Saturday, 6/30/12, Public Square


Filed under The Public Square

9 responses to “Saturday, 6/30/12, Public Square

  1. prairie pond

    Oy. The best part is the little guy at the bottom saying he doesn’t seem to be using his legs below his knees. So… yeah. Let’s chop ’em off. If that doesn’t explain repuke economics, I don’t know what does. It can mean all kinds of things, but mostly, I think it means us little people at the bottom of the economy, you know, below the knees, are expendable. They will cut us off and throw us away, even if it does nothing to make the patient better.

    I feel the hatchet coming…

  2. Here’s how Romney put it on July 30, 2009, in the op-ed he wrote that was published in USA Today:

    Mr. President, what’s the rush?

    Obama could learn a thing or two about health care reform from Massachusetts. One, time is not the enemy. Two, neither are the Republicans.

    Because of President Obama’s frantic approach, health care has run off the rails. For the sake of 47 million uninsured Americans, we need to get it back on track.

    Health care cannot be handled the same way as the stimulus and cap-and-trade bills. With those, the president stuck to the old style of lawmaking: He threw in every special favor imaginable, ground it up and crammed it through a partisan Democratic Congress. Health care is simply too important to the economy, to employment and to America’s families to be larded up and rushed through on an artificial deadline. There’s a better way. And the lessons we learned in Massachusetts could help Washington find it.

    No other state has made as much progress in covering their uninsured as Massachusetts. The bill that made it happen wasn’t a rush job. Shortly after becoming governor, I worked in a bipartisan fashion with Democrats to insure all our citizens. It took almost two years to find a solution. When we did, it passed the 200-member legislature with only two dissenting votes. It had the support of the business community, the hospital sector and insurers. For health care reform to succeed in Washington, the president must finally do what he promised during the campaign: Work with Republicans as well as Democrats.

    Massachusetts also proved that you don’t need government insurance. Our citizens purchase private, free-market medical insurance. There is no “public option.” With more than 1,300 health insurance companies, a federal government insurance company isn’t necessary. It would inevitably lead to massive taxpayer subsidies, to lobbyist-inspired coverage mandates and to the liberals’ dream: a European-style single-payer system. To find common ground with skeptical Republicans and conservative Democrats, the president will have to jettison left-wing ideology for practicality and dump the public option.

    Our experience also demonstrates that getting every citizen insured doesn’t have to break the bank. First, we established incentives for those who were uninsured to buy insurance. Using tax penalties, as we did, or tax credits, as others have proposed, encourages “free riders” to take responsibility for themselves rather than pass their medical costs on to others. This doesn’t cost the government a single dollar. Second, we helped pay for our new program by ending an old one — something government should do more often. The federal government sends an estimated $42 billion to hospitals that care for the poor: Use those funds instead to help the poor buy private insurance, as we did.

    When our bill passed three years ago, the legislature projected that our program would cost $725 million in 2009. At $723 million, next year’s forecast is pretty much on target. When you calculate all the savings, including that from the free hospital care we eliminated, the net cost to the state is approximately $350 million. The watchdog Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation concluded that our program’s cost is “relatively modest” and “well within initial projections.”

    And if subsidies and coverages are reined in, as I’ve suggested, the Massachusetts program could actually break even. One thing is certain: The president must insist on a program that doesn’t add to our spending burden. We simply cannot afford another trillion-dollar mistake.

    The Massachusetts reform aimed at getting virtually all our citizens insured. In that, it worked: 98% of our citizens are insured, 440,000 previously uninsured are covered and almost half of those purchased insurance on their own, with no subsidy. But overall, health care inflation has continued its relentless rise. Here is where the federal government can do something we could not: Take steps to stop or slow medical inflation.

    At the core of our health cost problem is an incentive problem. Patients don’t care what treatments cost once they pass the deductible. And providers are paid more when they do more; they are paid for quantity, not quality. We will tame runaway costs only when we change incentives. We might do what some countries have done: Require patients to pay a portion of their bill, except for certain conditions. And providers could be paid an annual fixed fee for the primary care of an individual and a separate fixed fee for the treatment of a specific condition. These approaches have far more promise than the usual bromides of electronic medical records, transparency and pay-for-performance, helpful though they will be.

    I spent most of my career in the private sector. When well-managed businesses considered a major change of some kind, they engaged in extensive analysis, brought in outside experts, exhaustively evaluated every alternative, built consensus among those who would be affected and then moved ahead. Health care is many times bigger than all the companies in the Dow Jones combined. And the president is rushing changes that dwarf what any business I know has faced.

    Republicans are not the party of “no” when it comes to health care reform. This Republican is proud to be the first governor to insure all his state’s citizens. Other Republicans such as Rep. Paul Ryan and Sens. Bob Bennett and John McCain, among others, have proposed their own plans. Republicans will join with the Democrats if the president abandons his government insurance plan, if he endeavors to craft a plan that does not burden the nation with greater debt, if he broadens his scope to reduce health costs for all Americans, and if he is willing to devote the rigorous effort, requisite time and bipartisan process that health care reform deserves.

    Mitt Romney was governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007.

    • But, but……. IOKIYAR

      That above sums up anything Republicans are yammering about now….

      Republicans are just mad because the black man in the White House took one of their ideas and actually got it through the sausage maker Congress.

      There are those folks that can only promise to do things – like fix the health care system and not rest until Bin Laden was killed or capture (ahem…..GWB, are you listening?).

      Then there are those folks that actually deliver on things -= like fix the health care system and giving the order to go in and kill Bin Laden.

      Republicans always yammer on and on about how great they are – but Democrats are the ones that actually get the job done…

  3. A bit of real life humor for the readers of this humble blog. As you may be aware, last night was the ‘opening night’ of Mighty Mile, a cinematic production concerning male strippers. The audience for this tour de force overwhelmingly consisted of 30ish matrons. From the younger’s tales, a raucous and randy time was had by all, lubricated by the consumption of significant quantities of distilled spirits. Her comment on this was “They were acting like a bunch of teenage girls whose parents weren’t home, and the key to the liquor cabinet was found”. (OK, I dignified the language of her comment a bit, but I’m sure the picture is clear). The line for the 7 p.m. showing began at the ropes outside the auditorium where the movie was being shown, through the lobby, out the door, snaking some 50 feet along the front of the building, which was made up of anxiously anticipatory audience members laughing and making comments not generally associated with such a crowd. There were four males who had been conscripted into attendance (designated driver?) by their female significant other, who appeared to be less than thrilled.

    After the end of the final show of the evening, as clean up was under way, the place smelled like either: a) the employees had fallen into a bottle of Hpnotiq; or b) a pool of strawberries and Champagne had suddenly appeared in the auditorium. She was not eagerly anticipating the situation which might occur tonight, as there is one more show on Saturdays, and it was her understanding all were sold out (or nearly sold out) as of last night. At least those attending last night did a good job of keeping their hands to themselves, much to the relief of the young male servers. Hopefully, such restraint was shown tonight as well. I gather the female servers were a bit nonplussed by the whole thing.

    I am eagerly awaiting her stories after I pick her up after work tonight. She was not offended by the film, just disturbed a bit by the conduct of the audience members. I, however, was greatly amused (and not surprised) by the whole thing.

    • I reminded her of the trip to Minnesota in 1998 so her sister could attend Accepted Students Weekend. As it happened, the parents were invited to enjoy the activities on campus that weekend, one of which was the weekly movie. We had discussed attending, but as fate would have it, the movie was The Full Monte, which was not appropriate for the entire family. My wife asked if I minded staying with the younger, as she wanted to see the movie and accurately determined that I had little interest. I didn’t mind at all, so off she went.

      Apparently, she was the only parent in attendance, which created a bit of unease among the students. Those around her were assured that she was there for the movie, and all should have a good time. All was going well, when, about two-thirds the way through the film, the men’s cross-country team (in keeping with tradition) streaked the auditorium. My wife found it amusing; the students were horrified, and apparently were not all that comforted by her assurance that as she had been a college student in the late ’60s and early ’70s, there was nothing that would offend her; she had seen it all before.

      It took her at least 20 minutes to tell me the story, as she continuously had to stop due to laughter (hers and mine), and the younger wasn’t quite sure what we were finding so funny.

      • I will go Monday evening with a group of female friends who don’t give a s**t whether or not this turns into some sort of a love story, we’ve heard some studs dance and shed their clothes. Nuff said. 🙂

      • In the words of the mother of a young woman friend of mine (back when I was younger), be good; if you can’t be good, be safe; and, if you can’t be safe, be sanitary.

        I know your group will have a good time. Enjoy!