Chris Kipfer: What we deserve


The same Supreme Court justices who gave us George W. Bush for eight years now are on a mission to destroy any sort of universal health care. The sea change in the American culture that they represent is one to freedom without responsibility.

My generation grew up with a universal mandate of military service that we could not escape by paying a $95 fine. Most of us freely accepted that responsibility. Was that constitutional? We didn’t ask.

If those justices really believe in responsibility commensurate with freedom, then they should repeal the laws that mandate that emergency rooms take all patients. Are those laws constitutional? Then the hospitals could provide a much less expensive hospice for children dying of untreated strep infection and a mass grave for the bodies. This approach to the problem somewhat would reduce the insurance costs for the rest of us, but only somewhat. Much of our excess cost is administrative — $100 million bonuses to insurance executives and pay for more insurance paper shufflers than we have doctors and nurses combined. The Obamacare cap on insurance company administrative costs at 20 percent already is under attack by a Republican bill in the House. This will be unnecessary if the whole law is ruled unconstitutional, as Justice Antonin Scalia implied.

Obamacare is most similar to the system in Germany, where I lived for many years. You can chose your insurance from any of a large number of private insurance companies. Everyone must be insured. The profits and administrative costs of these companies are limited by regulation. The aggregate cost on a per capita basis is slightly more than half of ours. The health outcomes are far better.

But they also have a much better educated electorate, practically and academically, and voter turnout averages 86 percent as compared with our less than 50 percent. One could say that we get the democracy that we deserve.

Chris Kipfer

Steamboat Springs


mark hartless 5 years ago

We are not supposed to have a democracy at all, Chris. The fact that you think we should have a democracy instead of a representative republic is telling.

The Germans probably do have a better educated electorate. Having an electorate that is better educated than Americas is not exactly a ground-breaking accomplishment. I would also remind you that Adolf Hitler convinced those "smart" german folks to elect him; so having a smart electorate is no guarantee that a country is moving in the right direction. More recent history shows the german people also chose to be part of the European Union which today has become like a millstone around their neck. All in all the germans have proved to be highly intelligent but not necessarily good decision makers. Thomas Sowell wrote a masterfull book explaining why intelligent, highly educated people fool themselves and others constantly. It's titled "Intellectuals and Society". It is clear that you and many others need to read it.

I agree that the mandate for emergency rooms to take all commers should be repealed.

Medical malpractice insurance is also a big cost factor. Way bigger than executive pay. But I can see why you might neglect to mention that as it is the left which refuses to address tort reform and continues to protect attorneys cash cow; our out-of-control legal system.

I also comlpetely reject the assertion that costs can be "limited by regulation". However, making such a contention does help prove you are right about our electorates' intelligence. Price can be regulated. Costs can not. When the two diverge someone, somewhere is getting screwed. Try to understand that. If costs could be limited through regulation why isn't gasoline $2/ gallon? Why isn't my electric bill $10? My car payment $25 and so on?

And finally, if Germany is so much better what are you doing over here in such a backwater, hick country like America?


Will Templar 5 years ago

Chris... I am not so certain that all the information in your portrayal of your personal experience is accurate, as a mater of fact, I am certain it is not. Where did you spend time in your life...Germany or here in the States. Also if I recall correctly you avoided the draft by going to Canada until you entered college, at least that is the story that was relayed to me. Based on that alone your credibility and view point is to me at best lacking. Although you make a few good points you are obviously out of touch with the real world below that of your previous income bracket. Perhaps you should spend the time to read the 1000 plus page bill and get back to me.


Brian Kotowski 5 years ago

“You can chose [sic] your insurance from any of a large number of private insurance companies.”

Nothing could be further from the truth. Obamacare raises premiums and reduces choice by mandating what every insurer must cover. It requires, for example, that any policy I purchase cover substance abuse and hysterectomies. Even though I’m not a drug user and don’t have a uterus. It’s like shopping for a car and being told I can only consider a Lexus with all the options. If I don’t want it, Big Brother obliges me to pay a fine.

If the Supremes 86 this boondoggle, the best first step would be to remove the asinine requirement that the consumer can only shop for coverage in the state in which he resides.


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