August 7, 2009

I'm sitting here at the Steam & Steel Café in Silverton, Colorado, drinking latte...

... reading the morning blogging, email, and news and wanting to comment on what has been an unfolding series of stories about the politics and public response to the health care bill. It's hard to jump in at this point, because there have been so many different things and I can't be anything like comprehensive. I haven't even been taking regular potshots, so it's hard just to take a potshot. Well, I might take a potshot soon. I'm not promising to sit this one out. It's way too interesting!

For now, here's Memeorandum's current collection of news items that are getting covered in the blogs. You can have at this in the comments.

I'll just say that I think these poor congresspersons going into town hall meetings are like Sarah Palin, last fall, going into interviews with journalists. The questions will come and either she won't answer them — for which she'll be trashed — or she'll answer and eventually say something that will highlight her limitations — and that will produce a quote/video clip that will be used aggressively and endlessly to destroy her.

The members of Congress can't possibly understand the material they are going to be tested on. The bill and its real-world applications are too complicated and unformed (or unknown) for them to prepare for what they are being asked to do. If they try to manage the events by shutting down speakers or excluding people they think are too antagonistic, they'll catch hell for that. Now, I think they deserve hell. They really don't know what they are doing, and they expect us to shut up and let them do it. That is chaos already.

168 comments:

Methadras said...

...The members of Congress can't possibly understand the material they are going to be tested on.

Well, then the answer is fairly easy isn't it? Don't pass legislation on something you don't understand or can't comprehend in it's totality, much less have not read, and do not know what it covers.

garage mahal said...

LOL!

Pastafarian said...

Careful, Methadras; don't make me report your "fishy" comments to flag@whitehouse.gov.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I'm wondering if our usual suspects here have already turned us in to Obama's Gestapo for spreading fishy comments about his health care plan. I bet Jeremy is in his basement right now practicing his stiff arm salute and goosestep.

If any Obama backer can say with a straight face that the White House request to send them emails from people who are criticizing this plan doesn't smack of totaltarianism then they are beyond help.

garage mahal said...

Read the bills moron. If you can't read at all, or comprehend the legislation, maybe politics ain't your thing.

Bissage said...

The efficient cause of our national discontent is too many underemployed college graduates.

Hoosier Daddy said...

C'mon garage you need to up your game. You're never going to get a tag by just giggling like a silly schoolgirl.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Read the bills moron. If you can't read at all, or comprehend the legislation, maybe politics ain't your thing.

Um, that's what the voter is telling the congresscritters who in turn are agahst that they are being asked to do their fucking jobs.

garage mahal said...

1.) Go to google.com
2.) Type "Democrats health care plan".
3.) see results
4.) click on results
5.) read!

Crimso said...

All voters should resolve to vote randomly when in the booth, without regard to any stated positions the candidates have. If they can't be troubled to educate themselves on what they're voting on, then neither can we. See how they like it when we pull the same shit they're pulling. And for those who complain that the bills can't possibly be read and understood by the Congress members because they're too large an esoteric, here's an idea: make them very short and easy to understand or don't make them at all. And don't tell me it can't possibly be done. I know damned good and well it can be. Ever read the Constitution? Anybody recall the blatantly idiotic effort at a constitution for the EU? Contrast and compare. Sometimes it's not better to be more like Europe.

Crimso said...

Hey garage you forgot 6) don't you dare criticize what you find or you'll end up being reported to the authorities.

AllenS said...

Jesus H. Christ, garage, I did the Google thing, and couldn't find a damned thing about what's in the bill, except this: "House Democrats on Tuesday rolled out a far-reaching $1.5 trillion plan..."

Methadras said...

garage mahal said...

Read the bills moron. If you can't read at all, or comprehend the legislation, maybe politics ain't your thing.


I have read the bill you half-wit. As a matter of fact I have it right here, open on my desktop, so I can go back and read what I've highlighted for further interpretation. But answer me one question, nullo, why do you care so much about about kneeling at the altar of healthcare? I didn't see you guzzling the kool-aid in the past during your moronic tenure here. Why is it all of a sudden such a crisis level priority to you and your fellow shallow thinkers.

rhhardin said...

Nice Palin media analogy.

Meade said...

"1.) Go to google.com
2.) Type "Democrats health care plan".
3.) see results
4.) click on results
5.) read!"

6.) ?

7.) Democrats profit!

ricpic said...

Poor congresspersons ain't got no integrity, that's what!

Hoosier Daddy said...

See garage thinks its fine that Congress doesn't need to read the bill but you well dressed nazi protestors are the ones who have to learn to Google and get your facts straight before expecting your elected representatives to know what they're talking about.

Get used to it pal. It starts with flag@whitehouse.gov and before long you'll be hearing the phrase 'Papers please' or Paperie Bitte in Jeremy's original tongue.

Methadras said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Methadras said...

Pastafarian said...

Careful, Methadras; don't make me report your "fishy" comments to flag@whitehouse.gov.


Bah. The only thing fishy is what is between the Althouse Stooges legs. You know who the Althouse Stooges are right? Jeremy is Moe, AL is Larry, and Garage is Curly.

The Drill SGT said...

The biggest goggle, whoops I meant giggle I saw all week was a disarming untruth from Obama where he attempted to quite fears about a Public Plan, by saying it was just like the one the Fed's have now, and that everbody thinks the Feds plan is great.

My wife is in the Fed Plan, and it is just a wrapper around BC/BS. Not anything like Medicare Lite, which is what the Obamacare Public Plan will be.

when Obamacare kills private plans it will be implication kill the Fed Plan that all the Congress persons have. at least that much justice will be there.

Paul Zrimsek said...

I'm in the Fed plan too, and I do think it's great-- mainly because you chumps pay 72% of my premiums.

There may be some slight room for doubt regarding the scalability of this model.

madawaskan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Drill SGT said...

Garage,

I've read portions of the Plan pertaining to small buiness. I'm a part owner of a 100 person IT firm.

what is clear to me is that the current structure will cause small businesses to dump their employees onto a public plan. why?

1. Our current health care coverage, which admittedly is good, because we compete for IT folks in the DC area, costs us about 16% of our labor costs.

2. Obama says that my SB must either cover staff or pay an 8% payroll tax to the Feds.

3. this means of course that we could drop our coverage and make 8% more in profits. effectively doubling our before tax margin.

4. we might not do this initially, because it would have a negative impact on staff morale, but certainly others would and we would have to compete with firms that had a cost structure 8% under ours.

5. over time, that would cause firsm to drop coverage.

at the same time, folks would be moving to a public plan that does not fully (just like Medicare doesnt) cover costs to doctors and hospitals. what do hospitals do, they shift costs to private insurers, but of course under Obamacare, that pool will shrink and the result will be:

- higher premiums for private insurance, thus accelerating the collapse and
- bankrupt hospitals

madawaskan said...

First I don't know much American history -ironically because being a military brat-I kept missing those courses but-

I thought "freedom of the press" originated more from-"freedom of the presses" and came from the people wanting to organize against a power that did not give them a voice...

Benjamin Franklin passing out pamphlets....

And, I've noticed a weird alliance where the media has more than the usual common interests with the Democrats.

They've seemed to first want to ignore or invalidate Twitter.

Obama wanted to ignore Iran, Twitter was deemed not "credible" by the less than credible media and the Iranian problem "slipped way".

In fact people were belittled for going green in their avatars.

Now- supposedly all the seniors who seem to be the most concerned about changes to their health care are doing it-

"only to get on Youtube".

As if they all know about You Tube.

But it's starting to become a pattern...

Where the technical equivalent of "the pamphlet" is being belittled, and undermined.

madawaskan said...

garage-

You should go sing that tune to YOUR Representative.

Do you think they have read the damn thing?

Joan said...

Meade's winning the thread so far by bringing in the Underpants Gnomes Theory of Success, but Paul Z's in close second with his observation about the scalability of the Fed employee health program.

Shanna said...

Now- supposedly all the seniors who seem to be the most concerned about changes to their health care are doing it-"only to get on Youtube".

Yeah, that's what my grandparent do all day, try to get on you tube.

This whole thing is getting pretty bad, when my congressman, who has been in office about a hundred years, is getting yelled at. I don't think even had an opponent last time around. And my Senator, who is up for reelection in 2010, called the protestors "un-american". That's not going to be good for her re-election campaign. These democrats in more conservative areas have to decide between listening to their citizens and listening to Obama/Pelosi.

Paul Zrimsek said...

3. this means of course that we could drop our coverage and make 8% more in profits. effectively doubling our before tax margin.

Under current law you could drop your coverage and reduce labor costs by 16%. Why do you suppose your competitors aren't already doing this?

Ralph L said...

How many decades have the Democrats been pushing universal health care or insurance, yet they still don't know what they're doing?

Or maybe they do, but they don't want to admit they want the government to run all of it.

Mutaman said...

"or she'll answer and eventually say something that will highlight her limitations"


Yeah, like what newspaper do you read.

AJ Lynch said...

Shanna said:

"Yeah, that's what my grandparent do all day, try to get on you tube."

LOL.

The media is so frigging dumb when they parrot such a crazy idea. Of course, I know, for example, Linda Douglass has an undergrad degree in psychology which makes her very qualified for what exactly? To be the spokesperson for the Office of Health Insurance Reform?

L. E. Lee said...

Ann, I take it you have health care insurance with your six figure "no show job" with the State of Wisconsin?
I guess with you it is "let the poor, uninsured, eat cake!" Huh?
What do you think Congress should be doing? Anything? Nothing?
I bet you won't answer this question.

Pastafarian said...

Paul -- because there's no "public option" for their employees to turn to, and they'll go find a job somewhere else, where they can get insurance.

If the public option is going to be just as good as private insurance, why would the employees care whether they get their insurance via the public option, or from their employer? And then why should the employer spend the money to insure them, if the employees don't care?

LonewackoDotCom said...

Apparently Althouse is living in a different universe now. The GOP and their little helpers are encouraging people to go to meetings and not ask real, grown-up, difficult questions. Instead, they're encouraging people to just go there and make a scene. To see that in action, just look at the titles of my posts about Glenn Reynolds.

Compare what Insty and the GOP is promoting to my alternative. That's something I've been pushing even before I tried to ask BHO a question in early 2007. Despite that being a smart, effective, peaceful, and honorable way to resolve issues, it's even gotten some pushback from supposed BHO opponents.

Instead, they're encouraging people to go to meetings and act like baboons.

Pastafarian said...

LE Lee -- what, no ethnic slur against Appalachian Americans? I've come to expect it in your first comment.

Quayle said...

Obama and the American left claim to be so progressive. Bureaucracies progressive? How are bureaucracies progressive?

Bureaucracies have been around choking nations, governments, and citizens for thousands of years. Bureaucracies are a old as Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, Rome, and Imperial France.

But apparently in America in 2009, bureaucracies are new, inventive, forward-looking and progressive.

It takes a special kind of thinker, like Obama I guess, to actually believe this nonsense.

Old Dad said...

Drill SGT,

You very nicely explain the short term implementation mightmare, but let's explore what will inevitably transpire.

The Dem Plan contemplates insuring everybody. Lovely. Who pays? The rich and well connected? Yeah right. Most of the burden will be absorbed by small business and the middle class. It's the only way to make the math work.

For giggles, lets contemplate all the efficincies and cost savings that will stem from the public option. That's right, there won't be any. To control skyrocketing costs, we screw the providers and ration care. Presto, we've become the UK. And small business either absorb their higher tax burden, trashing profits, or they cost cut. Presto, unemployment. Socialized medicine, the true path to third world opulence.

Crimso said...

"Why do you suppose your competitors aren't already doing this?"

Perhaps because the people looking for those particular jobs expect a health plan as part of the package. No plan, they'll take a job somewhere else where they get one because they certainly don't want to be without "insurance". Now, when the govt. guarantees a health plan whether your employer offers one or not, it's fairly obvious the scenario will play out exactly as described.

class-factotum said...

The members of Congress can't possibly understand the material they are going to be tested on.

My cousin said that our representatives should have to get at least 85% on a test over any legislation before they are allowed to vote on it. I think that's a great idea.

ObamaNation said...

Lonewhacko -- you're absolutely right. Why, I can remember the last rally that I attended with Code Pink; I carried a giant paper mache severed Cheney head, and my genitals were exposed and painted day-glo pink, but other than that, we were perfectly civil, genteel, even, in our comportment.

These Rethuglican racists, with their Astro-turfed drummed up outrage, make me sick. I say we contact all of our friends at the unions, and ACORN, and Code Pink, with a mass emailing urging them to counterprotest this astroturfing.

Crimso said...

L.E. Lee, you're embarrassing yourself with your clear ignorance of how academia operates. "No show job," LMAO. I'm sure her students show up to an empty classroom all the time. She probably spends more time doing University business on what would otherwise be her own time (were she employed in a "real" job) than you do at your job.

Big Mike said...

Professor, IMHO this was one of the best posts you've had since a link from Instapundit brought me over to your blog a while ago.

Are you as troubled as I am with the Democratic leadership's exhortation to "punch back twice as hard"? I never bought into Obama's "post partisanship" schtick, but even so ...

I think Peggy Noonan has also sized the situation up properly.

ObamaNation said...

And don't think that I won't report each and every one of you Nazi wingnuts to flag@whitehouse.gov. They'll find out who you are, and you'll rue the day you were bought and paid for to shill for Big Tonsil.

L. E. Lee said...

Pastafarian wrote
"LE Lee -- what, no ethnic slur against Appalachian Americans?"

Now Pastafarian you know that to be an "Althouse Hillbilly" has nothing to do with ones race or ethnicity. Though, I realize you have a driving need to make it about your sense of personal aggrievement.

Original Mike said...

How many decades have the Democrats been pushing universal health care or insurance, yet they still don't know what they're doing?.

I've been thinking about this, and it seems to me that in the past, with no real detailed bill and little chance of passage, all there's been is this idealized vision of health care in their heads. But now there is a real bill and they have the majority. They should be going slow and thinking long and hard about the real world ramafications. But they don't think they have to because they think they understand health care, since they've been thinking about it for so long. But what they've been thinking about bears little resemblance to this monster they have birthed.

Synova said...

"3. this means of course that we could drop our coverage and make 8% more in profits. effectively doubling our before tax margin."

"Under current law you could drop your coverage and reduce labor costs by 16%. Why do you suppose your competitors aren't already doing this?"

That's an important question.

I'm not certain that most companies are free to not offer health insurance programs, certainly not in all states. But assuming a situation where they *can*, why offer insurance to employees and why pay for it?

And how would the proposed public option change those dynamics?

It really doesn't follow, and I assume this was supposed to be the point, that doing something voluntary *now* means that people will continue to do so. Simply assuming that incurs all the usual "assumption" penalties.

And understanding how human behavior may change requires understanding why humans do what they do *now*.

We're essentially being scolded for spreading misinformation on account of being concerned that human behavior will change according to new circumstances. And the PROOF that human behavior will NOT change is that the bill doesn't require it?

Really?

What if the reasons that companies voluntarily (to the extent they do) provide health insurance *now* are accomplished by the new public option? The motivation for providing health insurance is probably not an altruistic demand that employees have the best possible coverage, so assuming (again) that the public option will not become the minimum standard of coverage and bit by bit the nearly universal provider of that minimal coverage, just isn't answered by yet another repetition of how the bill lets you keep your present coverage if you like it better.

ObamaNation said...

Freedom of speech does have limits, you know. You can't shout "fire" in a crowded theater, because people could get hurt.

And you can't spew misinformation about President Obama's policies, because millions of people could be hurt because they have no health insurance, and your lies are meant to keep it from them.

I can't wait til they round you people up. I'm checking all of your profiles right now, for any personal information that might be useful in finding your identities.

Pastafarian said...

LE Lee -- From the Urban Dictionary: Hillbilly -- often used as an insult and racial slur against White folks who live in the country.

From Wikipedia: A term referring to people who dwell in rural, mountainous areas of the US...usually offensive to those Americans of Ozarkan and Appalachian heritage.

Please explain to me why it's acceptable to use this particular ethnic slur.

The Drill SGT said...

Garage,

another item that I note when I read the Bill that impacts my small business.

right now, we offer 3 plans to employees, each with a different mix of deductibles and copays. each has a different up front cost to staff (we in general pay 60%) though we pay more of the low end plan and less of the high end one.

so our young staff typically pick the low end plan with high dedcutble, high copay and lower annual cost to them.

I as a 59y/o sick guy pay for the high end plan, anyway...

Under Obamacare, all private polans must be equal or greater than the Public plan. And we know that the Public plan is going to be larded with lots of required treatment coverages, for every special interests pet topic.

thus the Public Plan will provide the floor for all coverage and likely will have things in it that both young and old emplyees would not self select.

choice is good. we will have less choice under Obamacare.

L. E. Lee said...

Now Crismo, I think Ann Althouse has a cushy tenure job and puts in the bare minimum to collect her six figure paycheck. I would guess she works about fifteen hours a week at most during the academic year. Probably less during those semesters she is not teaching. I would also be surprised if she does any pro bono work or other community outreach which is common of law school faculty that are no longer pursuing publishing and scholarship.
I am not knocking Ann for having a good gig on the public dime. I am questioning her blithely dismissing the need to solve the problem of bringing health care to the working poor who have not worked the system as well as she has.

AJ Lynch said...

LE Lee:

You accuse Althouse of a lack of empathy re "the poor".

Is that a permanent condition? Being part of the poor I mean? I doubt it but you say it likes people get slotted in one socio-economic bracket for a lifetime.

How about we just set aside $100,000 per person in maximum lifetime govt benefits? Everyone gets $100,000 at age 30 and can use it for whatever they want. BUT that is it- no more stuff EVER AGAIN from the taxpayers.

I'd take that deal, would you?

Pastafarian said...

Thank goodness for the Democratic Party, the party of the workin' man. Unless they make too much money, or want to keep too much of the money that they make, instead of having it redistributed to those who do not work.

Or unless they're hillbillies -- white people from Appalachia.

Interesting, this attack on academia from two leftist commenters. Do you consider all university professors to be this lazy, under-utilized, and overpaid? Or just certain professors? Because 95% of them are in your political back-pocket.

L. E. Lee said...

Now Pastafarian, putting aside your silly racial aggrievement that you feel as a white person, our current system of health insurance is not working for many of the working poor. That is a fact. Many people in this country that work a lot harder than you or Ann (but not me, I am a small biz owner who goes to work seven days a week trying to pay ever rising health care premiums for my employees)are one illness away from being driven into poverty. What realistic answer do you or Ann or Ann's hero Rush Limbaugh have to fix this problem?

Synova said...

So, uh, Lee...

Are you telling us that you'll stop paying the ever increasing premiums you're now paying for your employees if we get a government option available?

Just want to clarify if your employees will be allowed to keep their present health care under the new plan.

Shanna said...

Or unless they're hillbillies -- white people from Appalachia.

Don't forget the Ozarks!

chickenlittle said...

I'm sitting here at the Steam & Steel Café in Silverton, Colorado, drinking latte...

You guys took the train there right? Ah, it brings me back. My dad was a big practical joker. On our trip there in '94 he bought one of those wooden souvenir train whistles. He stood outside the men's room about 5 minutes before boarding time for the return trip and blew it really hard. Boy, you should have seen that restroom clear out in a jiffy.

@Meade: have you convinced her yet to reprise the John Wesley Powell raft trip? And of course you guys have to see Lake Mead(e)!

L. E. Lee said...

Pastifarian wrote
"Do you consider all university professors to be this lazy, under-utilized, and overpaid?"

Now Pasta, many law professors when they get tenure and decide that they no longer want to pursue publishing and scholarship change their focus to community service and pro bono work. Obviously, Ann has every right to not do that and instead try to be an Ayn Rand wanna be. Good for her. There are enough people (Althouse Hillbillies) out their (a dozen or so) who will prop her up in creating this Althouse centric universe. But it is ironic that all of you anti-government types are at the knee of someone who is living large on the state dime.
As they say "Keep you government hands off my medicare!"

alan markus said...

I think this health care issue and all that entails is the start of something big. In the 60's, it was the Viet Nam war that made things come unhinged. I graduated high school in 1971, so by the time I got to college, most of the action was over. I was in the draft lottery, and had a high number, but some of my classmates did get drafted for service. My brother started medical school in Madison in fall of 1970 - I remember seeing the damage to the Sterling Hall Army Math Research Center which was bombed 8/24/70 - almost 39 years ago.

I am seeing way too many similarities now. In the 60's, protesting/questioning the Viet Nam war was considered a challenge to authority and the social order. J. Edgar Hoover - FBI Director, built files on dissenters. Too many people felt they were being "dissed" and that was a big motivator to take action. Supposedly, 80% of the population in the 60's were apolitical. Wonder what per cent of the current population is starting to pay attention to what is happening(20%)? Difference is, this time it won't be a bunch of dirty, long-haired, poor, rebellious hippies and college students acting out.

Pastafarian said...

LE Lee, how have you arrived at the conclusion that any offense an Appalachian might take at the term "hillbilly" is silly?

By using your ethnic slur, you're legitimizing any claims of bigotry that poor white people from Kentucky and West Virginia might have. You're the embodiment of the northern college-town elitist, looking down your nose at the "white trash". The argument that they're not an economically disadvantaged-enough group to be able to take offense is at once absurd; and could more logically be used to justify antisemitism or anti-Asian bigotry.

So I guess you're a slightly less crazy Cedarford. Congratulations on that.

What would I do to fix the health insurance situation? Glad you asked. I'll do my best, as an ignorant, 6-toed, inbred bumpkin:

1) Cap awards on malpractice suits. This will reduce costs to hospitals directly (smaller awards), and indirectly (less malpractice insurance, and fewer unnecessary cover-my-ass CAT scans for headaches).

2) Allow businesses to shop for insurance across state lines.

3) Cut medicaid, so that it only covers the most dire situations. If people want primo insurance, they should get off their asses and get a job.

The market will sort out the rest. If medical costs continue to increase, then more insurers will turn to HRAs and high-deductible plans, and this will cause consumers' medical spending habits to be once again connected to their pocketbook. It's the massive disconnect that's been responsible for rising medical costs.

Imagine how much gasoline would cost, if we all had low- or no-deductible gas insurance.

Original Mike said...

Now Crismo, I think Ann Althouse has a cushy tenure job and puts in the bare minimum to collect her six figure paycheck. I would guess she works about fifteen hours a week at most during the academic year. Probably less during those semesters she is not teaching....

Gang, I don't know how to read L.E.Lee. Is he a provocateur or a fucking idiot? I'm guessing it's the former, but I haven't ruled out the latter.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Paul -- because there's no "public option" for their employees to turn to, and they'll go find a job somewhere else, where they can get insurance.

Umm. Are we assuming, then, that the individual market is so badly broken that their alternative to getting insurance through their jobs is not getting it at all? And this is supposed to be part of an argument against reform?

One thing everyone seems to be overlooking-- including the people who want to compare it to FEHBP-- is that people on the public option are going to be paying premiums just like any other individual buyer. (BTW, even if we assume away the existing individual market, not getting insurance through one's job will entail being on the public option only if we also assume that no private insurers offer policies on the Exchange.) So if Sarge's competitors drop coverage, their employees are going to lose out in the amount of their public-option premiums-- and they'll have to raise take-home wages accordingly if they don't want to lose their workforce to Sarge.

Dave said...

'I'll just say that I think these poor congresspersons going into town hall meetings are like Sarah Palin, last fall, going into interviews with journalists."

Let's just remember the questions Palin couldn't or wouldn't answer. What magazines or newspapers did she read? A Supreme Court decision she disagreed with apart from Roe v. Wade?

I would agree that our esteemed congressmen ought to be able to answer questions regarding the legislation they're voting on. But from what I've seen, the opposition seems less concerned with getting answers, and more concerned with expressing their anger and spreading their outrage.

The analogy is a poor one.

traditionalguy said...

L E Lee...I have no special problem with your politics of envy. Everyone has heard that schtick every election since 1932. So elect more givers to the innocent poor and takers from the evil rich, if you can. But why should all healthcare become a government owned monopoly? The day Obama/Pelossi pass their trojan horse bill we will all become wards of the state's monopoly on doctors, hospitals and drugs, until our, as early as reasonably possible, deaths. That is a huge problem that your normally apolitical Americans will not just ignore while you spout on about what is owed to a few innocent poor. My biggest wonder is why you seem so sure that the next elections can be fraudulently counted or just cancelled by Obama? Otherwise, all this makes no sense.

Old Dad said...

L.E.Lee,

You're not quite as offensive as Jeremy, but you're certainly as stupid.

Like the President, you pontificate about things that you couldn't possibly know. You have abolutely no idea about the work habits or professional responsibilities of Prof. Althouse, anymore than you could possibly know anything about anyone posting here. You're a blithering idiot and a bore.

Original Mike said...

Under Obamacare, all private polans must be equal or greater than the Public plan. And we know that the Public plan is going to be larded with lots of required treatment coverages, for every special interests pet topic.

I think this is the truly idiotic, and dangerous, aspect of the Public "Option". The only economially sustainable model for health care is the catastrophic, high deductible model (i.e. insurance) but with the public option providing the floor for private plans, it will be outlawed.

It's almost like they want this plan to fail.

Shanna said...

Currently you can purchase catastrophic insurance to get you through a period of no health insurance, which is much cheaper, but it sounds like you won't be able to get that under Obama's plan because you'll have to get something that covers all sorts of stuff. Regular doctors visits are really not that expensive, even without insurance, and generic drugs have gotten so cheap sometimes you dont' even use your insurance to buy. Or, if you're young and healthy, you can do without for a few months and hope for the best. And the majority of the time, that works out fine.

So there are currently some lower cost options for folks that don't involve being either forced to buy a plan that will have to be somewhat expensive to pay for all the stuff Obama wants you to have, or paying taxes because you didn't get insurance.

If they really want everybody to have some kind of insurance, make it illegal not to have something, like car insurance, and then a whole bunch of cheapo, high deductable type plans will be out there and people will have to buy them. And do some tort reform, so doctors don't have to pay so much for insurance and costs can be lowered.

Ralph L said...

So I guess you're a slightly less crazy Cedarford.
Cedarford usually has something interesting to say (unlike Lee), and then the Jourette's Syndrome kicks in.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Under Obamacare, all private polans must be equal or greater than the Public plan. And we know that the Public plan is going to be larded with lots of required treatment coverages, for every special interests pet topic.

Now there's a much better objection. It's a pity in a way that so much debate has focused on the "public option"-- it's obscured the extent to which these bills monkey with the private market.

This particular bit of monkeying was pretty much forced on the reformers by their insistence on disallowing exclusions for preexisting conditions. Without it, everyone would eventually figure out that all they need is a cheap policy that doesn't cover prescription drugs or any of the other costs that come with the expensive chronic diseases-- if they developed one of those, they could then switch to an expensive plan that covers it.

Paul Zrimsek said...

By the bye, if this reform scheme is to help those poor uninsured, why does it include penalties to force them to be "helped" whether they want it or not?

Shanna said...

By the bye, if this reform scheme is to help those poor uninsured, why does it include penalties to force them to be "helped" whether they want it or not?

Excellent question!

Sure they'll help em. Right over a cliff they'll help them.

Pastafarian said...

Paul -- I think it was Palladian who once said that any comment that starts out "Umm" is almost certain to be bullshit.

I miss Palladian.

Apparently, you're not familiar with the fact that getting insurance as an individual is several times more expensive than getting it from within a group; that's why people get insurance from their employer.

And you think that if there were a "public option", that people would still rather have insurance from their employer. But the employer could drop insurance, and give that employee a raise of half the premiums, and still make out like a bandit; and the employee could take that raise, and add to it the money that he once contributed to the premium (typically 35% of the premium), and he'd have more than enough to cover the public plan premium, which is going to undercut private insurance premiums by 25% or more.

And here's a news flash for you: Sarge, and other employers, aren't losing sleep over retaining employees right now, in this Obama economy of 9.4% unemployment -- higher than this if you count the people who are no longer drawing unemployment.

So private insurance will be a thing of the past. But that's a feature and not a bug to you, isn't it?

And in the meantime, nothing's been done to contain the underlying costs -- far from it: We'll have more demand (millions more insured) with the same supply. Gosh, I wonder what will happen then.

Maybe we'll put price controls on doctors, like we did with gasoline in the 70s. That will do the trick; worked great then. Those lines at the pump were a great way to get away from it all, meet people, etc.

Ralph L said...

I had a $5,000 deductible individual plan in the late 90's. The premiums went from $37/month to $161 in 4 years, and then the company pulled out of the market in NC, citing rising costs. I never got close to the deductible amount.

What's needed is an insurance market for people who are already sick (or have been) but don't have insurance through their jobs. Maybe just enough subsidy that it *doesn't* compete with private insurance. It took me several years to get insurance that would cover melanoma (5 years after I'd had it, IIRC).

Original Mike said...

This particular bit of monkeying was pretty much forced on the reformers by their insistence on disallowing exclusions for preexisting conditions..

Yep. Maybe the answer to that is to say that when you apply to a new insurer you are entitled to purchase coverage at the same level you previously had, but the insurer is not required to provide you "better" coverage. For example, if you had a high deductible policy with your old insurer, the new insurer has to take you at that same level, but is not required to give you the gold-plated insurance you're now trying to get because you just got sick.

Synova said...

"Let's just remember the questions Palin couldn't or wouldn't answer. What magazines or newspapers did she read? A Supreme Court decision she disagreed with apart from Roe v. Wade?"

Not to necessarily get into it again, but Palin seemed to hear a sub-text of "is Alaska civilized and do hicks from there know how to read" and who's to say she didn't have reason to hear it? It's a DUMB question in any case. Any reasonably aware individual will not get their news and information from one source over others.

And what is the question about which Supreme Court rulings a person disagrees with?

Or was it all a test to see how well she did at not answering questions in adequate politician speak terms. The answer to the first being, "I read the New York Times and the Juneau Sun (or whatever) and then some happy blather about Alaska's newspaper publishing industry or better yet a segue into unrelated talk about how useful the internet is for isolated villages of Inuit. And then for the Supreme Court question, ignore it completely and talk about how the Court, except for appointments, was necessarily separate from the Executive branch.

Granted, Couric had the answers she wanted to hear and if Palin didn't answer *correctly* she got cranky and just asked the same question multiple times trying to force it.

Watch it.

But instead of watching Palin, watch Couric.

Synova said...

And yes, these protesters are like Couric.

They know exactly what they want to force the Senator or Congressperson to say.

They want to force them to say that they haven't personally read the bill, for one. They want to fluster them and force them to say something stupid about how it has to be done now, and done quickly.

Paul Zrimsek said...

So private insurance will be a thing of the past. But that's a feature and not a bug to you, isn't it?

Hello? You're the one who believes private insurance (1) can't cover individuals at a reasonable cost, and (2) charges the rest of us 33% more than necessary.

I don't want private insurance to become a thing of the past; what I can't figure out is why you don't, given some of the things you believe about it.

Paul Zrimsek said...

A question for some of you to ask yourselves: If companies can reduce employee compensation at will without consequences, why does anyone ever pay more than the minimum wage?

Synova said...

Because it's not without consequences.

It's just most likely that the present consequences will change if the situation changes.

Which is not an argument for the status quo, just an argument to understand the consequences.

What I believe is that people with a great deal of money and options will retain access to fabulous health care and that other pressures will eventually see most of us with the "red pill/blue pill" option where expenses are reduced by deciding when something won't make us better.

Rationing *must* happen with any plan because we do not have unlimited resources and our *ability* for medical miracles is far outstripping economic reality for most patients. The "problem" in some people's minds is that the present system rations unfairly, not that it rations health care.

But even if I do not have access to the best of the best this system supports the obscene expense for marginal treatments and freaky futuristic surgeries and that knowledge *will* trickle down. Someone has to do cutting edge stuff for that edge to stay cutting sharp.

What I believe is that this is the first step to imposing the notion that a profit motivation is harmful or at the very least unseemly and that this will retard progress in the name of fairness and discourage people from going into medicine.

And rationing will continue, as it must, but differently. And people will be denied treatment, but on other grounds.

There are things we could do to reduce costs... but I don't know the last time the government ever managed it with anything.

Original Mike said...

But even if I do not have access to the best of the best this system supports the obscene expense for marginal treatments and freaky futuristic surgeries and that knowledge *will* trickle down. Someone has to do cutting edge stuff for that edge to stay cutting sharp..

As someone in medical research, I can vouch for this. The money's got to be there for devices, methods, and drugs to be developed in the first place. It may not be available to everybody at first, but if it's not developed, it will never be available to anybody. It befuddles me that people don't understand this. Not everybody could afford to buy a car in 1910 but now they can.

What I believe is that this is the first step to imposing the notion that a profit motivation is harmful or at the very least unseemly and that this will retard progress in the name of fairness and discourage people from going into medicine..

It's already hard to find docs who accept Medicaid patients, but if this plan comes to pass you ain't seen nothin' yet.

The Drill SGT said...

It's already hard to find docs who accept Medicaid patients, but if this plan comes to pass you ain't seen nothin' yet.

Tlll of course everybody is a Medicaid, Medicare, or Obamacare patient, then Doctors will choose other careers when they can't meet payroll and the Malpractice premiums

Note that even when we're going to establish Obamacare Best Practices boards, there is no mention of limiting tort liability for following those Best Practices

The one place where simple Tort Reform could have a big impact longterm on costs... no interest in that for Obamacare.

Original Mike said...

Note that even when we're going to establish Obamacare Best Practices boards, there is no mention of limiting tort liability for following those Best Practices.

A yet, they want us to believe they have only our best interests at heart.

BJM said...

L.E. Lee @12:46

As they say "Keep you government hands off my medicare!"

Too clever by half.

News flash to the Dem leadership; there are approx 70+ million of us in the 60-70 yr age bracket who are still active/working and healthy. We're going to be voting long after you allow our parents and ill spouses to needlessly suffer and/or die by a thousand cuts. You created the senior coalition and make no mistake, your grip on power is in our hands. You need us more than we need you. Push our backs against the wall and we'll vote across party lines in huge numbers. Hell we could swing the vote to suit ourselves for the next twenty years if we so wish.

Sic-ing union goons and media stooges on us won't work, shouting us down, locking us out, snitching on us - flag@whitehouse.gov - won't work. You're not dealing with a bunch of confused old duffers; we brought down two successive Presidents and we'll take all of you down too.


BTW- Obama and cohorts keep bantering around their alledged public insurance option, it is not "insurance":

insurance:

–noun
1. the act, system, or business of insuring property, life, ones person, etc., against loss or harm arising in specified contingencies, as fire, accident, death, disablement, or the like, in consideration of a payment proportionate to the risk involved.
2. coverage by contract in which one party agrees to indemnify or reimburse another for loss that occurs under the terms of the contract.
3. the contract itself, set forth in a written or printed agreement or policy.
4. the amount for which anything is insured.
5. an insurance premium.
6. any means of guaranteeing against loss or harm.

The govt pays, sets the terms and access; it's mandated govt. single-payer health care.

So let's call a spade a spade, shall we?

Richard Dolan said...

"That is chaos already."

The unfolding spectacle calls to mind Yeats' lines in The Second Coming:

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Old Dad said...

It seems that two concerns are driving the health care debate--too many people don't have insurance, and my health care costs too much. So some look to government for solutions. Ironic, that.

What could government possibly do to remedy the first besides redistribute your wealth. I'm not OK with that.

As for the second, government always adds cost. Name a single exception. Hence, the founders wisely cautioned against expansive government. But we have foolishly ignored their advice. Besides, can't we print money?

Government is uniformly terrible at everything with a few very limited exceptions. In activities where governmnet agents are in fear for their lives, there is often excellence--and bloat. SNAFU. Don't allow the idiots in DC to intrude into your health care.

T J Sawyer said...

Forty six million more patients insured. (OK, yes I know the 46 million is bogus and I know that they won't really all be covered. But let's just accept their figures.)

No additional doctors or hospitals.

Just think about it for a while.

Original Mike said...

Just think about it for a while..

We must act now!

We don't have time to think!!!

Dave said...

"But instead of watching Palin, watch Couric."

Couric wasn't running for a position next in line to the Pres. Those were softball questions. And she whiffed.

Scott M said...

By now, you have probably heard that a black conservative was beaten racial slurs where hurled at him, by both black and white union members. His offense? Handing out "Don't Tread On Me" flyers at a Russ Carnaghan (D-MO) forum. He was hospitalized due to his injuries.

When the attack happened, a funny thing occurred. A bunch of white conservatives jumped to his defense and stayed with him until the cops came. Union members were arrested, but some fled on foot.

Now...I ask you. Which side is acting like thugs and brownshirts? A good deal of those people at that meeting last night, my parents included, where there as private citizens pissed off about Obama's health care. The union thugs were organized and readily identifiable as such.

Which side looks like complete shit?

Revenant said...

Read the bills moron. If you can't read at all, or comprehend the legislation, maybe politics ain't your thing.

Were those remarks directed at the Democratic Congressional leadership, garage? :)

Paul Zrimsek said...

Mickey Kaus had a good point: Even if those horrible astroturfers did everything they're accused of doing, since when are Obama fans against community organizing?

Revenant said...

The definition of "astroturfing" has drifted from its original meaning of "fake populist outrage" to a new meaning of "genuine populist outrage with any involvement by Republican Party officials". So by that standards this certainly qualifies as astroturfing. :)

In reality, of course, the country is deeply divided on the subject of how health care reform should be accomplished. The Democrats and the mainstream media (but I repeat myself) control just about all the avenues for discussion -- therefore, you get protests by people who have no other means of being heard. Perfectly normal.

knox said...

The democrats have all the power right now. All of it. And their method of defending this bill is to ridicule, demonize, marginalize, and, now, intimidate people who are against it. How is that leadership?

Democrats wanted so badly to win. They did. And just seven months in, Obama is already freaking out when he encounters the first real resistance to one of his programs. How in the world is this administration going to make it through the next 3 1/2 years?

Synova said...

"But instead of watching Palin, watch Couric."

"Couric wasn't running for a position next in line to the Pres. Those were softball questions. And she whiffed."

Dave, you said that Althouse's comparison was wrong. That's got nothing at all to do with softball questions or whiffing, but with a situation where someone is pushing for particular answers. Althouse was comparing Palin's situation with that of the Congresspersons facing the town hall things now, and that means that the comparison is about the simularity of behavior between Palin's interviewers... like Couric... and the protestors confronting the Congresspersons.

I said to *watch Couric* because it's clear she's not conducting a pleasant get-to-know-you interview. Her face is all crunched up and scowly, her body language is closed and she absolutely refuses to accept perfectly normal answers given that are not the ones she was aiming for. She reads from her script and does not deviate from her planned follow up questions to her preferred answers or engage what Palin actually says.

Palin is distracting because, yes, she's the far bigger deal there... but it makes it so it's not all that noticeable what Couric is doing.

But it is possible to see what Couric is doing and evaluate that *independently*. Which doesn't excuse Palin's poor performance at all because it's not about Palin's performance, it's about Couric (and other journalists.)

The town meeting protesters really ARE doing the same thing.

They are pushing to get the congresspersons to admit specific things that they can then trash them for.

BJM said...

Things that make you rub your chin and go "Hmmmm..."

As the Congressional Dems flounder and Obama's numbers fall the stock market reaches an '09 high.

Coincidence? I think not.

Obama has been been off message for weeks now. He lost control of the health care and economic dialog by unnecessarily wading into the murky waters of racial-victim politics.

Now he's forced to try campaign mode to regain media focus, but it isn't working because a.) the bought & paid for MSM is no longer relevant and/or credible, b.) he's preaching to the choir not the unconvinced and most importantly c.) Congress and their hired goons are hijacking the news cycle.

Large men pushing old people around is an image contest Obama can not win.

btw- the lame Dem/MSM trope that the GOP is behind the protests is laughable at best, the GOP couldn't organize a ham sandwich in a deli right now.

Synova said...

"He was hospitalized due to his injuries."

I think he was checked-out at the hospital to see if anything was serious, which isn't the same as "hospitalized."

He was physically attacked, however, which is serious enough all on its own.

Synova said...

"btw- the lame Dem/MSM trope that the GOP is behind the protests is laughable at best, the GOP couldn't organize a ham sandwich in a deli right now."

;-P

There is also the fact that when Republican politicians show up at the Tea Party astro-turf bought-and-paid-for pseudo protests they ALSO tend to get shouted down.

L. E. Lee said...

BTW, I just exchanged some e-mails with a friend who works on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C.
She reports that Dem Members are being encouraged to have these crazy town hall meetings. Internal polling is showing that the loony behavior of the rabid anti-health care reform people is not playing well on local TV. Also, as she explained, Dems already have the votes. The compromise will come from within the Dem Caucus. The problem has never been about pissing off the right but instead pissing off the single payer left. These town hall scenes have helped to shore up the Dem left and hopefully will make a compromise among center Dems and the left wing of the party more palatable.
So, hopefully right wing crazies will continue to go to these town hall events...

BJM said...

More video of the angry mob of swastika waving astroturfers in St. Louis yesterday.

"Get down here black man!"

Shanna said...

The Democrats and the mainstream media (but I repeat myself) control just about all the avenues for discussion -- therefore, you get protests by people who have no other means of being heard. Perfectly normal.

Let's not forget also that when we had a DAY OF HEALTHCARE on ABC every other opinion was shut out, even down to paid advertising. So, it's not like anybody is trying to have a real debate.

Synova said...

If the protests were working in the Democrats favor, Lee, it's unlikely to survive the mobilization of the AFL/CIO.

QandO has some good coverage with a nice video. http://www.qando.net/

"What are union members from Chicago doing at a St. Louis townhall meeting?"

The yelling in the back-ground is apparently pro health reform bill.

I guess yelling is different when bussed in Union members do it.

chickenlittle said...

BTW, I just exchanged some e-mails with a friend who works on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C.

OMG, she sounds important and inciteful.

Big Mike said...

@Synova, regarding your point about the protestors trying "to force [their Congresspeople] to say that they haven't personally read the bill, for one. They want to fluster them and force them to say something stupid about how it has to be done now, and done quickly." Doesn't that more or less fall under the heading of "true but so what"?

The thing I'm trying to grapple with, and I suspect you are, too, is the question of what's going to be in the bill, what -- realistically -- will it cost, and what are the forseeable effects. The chances that a 1000-page bill will have internal conflicts is as close to 100% as anyone would care to calculate, so there's that, too.

For instance, is there anything in the bill that would prevent the following scenario? Older, retired person or younger, but unemployed person, develops severe pain. Government provides only minimal analgesics and no opiates (because of the War on Drugs, you see) unless the individual -- as counseled in the "end of life" counseling sessions -- agrees to enter a hospice.

And, PLEASE, don't anybody bother responding with a "that's absurd" or comparable comment. The fact that it's "absurd" doesn't mean that the government wouldn't do it!

AJ Lynch said...

"Internal Polling."

LOL. I am so scared by that!

Have a good weekend everyone!

Ann Althouse said...

"Internal polling"

LOL. Reports of internal polling are propaganda. Show me some polls with reputable names on them.

As for the Dems loving this opposition... there's a Monty Python clip that's always dredged up for such things. I'm not going to waste my time getting the link.

Synova said...

"Doesn't that more or less fall under the heading of "true but so what"?"

Yeah, it does. ;-)

L. E. Lee said...

You are right. It was my bad to make a serious post to this unserious forum. Please excuse me.

Synova said...

One thing about those "end of life" voluntary counseling sessions is that the only way to prove that they are offered by given physicians is that they are billed in sufficient numbers. If, by chance, they are not wildly popular (if more people are like my grandpa Ralph, who viewed every barely there hint that he get a will as hope for his impending death, than are like my grandma Elma, who had her arrangements made with the funeral home more than 30 years before she died) doctors *will* be under pressure to apply pressure in turn to aged patients if only to cover their own asses in case of an audit.

They'll only be optional as long as they are popular.

If they are not popular, they will become mandatory.

Synova said...

Hey, I responded seriously to you, Lee.

And it's logical, isn't it?

If the spectacle of grumpy people work *for* the Democrats...

The spectacle of union mobilization of counter-grumpy persons will work the other direction.

Penny said...

The Democrats are reacting out of fear now. They know that if Obama doesn't get his health care reform passed, his power and their power for the next three plus years will be severely impacted. Additionally, they can kiss off years 4 to 8.

AJ Lynch said...

If end of life counseling is mandatory, we will have to beef up police SWAT teams because large numbers of seniors will refuse to let the counselors in their house!

AJ Lynch said...

Nah Penny, the Dems will shitcan Obama in a blink of an eye and go with Hillary or some other bbbbbeeeeeeyyyyaaaaaaaaaatch!

L. E. Lee said...

Well, thank you Synova.
I don't know how the most recent town halls have played on local TV. The point I got from my friend's e-mails is that the shouting from over the top opposition is not playing well with independent voters.
But the bigger point, that unsurprisingly flew right over Althouse's head, is that the Dems have the votes. The Republicans, much less the right wing, do not matter. The deal is going to be brokered within the Dem caucus. The biggest concern has been with liberal Dems holding out. The last couple of weeks of town halls has made it easier to bring the Progressive Caucus around. (At least that is what I think she meant.) Also, she wrote that what everyone now agrees to, both left and center Dems, is that the only unacceptable outcome is the bill not passing at all. She also wrote that the final bill will surely not look like the current one that is being bandied about.

(Ann, you can now come back from watching your AI reruns. Serious talk is now over.)

L. E. Lee said...

Penny wrote
"They know that if Obama doesn't get his health care reform passed, his power and their power for the next three plus years will be severely impacted."

That is true.

Penny said...

"News flash to the Dem leadership; there are approx 70+ million of us in the 60-70 yr age bracket who are still active/working and healthy. We're going to be voting long after you allow our parents and ill spouses to needlessly suffer and/or die by a thousand cuts. You created the senior coalition and make no mistake, your grip on power is in our hands. You need us more than we need you. Push our backs against the wall and we'll vote across party lines in huge numbers. Hell we could swing the vote to suit ourselves for the next twenty years if we so wish."

BJM makes an excellent point based on demographics.

I continue to say that this particular health care reform is all about the baby boomers hitting Medicare age. Some government reports indicate we already have $4 trillion in unfunded Medicare liability. TRILLION!

Instead of dealing with this "transparently", the President instead wants to talk about those not covered, even though most of those people are between jobs, illegal immigrants or not wanting health insurance because they are young and healthy.

We cannot solve our problems by refusing to be honest about what the problems really are.

Penny said...

And I agree with your comment at 5:51 Lee.

Revenant said...

I'm amused by the idea that the Democrats have a secret "town hall honey trap" plan that they have managed to keep the professional media -- but, strangely, NOT Lee -- from finding out about.

So on the one hand we have the possibility that the Democrats are secretly organizing a nationwide campaign to *encourage* opposition protests in a fiendishly clever use of reverse psychology, and are doing so in a manner which allows random Blogger trolls to find out about it without the Washington Post, the NYT, or the WSJ finding out. On the other hand we have the possibility that the Obama administration is floundering.

Hm, which could it be.

Synova said...

"She also wrote that the final bill will surely not look like the current one that is being bandied about."

Whatever it looks like, will people have time to read and examine it and ask questions and will Congress have time to read it and study it and vote on it knowing what is in it?

If not, then even if it's pure capitalist market glory, I'm going to be just as annoyed as I am now.

Revenant said...

Some government reports indicate we already have $4 trillion in unfunded Medicare liability. TRILLION!

Not $4 trillion. $74 trillion.

Penny said...

We could go on an on about WHY we are where we are, and just HOW we got here, and WHO is responsible, but that isn't going to help us figure out the WHAT TO DO about a very critical situation.

I am reminded of Apollo 13 and this quote, "Houston, we've got a problem."

If we can put men on the moon, and get them home safely, we have the collective ability to resolve this.

Oh, and I didn't help those guys come home safely, and nor did you. Where are our best minds these days, other than aligning in pursuit of some political agenda.

Knock it off, experts! You have important work to do, and its name is not politics.

Synova said...

Duct. Tape.

Revenant said...

They know that if Obama doesn't get his health care reform passed, his power and their power for the next three plus years will be severely impacted.

Obama's pretty much screwed no matter what he does. He and the Democrats have promised that everyone in America will have better care than they enjoy now without anybody (except "the rich") having to pay more for it. That's impossible; they're aware that it is impossible. That leaves them with a choice between (a) not passing comprehensive health care reform, (b) reducing medical care for most Americans, or (c) slapping the middle class with a stiff tax hike.

Given those three possibilities, the politically safest thing to do is for health care reform to "fail" in a way that they can blame on the Republicans. Both parties have a long history of promising jam tomorrow but never actually delivering; it works.

Synova said...

BTW, did I miss your response, Lee?

As a small business owner with employees, are your employees going to be allowed to keep their present insurance coverage if they prefer it?

We're told that the Obama plan guarantees that they can.

Revenant said...

If we can put men on the moon, and get them home safely, we have the collective ability to resolve this.

Sending men to the moon is trivial compared to successfully centrally managing an economy. We successfully accomplished the former six out of seven times after less than ten years of effort. We've NEVER managed the latter in several thousand years of recorded efforts.

The thing that makes free markets great isn't that they always work, but that -- unlike the other methods humans have tried during our history -- they *sometimes* work.

Penny said...

I meant 40 trillion, Rev. ;)

Here's the link.

http://leedsonfinance.com/?p=306

markg8 said...

Obama's dingo ate my baby!

Paul Zrimsek said...

I'm terrified by this backdoor glimpse of the brilliance that is the DNC. What better use could there be for your members' valuable time than to energize the opposition in order to drum up support for a bill that's already in the bag?

Penny said...

The point isn't how the congress is thinking right now, Rev. The point is that congress ISN'T thinking right now. Everyone is too busy taking sides, and we naturally follow along.

We might call it the "Path of Least Resistance".

Big Mike said...

@Penny, I hope I'm merely misinterpreting your comments, but do you not realize that the Boomers, and the next generations after, will have to have their (okay, our) health care paid for whether it's through Medicare or through ObaminationCare? Unless you really are counting on "end of life counseling" to convince us in a dozen year or so from now that it is our "duty to die" (sacrificing for the good of the slacker generation, I suppose), we will need health care. That's the way it is.

So irrespective of what the unfunded liability for Medicare is, ObamaCare doesn't address it -- the most it can do is merely move the obligation, along with considerable additional obligations I might add, to a different pot.

Big Mike said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Revenant said...

The point isn't how the congress is thinking right now, Rev. The point is that congress ISN'T thinking right now. Everyone is too busy taking sides, and we naturally follow along.

I understand your point, Penny, I just think it is wrong. The problem isn't that Congress "isn't thinking". The problem is that Congress is confronting a "problem" that cannot be solved by government action. Ok, in theory if they were thinking they'd realize that, but in reality (a) most of them are too ignorant to realize it and (b) those who aren't ignorant realize that the public *is*. Most people honestly believe that Congress can legislate them better health care. People are greedy, selfish and stupid; that's just how the world works.

AlphaLiberal said...

Ann's health care prescription: Paralysis.

Palin/Bachmann 2012!

Christy said...

I'm waiting for the excitement of recall elections. Think the Roberts Court will rethink not allowing federal officials to be recalled? Is voting for a bill one hasn't read malfeasance?

Revenant said...

Ann's health care prescription: Paralysis.

If someone tells you "I'm HIV+, so I've decided to fight the virus by drinking bleach", do you need to come up with your own cure for AIDS before telling him that's a really stupid idea?

Opponents of Obamacare aren't obligated to propose a solution of their own. It is enough to point out that Obama's plan will make things worse. You don't need to know how to make things better to know that making things WORSE is a dumb idea.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Penny said...

We could go on an on about WHY we are where we are, and just HOW we got here, and WHO is responsible, but that isn't going to help us figure out the WHAT TO DO about a very critical situation.


I disagree. As you pointed out, where we are includes a 40 trillion unfunded medicare liability. We know how we got there.

Politicians created a massively underfunded program that transfers incredible amounts of wealth from future generations to current voters, knowing that they will be long gone when the bill comes due.

Don't you think that should be considered as we figure out WHAT TO DO about a very critical situation?

(Not that I agree that the healthcare situation is critical. The poor have access to better health care now then they ever have in the past. Yes, the amount spent on healthcare is increasing faster than inflation, because people are choosing to consume more healthcare services. If you don't feel that the additional health care of yourself and your family purchased with those additional dollars is worth it, feel free to stop spending the money.)

The Drill SGT said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Drill SGT said...

Yes, the amount spent on healthcare is increasing faster than inflation, because people are choosing to consume more healthcare services.

that is the crux of why the problem is overstated.

yes, we pay a lot more for health care today than we did in 1959. However for that larger number of dollars we are getting a product that is far superior to 1959 health care

so a lot of the health inflation isnt really inflation, but rather buying products not available in 1959.

guess what, the share of the economy spent on cell phones, CDs, and broadband is infinitely higher than what was spent on those products in 1959. dont hear that we have a broadband cost curve crisis

Big Mike said...

dont hear that we have a broadband cost curve crisis

For Pete's sake, Drill Sgt! Don't give those worthless Democrats more ideas about things that need fixing!

JAL said...

ObamaNation: And you can't spew misinformation about President Obama's policies, because millions of people could be hurt because they have no health insurance, and your lies are meant to keep it from them.

Oh Bullshit.

I haven't been traditionally insured since my husband had to take early retirement 10 years ago.

I am doing just fine thank you with some innovative alternatives.

The public schools in my state offer plans through private insurers for kids for affordable amounts.

If the government had opened up a REAL "dialogue" and asked for input from all over and took some time working this out instead of cramming only the devil knows what down everyone's throats, we might actually have come up with creative, new, and FREE market ideas....

Kudos to the guy who pointed out that it took Obama 6 months to pick a dog for his kids and he wants to rip apart the economy in a matter of weeks.

Here's an idea ... what if single payer (Feds) is NOT the only, or the best option?

I am Sso damned tired of the demonizing of anything, everything, everyone, that Barack Obama thinks are obstructing him and his plan to remake the US in his image.

CEOs, big business, insurance companies, "rich" people, people who make $250,000... anyone who doesn't roll over is marginalized.

I am also tired of listening to Democrat congressmen and women mock, ridicule, avoid, and mispresent us -- we, the people -- who hire and pay them.

No one paid me to go to either of the protests, demonstration, tea party -- whatever you call them -- which I have attended. No one bused me in. No one cut me a check.

The bottom line is pass bills without knowing what they say is irresponsible.

And unacceptable.

2010 is sweetly coming.

Report me, suckers.

BJM said...

The officious stout woman in the pink shirt taking photographs of town hall attendees standing on line?

Claims to Be Carnahan Staffer

Wasn't Nixon excoriated by SCOTUS for just this sort of activity?

Doesn't FISA prohibit the govt/ Congressman Carnahan from photographing citizens without a warrant?

Althouse? Anyone? Bueller?

Original Mike said...

I'm still trying to figure out which Python skit Ann had in mind. Anybody have any idea?

BJM said...

Heh.

Beth said...

It would be great to meet with our reps and discuss the health care plan. But the thugs showing up to scream and yell aren't interested in that. They're not asking questions and discussing answers. They're protesters. Their candidates didn't win, and now they're shutting down the political process by simply screaming the loudest. But I should be polite and not call them "tea baggers" because that's, what, mean?

Thuggery. It's the conservative response when voting doesn't work.

Beth said...

And Scott - union thugs should be busted, too. I hate all and sundry mob scenes.

chickenlittle said...

Thuggery. It's the conservative response when voting doesn't work.

I dunno Beth, I'm upset enough about this to show up at one of those meetings, and I don't consider myself a thug. Fortunately, my Congressman, Darrell Issa, won't be voting for it. He's even got his own plan.

Kylos said...

I just sent the following email to flag@whitehouse.gov.

I recently came across a fishy article discussing Obama's health care plan. It is promoting a rather Orwellian program to report opposing viewpoints on health care to White House Truth Arbiters. The address is http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/Facts-Are-Stubborn-Things/ I hope you're able to do something about this.

Sincerely,
Kyle Harr, concerned citizen

Revenant said...

But the thugs showing up to scream and yell aren't interested in that. They're not asking questions and discussing answers. They're protesters.

The reason they're not "asking questions", Beth, is that they already know the Democratic position on the issue. They know this because they Democrats have said, publicly and repeatedly, what that position is.

They're expressing disagreement with that position. This is an activity you label "thuggery", although thus far the use of force -- whether state authorized or freelance -- has come almost entirely from Obama's supporters.

An amusing illustration of the left-wing mentality that spawned every totalitarian ideology from Communism to Nazism.

Paco Wové said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Maguro said...

LOL. Now that the Dems are in power, "protestors" are thugs bent on intimidation not citizens expressing their strongly-held opinions. How times change.

Michael Hasenstab said...

I cannot be bothered to read this blog and all it's comments.

Back to the topic. I hope Jeff Gordon wins the NASCAR race at Watkins Glen tomorrow.

Michael Hasenstab said...

And it you disagree with me I'll have the entire Jeff Gordon #24 DuPont Chevrolet Impala pit crew come over and beat your sorry Brooks Brother ass to a pulp.

Michael Hasenstab said...

And don't let me hear you dissing NASCAR or I'll rat you out by emailing your name to that new gummint website called PeopleIWantAudited.gov. That'll fix your whiney butt, now won't it?

Michael Hasenstab said...

I mean, you all elected me to fix this mess, so shut up and get out of the way. I didn't make this mess, I inherited it from previous commenters. It's not my mess, but I intend to fix it, unlike previous commenters who just kicked it down the blog without doing anything to actually solve the problem.

Ralph L said...

Think of the carbon footprint of NASCAR!
To say nothing of those pro athletes jetting all over the country. Tax it, I say!

Big Mike said...

@Beth, I'm ashamed of you. You're an educated person who has perhaps participated in protests yourself. Are you trying to suggest that protest is somehow a right that conservatives forfeited when our politics moved to the right of you?

chickenlittle said...

@BigMike I'd add that individual protest is an essential right when elected representatives are against one's will.
I didn't see the left line up like obedient little ducklings under Bush. How soon they forget.

Kev said...

Going back to something in the original post, lo, those many comments ago:

The members of Congress can't possibly understand the material they are going to be tested on. The bill and its real-world applications are too complicated and unformed (or unknown) for them to prepare for what they are being asked to do.

This is unacceptable. If this is how Congress really "works," it's time to replace each and every member who has voted on a bill without reading it (even if that's all of them). Then any future member of Congress needs to sign a sworn affidavit stating that voting on unread legislation will subject him/her to criminal prosecution.

If this means that fewer laws get passed during any given term of Congress, so be it. I consider that a feature, not a bug, as it means that less of our money will be wasted.

Beth said...

I've never shown up at a meeting to shout down the speaker and others in the audience, no. I've never joined a protest aimed at disrupting a town hall discussion. There are different settings for protest. If you attend the town hall discussion, then use that opportunity to make your case against the health plan. State your arguments. Ask questions that are relevant.

But if you attend to shout slogans, disrupt and shut down the event? You're a thug.

Revenant said...

I've never joined a protest aimed at disrupting a town hall discussion.

A "discussion" is when more than one side gets to talk. A politician giving a speech and taking only a few selected questions from the audience is more accurately labeled "a propaganda event".

It is laughable for you to pretend that the free speech rights of Democratic members of Congress are somehow being squelched here, as if those members did not enjoy a virtually unlimited ability to speak to a national audience. It is doubly laughable for you to say it when the leader of the Democrats has made it crystal clear that he has no interest in hearing what the opposition has to say. The Left is not complaining because "discussion" is being squelched. The Left is not, and never is, interested in a "discussion"; any disagreement with you gets labeled as "censorship" or "thuggery" or some such nonsense. So far as you're concerned the only legitimate "discussion" is between left-wing politicians and left-wing voters.

Hell, were it not for the loud backlash against the bill it would already have been voted on without ANY public discussion. Obama wanted it rushed through months ago. The only reason any discussion is happening is because these "thugs" made their voices heard. Damn them and their interested in democracy, eh? :)

Big Mike said...

@Beth, with all due respect, shouting down speakers has been a standard tactic on the left for years, and the Gay & Lesbian Alliance has been notorious for shouting down speakers. If you didn't participate in the shout-downs, did you try to convince people on your side of the spectrum that what they were doing was wrong?

The chickens are coming home to roost. I'm sorry, but it's not the fault of conservatives that the level of political discourse has degenerated to this level. You call off your dogs, I'll do what I can on my side. But if your President's henchmen say "to hit back twice as hard" then I take it that your side is still very eager for confrontation.

Michael Hasenstab said...

But if you attend to shout slogans, disrupt and shut down the event? You're a thug.

I presume that you'll be shushing the undergrads next time Ann Coulter makes a speech on your employer's campus.

Beth said...

Yes, Michael, I would. I stand up for free speech, even with those who oppose it on my side of the fence. Coulter was in town this semester; no one shouted her down, by the way. I think everyone but her fans pretty much ignored her.

During Spring Break season, a bunch of anti-abortion and anti-gay religious groups turned up on campus. Some students I work with wanted to find out how to get them bounced off campus, via campus police. They came to the wrong person. I told them to shape up their arguments and get out there in the public forum and make their case. I don't support bullying, whether it's by mob or via misguided speech codes.

Beth said...

It is laughable for you to pretend that the free speech rights of Democratic members of Congress are somehow being squelched here

The rights of the people attending the forum are being squelched. The lawmakers aren't my concern.

Don't be mistaken: I'm not an Obama fan. He's not coming off well here, either.

Beth said...

I'm sorry, but it's not the fault of conservatives that the level of political discourse has degenerated to this level.

Sorry, Big Mike, but I don't buy that. They're not sad little victims, but man, do conservatives love to make that argument. They're not passive victims of some huge machine. They're just as much players in our national discourse as I am.

Beth said...
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Big Mike said...

@Beth, I think Mitch Albom has a more eloquent response than any I could make.

I accept that you, personally, deplore the mindless shouting down of people whose arguments you can't respond to. But I'll stand on what I wrote: your side has used shouting down as its standard tactic for forty years. Now you're complaining?

Beth said...

Big Mike,

Remember the hired Congressional aides - not Florida voters, but Washington employees - pounding on the doors and threatening the folks counting votes in 2000? And I've seen lots and lots of right wing shouters at gay pride events in the park, anti-abortion protesters blocking doors and sidewalks in front of clinics, as well. Your side's got plenty of shouters and bullies, too. There's nasty people a plenty out there.

Big Mike said...

@Beth, the people you are talking about saw a Democrat official pocket some ballots and start to leave the building. They assumed -- based on long history with the Democrats in places like Chicago* -- that he was stealing the ballots, but it turned out he was taking some sample ballots. But the reaction was certainly understandable. If I'd been there, I might have been pounding on the guy, not the doors.

I'm sorry about the shouters at the gay pride events, but fellow straights I know who've gone to them report marchers deliberately trying to provoke the crowd via their signs, their attire, and their own shouts. Videos I've seen via conservative web sites seem to confirm that, though, now that I think of it, I should assume that I'm likely to be seeing the worst of the parade and not the norm. But it's still pretty bad.

I don't know how we're going to fix the abortion problem, but the Healthcare debate isn't a good place to start.

* Keep in mind that one of the Daley brothers headed up Gore's recount team.

Scott M said...

@Beth

A bit late here, but I'm just catching up after posting the bit about the man that got the union thug beat-down last week here in St Louis.

You're really reaching if you have to go back to that incident in Floria nearly 10 years ago to pull up an example of conservative misbehavior in the political process in the context of this debate.

I would start with Hillary Clinton's screeching, "we have the right to disagree with ANY administration" etc, etc, over the Iraq War (which she *cough* voted for *cough*). Why the Tea Party organizers didn't have that video and soundbyte playing over and over again, I'll never know...

More to the point, though, is that he is correct. I went back to college full-time in 2003 as a 35-year-old. My own campus, as well as those I traveled to with various student organizations, was fairly left-leaning. Every time an outright conservative would come to campus, there were protests and disruptions. Including Ann Colter, so that anecdotally cancels yours out.

Indeed, the gay/lesbian crew has been doing it for years, but the global warming people are just as bad.

In the end, I would keep the word "thug" for perpetrators of actual violence. So far, the left has us beat (pun intended) in the current debate.

I'm all about keeping the level of discourse at a Founding Father level. If we all aspired to be as eloquent and intelligent as those people were (even in their nastiest jibes at one another) we would all be better off.

One struggles to imagine how the Constitutional convention would have gone down if they had to deal with a 24-hour news cycle, reality TV, and blogs.