• Tips gratefully accepted here. Thanks!:

  • Recent Comments

    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on The best way to understand the…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on The best way to understand the…
    Alessandro Machi on The best way to understand the…
    Beata on The Perversion of the Supreme…
    Propertius on The Perversion of the Supreme…
    William on The Perversion of the Supreme…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Just for fun I looked at the O…
    Propertius on The Perversion of the Supreme…
    Propertius on The Perversion of the Supreme…
    William on The Perversion of the Supreme…
    Beata on The Perversion of the Supreme…
    William on The Perversion of the Supreme…
    William on The Perversion of the Supreme…
    Beata on The Perversion of the Supreme…
    jmac on The Perversion of the Supreme…
  • Categories


  • Tags

    abortion Add new tag Afghanistan Al Franken Anglachel Atrios bankers Barack Obama Bernie Sanders big pharma Bill Clinton cocktails Conflucians Say Dailykos Democratic Party Democrats Digby DNC Donald Trump Donna Brazile Economy Elizabeth Warren feminism Florida Fox News General Glenn Beck Glenn Greenwald Goldman Sachs health care Health Care Reform Hillary Clinton Howard Dean John Edwards John McCain Jon Corzine Karl Rove Matt Taibbi Media medicare Michelle Obama Michigan misogyny Mitt Romney Morning Edition Morning News Links Nancy Pelosi New Jersey news NO WE WON'T Obama Obamacare OccupyWallStreet occupy wall street Open thread Paul Krugman Politics Presidential Election 2008 PUMA racism Republicans research Sarah Palin sexism Single Payer snark Social Security Supreme Court Terry Gross Texas Tim Geithner unemployment Wall Street WikiLeaks women
  • Archives

  • History

    December 2021
    S M T W T F S
     1234
    567891011
    12131415161718
    19202122232425
    262728293031  
  • RSS Paul Krugman: Conscience of a Liberal

  • The Confluence

    The Confluence

  • RSS Suburban Guerrilla

  • RSS Ian Welsh

    • Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – December 5, 2021
      Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – December 5, 2021 by Tony Wikrent The pandemic and (de)population policy Background: Henry Kissinger’s December 1974 National Security Study Memorandum 200, Implications of Worldwide Population Growth for U.S. Security and Overseas Interests (NSSM 200) “Omicron’s Message” [Nonzero, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 12-2-202 […]
  • Top Posts

Friday Morning: What’s Happening?

valentine-underpants-w-hearts-picking-up-paper-784998

Good morning everyone! These are the news stories that caught my eye this morning. Be sure to add your own links in the comments.

The All-Encompassing Health Care Nightmare

Boston Globe: Democrats oppose tax in health bill

To pay for the 10-year, $856 billion bill Baucus wants to tax high-value insurance plans, those worth $21,000 for a family and $8,000 for an individual. The Montana Democrat says those are “Cadillac plans’’ enjoyed by a small minority of Americans. Aides said about 10 percent of plans and 8 percent of taxpayers could be affected.

The tax, which President Obama embraced in his speech to Congress last week, is a major source of revenue for Baucus’s bill, bringing in an estimated $215 billion over 10 years. Baucus and other supporters of the measure say it would help drive down health care costs over the long term by encouraging companies to move toward less expensive health plans and workers to use less care.

But other Democratic senators fear that the tax would reach deep into middle-class pocketbooks, and labor unions are upset. Senators John F. Kerry of Massachusetts and Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, members of the Finance Committee, say they want to limit the tax before signing off on the bill.

“We need to make it fairer to working people so that working folks don’t get dragged into this at a level where they just don’t have the incomes to support it,’’ Kerry told reporters after a closed-door committee meeting to discuss the bill.

Insurers and business groups also oppose the new tax and other fees in the bill, and the US Chamber of Commerce is wasting no time making its objections known.

New York Times: Rockefeller stands up for liberals on health care

All summer, the White House deferred to Senator Max Baucus, the Democrat from Montana who heads the Senate Finance Committee, as he negotiated with two moderate Democrats and three Republicans. Their failure to agree on a bipartisan bill left the administration scrambling to pass an overhaul with Democratic votes alone.

And that has emboldened liberals like the 72-year-old Mr. Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat. He heads the health subcommittee of Mr. Baucus’s panel, and yet he was relegated to the sidelines as the so-called Gang of Six talked and talked. Senate liberals are now pushing for an overhaul fully on Democratic terms — legislation more like that in the House, where liberal Democrats dominate.

Washington Post: Affordability Is Major Challenge for Reform

How to make insurance more affordable to the estimated 30 million uninsured people who would be required to buy coverage under the Baucus proposal is emerging as a central challenge as the long-awaited plan advances to full committee debate Tuesday. Democrats and Republicans alike worry that a bill intended to address one source of financial hardship — the skyrocketing cost of health care — could lead to another, in the form of hefty premiums.

“It’s very clear that the driving issue of this debate is affordability, particularly for middle-class folks. And the Democratic caucus is very much committed to getting this issue right,” said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), a Finance Committee member who said he will offer amendments next week in an effort to improve affordability and choice.

Some Senate Democrats, along with a key moderate Republican, Sen. Olympia J. Snowe (Maine), are now discussing ways to increase assistance for individuals and families who could face premium costs of up to $15,000 per year by 2016. Sen. Charles E. Grassley (Iowa), the ranking Republican on Baucus’s committee, is suggesting government assistance to insurance companies to help them control premium costs. And lawmakers in both parties are questioning whether Baucus’s main revenue source, an excise tax on insurance companies for their most generous insurance policies, would simply be passed on to consumers.

Continue reading

Failure is a feature, not a bug

Senator Max Baucus

Senator Max Baucus

The New York Times had this to say about Max Baucus:

He conceded that it was a mistake to rule out a fully government-run health system, or a “single-payer plan,” not because he supports it but because doing so alienated a large, vocal constituency and left Mr. Obama’s proposal of a public health plan to compete with private insurers as the most liberal position.

Matt Yglesias doesn’t get it:

I thin that’s right. Framing effects are important in politics. The public-private competition is supposed to be a compromise between the pristine vision of single-payer and the desire of private insurers not to be put out of business. It creates a situation in which insurers are challenged to prove that single-payer advocates are wrong, rather than simply assert it. But with no single-payer plan in the mix, this gets lost, and the compromise becomes the leftmost anchor of the debate. A single-payer plan couldn’t possibly have passed, but I think having hearings on single-payer and having one committee draft a serious single-payer bill that gets a serious CBO score would have been a useful exercise. In particular, it would have focused the mind on the costs involved in rejecting this option.

Neither does Duncan Black:

I don’t know why the Dems never learn this lesson. If you start with the compromise position, you will and up compromising on that. They prefer a strategy of pulling together a coalition and getting them all to buy in on something they can agree with, but than that of course gets watered down into crap no one actually supports.

Nor does Paradox:

The entire premise of the Yglesias post is bullshit—give me a break, that Republican-wannabe Baucus didn’t somehow have the magical ability to give up on single payer from the git-go, hell, single payer was given up on in stupid weakness because of this moron Baucus—but the point still vividly stands that giving up on single payer before we ever started was a terrible, terrible mistake.

I do think the precise mechanics of this flaming fuckup would good to know for the liberal community, accountability is a good thing. The first I ever heard of it was last year in Texas at Netroots Nation from Ezra Klein, who actually had the youthfully obnoxious arrogance to state having single payer as a goal “was a naïve pursuit of perfection.” Well, Ezra, just where did you learn that? Who gave you that strategy to push that was and is so stupid? It’s not just me, your old companeros Atrios and Yglesias say it too. Well? I suppose graduation to the establishment big time means the badass Ezra can ignore the lowly blogger question, but we’ll see.

The obnoxious sneering from a hopelessly wrong fool isn’t the point, it’s that even a nobody from nowhere like me knows never to give up crucial goals in negotiation before you even start, so how come professional politicians like Democrats don’t know?

Bob Somerby gets it:

Are we all Professor Rosen now? Having asked, let us offer a fairly obvious speculation:

In all likelihood, Baucus took single-payer off the table for a very good reason—because he isn’t trying to create a progressive health reform package. His statement to the Times was pure BS. After all, Baucus is a corporate man (data below). He wants health reform near the “center.”

After the fact, he was covering his keister for those on the left. Our other professor bought it.

Yglesias penned a thoughtful piece about the meaning of Baucus’ move. He too failed to note an obvious possibility: When Baucus voiced his regrets to the Times, it was a big silly con! (emphasis added)

From Physicians for a National Health Program:

Here’s why Baucus is not doing the peoples business:

According to OpenSecrets.org over his career he has taken donations from:

The Insurance Industry: $1,170,313

Health Professionals $1,016,276

Pharmaceuticals/Health Products Industry $734,605

Hospitals/Nursing Homes $541,891

Health Services/HMOs $439,700

That is a grand total of $3,902,785. Can we trust Baucus to put aside the profits of the industries that have kept him in the senate? Will he put the people’s necessities ahead of the profits of his contributors? Baucus has shown his bias and should be removed from leading the health care reform effort by the Democratic Party leadership.

In 2008 Baucus had virtually no challenger in Montana. A little-known Republican was on the ballot, Baucus won with 73% of the vote. But, Baucus sought big donations from big business anyway. He used his connections to corporations with business before his committee to raise an immense campaign fund of more than $11 million. In 2008, 91% of his donations come from individuals living outside of Montana, which is why he is more the “Senator for K Street” then the Senator for Montana. Corporate health profiteers who invested in Baucus will now benefit from his stewardship over health care reform. His 2008 donations from health care profiteers included:

Insurance $592,185

Health Professionals $537,141

Pharmaceuticals/Health Products $524,813

Health Services/HMOs $364,500

Hospitals/Nursing Homes $332,826

That is $1,826,652 Baucus took from industries who he can now make wealthier by deforming health care reform.

Do you get it?

Not only are we not gonna get single-payer out of this motley crew, we’re not even gonna get a true “public option.”  All we’re gonna get is a Rube Goldbergesque clusterfuck that guarantees the health care leeches will continue to grow fat on our blood.

Meanwhile some of the allegedly brightest minds in Left Blogistan will be bleating about the Democrats’ “bad strategy.”  The problem is that it isn’t a bad strategy – it is a very effective strategy.  The Democratic leadership (Obama, Pelosi, Reid and Baucus et. al) are accomplishing their goal – to avoid real health care reform at all cost.

We know the Republicans aren’t on our side, but the Democrats pretend to be our friends while selling us down the river.  They are the political equivalent of the Washington Generals.  They get paid to put on a show and lose.

Nothing will change until the lefty blogosphere quits making excuses for them


real ponies


UPDATE:

Paul Krugman:

The point is that if you’re making big policy changes, the final form of the policy has to be good enough to do the job. You might think that half a loaf is always better than none — but it isn’t if the failure of half-measures ends up discrediting your whole policy approach.

Which brings us back to health care. It would be a crushing blow to progressive hopes if Mr. Obama doesn’t succeed in getting some form of universal care through Congress. But even so, reform isn’t worth having if you can only get it on terms so compromised that it’s doomed to fail.


Please Digg!!! Tweet!!! Share!!!

Add to FacebookAdd to NewsvineAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Furl

Add to: Facebook | Digg | Del.icio.us | Stumbleupon | Reddit | Blinklist | Twitter | Technorati | Furl | Newsvine

Single-Payer: A Laugh Riot (laugh along with Max Baucus)

I was already wound up when I got to my parent’s house yesterday.

My sister had posted a link to her Facebook page and I accidentally read it before I had my coffee:

More for Medicare?

McClary is one of millions of people who might be eligible for a controversial proposal allowing those between 55 and 64 to buy coverage in Medicare, the federal health program for the elderly, before turning 65. The plan, part of a blueprint for health reform written by Max Baucus (D., Mont.), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, would help people like McClary, who buy their own insurance or are uninsured.

. . .

Under the Baucus plan, the Medicare expansion would end once a comprehensive health-care overhaul – one that guaranteed insurance to all Americans – was in place.

. . .

Politically, the idea stands more of a chance as a temporary transition measure, as Baucus proposes, than as a permanent option if broader health reform fails, says Len Nichols, an economist with the centrist New America Foundation.

But even a temporary measure is likely to face some opposition because “it’s unrealistic to put something like that out there and expect it to ever go away,”

. . .

Then there’s the tricky question of subsidies. Medicare is heavily subsidized for people 65 and older. But to keep this from worsening Medicare’s fiscal woes, the Baucus proposal wouldn’t provide subsidies. The result would likely be far higher premiums than what those over 65 now pay. While the Baucus plan doesn’t give premium estimates, a similar proposal analyzed by the Congressional Budget Office estimated that premiums would be $7,600 a year for those ages 62 to 64.

These are the phrases that floated around (dangerously: almost like a cartoon)  as I drove over to my parents house (AFTER I had coffee): Continue reading