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Do the Republicans love their children too?

There is no monopoly in common sense
On either side of the political fence
We share the same biology
Regardless of ideology
Believe me when I say to you
I hope the Russians love their children too

I was raised to be a fundiegelical cold warrior, but I was born in 1960 and by the time I was coming of age the Vietnam War was over and the Cold War was winding down so I missed my chance to die gloriously in battle with the commies.

I grew up watching black & white John Wayne movies and television shows like “Combat” and “Twelve O’Clock High” where the good guys and the bad guys were easy to tell apart.  When I was in elementary school even the sitcoms were militaristic – we had “Gomer Pyle,” “McHale’s Navy” and “Hogan’s Heroes.”  Things got more complicated by the 70’s with shows like “MASH” and movies where the good guys weren’t so good and the bad guys weren’t so bad.

We lived in a medium-small town in a red-neck conservative area of central California (it’s still blue dog country) and attended a pentecostal church.  My church didn’t handle snakes or speak in tongues, but we thought the Baptists were having a little too much fun.  I began drifting away in my mid-teens and quit attending church completely when I was 17 year old.

All the men in my family joined the military so when I finished high school I enlisted in the army.  I was sent to Wurzburg, Germany where I was posted with an Air Defense Artillery unit (Hawk missiles) not far from the border with East Germany.  If you paid attention during the Gulf War and the invasion of Iraq you would know that ADA units are the first targets when the shooting starts.

I was still in the army when I cast my first vote for President, choosing Ronnie Raygun over my then-commander-in-chief.  I was honorably discharged, married and had two kids when I voted for him again in 1984, but with less enthusiasm.  By 1988 I was divorced with three kids and voting Democratic.

That 1985 song by Sting up above had something to do with my ideological change (but not my divorce.)  I had been trained to believe that the Soviets were evil, diabolical people who were determined to destroy the American Way of Life and impose godless communism on the world.  The song made me think of them as real people instead of as caricatures.

The reason I bring this up was this post by Deacon Blues at The Left Coaster:

David Sirota is only half-right when he suggests that the true face of the teabaggers and the anything-but-Main-Street mobs is a me-first, forget everyone else mentality of right wing victimhood.

I wish that’s all it was, because it’s also racism. What started as phony riots by Capitol Hill staffers masquerading as angry Floridians demanding the installation of George W. Bush during the recount debacle in 2000 has now become the standard tool by a fringe minority to undermine democracy. And that fringe has all one color, and doesn’t want or care to be part of a community with anyone who doesn’t look or sound like them, in a country led by a black man.

Deacon Blues captures the Democratic tribalist mindset perfectly.  If you are a loyal Democrat then you MUST believe that Republicans are evil, racist, sexist, homophobic, selfish, greedy, corrupt stupid, ignorant and insane haters who want to destroy the environment, melt the ice caps and blow up the world.  Democrats, of course, are virtuous saints whose only flaws are that they act timid and weak and keep falling for the Republicans’ “bipartisanship” routine.

From Arthur Silber’s Observations About Tribal Beliefs and Behavior:

ONE: To the degree that membership in a particular tribe or tribes is important to a person’s sense of identity, that person believes that his own tribe(s) is inherently and uniquely good. To the degree that tribal membership is a critical element of personal identity, all members of all tribes are convinced this is true of those tribes to which they belong.

TWO: Insofar as the tribe’s centrally defining characteristic(s) (race, religion, political beliefs, etc.) are concerned, all other tribes that differ with regard to these characteristics are necessarily inferior and wrong. This has an especially critical implication: at first with regard to these centrally defining characteristics, and inevitably in a more general sense, the individual members of all other tribes are necessarily inferior to and less worthy than the members of one’s own tribe(s).

Maybe I’m exaggerating a little bit, but ever since the Great Astroturf War of 2009 started you will have a hard time finding anyone on the front page of any lefty blogs besides this one suggesting that there are any redeeming qualities among the Tea Party crowd.  That’s nothing new, for years now it has been presumed in Left Blogistan that all Republicans are wrong about everything.

Not only is everything the Republicans say and do wrong, but their motives are wrong too.  They either don’t know what they are talking about, are crazy, or know they are wrong but do it anyway because they are bad people.  At best they are misguided, at worst they are sociopathic and evil.

The winger blogs express similar ideas about Democrats and us moonbat libruls, except where the left thinks the right is too much the right thinks the left is too little.  The left thinks the right is too patriotic (jingoistic and warlike) while the right thinks the left isn’t patriotic enough (unamerican cowards.)

Who benefits from all this?  The corporatists.  They play both sides against each other so they can loot and pillage unabated.  But make no mistake, it’s not like all we have to do is show conservatives the light and they will convert to liberalism.

I was raised to be a conservative and a fundie, I’m still related to quite a few and the place where I live is infested with them.  While I don’t agree with them politically I don’t think they are bad people – at least not any worse than our side is.  I have given up on prostlytizing them however, because they are as hard headed and stubborn as I am.

Republicans are not stupid or ignorant, they are just as informed and educated as we are.  One factoid I picked up in college was that Newt Gingrinch’s home district of Cobb County Georgia has the highest rate of college graduates in the nation.  They see the same world with all the same problems that we do, but they draw different conclusions as to the causes and solutions.  And yes, they love their children too.

The reason this is important to understand is single payer.

We need single payer health care in this country.  In order to get it we have to persuade enough voters to agree with us.  F**k the politicians, if we get enough voters to agree we’ll get it, even if we have to vote out every single incumbent in Washington DC and start over.

Right now we are seeing four mistakes being made in trying to sell single payer.  First and foremost it isn’t on the table.  We can’t sell it if we don’t show it to the customers.  Secondly, we can’t sell it to conservatives if we exclude them from the discussion.  They need to be engaged in the debate, but that doesn’t mean we need to compromise – we need to convince them to buy.

In order to do this we need to quit thinking of this in terms of left vs. right.  We are not trying to convert them to our ideology, we’re just trying to sell them on a new way of paying for health care.  The current system of employer-provided health insurance no longer makes sense – it doesn’t cover everyone and it’s way too expensive.

That brings me to the third thing we are doing wrong – we need to quit being so damn condescending to and contemptuous of conservatives.  Instead of trying to shove it down their throats with a “STFU and take your medicine” attitude we need to use facts and logic.  Single payer makes sense.

The final mistake we keep making is arguing our apples to their oranges.  Once we accept that they are intelligent, sane and basically good just like we are, we need to figure out how to overcome their objections.  If you’re trying to sell a car to a guy who’s looking for a brand new souped-up Mustang sex machine and you keep showing him a used Geo Metro and emphasizing fuel efficiency you’re not gonna connect with him.

Everyone on both sides of the political spectrum wants affordable, high quality health care that is available to everyone.  Right now we are paying more than we should for less than we deserve.  Right now the majority of this country wants health care reform.

Right now the people that are benefiting from the status quo are spending millions of dollars to buy off the leaders of both parties and to mislead the voters into thinking they’ll end up with less than they have now.

Right now the Democrats are trying to sell us a used Geo Metro and some people think we should buy it, arguing we can trade it in later for what we really want.

Single payer is the solution – accept no substitutes.


Mustang Shelby GT500 Single Payer Convertible

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214 Responses

  1. Good thing I no longer feel any need to be a good and loyal Democrat.

    Loyalty is a two way street. They knifed me in the back in 2008, I won’t be giving them the opportunity to do so again.

  2. I agree with you cwaltz. What a position to be in after ever so many years. It’s like being in the land of OZ.

  3. On your larger point myiq, conservatives are afraid of anything the government touches. The plurality want a public option but I believe they want a safety net so that if it turns into a FEMA like disaster they have an out.

    • Interesting post. I’m not convinced the plurality want a public option though, once you begin talking to them about the long-term costs, the inevitable tax increases, the unending massive budget deficits this causes, etc. People may like the idea in a theoretical sense as it sounds “good” and “moral,” but it fails in a practical sense for most people. (Probably why liberals consistute such a small sliver of the ideological makeup of this nation- sound good on paper, don’t work in reality).

  4. and by public option I mean a plan that competes with private insurance companies.

    I have had success in my red little neck of the woods by saying that in the spirit of “free market” principles the government should be allowed to see if they can do it cheaper. I then point out countries that DO do it cheaper.

    • A genuine public option would turn into single payer.

      • That’s my opinion too. The insurance companies would be forced to come to a decision to compete, adapt or die with a government plan open to everyone.

        I’d be okay with single payer too. I just think the terminology scares alot of the conservatives. They really seem to believe the only thing government should be utilized for is defense.

    • I’ll take Medicare for All with a robust private option. Any serious public option would be as hard to pass as Medicare for All. Cwaltz, if you’d like to keep your private insurance, that’s great. But, I’d like to see all Americans have equitable basic health care and that can only be guaranteed with a single payer funded by taxes, so as I say, Medicare for All with a robust private option.

      • Masslib

        You might want to read the wording of that poll that has a 72% plurality asking for government help. It actually uses “public option.”

        I’d be interested to see the difference of a head to head with calling it a universal public option available to all vs. Medicare for all.

        Disclosure: I have fairly exceptional coverage thanks to the union. That being said health care reform was one of my number one reasons for supporting Hillary over Obama. I may have exceptional coverage but my children are getting older I want to come up with solutions for them so that they are not forced to pay half their paycheck to a private company that arbitrarily may decide it is no longer profitable to treat them.

        • Well, 2/3’s of Americans support Medicare for All, so that is sort of a moot point. But, here’s the thing, Congress isn’t offering a universal public option. They are offering a public option which the CBO expects to involve enrollments of 0-10 million people, no Medicare reimbursement rates, no physician network, has to be paid entirely through premiums, no negotiating drug prices, which will render it nonviable or at the very least extremely costly. So the public may support that, but it’s not on the table anymore than Medicare for All is.

          • I’d like to look at the citation for that 2/3 number please?

            I agree that Congress is not offering a universal option. It’s exactly why I oppose what they are offering. They want to continue to rig the game for the insurance companies and are willing to offer a up a portion of the population as sacrificial lambs to them.

            Screw that.

          • From what I’ve seen if they ask people if they support single payer most people say no, but if they describe single payer without calling it by that name most people will say yes.

          • And why is it called single payer?

            As I’ve said before (admitting to probably being stupider than the average American 😀 ), to this forriner it sounds like a threat:
            You are gonna pay for this! All by your little self!”

        • Nearly two-thirds of voters polled said the United States should adopt a universal health insurance program “in which everyone is covered under a program like Medicare that is run by the government and financed by taxpayers.”


          It goes down if you call it single payer, but it’s still a majority. People already know and like Medicare

          Fewer, but still a majority at 54 percent, said they supported a single-payer system whereby all Americans would get their health insurance through a taxpayer-financed government plan.

          • It’d be interesting to see a more recent match up and see which terminology has the edge. I think competing public option sounds less scary.

            Medicare for All seems to have an edge to single payer.

            Alot selling something is exactly as Myiq is suggesting . It’s about linguistics and understanding your opponents arguments.

            Obama’s camp seems to believe persuasive speaking boils down to yelling raycist or hollering ignorant hillbilly. That didn’t even work on their own half ideologically speaking why in the owrld do they believe it will work on independants or people on the other side of the aisle.

            They have a right to expect their concerns to be addressed, just as we had a right to having our concerns to be addressed during the Bush admin.

          • Medicare for All with a Strong Private Option! That’s the way to frame it I think.

          • Yhis is pretty simple really. People know and like Medicare, so I think it’s sellable even to lots of conservatives.

            A new public option will not be sellable to conservatives because they don’t trust the government to create it. Not to mention the GIANT MONEY SUCKING BUREAUCRACIES which will be created to run it. It’s almost like they are trying to turn government health care into private insurance with the abominable 30% overhead rate.

            Kill this pos and start over with Medicare for All with a strong private option!

          • I think the confusion is about doctors, really.

            A universal healthcare, or single payer, implies England/France, where the doctors actually work for the government (limited salaries, etc), and paitients get what they get.

            In Medicare-for-All, it is government FUNDED, but PRIVATELY delivered, and patients can still choose doctors, assuming the doctor takes Medicare patients. Doctor is reimbursed through government funds, but government doesn’t choose or assign people’s doctors.

            I am also for Medicare for All, and think more Americans would support it more readily if they knew it’s tax/government funded, but not tax/government run.

            I really think that’s where the confusion lies.

    • anytime someone on medicare tells you we don’t need government health care tell them they already have it and it is a hell of a lot better than what most of the rest of us have. Then ask them if they would like their cost for medicare and a supplement to go down. Because that is what will happen when the rest of the country joins the medicare pool. No for profit system in the world would be crazy enough to make a insurance pool of only old and sick people and then charge them 100 bucks a month for their policy. Medicare can do it because they are efficient and there is no profit motive. Also they only pay 80 percent and you have to have an additional supplement that cost anywhere from 120 to 300 bucks a month for the other 20 percent.
      With everyone on medicare it could probably cover everything with in reason (not your face lift lady). Companies would pay taxes for it, but not as much as they are paying for group insurance and people would pay too, but not as much they are paying in co-pays deductibles and contributions to their company plans. And people who can not pay have to be included. Medicare sucks, doctors do not take it and those that do treat you with contempt or neglect to really address your health issue because time is money.
      However I do not blame people for being afraid of the government making health decisions. I finally got it when Obama said something about end of life counseling. He is not wrong that we spend too much to keep people alive forever, but it is none of his business. It is no politicians business. doctors have begun to address the problem and the government needs to stay the hell out of it. They know nothing about health care and nothing about education and both are things they should stay out of.
      So, how do we have single payer without politicians interfering and fucking it up? We make medicare more independent. Give it a board of doctors and NURSES and other professionals. Let each section of the country put their top people from their top hospitals in for a two year term and them rotate and make sure that rural communities are represented too. No board of only corporate elitist schmucks.
      And the last point I would like to make is that some one needs to take this on as an advocate and it can not be Kucinich. It has to be someone the American people know and respect. They need to take it on like Gore took on climate change. They need to set up a lecture series and send some of us out to speak after being fully educated. Make us Hillary Clinton/Al Gore like policy wonks and send us out and THEN and only then should health care reform be taken on.

      • Playing devil’s advocate, if they are so efficent then why is Sebelius saying the savings from Medicare are coming from unnecessary procedures and readmissions that Medicare has now?

        Either it isn’t as efficient as we believe or Sebelius is telling a whopper and Medicare will sustain cuts and increases.

    • by saying that in the spirit of “free market” principles

      Free market principles would be nice. Which is why I find it extrodinarily strange that any bill presented today by the Democrats, and those postulating such a reason for support, refuses to address the lack of interstate commerce in health insurance. If the goal is truly to bring more competition to the market to make it cheaper, why not let companies truly compete? Allow them to compete across state lines like in every other industry. Allow them to tailor products based on the consumer and not “one-size-fits-all” mandates.

      I agree with the main blog, decoupling health care coverage from the employer would go along way too in solving this situtation. It’d allow consumers to take their health care to what ever job they have, instead of lossing healath care when they lose a job.

      I’d love to see America attempt these things first PRIOR to hoisting on another massive government program.

      • uh, you’re obviously new here, because we’ve discussed this before and you’re not really with the program.

        There is no such thing as a free market principle in any market that’s basically got third party payers. If you’ve got insurance companies, it’s automatically a sign that it’s not a ‘free market’, it is a failed market. It’s a matter of finding the least cost solution. Data from all over the industrialized world shows that we have the 2nd most expensive system (after the Marshall Islands) and the 37th most effective. The existence of multiple private insurers means costs are 31% higher here and wait times and outcomes are much worse.

        I’m the resident economist here and here’s some things I’ve written to catch you up on why we’re not misguided …




        • I nevevr claimed anyone was misguided. Only asked why one would use the argument of “free market principles” yet not make room for interstate competition in this particular market.

          If that reason is truly the logic for offering a “public option” then it would stand to reason that eliminating state line barriers on health insurance would also be a solution. As the bill is currently constructed the public option would be the only health insurance option allowed to opperate across state lines.

          Data from all over the world also suggest that while our system is expensive it is in the highest rankings for survival rates of cancers and diseases.

          • go up to where I answered you … this market, by definition, cannot be a free market BECAUSE of third party payers (i.e. insurance companies private or otherwise)

            Have you ever taken a microeconomics course and learned what has to be in place in order for a market to be perfectly competitive? The existence of insurance alone means it’s impossible.

          • I scrolled up and saw no such response to the initial post by cwaltz for which I was replying. I have had economic courses and worked in fields which required an understanding of economics. The semantics with which you are arguing are not addressing the intent of my response. Perhaps I am not phrasing it clearly enough though.

          • Maybe I’m not getting what you’re implying, because to me, by definition insurance companies can’t be competitive or free market because they’re basically a friction in a naturally uncompetitive market, they make money by creating and preying upon adverse selection and information asymmetry. It’s like realtors or stock brokers. They are all pathogens basically in a failed market. Why would you want to turn these little parasite/cancers free run of a failed market just so they can go make it worse? If you’re looking for a market solution, you don’t encourage the very thing that makes it impossible for a market solution to exist.

          • Then we are at an impass. I don’t think insurance companies are “preying upon adverse selection and information asymmetry”. Will the next large crisis add yet another sector to your list of dishonest intities? So far you have Real Estate, Insurance and Stocks. But I am surprised Politicians are not included in “preying upon adverse selection and information asymmetry.”

            At any rate, if a Public Option is to be set up to provide more choice, as is the reason stated by Mr. Obama and implied in cwaltz’s post, then why is it that the Government which provides the Public Option is the only Insurance Provider that would be allowed to opporate across state lines? If, as Mr. Obama claims, this public option will bring competition, and thus lower costs, why not allow other providers to have the same permissions in marketing? Why does the Government get the monopoly on market freedoms, ie. interstate commerce?

  5. OT: Justice Sonia Sotomayor has been sworn in.

    • My daughter will be so excited.

      • I watched it live. It was nice to watch a wise Latina break the barrier just like that! CNN was getting reaction from a viewing party, and a young woman said, “Justice has been served!”

    • My paranoid suspicious mind wonders why they did it today?

      A Saturday swear-in in August when SCOTUS is on break until October?

      • CNN was no help naturally, they said it was because Sotomayor and the rest of the Court wanted her to start working asap.

  6. WTF?:

    In closed-door negotiations with President Obama and his top aides throughout the spring, Big Pharma offered its support for comprehensive health care reform and pledged to cut $80 billion in costs over the next ten years. Just exactly what Obama promised in return wasn’t made public and was the subject of intense debate on Capitol Hill Thursday, as senators wondered aloud if the White House had tied their legislative hands.

    Earlier in the week, there were reports that Obama had promised to oppose any congressional attempt to exact further money from the massive pharmaceutical industry, which would include allowing Medicare to negotiate for lower prices or import cheaper drugs from Canada — two major priorities for congressional Democrats.

    In a Thursday meeting with Senate Democrats, some of those present thought the White House backed off that deal. The administration has now stepped in to clear up its position: Congress can vote to do those things — just not as part of the health-care overhaul legislation.

    Fuck Obama and the unity pony he rode in on – the motherfucking bastard sold us all out.

  7. Do the Republicans love their children too? No, of course not, and they also hate their dogs, oh, and their grandmothers. They really hate those b*tches. LOL

  8. Good post, myiq. It really worries me when we dehumanize people whether because of race, gender, political beliefs. We all know why, because it eventually leads to violence, to inhuman behavior on our part. And it serves the government and the corporations well. They like nothing better than to pit groups of Americans against each other, because then we are simply shaking our pom poms for our team. There is no longer any reason to think, to read, to question anything. Health care for example, you are supposed to support Obama’s health care plan regardless of what’s in it because he is good and the opposition is bad.

    • Oh my!:

      BREWER: But we – and we just put it up there – we saw George W. Bush on Vanity Fair as the Joker. I mean, then why would this be racially motivated?

      KENNICOTT: Well, I mean, for the obvious reason that George Bush wasn’t black. I mean in this case, I think what they’re doing is finding an image that actually has undercurrents when applied to Obama that it simply didn’t have when it applied to Bush.

      IOW – It’s only racist because it’s Obama (IORBIO)

    • The Age of Racist Fear—I knew this was going to be the new national context for everything political and public. By making everything political about Obama a racist question, racism loses any meaning for all of us. Is that a good thing? I don’t think so. I think Obama’s racial identity crisis is being projected on the world at large.

  9. […] Here is the original post: Do the Republicans love their children too? […]

    • I let this computer generated spam through just cuz it’s funny.

      They must have picked up on the mention of car models.

  10. I appreciate this post because, of course, I agree with it. My life work, education, has always meant that I absolutely had to work with the true diversity of my community. The reality is that most people are just not cardboard cut outs with fixed beliefs or absolutely predictable patterns of behavior. Goodness and badness wind their way through out; my experience is that people are likely to be a collection of experiences that play out in their behavior in different ways. Sometimes they are rational and constructive and sometimes they are uber emotional and can do dumb things. If you look at this health care thing as a social scientist or historian grounded in the big themes of human behavior, what is happening now is as predictable as morning light and the darkness of night. It is a text book example of how people act with big change—-if they are not involved in developing the change, have no real control over the change, get confusing messages about what the change is and the change will impact their very being—their survival.

    The Dems are playing big fat politics in DC. The people see health care reform that they want and need no longer something that will be done with them but something that is going to be done to them.

    This is Obama’s fault. He is the great cheerleader; the visionary on the stump. He has no skill in the practical management and implementation of what he is doing.

    • That’s the problem with electing someone with a record of being ideologically wishy washy.

    • The Dems are playing big fat politics in DC. The people see health care reform that they want and need no longer something that will be done with them but something that is going to be done to them.

      YES!! YESYESYES!!!! That is the utter stupidity of this bill, this whole “movement”, and how the goddamn Obamabots have framed it and pushed it in such a high-handed manner. If you frame it as “get out of the way you ignorant peons, we are going to tell you what’s good for you”, the people BALK.

      That doesn’t make them crazy, or stupid, or selfish – it makes them angry and scared and rightfully distrustful. Politics and public support for legislation is about trust. And once you destroy that trust, the peeps are going to TUNE YOU OUT. They are going to stick their fingers in their ears, and say, “Fuck you, don’t wanna hear it, talk to the hand.” And that is precisely what is happening.

  11. Is this WTF Weekend?:

    As more Americans delve into the disturbing details of the nationalized health care plan that the current administration is rushing through Congress, our collective jaw is dropping, and we’re saying not just no, but hell no!

    . . . The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.

    I agree with BTD on this one – “Jaw dropping stupid

    Sarah has some ‘spaining to do.

    • I read that. It’s appalling. It’s inane.

    • Oh my! Wow!

      This level of insanity is breathtaking.

    • I can’t say that I’m surprised.

    • I still want to know what constitutes “unnecessary procedures”? According to Sebelius that is how they intend to exact savings from Medicare to save by eliminating “unnecessary procedures.”

      If Medicare is supposedly this model of efficiency that some of us want then can someone explain to me why the government is paying for unnecessary stuff to begin with? I’d also like to know who will be making these determinations on what constitutes unnecessary. Is it basically going to be bean counters like the insurance companies have only run by the government?

      If Obama and his merry band of mauraders weren’t so blasted vague. Sarah Palin wouldn’t have an opening for hyperbole. Frankly, I find what Sarah says far less worrisome then what Sebelius appears to be suggesting.

      • I think what they’re both saying is idiotic, but Palin’s is more incendiary.

        • Not if you’re a senior it wouldn’t be.

          What I find interesting about Sarah’s statement is that it is intellectually dishonest to suggest that private insurers don’t have their own “death panels.” What exactly makes their panels superior to a government panel?

          You need only spend a few minutes on Google to read the horror stories perpetrated against sick people by private insurers to line their coffers.

          Someone should tell Sarah she needn’t worry about Trig anyway. She makes well above the $80,000 that would actually qualify her for a public option. She’s in the group that gets to be bilked and fleeced, as well as taxed.

          • I was referring to the language. “Death Panel” is more incendiary to me. The way Sebelius talks about healthcare is very cold and out of touch and screwed up way of selling healthcare imho, but I haven’t heard her use incendiary words about the other side.

          • cwaltz,

            are you seriously trying to defend what Sarah Palin said?
            as for eliminating unnecessary procedures, you should really read Atul Gawande’s momentous piece.

            I think that is the most important article written by anyone in the entire HC discussion.

          • imho the problem is not necessarily what Sebelius means by “eliminating unnecessary procedures from Medicare” so much as the problem is the way she is talking about it. Not everyone is going to read Atul Gawande’s piece.

          • I know that everybody is not going to read Atlu Gawande’s piece. However, if you are going to chime in the whole discussion and be taken seriously, shouldn’t you know what you are talking about and not rely on the almost criminal misinformation of Betsy McCaughey?

            That’s the woman who more than anyone else sunk UHC 1993, based on the same type of lies. I also wanted to do a post about her because I have so much material on the subject but I’m afraid she has already done the damage.

          • But, how do the Dems convert people to strong public option (or preferably singlepayer) if they just look down at everyone who has a “stupid concern” ? Yes, the well has been poisoned with disinformation, but the Dems aren’t going to clean it up by just saying “well it’s dirty and it’s the other side’s fault, not ours, so the water should just clean itself up!” The Dems need to persuade people, not expect them to be exactly up to speed where they are.

          • Don’t tell mablue he’s not doing his point any good. It is useless.

          • PalphB,

            what are you talking about?

          • Why yes ,Mablue I am defending her right to have an opinion and speak out. I am even going so far as to blame the tomfoolery that the Democrats have engaged in for allowing her to effectively engage in hyperbole. Sarah Palin didn’t write the vague wishy washy legislation. She didn’t send Sebelius out to defend it. That’s on the Democrats.

            Feel free to link the piece you want me to read. I didn’t see anything in wiki to suggest he was an expert in health care inefficiency or any pieces linked that seemed to speak on the subject.

          • Convince us and stop calling us names.

          • You don’t sell a gourmet meal by only talking about the gassy after effects and probable diarrhea.

        • wonk the vote, I am going to cut and/or tax your health care plan so that others can be insured. Do you find that incendiary?

      • Go read atul Gawande’s

        The Cost Conundrum

        I think everybody should.

        • I read it when it was originally published. It’s very well written for what is basically anecdotal data. Quite convincing, but it is only one small piece.

        • It actually argues for a model closer to what the Republicans want. It argues that there are large scale inefficiences in Medicare(so why in the world would you want to force everyone to be enrolled in it?)

          He also hit at litigation. (Which I find interesting since studies I have read suggest that something like 10% of doctors account for around half of litigation or some such obscene numbers).

          I’m not sure he is giving a complete picture though. He seems to argue dispassionately and completely from an objective viewpoint. Medicine and human lives aren’t or shouldn’t just be viewed from an objective lens. I would have liked to hear things from a subjective stance too. I would have been interested in hearing not just the medical communities input but from a patients standpoint.

          He also seems to dance around a bit when it comes to the higher costs in the lower income communities and preventative care. He doesn’t seem to acknowledge that it may be why when people in those communities get that medical care they need more diagnostic testing then someone who has a primary care physician and sees them routinely. Then in the next breath he excoriates a physicain that is monitoring someone’s blood pressure every three months instead of every six(which by the way may not have been a bad thing if this person’s pressure was unstable and they were playing with medication to stablize it. There just isn’t enough info for me to draw the same conclusions he is).

    • Yea, I saw that yesterday and wasn’t surprised. I will still defend Palin from sexist attacks but the unfortunate reality is that she is a right-wing fundie. I’m sure we’ll hear more things like this from her now that she is out of office and free to express her opinions on anything. It will make her a huge star as a conservative talking head on television.

      • hmmm, but as governor she did not operate as a right wing fundy and what version of fundy are you talking about anyway?

    • Sarah has some ‘splainin to do? ?? Why? When a gov’t spits out a thousand page bill that no one in the government, including the congressmen, has read, and then shoves it down our throats, no questions asked, what do you expect? I’d say THEY’VE got some expaining to do.
      Go Sarah! She’s Sam Adams in a dress.

      • Cindy, no one here likes Obamacare but our reasons for being against Obama are very different from Palin or the Tea Party protesters. They are trying to push the meme that Obama is a socialist – which is absurd – and does nothing to help those of us on the left pushing for single payer health care.

        • disenfranchised—-
          Dr. Gawande’s article , as I read it, says he does not find a single-payer program any different from a private insurer…..and his best example of quality care with the least cost is the Mayo Clinic, which is a private institution locally run.

        • She didn’t say Obama was a socialist. She said his health care was an abomination. I’m inclined to agree with her.

          Where I differ with her is I also believe that private care has many of the same problems she accuses his health care of having.

    • I think she is getting bad information but there is a (flimsy) basis for what she is saying. Right now, in Texas, a law was pushed through in conjunction with the anti-abortion groups (Right to Life if I remember accurately but “pro-life” groups are not necessarily pro-life): If a person has a fatal disease and there is no insurance, hospitals can take even conscious people (including children) off life support and dump them — against their will (if they are adult and competent) or against the will of their next of kin. There have been several heart-wrenching cases — but mostly involving minority children so has anyone much noticed? Sometimes room was found at other, humane hospitals. Of course, if insurance is still paying, then no problem. I will see if I can find the statute and the links.

      Of course this would not apply to Gov. Palin’s son. But it is shocking enough as it is and could (theoretically) apply to her parents or anyone who is ill.

      A Medicare for all plan could fix these problems. Speaker Pelosi has promised at least a single payer vote in the House. That means she thinks it will not pass. We should put pressure on every Democrat we can to vote for it, but as we cannot get enough Democrats to vote for it, we must convince Republicans in the House to vote for it. If it passed and were signed into law, it would make voters happy (those who voted for it would be heros); if President Obama vetoes it, the mask is off.


      • The case in Austin which provide the original spark for that legislation was heart rending. The hospital basically removed a child’s life support to save money as they were not insured for it. In this case, the Right to Life people were correct.

        With Ezekiel Emanuel as one of Obama’s major advisers on health care, Palin may have a better reason than we know for her concern. His stated positions on withholding care are grotesque.

        • if I remember correctly there was a young woman who was dying and awake and they took her off the ventilator even before her mother could get there from another country.

          • Yes, that was one case I remember. Another where a little girl was in the same state and they were going to remove her from life support due to lack of insurance. I kid you not.

            This case went to court with a temporary restraining order on the hospital. They fought this for all it was worth and finally got to pull the plug. That’s the genesis of the new law.

    • Sarah has evidently read some of the essays of Obama’s health care advisor, Ezekiel Rahm.

      “This civic republican or deliberative democratic conception of the good provides both procedural and substantive insights for developing a just allocation of health care resources. Procedurally, it suggests the need for public forums to deliberate about which health services should be considered basic and should be socially guaranteed. Substantively, it suggests services that promote the continuation of the polity – those that ensure healthy future generations, ensure development of practical reasoning skills, and ensure full and active participation by citizens in public deliberation – are to be socially guaranteed as basic. Conversely, services provided to individuals who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens are not basic and should not be guaranteed. An obvious example is not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia.”

      Jump on her if you want, and no, it’s not in the bill. But if that’s who is advising Obama, I have a BIG problem with that whole approach to healthcare.

      Hyperbolic and reactionary? Possibly. But jaw-droppingly stupid, as in totally la-la? I dunno. People like this are advising Obama on cost-controls, and as the mother of a handicapped daughter, I don’t like the sound of that thinking one bit.

      • Think of it this way. Some of us were very distrustful of the neo-cons in the area of foreign policy, even long before Iraq. Why? It’s wasn’t just because of the things they had actually done, or bills they actually proposed.

        Part of it was because we had read statements and proposals by, and were aware of, many of their batshit crazy “advisors” who advocated things like a systemic military takeover of the entire middle east. And we WORRIED about that. About which warmongering maniacs had the ear of the neo-cons, and what their intentions were, regardless of whether they had implemented a damn thing objectionable (yet).

        How is this substantially different? You may not agree, but there is enough there in the speeches and writings of some of those advising Obama to make people sit up and go “WTF??? What’s their ultimate goal, here?”

        Again, you may think the concern is unwarranted or overblown, and that’s fine. I think it is, too. But it is in no way “crazy” or “stupid” or completely tinfoil made-up.

        • You’ve got a really good point there. I think Sarah is misinformed and incendiary, but she could be worried in the same way some of us worried about the neocons and Iraq and other things. We were basing our fear and incendiary talk on their principles and what we suspected they wanted to do in the future. Given this advisor and his views, some of the fears for future changes are not totally unfounded. But of course none of that is in the bill now, so it sounds like crazy talk. There’s of course a more politically balanced way to approach that without being incendiary. She should probably look into that. 🙂

          • sure as soon as democrats stop being incendiary and cynically political, Palin should do the same thing.

      • It’s not in any part of the bill, ANY bill.

        She’s relying on the insane speech given by Michelle Bachman who herself relied serial misinformer and liar Betsy McCaughey.

        After it was proven that she made lots of lies out of whole cloth in 1993, I didn’t she would ever show up again and play the same insidious game. I was wrong.

        This is not o say that the current bill is great but you don’t combat it with mendacity, just like in 1993.

          • Legal Insurrection:

            The article in which Dr. Emanuel puts forth his approach is “Principles for Allocation of Scarce Medical Interventions,” published on January 31, 2009. A full copy is embedded below. Read it, particularly the section beginning at page 6 of the embed (page 428 in the original) at which Dr. Emanuel sets forth the principles of “The Complete Lives System.”

            While Emanuel does not use the term “death panel,” Palin put that term in quotation marks to signify the concept of medical decisions based on the perceived societal worth of an individual, not literally a “death panel.” And in so doing, Palin was true to Dr. Emanuel’s concept of a system which

            considers prognosis, since its aim is to achieve complete lives. A young person with a poor prognosis has had a few life-years but lacks the potential to live a complete life. Considering prognosis forestalls the concern the disproportionately large amounts of resources will be directed to young people with poor prognoses. When the worst-off can benefit only slightly while better-off people could benefit greatly, allocating to the better-off is often justifiable….

            When implemented, the complete lives system produces a priority curve on which individuals aged between roughly 15 and 40 years get the most chance, whereas the youngest and oldest people get chances that are attenuated.

            Put together the concepts of prognosis and age, and Dr. Emanuel’s proposal reasonably could be construed as advocating the withholding of some level of medical treatment (probably not basic care, but likely expensive advanced care) to a baby born with Down Syndrome. You may not like this implication, but it is Dr. Emanuel’s implication not Palin’s.

        • Please read what I said. I already said it was not in the bill. But it IS in the published writings of several very close advisors to Obama. What I posted is not from a speech of crazy Michelle Bachman, it is from the pen of on of Obama’s top advisOrs.

          And if you think, that as the mother of a mentally handicapped 27 year old daughter, who will NEVER be a completely independent and “participating” member of society, I do not have DAMN GOOD REASON to be alarmed that that kind of philosophy and thinking is in the ear of those planning national healthcare, then you can kiss my ass.

          • Word. I think the Republican response is cynical politicking for the most part, but the Dems handed it to them on a plate. The idea that if Bush had very questionable advisors on this and Repubs were inserting unecessary and frightening sounding provisions in the bill the Dems would be saying, “let’s be fair. Let’s hold back and wait to see if the Repub advisors actually insert their amoral, frightening views into the bill first,” is absurd.

          • Sarah Palin sent people to Michelle Bachman’s speech.

            Check here for yourself

            Sarah Palin is not the avid reader you are trying to make her to be, unlike Hillary Clinton.

          • mablue, did I say she was an avid reader and well-versed in Homer? No. And I am well aware of Hillary’s vast intelligence, thanks. I said that what I myself posted did not come from Bachman. Please stop countering arguments that I never made.

            You still have yet to address why either I or Palin should NOT be concerned that these types of philosophies about care of the mentally disabled are indeed and in FACT floating around the WH. Or why that concern is totally crazy, left-field, wildly and laughably stupid. Because it’s not.

          • I have to agree mablue. I think if Sarah wants to continue in politics or on the public stage, she would be advised to either do a lot more reading and reasoning, or have better advisors. She seems to be taking the approach of many in politics which is to be reactionary and incendiary. That of course can work. See for example, almost all politicians. 🙂 But I would like to see more for some reason. Because I think even though she’s a Republican, I kind of like her. Oh well.

          • Oh and by the way, I don’t think it’s cynical to fear that Obama and company will do something horrible with healthcare. Just like the crazy neocons and foreign policy, I wouldn’t be surprised at the worst of 1984 like measures from this administration.

          • Palin points to Bachman’s speech about Ezekiel Emanuel. What I understand wmcb to be saying is that you don’t have to go to Michelle Bachman’s speech, you can go to Ezekiel Emanuel’s own words. So shooting Bachman as the messenger does not refute the concern.

            I still think Palin’s use of the words “death panel” was really absurd and stupid, it diminishes the underlying concern IMHO.

          • WMCB;

            I think you should be worried if that was an actual policy the Government was trying to implement, as we should ALL be.
            But this is not a policy written in ANY of the 5 bills, even if Ezekiel Emanuel wrote about it.

            This bill is being written inCongress, although the WH is giving some outlines.

            PS: Probably because I wanted to write a post about Betsy McCaughey, I have way too much material in front of me and seing her be victorious again withe the same rotten and cynical strategy sickens me.

            Sarah Palin clearly referred people to Michelle Bachman speech on the floor of the House, a speech in which she read about what Betsy McCaughey wrote.

          • mablue, I agree that going “defcon ten” over it is hyperbole. I’ve said that. I just don’t agree that having real concerns and suspicions about what sort of philosophical underpinnings exist, and whether any innocuous-looking provisions in this bill could be used to implement them, is utterly batshit crazy or stupid.

            Sometimes there is a kernel of truth even in tinfoil hat stuff. And I am distrustful enough of the goons in power now that I’m not going to ignore it. This issue is WAY too close to me for me to do that. And yes, I react strongly. Palin does go a lot further than I’d go, but as the mom of one of those “disposable” human beings, I understand where she’s coming from.

          • WMCB;

            you’re probably right. I just get too angry when I seee the same level of mendacity at play. 1993 was the 1st time I really followed something so closely.

            What is even stranger is that I hate the current bill but it should go down on its own demerits, not because some distortions done by the people who do nothing but misnform and who are not interested in ANY type of reform.

          • I know. And I agree with that. And Sarah did approach it in the most incendiary way possible. And that frustrates me because that sort of hyperbole then gives an easy out for anyone to poo-poo ALL concerns about this. You can’t even bring it up without it being: “Bachman talking point! Dismissed!”

          • Wmcb, do you think maybe that was the point? It’s hard to believe the Dems could be sooooo stupid and oblivious as to fail to see the kind of ammo they’re handing the Repubs. This was utterly predictable. I know it sounds ridiculously tinfoil hat, but I have to wonder if they acted deliberately to set off these reactions so they could then demonize and marginalize any opposition from any quarter as coming from extremist right wing kooks.

          • myiq2xu—–many many thanks for this link (Legal Insurrection). I’ve got a lawyer hubby who wanted to read it.
            You never disappoint.

    • it is hyperbole no doubt… but republicans are just as prone to it as democrats and until our side stop doing it I am not going to blame her for it.
      Obama did talk about end of life counseling. Now how does that sound to you all?

  12. I have said since May 31, 2008, that the Democrats hate Republicans more than they love truth. They hate Republicans more than they love anything, actually.
    I’ll never be a Dem again, ever!

  13. Oh Sarah. The road not taken is the path I want for you. If you are writing your stuff, it is going very badly. If someone else is, fire them.

    • It’s disgusting. She should know better unless she’s a flaming idiot.

    • Yea, I think her shot at winning the presidency is over. I wouldn’t vote for her as I won’t vote for Obama. As I said above, this doesn’t give Dems the excuse to attack her on the basis of her sex or go after her family (which they continue to do). But I won’t vote for someone simply because they are a woman (or because they are black or have a D after their name when their actions are the exact opposite). If last year has taught us anything it’s not to be deceived by shiny objects. Obama was a shiny object with zero substance. I’m afraid Palin is the same. But the attacks against her from the left have been disgusting.

  14. Well, if Sarah’s caricature of the O health care were the health care system being proposed—-health care based upon your “worth” to society, it would be evil. I am not sure it is (although, I am not sure it isn’t). As usual, Obama muddies the waters by having people as advisers who have some rather scary thoughts—like Ezekiel Emanuel, Rahm’s brother, who has a book that explores exactly such issues and has two advisory positions with Obama on health care.

    I have medicare. It seems to be a pretty good system. It only pays 80% of costs. You do have a co pay for Part B and D—I think that is good. But still, you know if you get a big health care issue, you need private supplemental insurance. So even if everyone had medicare, I think there would still be a pretty big supplemental private insurance business.

    • That’s the basic French system in a nutshell. I’m fine with that. Medicare for All with a robust private option.

    • I’m not going to go into detail, but my mother died a couple of months ago because a doctor discovered we were no longer going to tolerate her using my mother as a pawn to cross-sell services from doctor to lab to doctor to lab to hospital any longer. That doctor then refused to treat a broken suture so she lost all her abdominal fluids and died of kidney failure (the obvious result of the doctor’s decision).

      The “death panels” already exist. Be it insurance companies, or doctors, we are already at the mercy of someone who is looking at the $ value of keeping our hearts beating.

      • I’m very sorry to hear. That is just really infuriating too to see that level of unethical, even evil, behavior from the medical community.

    • I think that if everyone was on medicare it could pay 100 percent off all costs. Just imagine an insurance company which had a pool of only old and sick people and then included twice as many young and healthy people….rates could drop dramatically.

  15. I wonder if Queen Elizabeth likes spotted dick?

  16. Great post, myiq. Like jangles, I have to work with a diverse community of people and the caricatures are just… weird to me. And personally, I’m in a place where I’m appalled and alienated from both political parties and their more evangelical, true believer-type members.

    I’ve never been good at the tribal mentality. Something in my mind just freaks out and runs in the other direction.

    OTOH, I think that the corp media is shamelessly pushing one side and demonizing the other. I’m so exhausted with the r@ce-baiting, it doesn’t even make the needle twitch anymore. Someone says the word “r@cist” or “tea party” and I’m supposed to salivate like Pavlov’s dog. But, I just can’t jump when NPR tells me to anymore. The pathologizing of political opponents is becoming increasingly creepy to me.

    Above, myiq summed it up: you can disagree with someone without hating that person. That so many can’t — and in such, ahem, “respectable” mainstream media forums — really shows how empty their arguments are.

  17. Sheesh.

    The problem with the current debate over this public health option among the left is I just don’t hear enough from you guys over how to fund it. I’m admittedly ideologically opposed to government-run health insurance, but I recognize the polls are mixed on whether the country shares my view.

    But my basic question is: how are you going to pay for it? I think when people get into that question, it gets a lot trickier.

    MediCare may seem great to many, but it is unfunded to the tune of at least $35 trillion dollars. Certain portions of it may be insolvent by 2016.

    The legacy of the progressives in this country are the massive entitlement programs they have created that are severely underfunded and that will continue to drive up our national debt (and ultimately long-term interest rates) unless severe reforms are made.

    This current bill talks about proposed reforms, but they are all in the form of rationing (or so I understand)- rather than privatizing more care and delaying the retirement age.

    That in turn gives ammunition back to the side of us conservatives who say: look! The progressives and left-wingers are already going to ration your MediCare, b/c they don’t have the political will power to pass the level of taxes needed to fund full, comprehensive government provided care. They will do the same with the public option!

    Granted, no one is talking about single payer in this bill debate at the moment (openly, anyway). It’s all around a public option to “compete” with private plans. But that is going to drive a lot of small practioners out of business and leave a lot of folks on the government plan (whether it is truly 100 million remains to be seen…).

    I have a good friend who is a consultant to medical practicioners in the TN and GA area. His group is responsible for managing the day-to-day business affairs for over 50 practicioners- mainly in rural areas. They have done the math using the proposed reimbursement tables provided for in this bill and provided those numbers to the practicioners. 15 of the groups they help said they will close their doors if the bill is passed as is- they know the areas they serve will have high numbers of people in this public plan and they say they will not be able to sustain operations. Talk about inhumane. Rural healthcare scarcity is already a problem- imagine if this problem is increased under the current plan. I’ll bet these discussions are happening across America.

    Sorry to unload on your blog here. I just disagree with some of things you all are excluding from your discussion: namely, how to properly fund this plan.

    We need reform that makes sense BOTH for individuals who need insurance AND for health care providers. This bill is TOO demand sided not enough SUPPLY sided.

    I’d be curious your thoughts on how to fund this, not simply how to sell the plan to the American public.

    • Right now we spend twice as much per person as the French and we don’t cover all our people. If we do it right we will spend less than we are now.

      One key is getting rid of “for profit” health insurance companies.

      • Man myig2xu, that’s goign absolutely the wrong direction.

        My perspective is that what the left fails to realize is that the benefit of “for-profit” health care companies is that they have a market-driven incentive to keep costs below the amount of revenues they take in. This leads to their ability to operate as going concerns, which means their operations are sustainable into the future.

        Clearly and indisputably this same thing is not true of government organizations. MediCare, Social Security, etc. are completely underfunded, and thus the long-term unsustainability of our national finances. The French program is also a great example of this- that thing has been running in the red for years. Simply put, this stuff is unsustainable over the long-haul. I fully expect in another 10 to 15 years for there to be upheaval all over the world as more retirees enter these programs b/c of the baby-boomer retirements and governments keep having to cut back on programs, etc. and borrow heavily b/c of the strain on the system. if you thought the collapse of capitalism in 2008 was bad, wait till the collapse of socialism.

        also, the left loves to bash “for-profit” health-care companies as immoral. But I’m curious how many of these same people are invested in a 401k, a 403b, an IRA, or are a member of a private, union-backed or public pension fund? If so, what percentage of the assets of those plans are directly invested in health-care-related companies that make these “obscene” profits (and thereby provide healthy investment returns to these plans)? Or, how many are indirectly invested in these companies through mutual funds or through government bonds that are funded on the tax revenues generated from these entities?

        • Insurance companies profit by denying care, not by driving out inefficiencies. If that were not true, their overhead would be a hell of a lot lower instead of a lot higher than Medicare. That argument won’t fly.

        • Health insurance companies are amoral. Their goal is maximization of profit, not maximization of care.

          We are already paying for health care. The goal of single payer is efficiency and fairness – but we can’t get something for nothing.

          The only way to stay out of the red is charge more or spend less, or a combination of the two.

          We can spend less by reducing costs or reducing coverage. We can only charge more if there is someone with the ability to pay.

          The current system is paid via a crazy-quilt of employer contributions, co-pays, deductibles, and taxes. Doctors and hospitals make up for losses due to people who file bankruptcy and have unpaid bills by raising their fees on everyone else.

          • MeidCare’s “overhead” is lower b/c they have a terrible bureacracy running it that is ripe for faud and abuse. If you get inside medical companies that take fees from MediCare, you find that MediCare is extremely slow paying and frequently low-balls the market. I guess it lowballs, though, rather than trying to prevent fraud.

            At any rate, what comes across as “efficiency” actually is a whole bunch of waste and disruption to the market place. You also find that health care providers end up charging increasingly more to privately insured people with each decrease in MediCare reimbursements.

            Once we have demonized and beaten the private insurance industry into the corner, who will doctors and hospitals go to to collect reasonable fees for the care they provide? What will happen to the actual health care providers? (i.e. the suppliers).

            See – this is my problem with the left’s arguments. It’s all about what we are paying- but not who we are paying and what they are providing. We are paying hospitals, doctors, drug companies, etc., all of whom have been working feverishly for years to provide world class health care. The fact remains that our health care system is the best in the world in terms of cancer surivival rates, etc.

            If we low-ball the providers with a MediCare for all type program, my guess is that it will no longer be medical insurers denying coverage, it will be the actual health care providers- they will have to. You can’t increase demand and pay less for a service, and expect for supply to just sort of “be there.”

            The push back from the health industry will probably force government to develop a system for rationing, once a substantial amount of people are on this program. The government would basically be foolish not to, unless they want costs to spiral out of control again.

            Anyway – there are plenty of responsible alternatives to the public option or a “MediCare for all.” You could start with tort reform, allowing insurance companies to compete across state borders, changing the tax structure to decouple insurance from employment, etc, etc. The right has a lot of responsible solutions that just aren’t getting a lot of airtime in the middle of this debate. That’s why this monstrosity of a bill is so divisive and controversial.

            I’ll leave it with this: MediCare is unfunded by $35-50 trillion, depending on who’s analysis you read. That is ridiculously unsustainable. If you want to argue that a program that is that far underwater when you look at its projected long-term commitments is more efficient and sustainable than a private system, that’s fine. You just aren’t going to pursuade a lot of people to join you. 🙂

          • You also find that health care providers end up charging increasingly more to privately insured people with each decrease in MediCare reimbursements.

            I completely agree with you that we do need to take an honest look at cost, and how to pay for it. And no, I don’t think the Dems have been upfront and real about those numbers. And I agree that we have to fight hard to keep the govt from sticking their nose in all of our healthcare decisions and creating massive bureaucracies just because they can. We need to keep it practical, and simple.

            But I take issue with what you said in the quote above. The truth is, the vast majority of private insurers base their own payments on X% of Medicare. Some are 100%, some are 110%, some are even 75 or 80% of Medicare. A rare few are 125% or more, and even rarer (very) the ones who will pay whatever the doc charges.

            If you think that what drives the reimbursements of private insurance is in any way a free market, you are wrong. They have a stranglehold and a monopoly, and pay whatever they please. They can change this unilaterally, without notice, and the doc can’t say squat. I did all of my MD husband’s billing and insurance contracts for years. I know firsthand how the system works.

            Oh but then the doc can just stop taking that insurance, you say? Not really. Because they all do it, for one thing. And also if a big Insurance company like UHC or BCBS has cornered the market on the top 3 employers in your area, what are you going to do? Get rid of 50% of your customer- patient base, just to make a point? In my mind, uncoupling insurance from employment is one of the BEST things we can do to promote competition and drive costs down. I actually do agree with some republicans on that one.

            I think medicare open to all to BUY in, not be totally free, is the best option, but I have no problem with trying other things as well. But no plan that leaves the insurance companies unfettered to do what they want is just going to be another disaster.

            When there is extreme NEED, free market principles and forces (which I am all for in most cases) get skewed. This is why, after hurricanes and natural disasters, the govt steps in and says, “NO, you cannot charge whatever you want for things like gas, like bottled water.” It’s called price-gouging, not a “free market” and it takes over where people are in extreme need and unable to really defer choosing to buy that item. It’s illegal. Unless you are an insurance company dealing with people’s life and death and health. Then it’s okay.

          • Okay, totally botched my tags again. Italics were supposed to end after “Medicare” in my second paragraph.

        • Do you mean by doing things like this?


          How is making people jump through hoops to get the care they pay for efficient?


          How in the world do you reconcile data like this as a fair system?


          You spend your life paying premiums, working hard, and doing everything right and still end up in court declaring bankruptcy.

          What you say should be working in theory isn’t what is occuring in practice.

          • Cwaltz. That is all interesting, but it still doesn’t answer my question on the long-term sustainability of MediCare and a “MediCare for all” proposal.

            I’m also not arguing for the status quo, as I recognize that the system is too expensive for many people. I’m saying there are ways to get the costs down outside of creating a monolithic, unsustainable and unfundable government program.

          • I don’t have the time right now to go into the fallacies in your argument, but I will ask where you came up with the information that Medicare is unfunded by $35-50 trillion?

            $35-50 TRILLION?

            Also – Is that now or projected, and if so to when?

            Final point – We are already paying for health care. We will be paying for it in the future too.

            The issue is and always will be how much we pay, who pays, who gets paid and what we get for our money.

          • TP answered for me, but here’s another source- good Washington Post article from a few months back:


            “The deep economic recession has brought the days of reckoning for Social Security and Medicare much closer, with Medicare’s program for hospital stays already running in the red and Social Security expected to start taking in less cash than it pays out beginning in 2016. ”

            Again, when we talk about creating a new public option, we need to talk about how to pay for it- and to pay for it in such a way that people will not notice a discernible change in the quality and availability of care.

            My guess from everything I’m reading is that this cannot be done without a combination of rationing and significant increases in middle class taxes: the two very things that we Republicans keep harping on as inevitable.

            And that’s my question to this group: is there another alternative for paying for this other than a combination of these two things? I read the occasional American Progress article, but as yet haven’t read one that really gets at this issue very much. Maybe I haven’t read enough, so I welcome being enlightened.

            WMCB: You and I may be closer in agreement than you think. I am against the status quo. I’d be for opening up the selling of cross border insurance and decoupling insurance from employment, two things which would get to your issue of these mini-monopolies that health insurance providers have created in certain markets in this country.

            In the end, I think the ideal plan would be one that gets health care back to the basics of service provision.

            We got into a pretty good debate on this on our blog earlier this week and an older lady mentioned how when she was young and had kids in the 1950’s, she would work out a payment plan directly with her doctor. he told her how much delivering the babies would cost and he said he’d give her a discount up front. It worked. She knew the costs of the services he was providing, and he knew who was going to paying for them. There were other doctors in town, so she could have shopped a lilttle on cost if she wanted to.

            We’ll never get to such an ideal place, and that model certainly falls apart in cases of chronic illness, etc. (which I think insuring for is a separate issue to the one we are discussing).

            in my meandering way what I am trying to say is that for basic health services dealing with colds and routine injuries, the system needs to be brought back to a place where individuals understand the costs of the services they are getting, and have alternatives to pick and choose the most price effective one.

            The current structure blinds most of us with health insurance from really understanding what the cost of basic care is.

            I know I’m always baffled myself when I go to the doctor and get one of those statements back from the insurance company with all the costs going this way and that. I think- man, had no idea what I asked them to do cost that much, but glad I wasn’t footing that bill myself. I think it would be better if I did have a little more responsibility for understanding what that cost was and a little more opportunity to shop around for a better price. I think that would bring ground-up cost control incentives for basic care. That is way more efficient to me than the the top-down, centrally controlled kind we all are discussing.

            Decoupling insurance from employment and leveling the playing field for everyone who buys insurance is a start towards that goal.

            Tort reform to bring reasonable limits to malpractice liability for doctors is another way to drive down the high fixed malpractice insurance costs that doctors have when they price their services (and the unnecessary extra procedures doctors frequently do to avoid being sued).

            Anyway – just some thoughts. Wail away on these if you don’t like them. But if you are going to pursuade me MediCare is the better option, we’re going to have to deal with this unfunded obligation problem that malligns government-run systems almost universally.

        • yeah, your inefficiency is my life saving MRI or experimental drug. Insurance companies are driven by profit…not my health care.
          I worked for one, I know.

          I couldn’t care less how we pay for this current version of reform. It sucks and I don’t think we can pay for it. That is why single payer is the only viable option. We take all the money people and businesses are paying now in co-pays, insurance premiums etc… and put it in to one pool and everyone’s cost will go down.
          Medicare is not underfunded nor inefficient. It operates very efficiently compared to private insurance. It has the worst case scenario of patient pools, mostly old and sick and it still pays better than most private insurance. In the long run with single payer everyone’s cost will go down. But we will be paying taxes rather than premiums co-pays and deductibles.

    • Frankly, I share your concerns and I don’t see any good way to pay for a public option as contemplated with the giant new money sucking bureaucracies which will run it.

      Medicare for All with a strong private option has a chance though. Almost no one denies that the overhead in Medicare is much less than private insurance, so that’s a start.

      Now Medicare insures only the elderly, the disabled, sickest, and the dying. Put all those people in one place and, guess what, it’s going to cost an arm and a leg per person. However, if you open it up to younger healthier groups, the cost per person will drop like a stone.

      Between that, some modernization, a small payroll tax increase, with maybe an additional tax on Wall St transactions, I think it could be paid for OK.

      • Now Medicare insures only the elderly, the disabled, sickest, and the dying. Put all those people in one place and, guess what, it’s going to cost an arm and a leg per person. However, if you open it up to younger healthier groups, the cost per person will drop like a stone.

        You’re correct, but this is essentially generational theft. Younger folks who may chose for whatever reason not to be insured will be taxed to pay the health costs of their elders AND higher interests rates and inflation due to higher national debt loads. This is a problem all over the industrialized world as baby boomers age and fertility rates decline.

        • Younger people eventually get old. Furthermore youth doesn’t guarantee health. It would be irresponsible to advocate that anyone play Russian Roulette, which is essentially what you are doing by not creating a healthcare system that mandates everyone behave responsibly and have some sort of health coverage.

        • generational theft? horse pucky. No one is 18 forever, I know since I’m long past, and what goes around comes around.

          Fertility rates declining is an entirely different issue. I will bet you now that large families make something of a comeback. I see it happening real-time in my son and daughter’s generation. My two children have given us 7 grandchildren with a new one on the way. Their friends also are having more children. I like it.

        • How many people “choose” not to have insurance? We want it, we sure don’t want to be tens of thousands of dollars in debt because of a fractured wrist or whatever. Choosing not to get something you can’t afford isn’t a free choice.

        • generational theft, like when old people and people with no children pay taxes to educate your kids for free?
          That’s how society works BC. Some things we do because it is good for society and when all those poor put upon young people are old they too will get health care they can afford.
          BTW, when older people complain about paying taxes to educate other people’s kids I ask them where they went to school.

      • Well said. I agree.

    • These humane doctors don’t treat any patients who have no insurance or means to pay? Surprising. Sounds like they are gouging their rural patients if having all their patients, and newly covered ones incoming, fully insured at reasonable reimbursement levels doesn’t meet their overhead. Aren’t personnel and space costs lower in rural areas? Guess they don’t accept Medicare either. Tough luck for the rural elderly, I suppose.

      Have you given any thought to including the hit to the economy when factoring the cost of our current system? All those employers and citizens stuck paying massive amounts of premiums instead of hiring, expanding, spending, saving? Currently, health care spending is 17% of GDP, by 2017 that will be 20%. Close to twice that of other developed nations and all their citizens have health care. 50million of us do not. Premiums increase at twice the rate of inflation. I believe single-payer will pay for itself in time. Other nations are already reaping the benefits. I would be happy to pay more taxes to end the insanity and release my children from the burden they face.

  18. I read the NYer article when it first came out and thought it was a very thoughtful piece and based upon some real inquiry. Lo that we should have more than that. I think in fact it is such an information base that is the basis of the “medicare savings”.

    But here is the problem:
    1. This overuse of medical technology and the cost savings from limiting it, has not been developed and articulated to the people by Obama—who could easily do it—or any congress critter. The sound bite is —-save money by reducing medicare costs. In the absence of real information, people do the basic human thing—they make stuff up.
    2. Any cost savings from medicare reductions that should be made because they make sense for both lower health care costs and better health care outcomes—-need to be done to make the long term costs for medicare sustainable. These savings are probably not going to be enough to put medicare on a sustainable cost curve AND underwrite healthcare for millions more.
    3. This does not address the long term problems in medicaid which is also traveling an unsustainable cost curve. Schip? Medicare Part D?

    In other words—we need to get the house in order on all the existing programs—then we should be in position to add more people intelligently.
    We desperately need a national media that does some real journalism. Never has the failure of the media weighed so heavily on the public discourse. And I include the blogs. I commend TC on this point—-altho TC does have its passions, I think it has brought us some real information about health care costs and outcomes that are not on the broader msm anywhere.

    • I would like to see more research done on that NTer article premise. It sounds very good but is largely anecdotal.

  19. Thank you for this post, myiq. I grew up a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat feeling absolutely sure that Republicans were reactionary bigots. I had a brief obsession with Milton Friedman as an Econ student in college, but for the most part I was certain that liberal meant “good” and conservative meant “bad”. Then, just a few years ago, I had an eye-opening discussion with some hard-working conservatives who had legitimate issues with liberals telling them how they should manage their lives. I won’t get into details of the discussion, but I realized that, in their shoes, I would be reacting the same way. Nobody is always right, and nobody is always wrong.

    That’s obvious when it comes to Sarah Palin. I’ll defend her against misogyny all day long, but I won’t defend the stupidity of her statements about the healthcare plan.

  20. I am just curious how many hear have read the bill? Are you all sure that there is nothing to be concerned about with regards to Emmanuel and his influence on this bill?

    If you read down in the comments at BTD’s dismissive post, a poster there pointed out the science and technology director that Obambam picked has also written some pretty scarey stuff. Now why the man chose people with these beliefs is the question we should be asking.

    All the comments here pretty much agree that this bill is bad because He has screwed us all over with the deals he has made with pharma and the insurance companies. In addition to that, others are concerned about how he intends to pay for this, which he assures us he will.

    The only way he can pay for it is to deny care…a pain pill rather than a pacemaker (maybe a bottle of pain pills…), just cut out treatment that doesn’t make us any healthier…(would that be things that might extend our life a few years but not ultimately change the fact that we are going to die?)

    I think it is unfortunate to jump to the Sarah is stupid convenient explanation rather than informing ourselves about why some people might have legitimate fears about who is up there running things. Remember this president voted against a bill to care for a baby that survived a botched abortion because the intent had been that the baby should have been dead. Maybe that wouldn’t be so astonishing on it’s face, except when you consider how few bills of any type that he voted on at all!

    I think the incendiary words were intentional and will have the desired effect which is to raise the alarm about all the hidden things in this bill…and maybe get all of us to read it, since our congressmen won’t.

    She created a visual that will be hard to get out of people’s minds, and I believe that was her attention. “Wake up people!!! These people aren’t trying to help you.”

    And on that last point, I think we would all agree.

    • I didn’t say Sarah is stupid – but what she said was incredibly stupid.

      Smart people can say (and do) stupid things.

      • I’m not too sure it’s that stupid since Emmanuel’s views are pretty grotesque. The advisor Carolyn mentioned is an outright eugenicist, at least according to his how book. If I had a Down’s baby, it would give me pause.

      • I disagree. What she said was incendiary, certainly.

        Some would say that incendiary isn’t always a bad thing(I’m betting the Declaration of Independance was considered “incendiary ” too.

        Now do I believe she was being a little disingenuous by not recognizing that for profit models also have “death panels”? Absolutely.

    • carolyn—You’ve made an excellent point. I really agree that Sarah’s words were to wake up the people.

      • I agree. There IS a “panel” in the bill, but it didn’t come from Emmanuel.

        The idea came from Tom Daschle, in his own plan for healthcare reform described in his book.

  21. Good lord I can’t spell today. Hear is here, and attention was supposed to be intention. Wouldn’t wanta get the stupid label.

  22. I want to say this is the best post I’ve ever read, but I’m sure that at some point, I’ve read a better post.

    But I will say, unequivocably, that this is the best post I’ve read today.

  23. I am convinced that if a group of us were to get together and roll up our sleeves, leave ANY party affiliation at the door and just work together as citizens that we could prepare a bill that would address health care in a fair, affordable way, build in safeguards, and respect for the well and the sick.

    I don’t know if congress ever accepts bills prepared by their constituents, but we know they have them written by lobbyists. Maybe we should form a citizen legislation writing organization.

    Not a huge group, but one that could work together, had a good lawyer (nods to myiqx2), and economist (Dakinikat) and some folks from the medical industry, like docs and nurses…people with medicare knowledge, etc. In otherwords, the folks that participate at TC.

    I know, I know I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one…

  24. A Mustang? A Mustang? Sorry, no. Mine is a single-payer Tesla, thank you very much.

  25. […] ATLANTA – I found a great blog that is enjoying incredible participation and support, The Confluence.  It is great for me because I have found a whole host of people with whom I disagree and with […]

  26. David Frum has a very good question for his fellow Republicans:

    What if We Win the Healthcare Fight?

    What would it mean to “win” the healthcare fight?

    For some, the answer is obvious: beat back the president’s proposals, defeat the House bill, stand back and wait for 1994 to repeat itself.

    The problem is that if we do that… we’ll still have the present healthcare system. Meaning that we’ll have (1) flat-lining wages, (2) exploding Medicaid and Medicare costs and thus immense pressure for future tax increases, (3) small businesses and self-employed individuals priced out of the insurance market, and (4) a lot of uninsured or underinsured people imposing costs on hospitals and local governments.

    These people really think because sabotage work so well for them in 1993, it will bring the same good results for them again: Don’t propose anything but wreck ANY attempt mith misinformation and lies, pretty much relying on the same people.

  27. I totally agree with Sarah Palin’s comments. Gov run health care that is a two tiered system, ie the wealthy have one system the poor have another, is a nightmare. Ask those in Walter Reed Army hospital. Or those being neglected in medicare funded nursing homes. Or gov run clinics for the poor in inner cities.

    If you want to prevent Palin’s Death Panels, you create one single payer system for everybody, including the wealthy and the healthy. Trust me, if Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey are forced to be consumers of the new system, high quality will be maintained.

    Palin is not being stupid or off the wall. Go to a city run hospital and look at the people left to wait in the ER for ten hours or those camping in line at a dental school because no dentist will take their medicaid. Our government has a long history of devaluing people, of regulating their care based on cost effectiveness and how that person is valued in society. We have a history of forced sterilizations of the disabled, of lobotomies and electric shock for the mentally ill, of hysterectomies for women. Government has no business regulating or mandating what medical treatment is necessary or determining who has value in this society and who does not.

    • “Gov run health care” is bad so you want “single payer system”?

      • ytiik said “gov run health care that is two tiered ” is bad.

        • Alright I see.

          Nevertheless, that’s not what Sarah Palin is looking for. Just like it’s usual with Republicans, you don’t even know what she’s looking for, probably nothing, considering that Right-winger think “we have the best health care in the world”.

          • We do have the best healthcare in the world. We just don’t have the best access/i> in the world, and it’s way too expensive. Access, Cost, and Quality are three separate measures – which is why this is such a tough nut to crack.

            BTW, I’m not just being deliberately argumentative with you today. I actually really enjoy talking to you. 🙂

          • Crap. I cannot do tags today to save my life. *head -> desk*

          • I agree the GOP have nothing to offer.

          • Wonk – check our posts up the row a little ways. We’re talking about conservative alternatives to the public option- some ways to make the markets work better for everyone.

            If there’s nothing else I hope to accomplish in my debating about healthcare with people on the other side of the aisle this month it is to end this myth that conservatives want the status quo. A good chunk of us don’t. We think government regulation has stiffled the health care industry and created this web of mini-monopolies, etc. that drive up costs. We need to reform this system in a big way- but not in a way that drives up government obligations.

            Anyway – have enjoyed the debate. Gotta run.

          • How in hell would you know what Palin is looking for. Oh, I forgot “Look, Michelle Bachman”.

          • How do we know what Palin is looking for in the way of health care? It’s a knee jerk reaction to simply assume Republicans have nothing to offer. Nobody is even asking.

          • wcmb,

            I don’t even think we have the best system in the world. It is certainly the most advanced.

            Nowhere else among rich countries do people go bankrupt like in the US, nowhere else do companies suffer under the burden of health-care coverage, nowhere else are such a large portion of the population uninsured or under-insured.

            I sometimes think to write about the type of coverage I’m getting here in Europe, having transferred within the same company. but I’m afraid it would look like I’m bragging. My daughter who just turned 11 has no co-payments at all, among other things.

          • If there’s nothing else I hope to accomplish in my debating about healthcare with people on the other side of the aisle this month it is to end this myth that conservatives want the status quo. A good chunk of us don’t.

            Didn’t say that all conservatives want the status quo. Was strictly talking about the GOP.

            It’s a knee jerk reaction to simply assume Republicans have nothing to offer. Nobody is even asking.

            Well the GOP has nothing to offer me. I’m not impressed with their tax credits, and I don’t see them ever talk about anything else in the way of a plan.

          • Yes, mablue-I’ve stopped mentioning the coverage we get here in Europe too, and for your same reason because it would look too much like bragging.

            And yes wmcb-it’s all about access and insurance monopolies.

  28. (I’ve got a tea party I’ve got to go attend!!!) 🙂

  29. PalphB and yttik;

    I challenge you to come up with Sarah Palin’s solution for healthcare.

    If it’s too hard I’ll make it easier: What is the Republican proposal if you can find something about Palin’s idea (which you won’t).

    As for Michelle Bachman, here is what Sarah Palin wrote:

    Rep. Michele Bachmann highlighted the Orwellian thinking of the president’s health care advisor, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, the brother of the White House chief of staff, in a floor speech to the House of Representatives. I commend her for being a voice for the most precious members of our society, our children and our seniors.


    Rep. Bachmann’s speech can be viewed here:

    • Sure, right after you come up with Obama’s.

      There are several tiny GOP proposals out there, all the usual free market stuff. John Boehrner and Jim DeMint have each put forward a one or two page plan which frankly makes as much sense as the >1000 page monsters in the Congress.

      Right now the only fully formed plan is HR676, Medicare for All, which can’t get a hearing. Have a nice day but, if you want good health care stay in Germany, where you’re safe from what you’re backing.

    • Oh. Who the hell decided you must have your own plan at the ready in order to criticize the crap from Congress. Stop with the phony challenge. If you can’t defend the “plans” then what are you talking about except general partisanship?

      Look, over there, it’s Sarah Paliin! Oh noes, it’s Michelle Bachman!

    • I challenge you to come up with Palin’s version of health care… and not the one you made up in your head.
      Yes, you are right, you can’t, so where do you get off telling everyone what she is thinking or looking at or looking for?

  30. The GOP has to watch the Dems do the heavy lifting for the insurance complex this time. But they want to get back thier position of #1 upper crust enforcer . And they got Mitt in the wings for when Barry falls down to bad, he can’t get up .

    If they had any other health care solution but more dough and less sick people for the companies, I believe we would hear it. They don’t have ” death panels, ” they just go the good old fashion route of making it hard for you to get care and you die.

    my point is both parties are on the same page…if there’s any difference , it ‘s a matter of style. I don’t see the health care executives protesting…they seem happy to me . oi

  31. myiq2xu

    YOU voted for RAYGUN — TWICE?? TWICE??

    And He was YOUR Governor — and you voted for him TWICE???

    I’m seriously questioning your critical thinking ability.

    And I didn’t vote for Carter (his religious ding a ling thing was a red light for me) — I couldn’t vote anyway — not registered in the state I was living and NO absentee from CALIF. I didn’t vote for Carter the second time because he quit before the west coast got to vote — so I said screw Carter and I voted for John Anderson because he didn’t quit.

    RAY GUN — horrible — terrible — awful — and wasn’t all there for most of his second term.

    YOU voted for RAY GUN?????


  32. What, were you born old or something?

    I must have been born old or something. I was born in 1960, moved to Cali in 1978, and knew better than to vote for Ronald Reagan. I never voted for Carter though. Was too young to vote the first time, and didn’t think he’d done a good job by the time I was able to. My grandparents who raised me voted Repub. but even when I was young growing up with them, I knew I was a liberal. I will admit, being gay probably had something to do with it. I can understand voting for him though. Even though things he did affected me personally, (cutting CETA programs killed my job right off the bat) I still kind of liked him (personally not policy) as a President.

  33. Hi, great discussions here today. I just want to say that Stephen VanNuys has put into words what this Democrat has been thinking for a while now. A large majority of citizens are happy with the health care insurance and care they have now, just not with the spiraling costs. So let’s isolate them into Group A and work on reform here, not a complete restructuring of something they like, something they want to keep. Why is tort reform not even being discussed? Why is the huge incidence of fraud in Medicare and Medicaid not being attacked by Congress? Anyone remember if they have ever held hearings on the abuse in the system? Why not open states’ borders and let people shop around for the best deal? Let’s work with family doctors to see if they would consider a pay as you go plan where we pay for regular visits out of our own pockets and then have lower premium health insurance to take care of the big bills. Saves them the ridiculous paperwork they have to file to get reimbursed for a small amount, and we would save on insurance premiums. My guess is that if we add together all the clerical time for both doctors and insurers spent processing these claims for regular office visits, we would find both losing money on the transactions.

    Wow, sorry to go on so long – I just think that true “reform” can come about without allowing government to totally restructure our current system, especially since they have yet to give us an honest accounting of what their grand plan will be, how much it will cost, or how to pay for it. “Vote for it, we’ll fix it later” just doesn’t work for me here.

    • Honestly, that sounds an awful lot like the McCain plan. He even had a mandate but gave a tax rebate to pay for it.

    • the people who have health care and are happy with it are living in a fantasy world where if they lose their job and have to get a different one or do not find one…they think they will still be happy. Nope, they are holding their breath until they too are smacked upside the head with bad heath care or a medical emergency.

  34. That’s a nice looking ride. Still less expensive than the Bimmer 3 Series Convertible. I’ll take it!

  35. This is who is advising the President. on healthcare. This is why Palin said what she did about death panels. The president’s health advisor believes we should not be treating disabled people.

    “Emanuel, however, believes that “communitarianism” should guide decisions on who gets care. He says medical care should be reserved for the non-disabled, not given to those “who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens . . . An obvious example is not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia” (Hastings Center Report, Nov.-Dec. ’96).”


    • Oh god, not the communitarians again. That ideology really needs to be consigned to the dustbin of history.

  36. In case this hasn’t already been posted, from Charles Lane in WaPo. http://bit.ly/OppcI

  37. myiq2xu, just wanted to say: THANK YOU for this piece. It’s terrific, and you may have just gotten this conservative to rethink his opposition to the idea of single-payer. (Just one of the hidden benefits of acknowledging the humanity of your opponents: getting their better members to actually think seriously about the merits of your ideas, rather than just again dismissing them…)

    And I also wanted to say, again, The Confluence is just about the only political blog, on the left or right, that is keeping me sane and optimistic about America’s future. I even recently gave you a shoutout at one of my favorite conservative blogs, and plan to continue doing so; hope you’ll check out (and find things to enjoy) at Patterico’s site in the future as well.

    OTOH, I don’t dare link you at my old usual-hangout liberal blog, which unfortunately has gone so over-the-top recently with pure hatred for Palin and other GOPers in general, that it’s difficult for me to enjoy it any more. Cooper started off great but IMHO it seems that the older he gets, the more fiercely partisan he’s become. Besides the fact that I’m sure his commenters would unfairly dismiss you and your thoughtfulness as some sort of egregious sellout to the GOP. They also nowadays have, er, creatures posting there who openly fantasize about doing violence to conservatives. Then they wonder why they don’t hear from what they consider “reasonable” Repubs (I.e., those who’ll apologize to them for breathing). Sigh.

    • Oops, forgot to link the “liberal” blog I was speaking of:


      • I remember reading something from Cooper where he was pretty disgusted with liberals who didn’t criticize B. Clinton when he didn’t uphold their principles. Pretty amazing that someone who felt that way would forget that lesson.

        • Seriously, good point. Actually Cooper’s still pretty good about Clinton and his good vs. bad points. He’s also still somewhat reasonable and unshrill about a number of other topics, including the (sorry) state of California. He’s even semi-friends with conservatives such as David Horowitz and Patterico. But just say the word “Palin” to him and he becomes beyond enraged… it’s downright spooky. And a little sad, again IMHO.

  38. […] Confluence: Do the Republicans love their children too? The Mustang Shelby Single Payer Convertible. Accept no substitutes. We need single payer health […]

  39. Vaguely OT. I live just down the hill from Sting. He bought up the local Duke’s estate.

    The first thing he did when he moved in (they mainly use it in the summer) was to make a blood donation at the local hospital, and be photographed doing so.

    The town was plastered with posters of it-saying if Sting can give blood, why can’t you?

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