Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Healthcare Reform, Brought To You By Fox News And National Review

While the healthcare reform bill isn't perfect, the status quo is untenable. Something had to be done, and Republicans were clearly unserious about any type of reform. That said, a few points:

1. Healthcare reform has been a wonderful lesson in consequences. If you spend eight years supporting policies that run the country into the ground, you cannot reasonably expect to escape electoral punishment. Policy has consequences. Elections matter. Some Bush enablers have finally understood this and accepted it during the past few days. Others, ominously, seem to resent both consequences and elections.

2. The diverging practical interests of the media's titular Right and its audience have never been clearer. The media has a single imperative: ratings, subscriptions and page views. Viewers, listeners and readers have to live in a world of results. So you play the house organ for eight years and put out magazine covers like this in 2005, or you champion a manifestly unqualified former vice-presidential candidate who scares most of the country, or you give Glenn Beck his own show. And you scream louder. Then your audience gets to live with the consequences of electoral disaster -- consequences that include, fortuitously, a bigger audience. David Frum:

I've been on a soapbox for months now about the harm that our overheated talk is doing to us. Yes it mobilizes supporters -- but by mobilizing them with hysterical accusations and pseudo-information, overheated talk has made it impossible for representatives to represent and elected leaders to lead. The real leaders are on TV and radio, and they have very different imperatives from people in government. Talk radio thrives on confrontation and recrimination. When Rush Limbaugh said that he wanted President Obama to fail, he was intelligently explaining his own interests. What he omitted to say -- but what is equally true -- is that he also wants Republicans to fail. If Republicans succeed -- if they govern successfully in office and negotiate attractive compromises out of office -- Rush's listeners get less angry. And if they are less angry, they listen to the radio less, and hear fewer ads for Sleepnumber beds.

So today's defeat for free-market economics and Republican values is a huge win for the conservative entertainment industry. Their listeners and viewers will now be even more enraged, even more frustrated, even more disappointed in everybody except the responsibility-free talkers on television and radio. For them, it's mission accomplished. For the cause they purport to represent, it's Waterloo all right: ours.

Want to change policy? You have to get elected. Nielsen-Arbitron isn't a winning national ticket.

3. Republicans have been warning Democrats about the electoral consequences of healthcare reform. This is wishful thinking. It ignores a basic dynamic of entitlement politics: it's almost always better to run for something than against it. Having finally passed, healthcare should become an asset for its sponsors -- something to rally around and defend from electoral incursions. Republicans will run on "repeal." Democrats will run on "they want to take away your health care." Which will be more effective?


Anonymous Goldhorder said...

Bread time... Been too much circus lately. Lmao

3/23/2010 11:25 AM  
Blogger Vijay said...

Government, free markets, and healthcare

Many of the supporters of universal healthcare argue that healthcare in this country is completely broken and the reason is the free market has failed. I agree that healthcare in this country is a large failure, but it is not because the free market has failed. It is because we don’t have a free market for healthcare at all and haven’t since the 1930’s. And this is because of government interference with the free market.

Employer-Provided Healthcare
For those who have access to regular healthcare in this country, it is generally paid for by the employer. This already is a strange state of affairs. Employers don’t generally provide auto insurance for their employees. Employers don’t pay for people’s groceries or clothing. Employers generally don’t provide us with housing. How is it that we ended up with a system where the expectation is that employers provide us healthcare? And is it a good system?

Most people would say it’s a bad system. If we started from scratch, very few would think this is a good idea. People don’t want to lose their healthcare when they change jobs. And people don’t really want their employer knowing any of the details of their medical issues. So how did a system that most people wouldn’t want come to become the norm? Of course, the free market didn’t create it – the government did.

According to Princeton Professor Ewe Reinhardt, who worked on the original Clinton healthcare plan, the employer-provided health care model is now being called an "accident of history."

Employer-provided health care was born in the 1930s after Franklin Roosevelt decided not to try for universal socialized medicine. In a move that seemed ingenious then because health care was comparatively cheap, the federal government passed laws offering economic incentives to businesses that provided health care to employees.1

Calling this an “accident” is missing the point. It wasn’t an accident at all. It was an unintended consequence of bad policy. The reason we have employer-provided healthcare now is because the government subsidized it. The government also froze wages during World War II via the National Labor Board, another way government interfered in the free market.2 This made employer-provided healthcare a way for employers to compete for labor.

3/23/2010 11:30 AM  
Anonymous judyo said...

I point you to Australia.
There's a lesson there.

You want to be competitive, globally, it's about time we thought globally.

America is not the shining beacon on the hill when it comes to globalization ... just watch us become more isolated over time.

This isn't 1910 - it's 2010. The world has changed and we have not kept pace.

3/23/2010 12:28 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Agreed, the free market has not been a part of the delivery of health care for a very long time.

The Emergency Medical Transfer and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) statute, signed by Reagan in 1986 and strengthened by both Republicans and Democrats, was the final nail in the free market.

But before we hail the wonders of the free market, imagine a world where poor folks were turned away from the emergency rooms for lack of ability to pay. Economically such a plan would work, but at some point we have to save our collective soul. This may have been tolerable in the 1930's, but not anymore.

This bill, as imperfect as it is, provides some payment for the doctors who are compelled by law to treat individuals without remuneration. Is it fair? Will it work? Who knows, but it's a start.

I don't hear Paul Ryan and Richard Shelby and the other "fiscal conservatives" (except Ron Paul) calling for a repeal of EMTALA.

3/23/2010 3:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I agree that healthcare in this country is a large failure, but it is not because the free market has failed. It is because we don’t have a free market for healthcare at all and haven’t since the 1930’s."

Yachts are not manufactured for a broad segment of the American public. Most Americans, when they run across a glossy boating magazine at their local barbershop, might flip through the pages for a minute or two, but they realize such luxurious watercraft are made for the very wealthy, not for them. And that's okay! There’s no expectation that everyone should be able to afford a yacht.

But healthcare?

Doesn’t it make sense that everyone needs access to a doctor?

We have to remember there are such things as bad business models. If I were to manufacture a product, such as the transistor radio, which is clearly designed for mass communication across a wide area among a broad group of people, doesn’t it stand to reason the radio needs to be affordable? I suppose I could manufacture a transistor radio that only a certain segment of the population could reasonably afford. I suppose I could deliver that transistor radio to the public in such a way that its maintenance and enhancements would gradually marginalize an increasing segment of the American public.

But is that good business?

Isn’t the purpose of a radio to receive programming broadcast over a wide area, among a broad group of people?

It’s time we set aside these Friedmanesque notions that a purely free market economy will somehow, magically, reach this harmonious state of equilibrium, where everyone driven by their own selfish desires leads to some theoretical, economic Nirvana.

And stop talking like there was some idealized time in the past when a purely free market economy did exist, and if we could only return everything would be alright.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

3/23/2010 8:55 PM  
Anonymous tom faranda said...

Our healthcare system is a complete failure? I guess none of you have ever been sick.

3/24/2010 12:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Open Letter to Conservatives

No problem with the media as long as it helps you spread FUD to promote your own worldview, at the expense of our country's future.

Don't like the Limbaugh/Fox media, bring back the, "Public Interest Standard, the Equal Time Provision, and the Fairness Doctrine", which was repealed in 1987.

3/24/2010 1:24 AM  
Anonymous goldhorder said...

Yes...all our problems are solved. I mean just look at the VA hospitals. Those guys get excellent care! The Canadians are going to have to travel all the way to Mexico when they are denied or delayed care by their government rationed system. I am looking into thai and indian private run health clinics myself. This is where quality health care is going. Overseas... To asia... Where people with a finctioning economy provide needed things for a price. Wishful thinking does not get things done. A bunch of wealthy corrupt men in three piece suits signing into law a bill that forces people to buy health insurance is not going to improve healthcare in this country. Tony... When you make a deal with the devil there is always a price to pay. You and your doctor buddies think you are going to make out.... Price controls are coming. Somebody is going to lose. It wasn't the insurance companies... It wasn't big Pharma, it wasn't the AMA, it wasn't AARP. It is the young and healthy non politically connected and the dwindling middle class with health care benefits. The working poor will now be even poorer and the middle class will have health care barely better than VA and emergency room care. Forward thinking people (all 2 of you) be warned. Save money for health care and look into private health care overseas or in Mexico.

3/24/2010 1:02 PM  
Anonymous wfta said...

It doesn’t require pragmatism to rant on the radio. Unfortunately when I look at national Republican politicians I can’t find any pragmatists. They sound like Rush.

If you lie down with dogs, don’t be surprised if you wake up with fleas.

3/24/2010 1:05 PM  
Anonymous wfta said...

I meant to say that in a functional political environment the health care discussion might have gone like this:
One: Health care is or ought to be a right in the United States.
Two: What must we do to provide care to everyone and do it for 8% of GDP instead of 18% of GDP.

3/24/2010 1:13 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Well, Goldhorder, I'll put you down for "let all the poor idiots die from appendicitis". Personally, I have no problem with that solution from an economic standpoint... but if you are going to make laws that require me to come in and yank out that poor bastard's inflamed appendix at 3:00 AM, then I ask that you at least provide some symbolic remuneration.

Of course, neither you nor anyone else (except Ron Paul) have even the balls to put that in print, let alone fight for the repeal of EMTALA. I didn't "make a deal" with anyone. When I was a sophomore in medical school, your boy Reagan signed EMTALA into law... and it was far too late for me to re-apply to business schools, so I stuck it out figuring our wonderful society would do right by me. When only a few million went without insurance, the system limped along; but when 1 in 4 people under 65 y/o don't have insurance, the system starts to melt down.


Taking care of people is a tough proposition and we as a society have made a commitment. You're a clever guy with your cute cynicism and husky self-reliance. Some day you'll realize that no man is an island; we are all on this ride together.

3/24/2010 2:52 PM  
Anonymous goldhorder said...

Lol... Ron Paul is my guy. Not Ronald Mcdonald. I support repealing all laws that turn people into slaves. If the poor can't pay ... Than they better find someone who can help them out. I also oppose all laws that limit medical care choices. I support Wallmart opening health clinics and staffing them with PAs. I support throwing out licensing requirements and choosing health care based on consumer feedback...provider schooling...provider history...etc. Time for the health care racket to end.
Me... Don't worry about me. I plan. I plan ahead.

3/24/2010 6:03 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Goldhorder, I appreciate your point-of-view because it is consistent, unlike the Republicans currently in office (except Ron Paul). Of course, I think that our society has evolved past that Hobbesian world-view, but I can respect your opinion.

It's hard to imagine a nation-state run on your principles-- well, maybe Somalia and Haiti are examples: the principles of raw power and corruption take precedence over civil order.

No modern society allows people to die in the street from treatable illness.

3/25/2010 8:05 AM  
Blogger Jack of All Tirades said...

Interesting that Gold Hoarder brings up medical tourism - be sure to check out "3 Billion New Capitalists" - has a great section on the outsourcing of healthcare.

I recall reading an article where someone actually outsourced nursing home care for his aged parents.

3/25/2010 10:09 AM  
Blogger Paul said...

"Where people with a finctioning [sic] economy provide needed things for a price." India is your idea of a place with a functioning economy?

3/25/2010 1:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has anybody mentioned that they ahref="http://www.wnd.com/index.php?pageId=128729"Congress could amend the McCarran-Ferguson Act to allow interstate competition in health insurance.

3/26/2010 7:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

David Frum, the fellow whom you quoted, was just recently fired from his job at the American Enterprise Institute; well fired/asked-to-resign, I assume.

Apparently his whole "Waterloo" article was the last straw for AEI's donors. Depressing.

-Medicine Man

3/26/2010 5:36 PM  
Anonymous Goldhorder said...

Lol... Better take a really hard look at what has happened the last 10 years in Brazil, India, and China. I xan guarantee you given the choice... Nearly every person in 1910 would have chosen Great Britain over the US. The world changed... The trend was obvious... Great britain had the finest military in the world and the birthplace of the industrial revelution was a husk of its former self. The middle class barely existed in India and China 10 years ago... The trends are painfully obvious... You can bury your head in the sand but what do we have other than superior firepower.... I'll answer for you... Nothing. We have made our bed... Now we have to lie in it

3/28/2010 7:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You eluded to something similar regarding Limbaugh/Fox (limbox): What If Fox News Actually Wants Mob Violence?

When I was reading about the Rwandan Genocide and the power of the media to incite violence, I reflected for a moment, and thought of the tone and words used by limbox. Al Gore said it best in his speech, "American Democracy in Trouble".
"It did not come as a surprise that the concentration of control over this powerful one-way medium carries with it the potential for damaging the operations of our democracy. As early as the 1920s, when the predecessor of television, radio, first debuted in the United States, there was immediate apprehension about its potential impact on democracy. One early American student of the medium wrote that if control of radio were concentrated in the hands of a few, "no nation can be free."

As a result of these fears, safeguards were enacted in the U.S. -- including the Public Interest Standard, the Equal Time Provision, and the Fairness Doctrine - though a half century later, in 1987, they were effectively repealed. And then immediately afterwards, Rush Limbaugh and other hate-mongers began to fill the airwaves."

It's imperative that we be able to rationally discuss ideas to solve today's tough problems. Silly me, but I actually like to have substance behind, "we're #1" mantra. Today's right has shown us who they are by their actions and words. Their tactics: Wolfowitz said, they use whatever sticks. Maybe a little divide and conquer too. They want to smash anyone that they determine doesn't conform to their definition at this moment in time, and they are willing to take America down. And, they don't care because it suits their agenda, whatever it is. I know there are good people on the right, but they aren't the mainstream today. Even if people tune out, they are affected by the people who internalize the hyperbole and hatred spewed by limbox. It's sad and dangerous.

I think it's becoming unwise to fully trust anyone that says they do what they do because of a single text, whether a religious text, or Ayn Rand (argh!). Most, it seems, have closed minds. Talk and progress ends. It's like talking to a brick wall. That can't bode well for a healthy bright future. My Republican Representative voted for Bush's Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003, but did not vote for Health Care Reform. If something is right or wrong, fine, but he played politics, he spoke politics, he used politics, at the expense of our country's future. :-(

~ Dr. Who ~
"You know, the very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They don't alter their views to fit the facts. They alter the facts to fit their views. Which can be uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that need altering."

3/30/2010 7:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Как ни странно, в настоящий момент заработать каждому человеку на международном валютном рынке Форекс не так уж сложно, при этом не нужно располагать специализированные личные данные или иметь солидное состояние.

В наши дни все участники международного валютного рынка Форекс могут торговать финансами, намного перекрывающими совокупность их личных вложений. Это делается вероятным за счет кредитного рычага, величиной от 1:1, до 1:500, даваемого выбранным брокером.

Торговля на рынке Forex чрезвычайно тривиальна и непосредственно объединена лишь с модификациями курса валют, на которые воздействуют всякие политические, социальные и экономические события в мировой финансовой среде. Трейдер анализирует эти причины, и приобретает валюту по низкой стоимости и продает ее, когда курс снова изменится, при этом получает прибыль.

Все это реально на Рынок Форекс

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