Monday Open Thread

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  1. Conserv. Head Banger says:

    Interesting comment in The Week magazine, mentioning a Kaiser Foundation survey.  56% of citizens support Medicare for All. Number drops to 37% when they learn their taxes may increase.

    • PseudonymousPseudonymous says:

      I couldn't find the article in The Week online, but here is the survey in its fullness.

      KFF Health Tracking Poll – January 2019: The Public On Next Steps For The ACA And Proposals To Expand Coverage

      It's hard to know what opposition to taxes means when you get these responses back-to-back.  We'll have to wait to see how various proposals are received, I expect, because the arguments they supply in the survey are simplistic.

      • deathpigeon | they/them says:

        Hmm… The specific wording is that it "requires most Americans to pay more in taxes", which isn't necessarily true depending on how progressive we make the taxes to implement it. If we do it through increasing taxes on wealthy enough people or through cutting spending in other parts of the government, such as reducing military spending, it would not require most Americans to pay more in taxes.

      • DavieDavie says:

        The questions are posed as standalone features, but in isolation, a couple don't add up.  For example, eliminating premiums should imply compensatory taxes, or more taxes mean lower premiums.  They then can be progressively scaled to the desired income levels.

        But overall, it sounds like a large majority (including Republicans) understand and agree that lowering the age of Medicare eligibility, and for those without employer provided health plans is a reasonable start.

        • deathpigeon | they/them says:

          I wonder how it would change responses to say that it would eliminate health insurance payments, but increases taxes.

          • DavieDavie says:

            It would likely vary depending on the perception by the listener whether the difference is a wash, or if it would shift the overall burden to someone else, or onto themselves (regressive or progressive tax scale).

            • ParkHill says:

              I think the perception is almost entirely self-centered: 

              (1) How much do I pay now in HIPs? How much will I pay if HIPs are moved to my pay-stub/tax returns.

              (2) Is my health care guaranteed, and what will it cost for me to see a doctor, buy prescriptions or go to the emergency room?

              How it affects other people (costs/benefits) is more analytical and pretty much secondary.

              • DavieDavie says:

                Agreed.  A poll is highly unlikely to provide details such as tax rates and income brackets, etc. since it would take too long and likely too much head scratching to figure out what bucket you might land in. 

                Thus the questions are conceptual, not concrete, leading to the wildly variable result noted in this survey.

    • RepealAndReplace says:

      THEIR taxes won’t go up. Only the taxes of rich people will go up.

    • ParkHill says:

      What if you asked the question "Would you like Medicare for all if it meant that your premiums would go down?

      I'll bet people would be supportive of that. Of course Republicans would lie about it, but that isn't news.

      Or even better:

       "Would you like Medicare for All if that meant:
      – your premiums would go down,
      – you would have guaranteed access to health care, 
      – your pre-existing conditions would be covered,
      – you would never have a surprise emergency room bill,
      – drug prices would be lowered,
      – you could choose to stay on your employer health insurance, if you wanted."
       

      • ParkHill says:

        Let's just call them "Health Insurance Premiums", not taxes. You pay a premium and you get a benefit. HIPs scale with your income so you can still afford health care even if your employer only pays you $12/hour ($2,000/mo). 

        The promise of Medicare for All is that your insurance belongs to you even if you change jobs, become unemployed or disabled, or need to take off work to have kids or go to school.

        Employer coverage is about 48% of the population. So, Medicare for All would cover everyone else cradle to grave: 65+, disabled, vets, unemployed, students, etc.

        If your employer offered insurance, you could still have the option of using the employer’s contribution to pay for your HIPs.

        • notaskinnycooknotaskinnycook says:

          Yeah, but how many employers would ditch their insurance benefits if M4A actually happened? I don't know where one would find the statistics, but did employers dump pensions when Social Security came in? That might offer a comparison.

          • ParkHill says:

            To your first point. Employers would be free to continue insurance benefits. If the Medicare For All provided a better and cheaper alternative, you would see employees jumping to Medicare for All. 

            I mean, it's happening already. Lots of companies are dropping health coverage, especially smaller companies.

            Your second point is also useful. Decreasing pension benefits is an indicator of how weak unions have become. How many companies provide IRAs or pension benefits anymore?

            You know where you still get pensions and health care benefits? Public service. Wages are typically lower. Even there organization budgets are strapped, though, as we have seen an increase in teacher strikes.

            • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

              As a public servant, I have to say that my health care benefits are highly mediocre.

              I just finished paying out of pocket for non-covered costs for surgery I had done in 2015. My health insurance costs me about 1500 / year. And I have co-pays and plenty of  procedures are not covered and so have to be paid out of pocket. Not paying those premiums, co-pays, and uncovered costs would save me about $2000/ year in a MFA model. That's not even counting dental, vision, and mental health, which I understand are included in the MFA model.

              Medicaid for All taxes (under the Sanders proposal) would be 4% of my gross income, so that would still be about $1700/year. For me, it would be something of a wash financially, but it would bring such peace of mind to know that my health insurance was portable, attached to me, not to a job title. That would be the real way to ensure that "If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor."

              I’m not sure if the MFA proposals ParkHill is talking about are the Sanders plan, or another one. You should provide a link, PH.

              I'm tired of switching up health plans every year, even if I keep the same job – we've been through three in three years, trying to hold costs down in rural Colorado.

              • ParkHill says:

                When I say MFA, I mean "Medicare for All while keeping Employer Insurance in Place" rather than "Single-payer for All".  

                WOTD from Jacob Hacker at Vox: "How to build a Medicare-for-all plan, explained by somebody who’s thought about it for 20 years"

                 

                • deathpigeon | they/them says:

                  Why would you want that over single-payer?

                  • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

                    Less "job churn", meaning that people who have worked in the insurance industry wouldn't suddenly have to qualify for a position in the Federal government.

                    More public acceptability; everybody likes Medicare, now, and it turns out it didn't lead the country into a socialist death spiral. Broadening the Medicare pool incrementally would be less scary.

                    People like Bennet would be for it, because it would be less threatening to his insurance donors.

                    But what I don't see, ParkHill, is any legislator proposing this version of MFA….all I see is the Sanders Bill.

                    • VoyageurVoyageur says:

                      Mj, you alluded the other day to plans for retiring soon.  Good luck with whatever you do, but it's hard to go from making a difference to sitting on the sidelines.

                    • deathpigeon | they/them says:

                      Ok, but one of the biggest benefits single payer has to reducing healthcare costs is it's monopsonistic nature means that we get to negotiate healthcare costs much lower than we would with multiple buyers on the scene, something which this sort of supplemental system wouldn't be able to do. So, likely, the sort of system Park Hill described would lead to higher healthcare costs, higher taxes, and higher premiums (for people still on private insurance compared to the taxes they'd pay in a single payer system) than just going straight to a single payer system.

                      And there are ways to reduce job churn. The US government could essentially "hire a firm", for example, by integrating existing health insurance infrastructure into the US government instead of hiring each person working at that firm individually.

      • deathpigeon | they/them says:

        They did ask that and it increased support. What they didn't do is ask that in conjunction with taxes going up, so we can't know what people's reaction to medicare for all where they're told that their taxes will increase, but their premiums will go down.

        • ParkHill says:

          My point is that your taxes aren't going to go up. They're HIPs, not taxes.

          Everybody is guaranteed insurance; everyone pays HIPs, let's say 8% just to start a conversation. Is that higher or lower than your present HIPs? In any case (even for you employer’s contribution), HIPs are now part of your paystub, or tax form, or whatever.

  2. PseudonymousPseudonymous says:

    DERF!

    Democrats for Education Reform was behind text campaign seeking to prevent teacher strike

    Democrats for Education Reform was behind a text message campaign urging Denver residents to write Gov. Jared Polis and Denver school board members in support of a key aspect of the district’s pay proposal and in opposition to a teachers strike, the group’s Colorado state director confirmed.

    The messages purported to be from a group called “Support Students, Support Teachers,” but public records searches do not turn up any organization with that name.

    An email obtained by Chalkbeat that was sent last Monday by Will Andras of DFER Colorado notes the texts sent through Phone 2 Action — an Arlington, Virginia-based company that offers “advocacy software,” including mass texting services — were meant to “engage community members around protecting the equity incentives,” a reference to bonuses for teachers at high-poverty schools, a policy on which the district has held firm.

    Realized I left the best bit out

    Walmer acknowledged that Support Students, Support Teachers is not an official organization. Asked why DFER was not transparent about its role and why the other name was used in the texts, Walmer said that disclosure is not required, and emphasized that others in the community share the same concerns about teacher pay and a strike’s implications.

  3. Duke CoxDuke Cox says:

    No need, CHB, to point out once again the selfishness of much the American poputation. We see it acted out, daily.

    Only interesting if you are trying to make a point.

  4. MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

    I couldn’t be happier about today’s announcement regarding the 2020 CO Senate race.  Count me as an early and enthusiastic supporter of Andrew.  

    • RepealAndReplace says:

      Romo is running?

    • itlduso says:

      Yawn re: Romo.  The Romanoff groupies were AWOL during his CD6 race against Coffman.  Has he re-enlisted Pat Caddell to be his pollster again?

      • RepealAndReplace says:

        God, I hope not.

      • MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

        Andrew did a great job as Speaker of the House.  Today several rural communities are still benefitting from his leadership via BEST program.  He was solid on our renewable energy bills (that largely has benefitted rural counties) when they were in their infancy.  He led the divestiture efforts over the genocide in Darfur (in the 99-1 vote of the combined chambers). 

        I was in the Romanoff camp during the Ritter appointment phase to replace Ken and was disappointed, as many, that he wasn't chosen. Not because I didn't like Michael – I didn't know him.  I've come to admire Michael Bennet as our senator (sorry Zap).  Andrew, through personal tragedy, has had the time to delve into the mental health world in Colorado.  As a child my mother was deeply involved in the (then) Colorado Mental Health Association.  Mental health is where we need to focus more resources.  I'll bet there isn't a one of us on this site that doesn't have a family member or friend who is crying out for help. I lost a school friend long ago to this issue. 

        For these reasons I'm an enthusiastic supporter of Andrew.  We all make mistakes; we grow, we learn, we get better.  He'd be a great representative for our state in the US Senate.

    • Duke CoxDuke Cox says:

      Me as well ….

      I was involved in Andrews' campaign during the senate primary. I am an enthusiastic supporter.

      Those who now make refusing PAC monies central to their campaigns have Andrew to thank for breaking that ground. Heaps and gobs o' derision were hurled his way for making that decision. Nowhere more than here on these pages.

      Without Andrews' leadership, it is doubtful we would have passed three O&G bills in 2009 (or was it 07? ) despite the best efforts of CPA, COGA, IPAMS, and the collective might of the Republican caucus in Colorado.

      There is no better candidate to unseat Cory.

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