Nick Bata: What I Would Do as Insurance Commissioner

The Problem

Everything government touches it ruins. Money, banking, healthcare and insurance no longer serve their primary functions. The monopoly over the supply of money has created a vehicle for endless taxation via inflation. Banking has become so regulated where competition has been eliminated and are dominated by state-approved banking cartels. Healthcare transformed from low-cost doctors performing house visits and getting to know families into monolithic institutions with monopoly control and expensive care via market restriction regulation. Insurance once a form of risk management is now a redistribution scheme. We do not have a free market, Republicans you need to acknowledge this.

Republicans, at least they speak about free markets and private property, whereas Democrats tend to take the abundant (yet shrinking) fruits we received from a brief era of Capitalism completely for granted. However, Republicans fall victim to this lack of appreciation towards decentralization and the marketplace. A Republican often argues against socialism but implicitly supports it in other cases. Within the context of insurance, Republicans have socialist leanings. I will justify this claim.

Republican Socialism

Socialism traditionally has meant the direct state-ownership of the means of production, but socialism is on a continuum. On one end is Capitalism and the other Socialism. There is no recognizable middle ground on this continuum. Before implementation of socialism, there must first be markets and capital; even Marx acknowledge this. Regulation has produced a creep towards socialism. Instead of the state taking ownership directly, regulation takes on the same managerial ownership but delegates the production to the remnants of a marketplace. Which is obviously better than the state taking ownership, but let’s call a spade a spade, its socialism just a lesser degree than state-ownership. Below I will give an example of how Republicans get it right but only up until they get it wrong.

Jon Godfread on KFGO spoke about the role of insurance commissioner, and how the position negotiates prices with firms. He also talked about the dangers of the insurance commissioner chasing out business, like private lines of insurance in Minnesota. But with Godfread and Republicans at the wheel with socialism, they got it cover; Republicans have the right balance of government intervention. Prices are then and only then set by a satisfied bureaucrat. NDGOP believes this is “free market.” You’re all a bunch of socialists. The wonders of markets are that consumers set prices. More competition yields lower prices and higher quality. With this disregard to free markets by Republicans, it is no wonder Democrats justify big government for the ills of this centrally planned economy and call it the woes of “free markets.

My Objectives

My campaign’s primary objectives are to inform, educate individuals and break the seal of allowable opinion. By doing so I am presenting ideas to put North Dakota first, and to make our return back to Capitalism. To understand Capitalism, one must understand what government is. At the end of the day, the government must steal from Peter to pay Paul; it doesn’t produce anything, just redistributes and destroys capital. It’s often said that to achieve “limited-government” there must be constraints. If it were intended to have unlimited government, there would be no need for constraints whatsoever, and some have argued that even the constitution has been a tool for unlimited government. With that in mind, which is more inviting of big government, a system filled with faceless suits who always support state intervention or those who have a bias against or skepticism towards central planning?

Once you invite government into the situation, there is but a remote chance of government releasing its power. Just ask Ronald Reagan who campaigned in 1980 to abolish the Federal Department of Education, which by the way first opened its doors in the same year. Giving social power away is extremely difficult to get back. Are you seeing the point I am making?

The Change I Represent

Politicians main concern is about elections and re-election. They campaign on bringing individuals to the discussion table but after elections individuals are on the menu. You will never see any real change or progress by electing those who truly believe government to be an altruism. That’s why there is a 96% incumbency rate with a 3% approval rating. Whether I win this election or not doesn’t change the fact that individuals of North Dakota drastically need something to change. Republican supermajority of North Dakota has done what exactly? Spend and tax like Democrats, never nullified any Federal overreach, done nothing about Common Core, and call price-controls “free-market.” Good job guys.

Which brings me to my next point. There needs to be a rejuvenation of entrepreneurialism, free and competitive markets. Before this can happen individuals must have a change of mindset. Social change cannot happen until individuals change. The individual must come first. Government is not the answer, but that doesn’t mean there are things government can’t do to improve the situation. The first and most important thing to do is get the hell out of the way. Once we have come to the conclusion government needs to get out of the way, then we can discuss how fast to get out of the way.

I understand the role of the Insurance Commissioner is to act as a consumer advocate and hub of information. I also understand the Insurance Department works with the Judicial and Executive Branches. It has been clear since day one of my campaign understanding the Insurance Commissioner doesn’t have any real discretionary or legislative powers. I also have never understated the importance of quality assurance and solvency issues, I have advocated for alternatives to address these issues. That said, there are other attributions of the Insurance Commissioner possesses. Influence.

Obamacare

Obamacare sucks, no doubt about it. Why does it suck? Price controls and product control. Forcing companies to take losses that get dumped onto low-risk groups with higher premiums and loss of coverage for others. Those with severe illness or injury cannot gain coverage. Firms are pulling out of markets since it risks solvency. Obamacare is no different than the price controls and product controls North Dakota Republicans impose on consumers and markets. The same policies and principles are there but only with different magnitude. I repeat, it is the same policies and excuses that Republicans in North Dakota often support.

What do I bring to the table? I will use the bully pulpit of the Insurance Commissioner to influence the legislature on alternatives to intervention and protection against Obamacare. My proposal to protect North Dakota individuals is not through a new program, agency or any intervention. It is for North Dakota individuals to keep more of their money.

Wow, what a radical idea, letting people keep more of their money. Yes, the state needs to extend a tax deduction of 200% of healthcare premiums from taxable income (beyond federal deduction), 100% deductibility of out-of-pocket medical costs, and state tax credits to offset ObamaCare fines (limited to 50% of state income tax liability). Why this? Because Republicans won’t, and it would reduce the state revenue considerably forcing government to budget like individuals. Budgeting is not fun but if individuals, who fund the government, have to, then certainly politicians (who don’t pay taxes on government salaries) in Bismarck should also show some discipline.

Come back to Capitalism

Like I previously mentioned, there is a hidden veil of Socialism in America through state regulation. Political change is extremely slow, but it is even slower in D.C. The interventions of government into markets have unintended consequences that result in crises where the most vulnerable suffer the most. North Dakota needs to prepare and be proactive of these crises. We see that with Obamacare, its intention is to manipulate insurance even more until it collapses; resulting in Single-Payer. This is happening, and your state government is more interested in spending your money.

So what this means is the policies implemented by Obamacare, are also being used on a lesser scale on the state level, and they need repealing legislation. Especially price/product regulation. My reservations on the capital-reserve requirements are secondary to repealing price/product regulation. Politicians, try as they might, cannot truly set prices. Prices arise from the actions of individuals, their preferences and exchanges. Prices provide valuable information to determine economic calculations. With price-fixed legislation, critical information is lost and results in misallocation of resources. Economic law is universal, and it says“socialism always fails.”

This year, there is a choice

This all ties into the LPND theme put North Dakota first. Marty Riske‘s key campaign component has been for independent parties to audit the North Dakota government. Government is extremely wasteful, and just because there is a supermajority of Republicans in North Dakota doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have waste and fraud. Instead of dumping pressure and strain onto individuals, the North Dakota government needs leadership to alleviate problems by returning money, choices, and power back into the hands of North Dakota individuals, the real people who solve problems. I will end with a thought experiment conducted by 19th-century French economist, Frederic Bastiat. If people are incompetent how does it follow that when you turn them into regulators and bureaucrats, they suddenly become smart and have the right to rule over us all?

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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