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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

On Wayne's April 3 Response To Bruce's April 2 Post

"There is no more new frontier.  We have got to make it here."  Don Henley, The Last Resort

1.  I was thinking that if the opposite of silly is serious then I would have to respectfully disagree with your description.  Without knowing what Nancy Pelosi was thinking at the time she asked that admittedly strange question as an answer to a serious question, I can't say for sure that her question is a comment on her possible belief that Congress isn't required to be concerned about the Constitution.  I am not a fan of Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid.  I don't really understand why these two ineffective people are the congressional Democrat leaders.  But even they are well aware of the constitution.  And so I offer up a rationale for what she said as merely her belief, at least back in 2009 when this event occurred, that the commerce clause clearly covered the mandate and had been offered .  Many do believe this to be true, while many others believe this line of reasoning to be...well...silly.  Obviously the Supreme Court will do its job and decide this question.
2.  I agree that we humans are not fundamentally objective creatures.
3.  The current rule on the PCIP is that you must have had other health insurance within the past 6 months.  I do not know if that rule continues to be the case when the full law kicks in in 2014.  But, if there is any consistency in this law in its entirety then one would think so since the situation you describe is exactly the one the mandate seeks to avoid. And while I agree that waiting until you have an illness is really a huge burden on the system and just plain inconsiderate, I don't think that the comparison with life insurance is quite on point since life insurance is not likely to save the purchasers life while health insurance would, or at least could.

And, in my defense, I have been paying into one health insurance plan or another since I was 18, which is a long time.  So I have not been engaging in some sort of "gaming" of the system, although that seems to be the exact door that will be opened wide if the Supreme Court strikes down the mandate and leaves the rest of the law intact,or if the law is left intact and people choose to pay the penalty because it is cheaper than the cost of the premiums, or just as a symbolic gesture of the pioneer spirit.
4. I agree that National Health Insurance is by far the best solution and your reasoning is solid, I believe.
5. I did not intend to address my complaints at Republicans only.  But I would say that it is absolutely clear that Republicans are politically scared to death that Obama will hit a home run on health care, virtually guaranteeing his reelection, and are leaving no stone unturned in very organized and widespread attempts to first propagandize about what the bill, now law, is and what the effects of it will be, until the average person doesn't know what to believe and what not to believe, to working the legal end and getting it struck down as unconstituional.  If all else fails there is "repeal and replace".  They have succeeded in muddying the water so much that all citizens know for sure is that they're uncomfortable, from kind of uncomfortable to extremely scared about this thing.  Mission accomplished...almost.

One more thing.  I know that I am perceived as an "L" here, but most of all I see a Democrat Party at least working to solve this very serious health care issue alone and a Republican Party offering little, if any, serious alternatives to the Democrat plan.  Letting people buy insurance across state lines is a red herring that I hear them offering constantly.  Interstate banking has worked so well, why not?  As a result we now have, in effect, about 5 banks with the others dependent on those 5 banks for technology assistance.  Is it a coincidence that this is one of the alternatives they are selling that could very well result in the same kind of concentration in that industry that we now have in banking??? It seems like such a market driven solution.  But is it really?


  1. 5. Do you believe that the Ds are taking the heat (supporting the necessary taxation) for the program that they advocate?

  2. 1. I too am in favor of a PCIP provision in national health care. In actuality most states have that in place for health care now they just call it an assigned risk pool. As I said, I am in favor of PCIP, but it is already being addressed.
    2. To point number 5 “Obama will hit a home run on health care” and his election would be assured. I assume you are suggesting that the “home run” would be for SCOTUS to uphold the ACA and the mandate. I would predict a very different voter reaction. Polls consistently show a very significant percentage of voters that do not want the ACA “as is”. If the ACA and its mandate are upheld by SCOTUS I would expect every one of those voters to be at the polls.
    3. Question – why is purchasing insurance across state lines a “red herring”
    4. Question – If 5 major banks is bad are you suggesting that breaking them up (giving them a Ma Bell) would be desirable?

  3. I do believe that the Ds take a lot of heat for their belief that tax rates need to be raised. From previous posts I know that you do not. I have to admit that I'm not sure why you are emphasizing this. Maybe if I did I would have more of an answer.

    Tom, good discussion points.
    1. I would just point out that the PCIP that is now at the state level is an Obamacare mandate. I have already been called a liar on this once but my research seems to verify this. The problem with keeping this without the individual mandate is obvious. If a person can go without insurance until they get sick and then enter the PCIP program that is just not viable long term. The individual mandate is the engine that makes the whole private insurance program work as universal healthcare...a market driven solution.

    2. When I suggest that Rs were scared to death that Obama would hit a home run with health care, I was thinking of a situation where he and the Ds were able to get through a law that was considered a clear response to the many problems with our health care system and popular. In my opinion the Rs have successfully countered and made that possibility moot. Even a win in the SC will not make the law popular. That ship has sailed.

    3. I believe that having only a few very large banks is one of the major contributors to our recent economic crash. Remember "too large to fail"? I didn't disagree that that was true. What I questioned was why regulators ever allowed it to happen. And now I see that the regulators are going to just leave it that way. Allowing interstate banking opened the door for concentration in the market. Do we really want to see that happen in the health insurance industry? There is no reason to think it won't.

    What I would like to see in the banking industry is for the banks to divest themselves of their investment sides. I would like banks to depend solely on banking activities for their profits. I believe the public would be much better served. In this country you can't just open a bank because you feel like it. You have to apply to either the state or the federal govt. Once their application is approved the new bank is chartered with the purpose of serving the community's banking needs. There are good reasons why that is important. We need to be able to trust our banks and having them in the business of selling investments is a real barrier to that and rightfully so.

  4. .
    Ds taking heat: The Ds, led by Obama, argue that the problem just requires a bit more taxing of the rich and we can fix this thing. That is not taking heat, that is telling your followers that you can have your cake and eat it too - as a solution it is way out in la-la land. Restoring the Clinton rates on "the rich" (over 250K per year) produces about 70 billion more per year. The deficit is NOW 1.4 trillion per year. So, soaking the rich, will give you 5% of the solution to the NOW problem and nothing for the government healthcare and pension costs (loved by the Ds) that are coming down the path. There is no way to solve this problem without hitting you and me, and they don't admit that. The Ds appeal to our desire for more govt funded entitlements, but they are not honest about how much it will cost.

    The Rs are not much better. However, at least the R House budget includes some of the pain (medicare cuts) that will result from their preferences which is for less govt.

    In a difficult situation, my first inclination would be to go with the guy who is giving me the bad news rather than the one who is living in fiscal wonderland.

  5. I don't see the Ds proposals as tax cuts only. The phrase "all of the above solutions" has been used quite often. Obama's budget proposals, a work in process admittedly, has a large section taking about cuts and savings. So, it seems that the Ds are saying it will take an all oaf the above approach while the Rs want to ignore revenue raisers. If you cut programs primarily benefitting middle and lower income classes then lower taxes on the wealthy who is paying for that solution? I'll take d, all of the above, thanks.

  6. Oops, tax increases only. I had not had my coffee yet so I deserve a little leeway. Or maybe deserve is too strong a word.

  7. .
    So you think the Ds are going to raise 70 B a year in taxes on the rich and reduce entitlements by 1,330 B a year?
    What entitlement cuts have the Ds proposed? That is, what program have the D's proposed should receive less next year than this year.

  8. Wayne, I will get back with you on this, but I don't have the time to respond adequately. I'm looking forward to it.