Who’s Afraid of NSA?

What with the news and controversy surrounding Edward Snowden and Wikileaks an average American might think his privacy no longer exists. Everything we do on-line or by phone is closely monitored by people who work deed deep in the federal government’s deep state.

Have I got good news for libertarians. On the way to the airport this morning I learned thanks to the Federalist Radio Hour that the reason the Affordable Care Act rolled out so poorly was that feds could not verify personal incomes of people signing up for the new health care plan. Enrollees entered their digits and the government had to go through too many layers of records, and even then could not tell how much someone made.

Imagine that. NSA and Homeland Security and the Defense Intelligence Agency may know your caloric intake thanks to the Fitbit you are wearing, but they can’t even tell how much you make.

Is this a great country, or what?

2K Dodges a Bullet (and the Baylys Get 2K Religion?!?)

So far, so good. 2K is potentially responsible for Protestant conversions to Rome, but not for this week’s Supreme Court decisions. Rabbi Bret and the Baylys have yet to charge 2K with the logic behind the Court’s rulings on immigration or Obamacare.

In fact — mirabile dictu — the Baylys themselves resort to 2k argumentation to explain why their blogging about politics is not the same as teaching God’s word:

One other matter: someone commented saying I should not waste or abuse my pastoral authority by writing about this Supreme Court ruling because it’s not a matter of the Gospel nor something all Christians living under Scripture must agree on. True. I never said or implied otherwise. There are many things on this blog that are a matter of faithfulness to Scripture. This SCOTUS decision is a political matter and the authority I cited was the U.S. Constitution. So if you disagree with me on this and think Chief Justice Roberts is not craven, but brilliant, God bless you. I hope all Baylyblog readers realize that there are many posts that are not sermons or Biblical exhortations, but thoughts “out of our minds.”

If this is not an instance of 2k, it is at least an argument for current health insurance arrangements because clearly the Baylys are back on their meds.

Did the Apostle Paul Suffer from Malaria?

I have arrived with the better half and a contingent of Hillsdale College faculty and students in Istanbul. We will be touring Asia Minor and seeing where the early Christians lived, moved, and worshiped their maker. So far, we are still in Europe — that part of Istanbul in the West.

So far the trip has presented few complications. In fact, a stroll after dinner to a nearby park tonight disclosed a pack of cats that were as beautiful as they were feral. The biggest problem so far has been getting health insurance companies to pay for the pills that prevent Malaria. The Mrs.’s insurer ruled specifically that her plan did not cover prophylactic medications. That suggests that a more expensive plan might cover the prescription. But if my wife contracts Malaria, won’t it cost the insurance company more for her annual treatments? So a lower priced plan should actually cover the Malaria medication. By the way, my own plan, which did cover the pills, only knocked about 30 percent off the price.

Which raises the question of why we have health insurance. I’m sure many have heard the comparison that we don’t buy car insurance to pay for tune-ups and oil changes. So why do we need the insurers to monitor all of our regular physical maintenance? I get it about life-threatening medical treatments. None of us can afford the six-figure bill that might come with surgery and chemotherapy. But why should the insurance companies take a cut of the cost of ordinary health care? Why not let people like me pay for doctors appointments and regular prescriptions right out of pocket, directly to my physician or pharmacist, the way we do with auto mechanics and auto supply companies?

Mind you, this is no brief for national health insurance. If the private companies have already mucked up medicine I can’t imagine the feds doing anything but adding to the inconvenience.

Granted, if we only had insurance for life-threatening diseases or injuries people who now don’t have health insurance would continue to use emergency rooms at hospitals for basic treatment. But if that were the case, just imagine what a service Roman Catholic and other religious hospitals could provide (along with a public relations windfall). Instead of having to offer a full range of medical services, they could simply offer medical treatment to the indigent. And their development officers might also be able to raise funds for some kind of insurance that would cover their patients when they have to send them to the hospitals with all the bells and whistles.