-defined legendary status. This is the man who told Congress, “I am not the first president to take up this cause, but I am determined to be the last.” He wouldn’t have sounded as impressive had he admitted, “My plan cobbles together various Republican-endorsed policies.”

Republicans neglect their role in creating Obamacare because they like to pretend they support free markets and offer a real alternative to Democratic policies. More often than not, when Republicans are not “me tooing” the Democrats, they are taking the lead in expanding political controls of the economy.

The core of Obama’s plan is the mandate: he wants to force everyone to buy politically controlled insurance. But this has already been tried.

Mitt Romney, former Republican governor of Massachusetts and presidential candidate, worked with Democrats to push through just such a plan. Obamacare is little more than warmed-over Romneycare.

What were the results? Last fall Paul Hsieh, a Colorado radiologist, wrote “Mandatory Health Insurance: Wrong for Massachusetts, Wrong for America.” He found “the plan has increased costs for individuals and the state, reduced revenues for doctors and hospitals,” and fallen short of universal coverage.

Last month the Cato Institute’s Michael Cannon checked in on Romneycare. He found higher taxes, exploding costs for insurance premiums, longer waits to see specialists, and “the groundwork for government rationing.”

Obama wants to replicate this failed Republican experiment on a national scale.

Another key part of Obama’s plan is to force insurers to ignore pre-existing conditions. This is again part of Romneycare, but other Republican leaders also endorse the idea.

Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman wrote for the July 30 Denver Post that he wants politicians to “require health insurers to cover those with pre- existing conditions.” In his tepid response to Obama, Rep. Charles Boustany of Louisiana also praised the idea.

Of course, forcing insurers to ignore pre-existing conditions incentivizes people to wait until they get sick to buy insurance, so the position amounts to an endorsement of the mandate, too.

What both Republicans and Democrats like to ignore is that politicians from both parties have created the problem of pre-existing conditions.

Tax distortions push people into non-portable, employer-paid insurance. Ever-changing controls outlaw some insurance options and make others impossible for insurers to offer.

Various federal and state controls undermine the competitiveness of insurance companies, making them largely unresponsive to the needs of consumers. And politicians price some out of the insurance market by forcing up premium costs with special-interest favoritism.

Rather than violate the right to contract for insurance, government should get back to the business of preventing fraud and enforcing contracts, preventing arbitrary denials of claims.

In addition to mandates and insurance controls, the third major aspect of Obama’s plan, expanded subsidies, also came from Republicans.

Obama told Congress, “For those individuals and small businesses who still cannot afford the lower-priced insurance available in the exchange, we will provide tax credits, the size of which will be based on your need.” These “tax credits” in fact serve as outright handouts for some.

If Obama’s plan sounds familiar, it might be because you read the same proposal from Republican Sen. Jim DeMint. His “Health Care Freedom Plan” proposes the “tax credit” subsidies that Obama endorses.

True, most Republicans don’t support Obama’s “public option.” However, Obama seemed willing to deal away his public option in the spirit of faux compromise. Moreover, between the mandate and other controls, all insurance will be controlled by the federal government, anyway, so the public option isn’t the central element of Obama’s plans.

To their credit, some Republicans, including DeMint and Coffman, do have some good ideas. They support rolling back some insurance controls to make premiums more affordable and expanding Health Savings Accounts to let people buy insurance directly with pre-tax money. Tort reform is less important but still a useful idea.

Unfortunately, many Republicans seem deathly afraid to say what millions of Americans long to hear: that people have the right to live their own lives and pursue their values by their own judgment. That government’s proper role is to protect individual rights. That people should interact through voluntary exchange, not force.

When elected officials are able to articulate the message of liberty, and mean it, we might have something better on the table than different flavors of political controls.

Armstrong publishes FreeColorado.com. He and his wife buy high-deductible insurance and pay for routine care with a Health Savings Account.

Tomatoes Yum

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Jennifer and I planted 48 tomato plants in the spring. I dried several batches of the produce in our handy Excalibur.

These dried tomatoes will be great in a variety of cooked dishes.

And we should do better next year, once we get the back yard in better shape.

The Big Korkowski

Dude. Can a bald, edgy lawyer from Crested Butte win the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate? I wouldn’t bet the odds in Vegas. My early prediction is that Andrew Romanoff will take the Democratic nomination from Senator Bennet, then lose narrowly to Jane Norton in the general. But I’ve been wrong before with these predictions.

But at least Luke Korkowski is an interesting underdog. How many people running for Congress say they want to abolish the federal reserve and run “legislation that gradually brings Medicare and Medicaid to an end?” At least among major parties in Colorado, the answer is exactly one. But is Luke a force or a farce?

It’s no secret that I like Ryan Frazier. Unfortunately, he seems to think he can platitude his way through the nomination. I guarantee he will not be able to out-platitude Jane Norton. He might be able to express his platitudes more energetically, but that won’t get him very far. For example, what in the hell does it mean to “give people a hand up, not a handout?”

It would be pleasant if the various Republican candidates would actually spell out their positions at some point. For example, Frazier seems to be trying to ride the fence when it comes to abortion. According to a news story republished on Frazier’s web page, “Frazier is pro-life on abortion.” Yet Frazier told Westword, “I am not a fan of abortion, but I struggle with whether it is the appropriate role of the government to place itself there.” Still elsewhere, Frazier indicated that it’s a matter of state’s rights. So which is it, Ryan? Either you do, or you do not, wish to impose legal restrictions on abortion. I don’t want to hear about your struggles, I don’t want to hear empty code words, I want to hear what is your position on the issues.

At least I know, definitively, what Korkowski thinks about something.

I also wonder whether Frazier’s heart is really in the race. I saw him at the Denver 9/12 rally. He was speaking to a few people on the edge of the crowd. I talked to him for a while. But I wondered what he was doing there. Where were the college kids with “Frazier For Senate” T-shirts handing out flyers among the crowd? If you’re going to work a crowd, then for Reagan’s sake work the crowd! If you’re too worried about getting associated with cranks, then stay home or campaign elsewhere. But to go to a rally and chit-chat on the sidelines struck me as peculiar for somebody running for the U.S. Senate.

I had no idea who the bald guy standing on the chair was as he prepared to address Liberty On the Rocks Wednesday night. But then it struck me: “You’re the bike guy, right?” By coincidence, just that morning I had read Lynn Bartels’s article on the candidate’s upcoming bicycle trip from Salida to Keystone.

I noticed the article only because Korkowski called it his “Free Colorado” tour. (This struck me because, as the reader may have noticed, my web page is called FreeColorado.com. There is now also ColoradoFreedom.net and LiveFreeColorado.org. But there is only one, original FreeColorado.com.)

Of all the possible election scenarios, here’s one I consider particularly interesting. Josh Penry, desperate to overcome his “recognition gap” with Scott “His Wackiness” McInnis, successfully pleads with Frazier to run as his lieutenant governor — certainly a decent step up for a city councilman. This leaves open the Senate race for the establishment candidate to run against a scrappy underdog who doesn’t shy from principles. I’m not saying I’m for that, but I do think it would be an interesting scenario.

I’m still not quite sure why Korkowski is running for U.S. Senate. I’m definitely no fan of his national sales tax. But at least I know, specifically, what some of his positions are. And in today’s political climate of gloss and glamor, that’s worth a lot.

Muscle Versus Concrete

So I called the local machine rental shop and got a quote for $48 for four hours on the electric jackhammer.

But I drove down to the shop and found that $48 rents only the puny 35-pound machine. The big boy costs $60. Plus, I was annoyed that I had to rent the machine for a full four hours, when I only needed it for half an hour (plus commute, so still under two hours).

I figured, hell, for $48 I can do it myself with a sledge hammer. So I did.

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Was it worth it? Well, per swing I didn’t save too much money. (It took a lot of swings.) The middle was a lot thicker than I thought judging from the edges. But it’s not like running a jackhammer is easy work. Plus, I saved an extra forty minute commute back to the rental shop, plus gas.

And, of course, I can say I broke up a concrete pad with nothing but a sledge hammer.

Restore Free Market to Address Pre-existing Conditions

The following article originally was published September 14 by Grand Junction’s Free Press.

Restore free market to address pre-existing conditions

by Linn and Ari Armstrong

Barack Obama’s most compelling examples of problems in health care involve insurers dropping coverage of people once they develop health problems. A related issue is the trouble some have in getting new insurance after they develop health conditions.

We agree that these problems of pre-existing conditions are serious and provide a compelling reason to reform health insurance.

However, Obama is totally wrong about the solution. The problem of pre-existing conditions is a consequence of decades of political controls of medicine. The solution is to roll back those controls and restore a free market, not introduce more controls and the worse consequences they will inevitably breed.

Obama and many others like to pretend that today’s health insurance operates in a free market. It does not. Federal and state politicians have seriously undermined the competitiveness of insurance through gross violations of the contract rights of insurers and their customers.

Through tax distortions, federal politicians have driven most Americans into expensive, non-portable insurance funded through employers. Lose your job, lose your insurance.

Moreover, employer-paid insurance operates more like pre-paid health care than real insurance, again because of the tax distortion. Such “insurance” tends to cover routine, low-cost care but increasingly falls down when it comes to expensive emergencies.

By contrast, real insurance in a free market would tend to cover unexpected emergencies and leave routine care for direct payment, thereby keeping premiums much lower than what most pay now.

A major consequence of federally promoted, employer-paid insurance is to create problems of pre-existing conditions. If somebody gets sick and can no longer work, the person also loses health insurance and probably can’t find another provider.

Politicians continually subject health insurance to changing controls, different from state to state. This effectively prevents insurance companies from offering long-term contracts, because insurers cannot know what political controls they’ll have to deal with down the road. It also reduces insurance competitiveness, as a policy issued in one state is not valid in another.

Another way that politicians undermine competitive insurance is to outlaw insurance options that politicians and bureaucrats don’t happen to like. In his article “How Freedom to Contract Protects Insurability,” Dr. Paul Hsieh points out that political controls effectively prevent organizations such as church ministries from creating insurance.

“The only thing preventing individuals from creating their own contractually binding risk pools today is the government,” Hsieh writes.

Yet, ignoring all the ways that politicians harm those with pre-existing conditions, Obama pretends that the fundamental problem is insurance profits.

In a free market, profit means that customers happily pay for some good or service. It is only outside of that market context that profit is bad. For example, a Mafia boss might “profit” by killing people, or a politician might “profit” by doing favors for special interests.

The fundamental issue is not profit versus non-profit, but freedom versus force. The problem with insurance companies is not that they seek to make a profit, but that they must operate as de facto agents of political overseers who call the shots.

On a truly free market, in which insurers and their customers were free from today’s political controls, people would tend to buy insurance directly, rather than get stuck with the few non-portable plans their employer chooses for them.

In a free market, insurers would be free to offer more plans to more people, and consumers would be free to shop around, regardless of state boundaries. Politicians would no longer coddle insurers with protectionist controls and tax favoritism.

In a free market, insurers would compete on the basis of quality, security, and transparency of contract. Today, because of political controls, insurance companies face little real competition, and they would face even less under Obama’s policies.

In a free market, insurance companies would be able to offer long-term policies that today are politically impossible.

The proper role of government is to protect individual rights, including the right of businesses and their customers to freely contract. The government’s role in a free market is to prevent fraud and ensure fulfillment of contract. If government were doing its legitimate job, insurance companies could not arbitrarily drop people.

Almost the entire problem of pre-existing conditions was caused by political controls. Given that politicians have mucked things up so badly, the last thing in the world we need is for Obama to expand political controls of medicine.

We should instead fight for real freedom in medicine and health insurance, in which the problems of pre-existing conditions would be rare and easily handled through voluntary charity.

True, restoring a free market in the future will not solve all the problems of those who now have pre-existing conditions, no insurance, and ongoing, expensive medical care. Therefore, we support, as a transitional measure only, a tax-subsidized high-risk pool, such as Cover Colorado currently provides.

When it comes to problems of pre-existing conditions, the disease is political controls. The cure is more liberty.

Linn Armstrong is a local political activist and firearms instructor with the Grand Valley Training Club. His son, Ari, edits FreeColorado.com from the Denver area.

Atlas Shrugged Relevant for Modern Times

The following article originally was published September 14, 2009, in the Longmont Times-Call.

Atlas Shrugged relevant for modern times

by Ari Armstrong

“Who is John Galt?” Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand’s novel first published in 1957, is more relevant than ever. Modern political interventions from the bailouts to health controls mirror events of the book, and the novel reveals innovative moral themes behind the politics.

In response to heightened interest in Rand’s answers to today’s moral and political crises, a local group that promotes Rand’s philosophy, Front Range Objectivism, is sponsoring a twenty-week Atlas Shrugged reading group in Longmont starting October 1.

Sales of the novel have surged, surpassing 300,000 copies in the first half of this year, a 250 percent increase over the same period last year. The novel has been discussed recently by media ranging from the New York Times and National Public Radio to Rush Limbaugh.

John Allison, who turned BB&T bank into a stable and profitable powerhouse, has credited Rand’s ideas for some of his success and called Atlas Shrugged “the best defense of capitalism ever written.”

Meanwhile, respected philosophers such as Tara Smith forge bright new paths in moral theory and other fields based on Rand’s work.

What is it about Atlas Shrugged that draws continued interest?

While the novel features detailed treatment of complex moral and political ideas, including a challenging speech by the story’s hero, it is first a classic work of literature.

Rand draws rich, psychologically complex characters, including great champions of industry and the arts as well as despicable villains.

Which reader can forget the driven railroad executive, Dagny Taggart, or her passionate affair with steel titan Hank Rearden? Or Dagny’s manipulative brother James? Or the struggle of James’s virtuous wife Cheryl to understand her husband’s viciousness? Or the three students and their beloved professor who vow to “stop the motor of the world” until its producers can work on their own terms?

On one level, Atlas Shrugged is about politics. Interventions such as Troubled Asset Relief, General Motors, “cash for clunkers,” numerous offices of czars, and pending legislation on energy and health reflect the political controls of industry chronicled in the novel.

Rand eloquently makes the case that the proper purpose of government is to protect individual rights, including rights to control one’s resources and exchange goods and services with others voluntarily. Government should protect us against force and fraud and otherwise leave us free to pursue our business.

Yet Rand advocates much more than free markets. She explains why we need economic liberty to live successfully. We produce the things we need to advance our lives through reason, by understanding reality and then acting in the world to achieve our values. Houses, computers, foods, medical treatments, automobiles: all are produced by applying one’s knowledge to the task of living well.

Reason requires freedom. One must be free to look independently at reality and pursue knowledge, wherever it may lead. To the degree that some resort to force, they shut down reason and impede productive advancement. To live as beings of reason, we must achieve political and economic freedom and a world in which people interact through persuasion, not force.

Rand pushes ever deeper, exploring the foundations of value. Rand’s heroes are driven by a love of existence — a passion to understand the world around them and live successfully in it. It is ultimately this commitment to living that grounds all values, Rand’s heroes discover.

The villains of the novel, on the other hand, seek to block out and obscure their knowledge, cheat reality, and ultimately abdicate their responsibility to pursue their lives.

Several participants of a summer reading group commented that, though they’d read Atlas Shrugged before, reading and discussing it in greater detail almost turned it into a new novel. It is a long book with a complex plot and set of ideas. The heroes develop over many pages and story-months, so Rand’s meaning is not always obvious.

If you have never read Atlas Shrugged, now is the perfect time. If you have read it before, consider returning to the novel to mine its riches. It is a work capable of changing its reader — and the world.

Ari Armstrong publishes FreeColorado.com. For more information about the Atlas Shrugged reading groups, see FrontRangeObjectivism.com.

Denver 9/12 Rally: Freedom Forever

In my speech at the Denver 9/12 rally, I discussed the fundamental moral and political choices our nation faces. To illustrate these themes I described how the problem of pre-existing health conditions, and the resulting difficulties of buying insurance, is primarily a product of political controls, starting with tax-driven, non-portable, employer-paid insurance.

See People’s Press Collective for the report.

Lu Busse, chair of The 9.12 Project Colorado Leadership Team, said the proper response to the cry, “health reform now,” is “freedom forever.” Of course, real health reform means reestablishing freedom in medicine, so the two goals are wholly consistent.

Chuck Moe:

Amy Oliver:

Jon Caldara:

Obama Was Against the Mandate Before He Was For It

Back on February 26, 2008, Barack Obama criticized Hillary Clinton for offering the same health insurance mandate that he endorsed just two days ago. (Thanks to Adam Eidelberg for looking up the transcript of the primary debate.)

Obama was right to question the mandate when Clinton proposed it. I’ve written more about the matter elsewhere (such as here.) For now, as a prelude to the before-and-after Obama quotes, I’ll summarize the main arguments against the mandate.

1. People have the right to choose which products to buy. It is immoral for politicians to force people to buy politically-controlled products.

2. The main reason some fraction of “the young and healthy” currently decide not to buy insurance is that politicians try to force the young and healthy to subsidize other people’s health care through jacked up insurance premiums. This is especially true in employer-paid insurance, and it is also true for directly purchased insurance due to state benefit mandates.

3. Obama’s pretense that the mandate solves the problem of forcing “the rest of us to pick up the tab” is laughable. The entire point of the mandate is to force some people to pick up the tab of other people’s health care through higher insurance premiums. That’s why Obama must force people to buy it. Without this coercion, Obama’s other insurance controls would dramatically increase costs of premiums and thus the numbers without insurance.

4. Real free-market reforms would lower the cost of insurance premiums so that more people could afford it. Roll back controls that jack up premiums. Expand Health Savings Accounts so that people can buy lower-cost insurance (as well as routine care) directly with pre-tax money.

5. The main reason why some people rely on expensive emergency room treatment, rather than seek out less costly alternatives, is that the federal government forces emergency rooms to offer care without compensation. That policy is wrong, and it predictably introduces perverse incentives.

6. People without insurance do not necessarily force others to fund their treatment. Many fund their treatment out of pocket. Again the solution is to legalize insurance they can afford and want to buy.

7. Mandated insurance is expensive insurance. Obama wants to force insurers to cover more routine care, continuing the federal push to pervert insurance into pre-paid medical care. When routine care is “free” (or nearly so) at the point of service, patients have practically no incentive to monitor costs. Also, under a mandate special interests continually try to get more services covered, jacking up premiums, as has happened in Massachusetts.

With that background, let us turn Obama’s position on mandates, then and now:

Obama then:

I have endured, over the course of this campaign, repeated negative mail from Senator Clinton in Iowa, in Nevada, and other places, suggesting that I want to leave 15 million people out.

According to Senator Clinton, that is accurate. I dispute it and I think it is inaccurate. On the other hand, I don’t fault Senator Clinton for wanting to point out what she thinks is an advantage to her plan.

The reason she thinks that there are more people covered under her plan than mine is because of a mandate. That is not a mandate for the government to provide coverage to everybody. It is a mandate that every individual purchase health care.

And the mailing that we put out accurately indicates that the main difference between Senator Clinton’s plan and mine is the fact that she would force, in some fashion, individuals to purchase health care.

If it was not affordable, she would still presumably force them to have it, unless there is a hardship exemption, as they’ve done in Massachusetts, which leaves 20 percent of the uninsured out. And if that’s the case, then, in fact, her claim that she covers everybody is not accurate.

Now, Senator Clinton has not indicated how she would enforce this mandate. She hasn’t indicated what level of subsidy she would provide to assure that it was, in fact, affordable. And so it is entirely legitimate for us to point out these differences.

The Democrats now have “indicated” how they would “enforce this mandate:” they would subject defectors to hefty fines.

While Obama claimed “the plan I’m proposing will cost around $900 billion over ten years,” he wasn’t specific about how much he would subsidize individuals.

Obama now:

For those individuals and small businesses who still cannot afford the lower-priced insurance available in the exchange, we will provide tax credits, the size of which will be based on your need… [F]or those Americans who can’t get insurance today because they have pre-existing medical conditions, we will immediately offer low-cost coverage that will protect you against financial ruin if you become seriously ill…

Now, even if we provide these affordable options, there may be those — particularly the young and healthy — who still want to take the risk and go without coverage. There may still be companies that refuse to do right by their workers. The problem is, such irresponsible behavior costs all the rest of us money. If there are affordable options and people still don’t sign up for health insurance, it means we pay for those people’s expensive emergency room visits. If some businesses don’t provide workers health care, it forces the rest of us to pick up the tab when their workers get sick, and gives those businesses an unfair advantage over their competitors. And unless everybody does their part, many of the insurance reforms we seek — especially requiring insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions — just can’t be achieved.

That’s why under my plan, individuals will be required to carry basic health insurance — just as most states require you to carry auto insurance. Likewise, businesses will be required to either offer their workers health care, or chip in to help cover the cost of their workers. There will be a hardship waiver for those individuals who still cannot afford coverage, and 95 percent of all small businesses, because of their size and narrow profit margin, would be exempt from these requirements. But we cannot have large businesses and individuals who can afford coverage game the system by avoiding responsibility to themselves or their employees.

As I have noted, it is the mandate (not the public option) that defines Obama’s current policy. Mandated insurance is morally wrong and destined to generate bad consequences. We do not need more mandates. We need more liberty.

Mandate, Not Public Option, Defines Obamacare

Rather than “hope and change,” Barack Obama offers a warmed-over Republican policy — Romneycare — that has already failed in Massachusetts. The core of Obama’s fake reform (described most recently in his address to Congress) is not, as many conservatives suggest, the “public option.” It is instead the proposal to force people to buy politically-controlled insurance. (For details on the Massachusetts fiasco, which Obama hopes to replicate on a national scale, see the articles by Paul Hsieh and Michael Cannon.)

It is the mandate that ties together the various tenets of Obamacare, particularly insurance controls (regarding coverage and pre-existing conditions) and expanded subsidies.

Regarding pre-existing conditions, I’ve pointed out, “Forcing insurers to ignore pre-existing conditions means allowing consumers to wait until they get sick to buy insurance… The logical consequence of forcing insurers to ignore pre-existing conditions is to force everyone to purchase insurance…”

Obama made the same point in his speech: “Unless everybody does their part [and purchases insurance under compulsion], many of the insurance reforms we seek — especially requiring insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions — just can’t be achieved.” Just so.

Nevermind the fact that federal policies largely created the problems of uncovered pre-existing conditions.

Obama admits, “More and more Americans worry that if you move, lose your job, or change your job, you’ll lose your health insurance too.” But why is health insurance (and not any other sort of insurance) tied to employment for most Americans? It is because of federal tax distortions that drive expensive, non-portable, employer-paid insurance.

As I’ve noted (and again), the vast net of continuously changing insurance controls also helps to effectively outlaw stable, long-term policies that would remedy the problem of pre-existing conditions.

For more on this issue, please see Paul Hsieh’s outstanding article, “How the Freedom to Contract Protects Insurability.”

Obama wants to force insurers to ignore pre-existing conditions and also force insurers to cover preventative care (which would, incidentally, outlaw my high-deductible plan and force my wife and me to buy dramatically more costly insurance). The inevitable result of such controls is to jack up insurance premiums (leaving aside Obama’s fantasy that giving people more “free” health care will somehow curb costs).

Mandated insurance requires expanded subsidies. After all, you can’t force somebody to purchase a product that they literally cannot afford. If Obama follows the lead of Republicans, his “tax credits” will in many cases be direct subsidies.

Obama hopes to cheat a little on his mandate, claiming “there will be a hardship waiver for those individuals who still cannot afford coverage.” (Whether you can “afford” this politically-manipulated “coverage” will be determined by the federal government.) Apparently Obama would subsidize these “hardship” cases through some combination of tax-funded welfare and tax-funded insurance.

With or without the “public option,” the core of Obamacare remains the same: force everyone (or nearly everyone) to buy insurance, federally control what insurance people can buy (making it more expensive), and forcibly transfer more wealth to pay for health.