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December 09, 2006 04:16 PM UTC

Weekend Open Thread

  • 78 Comments
  • by: Colorado Pols

The thrill of victory!
And the agony of defeat!
The human drama of athletic competition!

Comments

78 thoughts on “Weekend Open Thread

  1.   The N.Y. Times is reporting today that Rich Tafel, the former chair of the Log Cabin Republicans, rec’d a letter in 1994 from Mitt Romney, then the GOP candidate for U.S. Senate in Massachusetts, pledging to out do Ted Kennedy in advancing gay and lesbians as a U.S. Senator!
      Given Kennedy’s sponsorship of the Employment Nondiscrimination Act, support for including sexual orientation as a protected class in hate crimes legislation, and his opposition to the Federal Marriage Amendment, that was one hell of a big promise Mitt made.
      Although Mitt has since clearly flip flopped on the issue of civil unions for same sex couples (in the past for, now against), he apparently has not yet fully repudiated his prior statements about civil rights protections.  At least one wing nut expressed concern over this in the Times article.
      I predict that Romney’s candidacy will end up like his Daddy’s campaign for president in 1968.  Daddy lost the GOP nomination because he claimed to have been brainwashed by the generals over Vietnam.  Mitt will claim to have been brainwashed by the Sisters of Sappho over gay and lesbian rights…..

  2. I am oh so glad that the ‘fiscal conservatives’ in the Bush Administration, the light on the hill spreading democracy around the globe, the party of personal responsibility, is making sure to use my tax monies wisely, ensuring that scientists and concerned Americans have access to solid information and data so, as citizens of this great Republic they can make wise and informed decisions.  From Daily Kos, open thread:

    Bush trashes EPA files, sells furniture

    Crossposted at Seesdifferent: the blog

    In as cynical a move as the Bushies have ever made, they have not only closed the EPA libraries, they have delinked their files, thrown away the discs, and sold their furniture at fire sale prices.  I wonder who the big payer was for this reprehensible pillage of years of scentific work. Who are the corporate crooks who want their tracks covered and are willing to pay Bush to do it?

    Last month without notice to its scientists or the public, EPA abruptly closed the OPPTS Library, the agency’s only specialized research repository on health effects and properties of toxic chemicals and pesticides. The web purge follows reports that library staffers were ordered to destroy its holdings by throwing collections into recycling bins.

    and at http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/120806O.shtml

    Friday 08 December 2006

      Agency sells $40,000 worth of furniture and equipment for $350.

      Washington, DC – In defiance of Congressional requests to immediately halt closures of library collections, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is purging records from its library websites, making them unavailable to both agency scientists and outside researchers, according to documents released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). At the same time, EPA is taking steps to prevent the re-opening of its shuttered libraries, including the hurried auctioning off of expensive bookcases, cabinets, microfiche readers and other equipment for less than a penny on the dollar.

    1. OMG……I think he’s finally snapped! 
        To date, I’ve presumed that the rumors that he had started drinking again were just that, gossip and rumor.  In large, I disbelieved them because if he had started on the bottle again (or whatever other stuff he may have done in the past), it would be tough for the W.H. staff to keep it quiet. 
        But now I’m starting to wonder if there just might be some truth to those rumors.  Will we be seeing Dubya have some “Boris Yeltsin moments” during the next two years?
        Stay tuned….

    2. But until someone has the smoking prescription bottle, they are just that, rumors. 

      This is what I find very interesting:  Before the 2004 election there was a video clip going around – probably on youtube now – that showed him speakng publicly about 1998.  I tell you, he was coherent, logical (in a Republican sort of way), fast on the response.  None of this hemmng, hawing, smirking, snippy stuff. 

      What has happened in eight years?  Now, THERE is the question.  Drugs, legal or otherwise? Alchohol? Mental deteriation due to previous alcohol use? Alzheimer’s? (We’ve seen this before with lots of denial by RR fans….until he told the nation.)

      WHAT has happened?

  3. where is the outrage?

    “Last month without notice to its scientists or the public, EPA abruptly closed the OPPTS Library, the agency’s only specialized research repository on health effects and properties of toxic chemicals and pesticides. The web purge follows reports that library staffers were ordered to destroy its holdings by throwing collections into recycling bins.

    “Meanwhile, in what appears to be an effort to limit Congressional options, EPA is taking steps to prevent the re-opening of the several libraries that it has already completely shuttered. In its Chicago office, which formerly hosted one of the largest regional libraries, EPA ordered that all furniture and furnishings (down to the staplers and pencil sharpeners) be sold immediately. Despite an acquisition cost of $40,000 for the furniture and equipment, a woman bought the entire lot for $350. The buyer also estimates that she will re-sell the merchandise for $80,000.” http://www.commondreams.org/news2006/1207-12.htm

    1. The waste in private health plans runs 25-35% of costs.  That’s what you pay to be told you can’t have a procedure, your doctor doesn’t know best, and to keep the health risks minimized by underwriting. 

      Contrast that to Medicare, about 3%.  So much for government inefficiency!  I can’t recall the guy’s name, CEO of ??? United Health????.  Made almost 2 billion with a b dollars last year.  Guess who pays for that?

      We spend almost $6,000 per year per resident for health care.  Canada spends less than half that and is similar to European countries.  So we should be getter much better results than Canada, no?  NO. By every metric of good health care, we suck compared to Canada.  The long waits?  Part of triage, who gets care NOW vs. later.  Americans are so spoiled (Wah! Wah!) if they don’t have instant gratification.

      And the proof of what the citizens of the other 31 countries with a national health plan think of their plans is simple:  Not one has ever gone back to the old way, the American way.  They are all democracies, they can do it if they want.

      Health Care For All Coloadoans has done lots of work on this.  A bill that they would like to see brought to the floor was developed by ………….. a doctor.

      Expect huge resistance from the health insurance industry, after all, it is their dog that will die in the fight.

        1. Mitt Romney did this in Massachusetts, and he’s gonna crow about it a lot next year as he runs for Prez.  Why can’t it be done in Colorado?  (That’s a question, not a facetious comment.)

        2. I can cancel my health coverage at my work and save myself $132.00 a week and my employer close to that?
          COOL…….
          Oh wait, the state will just raise my taxes $200.00 per week to cover me. Dang.

          I agree with Dismayed. There is no way on God’s green earth that he can cover every person in this state without huge tax increases.
          Screw that. If he tries that, he will be a one term governor guaranteed.
          Stream lining the system sounds all warm and fuzzy but won’t happen. Big government is NOT the answer. It is the problem. See how well their PERA coverage works. We definately DO NOT need anymore welfare systems put in place. And I’m afraid that is what this is all about.
          Can you imagine the cries coming from the black hole in Denver if they were suddenly responsible for health coverage of everybody living here? Shit.
          First off, who would be covered and who wouldn’t? Would we need to prove legal citizebship or would little details like that be swept under the rug? Denver is already a sanctuary city, so Colorado might as well become a sanctuary state, right?
          Second, how would little details like pre existing ailments be handled? Does this mean our auto insurance will go down? It should as we would all be covered under the soft rosy but strong arms of Second Choice Ritter right?

          Call it what you will. It is not something that this state can afford. People here do not make enough money to pay for it. Because as you all know but may deny, it is physically impossible without massive tax increases. Anything less will be just welfare for the poor and lazy. We already have plenty of resources for them.

          Jusy my humble, overtaxed, under paid opinion of course.
          Hugs and licks,
          Gecko

          1. It (govt. paid healthcare) works in something like 31 countries.  Better health care, lower costs.  The American “system” is a perfect example of something that doesn’t work and doesn’t work at a cost double of other nations.  Don’t throw out terms like “welfare”, no, we pay into the system and we get a benefit. 

            You peel off that 30% administrative cost of the inurance companies down to the 3% or so of Medicare and suddenly EVERYONE, including illegals, is covered at LOWER cost.  Doctors can practice medicine instead of being serfs of the insurance system. 

            The insurance industry is the only loser.  You, as a citizen of Colorado, will pay less for healtch care (and don’t forget your car insurance!)  You will see a doctor of your choosing, not what your HMO says.

            BTW, did you know that that evil VA, socialistic in model, has the highest satisfaction level of all American health care delivery systems?  Yup.  And at much lower cost to the taxpayer.  Again.  Next is Medicare, another “socialistic” program.  And way in the back, the private pay system.

            Wake up and smell the logic, Gecko! 

            PS, too nice a day for you to not be out riding, go get some sun and get away from the computer!

            1. Didn’t Gecko once claim that his wife worked in the insurance claims industry?

              Some people would rather have a third of their health insurance premiums go to insurance companies than pay lower premiums and have health care for all, because health care for all means more government. 

              Does it matter that Medicare manages to do what insurance companies do at a fraction of the cost?  No.  Not to these people.  They would cut off their nose to spite their face.  Because government is AUTOMATICALLY bad. 

              They will never admit that government does some things better than private industry, because — oh my God — that might threaten their vision for a completely unregulated Capitalist America.  As if such a thing would be good for America (it’s been tried, and it has failed).

              In Gecko’s world, Government has no role to play in education, health care, or pretty much anything outside of national defense and … oh, yes, abortion.

        3. Having the state provide health insurance would be a giant plus. We would have started hiring people sooner and more of them. It’s not the cost, it’s the giant PITA of getting it set up and administering it at our end. Time I would much rather the two people involved could have spent at their regular job.

          So provide health insurance through the state and increase my taxes by what I am paying now (assuming no efficiencies) – YES! PLEASE!

          I’m saying this not as a Democrat but out of pure self-interest.

          – dave

          1. has about $1500 of health programs built in, more than for steel!  It’s one reason Toyota shunned America recently and decided to build in Canada. American companies cannot compete internationally because of crippling (no pun intended) HC systems. 

      1. “By every metric of good health care, we suck compared to Canada.”

        Exactly whose reality are you parsing?

        Our system is a mess, but so’s Canada’s.  I hope we could do better.  I noticed tort reform isn’t mentioned anywhere as a part of a solution. Hmmm.

        1. Health care results:  Life expectantcy, infant mortality, vaccination rates, prenatal care, all these and many other standard metrics show that the US has been slipping for twenty or more years.  Canada does much better.  Hell, so does Cuba! That’s the reality I’m parsing, not some right wing propagandist spouting lies and cliches. 

          Don’t forget, Canada is getting better results at half the cost, no less!  Is it rational to keep promoting a system that doesn’t do as good of a job at twice the price?  Huh?

          Another social benefit is no one in Canada or Europe is filing bankruptcy due to medical bills like half of US personal bankruptcies are. (And over half of those doing so had some health insurance.)

          Tort reform:  Again, statistics show what the right wing insurance industry shills are saying is a lie.  If you took ALL litigation out of the cost of health care, we would save……hold onto you hat, here…… 1-1.5%.  Wow.

          In the states where tort reform put caps on awards, etc., health care costs continue to balloon along with every ohter state.  People forget that California tried that around 1972…..and nothing changed until Prop ?? 103? made insurance companies “open their books” and put non-insiders on the insurance commission. 

          Reality parsed.

          1. you must be suffering from dehydration.

            you can choose statistics all you want, but there is great discontent amongst many canadians. please try talking to them about their program, especially educated canadians. several of the discussions i have had with my friends from up north have ended with a consensus being reached.

            that consensus was that medicare results in large disincentives for regular check-ups that could prevent the more costly problems because medicare will pay for all of the mroe costly, more serious problems but not pay for all of the costs of measures that could prevent such costs from being incurred.

            part two of our consensus was that the absurdly long wait-lists for medical care in canada are not an efficient allocation of resources. this is one reason some doctors have (ILLEGALLY) started their own private practices and dared the government to stop them because the government program is not working.

            in short, the final agreement was that both systems disperse health care in ways that lack efficiency and equity…so please stop spouting off on how perfect canada is.

            1. Canada’s system is full of big holes. Anyone that thinks it is otherwise is either blind or just wishfull.
              If it was so perfect, don’t you think it would be accepted in every country around the globe?

              1. Any well run system is so often picked up by every other country – ha. Lets take the welfare reform we have here (brought to you by Clinton) – it is pretty much universally viewed as a gigantic improvement over the old system.

                So other 1st world countries are starting to talk about it. And maybe in another 10 years, they might start something like that.

                Or take the VA medical system in this country. By every measure it is the most effective and efficient provider of medical care in this country. So why haven’t we just moved everyone on to it?

                – dave

              2. The reason it isn’t “accepted in every other country” is because of ideology (America) or poverty (most of the world.)  Even Mexico has a system that is there for anyone who works or owns property.  It’s no worse than an overstretched HMO here.

                National health care IS, in some form or another THE system in almost three dozen first world countries.  All democracies, none have looked back.  The question should be, “If all those national health plans are so bad, why haven’t any of them chosen the American system?”

            2. Before you take anecdotes and make generalizations, ask the other Canadians, you know, the ones who like their system. 

              I heard a debate recently on the radio.  One guy kept slamming the Canadian system, the other defended single payer health care.  When they opened the lines to callers, it was Kay bar the door.  Canadian and Canadiam immigrants, one after the other told that first guy where he could take the American health care system.  You don’t hear them in the right wing, do you?

              BTW, Canadian doctors are NOT opening illegal clinics. (Not to say a few aren’t for all I know, just not a movement.)  Some provinces (they administer the plans, and there is variability) are permitting more latitude than they used to. It’s called a democracy, you notice something can be changed or improved, you have the opportunity to do so. It’s not a sign of failure.

            3. Why do your anecdotes trump statistics? We all have anecdotes about health care. For instance, my cousin’s wife went to Vietnam to get a surgery performed because it was cheaper there than here, even with her insurance.  Does that prove anything? Of course not.

              I dont think people are saying that Canada has a medical system that is so dominant that it crushes illness like bugs, but what we are saying is that Canada and most of europe have medical systems that far trump those in the states as far as cost and services are concerned.

              1. one can find any of the above to support their claims. my biggest problem with previous posts by parsing is that they do not recognize the TERRIBLE INEFFICIENCIES in the canadian system. it seems in some realms, like cancer treatment, private practices ARE sweeping across the country (18 open by the end of next year).

                now, if you read my post you know that i not only recognized a widely recognized problem with the canadian system but ALSO recognized a huge problem with the american system. modeling america’s system after canada’s is just as bad as modeling america’s oil shale/tar sands programs after canada’s: horrendous results would ensue.

                a couple links on the issue(and simple google-ing for me, dont worry about me getting paid and using lexisnexis):
                http://www.theglobea

                http://www.theglobea

                all that being said, there is undoubtedly a need for reform in america’s system (having seniors sign up for medicare D online when they have no clue about computers, for example). my ideas for fixing this dont revolve around socialized health care. however, providing health insurance for ALL americans and taxing us for it would be foolish and inefficient. 8 percent of americans with incomes greater than 75,000 a year are uninsured. if you look at the economics of this issue you could see how a nationalized health care system would be inefficient and fly right in the face of our ideals.

                1. That’s from the same root word that results in “ideology.”  When ideals result in worse results, screw the ideals. 

                  Thanks for your comments, a good debate.

                  I would like to think that after so many countries doing national health with various measures of success and outcome, we can learn and ultimately do better.  But can we?  I doubt it, corporations have our lawmakers by the balls. 

                  When you think about it, everything popping up in this debate, pro or con, has been argued before.  We are re-dialoguing the wheel. 

                  If I have a legal job in Mexico, I can buy into the health system for something like $300 A YEAR! Most of the private doctors also work in the national system.  Fees are very modest and from what I am able to discern, most Americans feel that the care is about the same or just a tad less in quality as back in the USA.  On the other hand, the doctors make house calls and take a very personalized interest in your well being. 

                  On my last trip to Mexico, a new friend in his seventies mentioned that he had a cataract operation in one eye and needs to get the other one done.  Cost?  Zero, it’s part of his taxes.  How?  “I just need to call the clinic and make an appointment.”  Where is the clinic, Chihuahua?  “Oh no, up there at the highway.”  That floored me, because “the highway” was where this village’s 50km dirt road meets the pavement.  They have a clinic that can do eye surgery! 

                  Amazing.

                  1. and i think we agree that we should not ignore the experiences, both good and bad, of other countries when seeking to improve our own. another point on which i am sure we agree: improvement is the long-term goal, and even though political will may not exist that does not dismiss us from seeking to find solutions.

                    have a great monday and remember that BOTH diet and exercise are necessary if you want to have a healthy body! 🙂

                     

                    1. Will I see you at the Wisconson game? (Turns out I’m out of town for the Minnesota game)

        2. Because Colorado has ALREADY passed numerous tort reform bills and has taken tort reform about as far as it can go- with virtually no effect on our insurance premiums.

          The biggest waste of money isn’t the major plaintiffs’ lawsuits, it’s all the litigation going on BETWEEN DEFENDANTS to determine who’s liable: is it the private health care insurer (if the person HAS private health care), or the auto insurer, or the workers’ compensation insurer. It’s a total ripoff. About 50% of personal injury lawyers would have to find another line of work if we got rid of all these turf wars and had universal health care.

          Now THAT would be tort reform.

          1. the cost of malpractice insurance has increased in the last four years while premiums have gone up. My take on the number one reason – decline in portfolio returns. To pay those overhead costs you have to either earn money on the rpemiums or lower costs. The later isn’t happening so as returns on the insurance company portfolios decline, rates go up. I hate to say tort reform has become a red herring in many aspects.

        3. By spending more?  Oh, that’s right, we are spending almost twice per capita as the Canadians.

          By eliminating waste, fraud, and corporate profit?  Now you’re talking.

  4. Doctor’s pay an average of $38,000 per year in liability insurance, as opposed to the $100,000 plus per year of doctor’s in states with no reform.  At least, that is my understanding.  Is this correct?

    Health care is tricky.  The Capitalist model isn’t working because consumers don’t view it the same way.  We go to the doctor we like, not the cheapest doctor.  We don’t comparison shop for the cheapest procedure or test.  We ask for generic drugs, but other than that we don’t ask much about price points and alternatives in drugs. When there is no competition for goods and services, prices are not driven down. 

    The socialist model scares the bejesus out of me.  I’ve never heard that Canada or England has as good or better health care, and people I’ve talked to from there have not been complimentary.  And aren’t taxes rates in those countries much higher due to the health care costs?

    I’m keeping an open mind to new ideas though. My private health insurance rates rise constantly and the policy seems to pay for almost nothing, so I don’t see the benefit to what I have now either.  I hope this doesn’t turn out to be a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” proposition.
     

    1. Maybe they prefer paying the $100K (or more) in med mal ins per year so they could practice in NYC as opposed to paying only $38K (or less), and practice in Limon…….esp. when they can factor the malpractice ins cost into the cost of their services and bill the health ins carrier and/or the govt.

    2. You are absolutely right in your meta-perspective that health care does not fit into economic models.  The demand varies with age, health, incident and so much more.  We can’t shop for a hospital with the lowest ER rates when we are riding in the ambulance (foisted on us by geography.)

      We ration health care in America by who can pay what.  And it is not the poor that lack alternatives, it is the middle class, especially when between jobs, catastrophe strikes, or one has a chronic condition.  Having health insurance attached to one’s job is a cruel joke from when employers in WWII were looking for ways to attract workers.

      People have horror stories about EVERY system, health care or otherwise, in the world.  Some people hate Kaiser, I thought they were the best (that was in the days when I was employed and had health insurance.)  Some people don’t like the Canadian model because they can’t get their MRI for an aching joint for three months. 

      One of the worst parts about our “system” is that we are penny wise and pound foolish.  Instead of catching problems early on, many Americans go without care and then either require (for instance) expensive surgery when drugs could have solved the problem, or they just die.  Yes, problem solved.

      There is absolutely no rational reason to continue with the current broken down, ass dragging, costly system we have. 

      Ideological reasons?  Sure.

      1. Even if it worked in Mass. (I have no comment on that), we have a 6% spending limit to deal with.  People assume that Ref. C fixed the budget.  Far from it.  We can only grow the state General Fund operating budget by 6% over the prior year.  After paying for K-12, Medicaid, Prisons, & Universities, there isn’t much left.  Actually, we don’t have any left.  That was my point — not to debate what role (if any) Colorado should have.  The bigger issue is the budgetary constraints. 

        1. Can we all count to three?  This is my third attempt to explain that the universal health care will not increas taxes.  It will be done on the savings from the 25-35% that private plans waste in administration and profits.  Medicare does it on 3%.

          Round four?

          1. Let’s say I pay $1,000.00 for health insurance. And the state will now deliver identical coverage and it will cost $650.00.

            So my insurance bill goes away and my taxes go up $650.00 and I save $350.00. Great huh?

            Except…

            The additional $650.00 is a tax increase and is restricted by Tabor. It doesn’t matter that the change leaves me with more money, the decrease is not taxes and the increase is. So TABOR does stop it.

            That issue you do have to address. Unless you do something like Hawaii where it is a state health plan that everyone is required to join – but you join it individually and therefore it’s not a “tax.”

            – dave

            1. You are always a calm voice of reason, Dave.  ‘Preciated.

              I would offer that under TABOR, said change of revenue stream could of course, be put to the voters for approval. It would probably not effect anyone not on a company or government health plan.  Since the tax would actually result in a net increase in income over the current system, it might pass.

              I’m sure there are other approaches out there, but I’m not clever enough to present them.

            2. Hope Doug doesn’t read the last paragraph of your post.  After his fit over the Colorado Springs street light maintenance fee, I think funding universal health care from fees would finally push him over the edge.

      2. pr – May I ask you a question to see if I can pin down where you are coming from? 

        How do you feel about labor unions?

        PS My friend’s wife’s liability cost her first year in OB-GYN practice in CO was $180k.

        1. The caps only apply to non-economic damages.  The biggest factor in OB/GYN liability is what is called the “bad baby” case.  It’s not the delivery that ends in a still born. It’s the botched delivery that ends in a brain damaged baby coming into the world which will 24/7 care for the seven decades.  Those economic damages which are not capped.

          1. Your comment is just plain uninformed nonsense.  OB-GYN’s were the biggest beneficiaries of Coloado tort reform from the proportional liability (instead of joint and several) to the caps on noneconomic damages. Prior to Colorado tort reform, some ob’s were paying close to $80,000 – look at your own numbers more than 15 years later. Colorado has what is known as a soft cap on economic damages – the court can pierce it for good cause shown. It is factually not true that the cap only applies to noneconomic damages. The cap is a $1,000,000 aggregate cap for all claims arising under the incident. $300,000 of that is a potential carve out for noneconomic damages, the court can pierce the balance for good cause shown.

            Colorado does not have the kind of cases for neurologically impaired infants – that you so callously refer to as “bad babies” – because the statute of limitations and statute of repose only run to age 8, not to age of majority.

            In addition, 50% of the babies born in Colorado are Medicaid babies, and a large percentage of them are born in public hospitals like Denver and are under the governmental immunity cap.  And, before some starts hyperventilating, there is no evidence that Medicaid recipients sue with any more frequency or severity than private patients.

            1. Where do you get this statistic:

              In addition, 50% of the babies born in Colorado are Medicaid babies

              There is no way with our present tax rate that we can half of our newborns being born to the poor. There isn’t enough tax money to pay for this.

              1.   50% of babies born in Colorado are Medcaid babies?  Hmmm, and 70% of African-American pregnancies end in abortion? 
                  As for the two-year statute of limitations, most bad baby cases are discovered at, or very shortly after, birth, and suit is initiated by the distraught parents within months of the infant’s birth. 
                  I’ve never known of any parent who waits two years watching their child exist (you can’t call it living) on machines and then decide to pick up the phone and call Frank Azar. 
                  As for what is “soft,” I think the damages cap about which you post is not the only thing that has gone “soft” around here……

        2. One question, one response defines me?  Ok, I’ll bite:

          Inactive member Teamsters local 435 from my temporary UPS driving jobs.  Decades ago, another Teamsters union at the old GW sugar factory in Loveland. 

          The labor movement brought us the 40 hour work week, safe working conditions, made child labor illegal, and was the essential building block for creating the late, great Ameican Middle Class, RIP.

          Son of FDR Democrats, grandson of suffragette and the first woman driver in the country of Brazil. 

          Father of three daughters, one a far right winger, both politically and in faith…..go figger…

      3. To elaborate on parsingreality’s comments, we’re LITERALLY pound foolish in that we’re showing ZERO self-control and responsibility for our own health. We look for quick fixes and miracle cures instead of taking responsibility for our own well-being. Recently a doctor I know got a scolding from a patient when he DARED to suggest that she ought to lose weight (she was about 5′ and 250 lbs) to improve her health. Apparently she felt that was none of his business. Yet it’s irresponsible people like her who drive up everyone’s premiums.

        And while I’m being a social nag, can people PLEASE not talk so g*d-d*mned loud on their cellphones!

  5. “The common thread through all of these achievements is the Republican commitment to individual freedom, personal responsibility, and accountable government,” Boehner wrote.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/09/AR2006120900973_2.html

    hahahaha

    individual freedom-Patriot Act, anti-gay marriage, flag burning amendments…

    personal responsibility-Tom “I am like Jesus” Delay, the Dukestir, Hastert, GW, Cheney, Rummy…

    accountable govt-hahahahaha

    Do these jokers piss themselves laughing when they come up with this BS?

    1. I don’t mind their incompetentcy, but their hypocrisy was finally noticed by the voters last month.

      Not calling you stupid, personally.  The old campaign slogan, you know.

  6. Even if we accept the claim that universal health care coverage could be paid for from savings in the current system of third party carriers, Parsing Reality is, well, parsing unreality.
    I tend to believe the numbers he cites, in the broad sense.
    but,
    A:  the theoretical ability to reduce those rates via a NATIONAL health care insurance plan in no way addresses the problem of how COLORADO could pay for exanded coverage within the current 6-percent general fund limit.

    B:  There are an estimated 47 million Americans without health insurance.  But that means there are 253 million Americans with health insurance.  Cutting 20 percent off their cost would in theory pay for the missing 47 million’s coverage.  However, a great many of those americans get their coverage via medicare or medicaid already, which means there are no savings to be gained by moving them to government insurance. 
    Of much greater consequence, there is the political problem of moving from a system dominated by employer provided insurance to a tax-supported system, without upsetting those Americans who now have employer sponsored coverage.
      That’s the rock upon which Hillary Clinton’s noble effort, which I supported, foundered upon. 
    Health care is America’s greatest unresolved challenge.  If Hillary becomes president, and I hope she does, it may fuel the impetus toward a single-payer system.  But that is absolutely not something a single state can do on its own.
    Hell, every uninsured cancer patient would move here just to get a free million in benefits and we’d go broke in weeks.  Only a national reform has a chance to work and that will be very difficult to bring about.

    1. I think Hillary’s plan died because it was so fucking complicated that no one, absolutely no one, had any idea how it would work in practice.

      Famous example, the Washington Post editorial board was interviewing Hillary and the others about the plan. Very very important as they desperately wanted the Washington Post to endorse it.

      One of the people on the board asked if they would still be able to use the doctors at a specific medical practice that many WaPo employees used.

      Hurried discussion amoung those there, phone calls back to the office. Meanwhile the interview continued. 45 minutes later when the interview was over got a call from the office where the entire group under Hillary had been working non-stop to answer this one question.

      They didn’t know.

      There were a lot of things that killed the plan. But I think that was the part that really did it in. No one knew what they were getting.

      1. “Hillarycare” was probably as good as it was going to get for the for profit portions of the HC system, they would have remained major players.  So they got their way via Harry and Louise, and where are we now 15 years later?

        Buried to the axles.

        K.I.S.S.

    2. I do not have all the answers.  Although I’ve followed this issue closely for ten years or more – and I’m one of those 47 million – I would not call myself an expert.

      All of the alternative numbers have been crunched ad nauseum since the days of Harry Truman.  Even Nixon had national care on a back burner with his staff.

      A change to a Medicare type system would actually give said employees more options, since they now don’t have a choice of Plan A or Plan B.  They’ve been given a Plan C.

      I did some quick research once for a paper in school which I very recently saw as a more in depth research.  It runs like this:  Take all of the people and families on Medicare and Medicaid.  Add government employees at all levels.  Add the military and veterans.  Add defense contractors, and go one level deeper, those who contract to them.

      What I discovered (1996) was that only about 35% of Americans were not having their health care paid for by taxpayer’s money!

      Let’s wrap up this hodge-podge and put it under one umbrella. 

  7. it refers to the dollar cost of the care delivered, not necessarily the body count.  That is because of the extraordinarily high cost of Medicare, an astounding 50 percent of which is spent in the last 90 days of life.
      My program would be basically to lower the age for medicare to birth.  As a veteran myself, I am not a fan of government provided health care, such as the VA.  It’s much better to let the private sector provide the care while the government pays for the insurance.
    You said you don’t have health insurance.  I’m going to make a leap of faith here and suggest that means you’re relatively young and healthy and feel you can’t afford it or don’t need it.  Whether that’s true of you or not, certainly the uninsured group, as a whole, is younger and healthier than the population at large.
      But that, of course, is precisely why we Need them in a universal plan, paying premiums or taxes, or whatever, to help cover the costs for those who need coverage.  Self-selection, those who need the insurance want to buy it, is why private companies spend so much money to deny coverage to those who need it!  The system is quite mad, of course.  But as Rubachev says in Darkness at Noon, we are caught in the grip of a remorseless logic.
      GM pays $1,500 for health insurance for employees and retirees for every car it builds!  That’s a huge reason it is at junk bond status.  IF we do move to a national single payer system, it will be companies like GM, burdened by legacy costs, that drive it.
      At the state level we’ll probably nibble a little more with child health care coverage but we simply can’t handle the real problem with anything less than a national reform.
    My plan, for what it’s worth, is to lower the age for medicare to birth and pay for the premiums with a national value-added tax (a kind of national sales tax).  Unlike Britain, private Cadillac plans would still be available for those who could afford them. 
      This may be a form of socialism but there are some areas, national defense, police protection, fire protection, where we don’t rely on pay for service.  Health care insurance seems suited for that sort of approach.
    For what it’s worth, my own masters degree was in economics and I spent a great deal of that time studying social security and insurance in general.
      For most purposes, market capitalism is great.  If you can’t afford to buy a car, then take the bus, bike or walk, I certainly won’t subsidize your ride.  But if the alternative to health care is death, we all find some way to ante up.  Spreading that risk over the largest possible pool is the wisest course.  But using an HMO approach like Kaiser Permanente would also save money by emphaqsising preventative care, such as vaccination, early diagnosis, etc.  Sure, you can have co-pays and whatever.  But catastrophic health coverage, at least, should be a national priority supported by a tax approach.
      But getting from here to there, ahh, there’s the rub.
    I’m almost old enough for Medicare, so my problem is almost solved.  As for my poor country, I think it will be a long and hard road before everybody is treated as well as I soon will be.

    1. Bet you’d never thought you’d see that!

      Yes, just putting everyone on Medicare is the simplest way to go.  You are not alone in suggesting this. 

      We always have to keep in mind in this discussion that paying for HC is not the same as delivering HC.  The gummint might pay Kaiser or a doctor to deliver HC to you, or it might do both, a la the vA system. 

      As for your surmise, sadly, no, I am 4 and a half years from Medicare.  I lost a good job 15 months ago and of course, my health insurance.  I’ve eked out a very minimalist survival since then.  I had unemployment for awhile, I do some computer repair, I’ve pretty well eaten my savings including 403b, etc.  I got a nice part time tutoring job, that lasted two days before they laid half of their tutors off.  I can’t get responses to even things like courieer jobs.  Is it ageism?  Perhaps.  I’ve never had trouble getting at least a flunky job before. 

      So I sit at the computer and do Coloradopols, ha ha ha.

    1. Yes, most middle class Americans are close to financial disaster.  Yes, if there are two breadwinners, they can sometimes get by for awhile.  But when one is single……

      1. Don’t confuse it with the one-volume history by Howard Zinn with the same name.  Smith is eight volumes, from the Revolution through the McCarthy era.  The recurring theme that strikes at you through the 19th and early 20 centuries is how precarious even the upper class was.  I don’t mean the truly rich, but the doctor/lawyer businessman, professional class, the guys who today would be making maybe $100 k to $200k.  They could we wiped out by a single financial panic and there was no safety net.
          Unfortunately, things haven’t changed that much.  True, there is a safety net of sorts, ranging from deposit insurance to unemployment insurance, etc.  But the giant hole in that net is medical. Lose your job and insurance, get sick, and you’re screwed.  Medicaid probably won’t bail you out until you’ve lost your savings and house and are really destitute. 
          I really believe in an America that rewards work and thrift.  But lighting can strike even the best of us and I also believe we have to have some way to help those who have tried their damnest to help themselves.
          A mind is a terrible thing to waste and those of us on the far side of 60 still have a lot to give this country and any business that doesn’t recognize that is going to be hurt as the boomers go gray.
          Sorry I was such a grouch on the FDR thing.  I’ll forgive you that one lapse if you’ll do likewise.  You’re a good man, PR, and I hope your fortunes solidify soon.

        1. For the civil and thought out exchange.  Unfortunately, sometimes a rarity on this board.

          I think my point, PR, was regarding an entitlement mentality that seems to pervade some of the loudest voices (often from labor when they demand a ‘living wage’ for the marginally skilled) in the healthcare argument.  I don’t lump you in with these voices, and I appreciate your reply.

          I have to work very hard to provide my family with healthcare (self-employed) and I would hate to see my taxes raised astronomically (which they would need to be under Ritter’s plan) to pay for others that aren’t so interested in taking responsibility for themselves, but want their employers and others’ taxes to float them.

          The spiraling costs are the issue that could really use a creative solution, and I think we’re pretty close on that issue.  Thank you also for the link to the single pay advocacy site – it was very informative.

          1. Self-employed and with a family, ouch!

            You are in the front llnes of getting scewed by the HI companies as you well know.

            Under any single payer plan, costs will go down, whether the fees come through overt taxes or “hidden” sources. Take 25% of your annual HI bill plus your deductibles, and that’s what you will save.

        2. Never was very good at it. 

          Yes, you are so right about the vagaries of life.  I think that is the purpose of social programs, bridge you across those life disasters. 

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