Thursday, October 14, 2010

Buy a vowel: ER_SA _nsurers l_e, cheat and steal

Pat Sajek, long-time host of Wheel of Fortune and occasional conservative political commentator, thinks we ought to consider limits on public employees’ ability to vote on ballot initiatives which would directly affect their personal self-interest. He backs up his thoughts with this rationale:

In nearly all private and public endeavors, there are occasions in which it's only fair and correct that a person or group be barred from participating because that party could directly and unevenly benefit from decisions made and policies adopted.

In the small world department, here we have Wheel of Fortune game show host (I once read an interview in an airplane magazine in which Vanna White said her primary occupational requirement was that “You have to know the entire alphabet”; I think she was kidding):

anyway where was I? Oh yes, game show host channels American icon James Madison in Federalist Paper 10: “No man is allowed to be a judge in his own cause, because his interest would certainly bias his judgment, and, not improbably, corrupt his integrity.”

Well , we all know that ERISA insurers regularly make decisions, often ruining -- or ending -- the lives of real people, in matters where they “could directly or unevenly benefit from decisions made.” And yet we treat these biased decisions as if they came from an impartial judge who has no skin in the game. As we’ve discussed previously that doesn’t make any sense.

So to exasperated judges, academic experts, and James Madison, we can now add “game show host” to the ranks of anti-ERISA advocates.

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