Posts Tagged ‘regulation

17
Jul
13

Free Times Newspaper Using Absurd Scare Tactics In An Attempt to Limit Competition in SC’s Healthcare Industry

In the July 17-23, 2013 issue of Free Times (Columbia, SC), writer Corey Hutchins asks: “If there was an MRI scanner next to the cricket cage in the back of Skeebo’s bait shop—and it was closer or cheaper than one at your local hospital—would you trust your life to the guy selling nightcrawlers to find out if your chronic headaches might be cancer?

“Weird question.”

Yes, weird question.

The tactic, employed by Corey Hutchins, is called “Reductio ad Ridiculum”: The logical fallacy of extending someone’s argument to ridiculous proportions and then criticizing the result.

You see, Free Times is attempting to scare you, and SC lawmakers, into continuing support for a permitting process known as “Certificate of Need” (CON). Governor Nikki Haley vetoed the $800,000 funding for the agency, and now certain special interests are attempting to scare the public into pushing for a reversal.

When hospitals, nursing homes, and other facilities want to add new medical services, build or purchase new medical equipment, they must demonstrate a “need” to a South Carolina regulatory agency. The agency then determines whether or not the organization will be allowed to have it.

<sarcasm>Yay, freedom!</sarcasm>

Corey Hutchins says that such regulation is “supposed to keep costs in check.”

On that point, he is correct—but those prices are kept “in check” at a high price, due to limits on competition and the inability to purchase high-dollar equipment for business expansion (economic stimulus, job creation, etc.).

Let’s call CON by its real name: Protectionism. The healthcare lobby is one of the strongest voices in the halls of government, and CON is used by many of those voices to try to limit competition and protect the profits of well-established medical firms—and that means higher costs, for YOU.

So what if “Skeebo” wanted to buy an MRI machine?

First of all, I doubt a corner “bait shop” would have the money to purchase a mega-bucks MRI scanner—and part of the reason why they cost so much is because government limits how many can be purchased, and by whom. Again, those costs are passed along to YOU, the patient, in the form of higher procedure costs and insurance premiums.

Second, if “Skeebo” did purchase an MRI scanner, got training to “certify” his expertise with the device, offered shorter waiting room times, charged less, was more conveniently located, and gave a more personalized level of service and care, why wouldn’t I choose “Skeebo” over the high-priced medical facility that was located several miles away?

That’s exactly why they are being limited. Like I said, protectionism.

Corey Hutchins basically says that anything other than tight control of your healthcare options is throwing the industry into “chaos.”

Governor Haley said, “The Certificate of Need program does three things: restricts access, drives down quality and drives up costs”—and she’s absolutely right.

Apparently, “my body, my choice” only applies to abortion. Everything else having to do with my body must be regulated, limited, controlled, taxed, permitted, licensed and manipulated.

So, Free Times, will you promote choice in everything concerning my body, or will hypocrisy rule the day?

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08
Mar
10

SC Policy Council Misses the Mark on Free Markets

Today, I received an email update from SC Policy Council entitled, “Defend the Free Market: Tuesday 10am at the Statehouse.” I prefer a truly free market, so at first glance it sounded pretty good.

The message began with this:

“Legislators made it clear:  they want to get rid of the free market in South Carolina. Instead, they want to control the economy themselves, behind closed doors with your money.

See for yourself what the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee said this Sunday in The State newspaper:

‘If we let the free market work,’ [Hugh] Leatherman said of eliminating company-specific incentives,’we’d be back in the 1800s.’

You read that right. He doesn’t think you can grow your business, choose the right job, make the best decisions or invest in your future, yourself. He and his colleagues believe they are much better qualified to do that for you. They want to cut deals with your money, and it doesn’t matter to them if they drive South Carolinians out of business.

Tomorrow, we are going to tell them our state is not for sale, and we need your help to do it!”

At this point, I was pretty fired up and preparing for battle–that is until I read the next part of the message:

“We’ve told you about legislators’ plans to give a powerful out-of-state developer a huge tax break – one that will take dollars away from core services like education and law enforcement, and will cost South Carolina businesses. Retail incentives are the worst kind of corporate welfare, and economists are clear: they don’t create new jobs or generate new wealth.

Rarely do we have a chance to defend the American free market economy. We have that chance tomorrow, but we need your help.”

Whoa, wait a minute! Did I just detect Orwellian Doublespeak? Since when is allowing people to keep more of their money “welfare”?

If a thief breaks into your house and takes $900 of the $1000 in your wallet, is he giving you $100 in “welfare”? No, he just stole 900 bucks!

It’s the same thing with a business. If government takes a little bit less from your company, it isn’t “corporate welfare”; it’s a reduction in theft.

I thought the SC Policy Council was for “Limited Government, Free Enterprise, Individual Liberty.” How can they stand for all those things, and call their gathering a “defend the free market” rally, when they just stated they want to stop a business from getting a tax break?

Basically, this is protectionism on a statewide scale. Their statement is saying make sure the out-of-state business gets hit with the same evil tax (theft) that SC businesses have to endure. Misery loves company, right?

If they really supported a truly “free market,” they would be saying, “We favor reducing the taxes that SC businesses have to pay, to equal the lower rates of out-of-state businesses, to make things even across the board” (until we can eliminate taxes, altogether). Instead, SC Policy Council is pushing liberal tax policies (by their own words, increased taxes for social services). Given the organizations who are partners in this event, SCPC’s message comes as no surprise to me.

It all boils down to this: If you truly support a free market, you may want to pass on joining the SC Policy Council’s rally to impose higher taxes on businesses–out-of-state or otherwise.

A taxed and regulated market is anything but “free.”