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The Big Labor/Big Government health care connection

On Monday, C.J. Ciaramella from The Weekly Standard reported:

Today the AFSCME and AFL-CIO co-hosted a block party to celebrate the end of their "Highway to Health Care" summer tour, in which they sent an RV to 19 cities in 10 states to spread the good news of the Democrats' health care plan.

One of my first impressions of the event in Washington, D.C. was, appropriately enough, a man on a cell phone trying to rustle up more attendees. "We need some more bodies down here," he said, standing on the fringe of the crowd. "Can you holler around the office a little?"

In case workplace coercion was not enough, the unions also provided a wide array of free t-shirts, signs and temporary tattoos. You know, to get that spontaneous, grassroots feel. The unions apparently didn't want their party to look lame in front of the photographers and television cameras milling about, which for some reason included Al Jazeera.

The two main speakers were AFL-CIO president John Sweeney and AFSCME president Gerald McEntee. Both spoke about the "evil insurance companies" (McEntee's words) spreading misinformation and using the "teabaggers" as a front for their machinations.

After talking about such horrors, Sweeney went on to announce, without a trace of irony, "This past month, 18,000 union members attended nearly 400 town hall meetings across the country, [and] this coming Labor Day weekend, we expect tens of thousands of union members to call for health care reform through celebrations across the country."

The overwhelming and conspicuous presence of union members (apparently bussed in under direct orders from the White House) at last month's "town hall" meetings is an unprecedented and controversial political move by the Democratic party. In fact, one has to wonder how Democrats would have reacted if, during the last few years, the Bush White House had instructed the Minutemen or the NRA to bus dozens of attendees to various political events or scheduled public appearances by the President, in order to intimidate and discourage anti-war protesters.

But as this Newsbusters report explains, the mainstream press has made virtually no effort to either investigate or explain why organized labor (aside from their long-running French kiss with the Democrats) is so gung-ho in support of government-managed health care. Or maybe they are simply uneasy about telling us the real reasons why:

Antilabor forces say it's welfare for the UAW and Democrats' union allies. Labor supporters say it falls short of what's needed as tens of thousands of union members are pushed into early retirement as employers cut back health care coverage.

They're both talking about a $10-billion provision tucked deep inside thousands of pages of health care overhaul bills that could help the UAW's retiree health-care plan and other union-backed plans.

It would see the government -- at least temporarily -- pay 80 cents on the dollar to corporate and union insurance plans for claims between $15,000 and $90,000 for retirees age 55 to 64.

Big businesses with union workers are twice as likely to offer retiree benefits as nonunion ones.

Greg Mourad of the National Right to Work Committee called it "a shameless case of political payback," saying Democrats and President Barack Obama are trying "to force the rest of us to pay billions to cover those unions' health care."

But wait -- there's more. Remember the luxury tax on "lavish" employee health benefits that Democrats proposed a few months ago, in order to help fund their health care overhaul? Check this out:

[Sen. Max Baucus] is floating the following trial balloon: Congress would fund fund part of health reform with a cap on the tax exclusion of employer-sponsored health insurance but only at a level "significantly above" the cost of the standard plan offered to federal employees. The measure would also exclude policies bargained under current union contracts.

Mickey Kaus notes:

... Baucus has just given a big tax incentive for workers--perhaps encouraged by labor signature collectors under a "card check" bill--to form unions and bargain for lavish health benefits that will then be exempted from his tax on lavish benefits. Join a union, get a tax break! (A break the rest of us would have to pay for) ...

You will also recall that the government-negotiated GM bankruptcy settlement included handing over a huge equity stake in the company to the UAW-controlled retiree health care trust fund.

Is any of this fair? Does any of this directly work to achieve the advertised goal of ObamaCare, which is "affordable health care for everyone?" Of course not. This is politics at its worst, and nothing more than a brazen attempt by the Democrats to guarantee the continued political patronage of perhaps its most hardcore group of supporters. Who in their right mind would support a "reform" plan that guaranteed union employees, federal government employees, and members of Congress country club health insurance, while forcing the rest of us into a completely restructured government managed health system that gives us few real choices and zero bargaining power?


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Comments (63)

Since 1990 organized labor ... (Below threshold)
Eric:

Since 1990 organized labor has donated $622,608,512 to the Democrat Party. Time for payback..

Whle everyone else is scram... (Below threshold)
J:

Whle everyone else is scrambling to either keep their job or find a new one, it is interesting to see all this free time on the unions' hands where they can call up a bunch of people to be bussed 150 miles in some cases, to agitate. Says a lot for union work (would you intentionally drive through the falling down Big Dig tunnels-union work).

Seems I remember another ad... (Below threshold)
bobdog:

Seems I remember another administration bussing around uniformed supporters to disrupt public meetings and trump up apparent support for an openly complicit media.

Toss in White House Snitch Line email servers to report disloyal activies, public school indoctrination programs and Obama's dream of a civilian army as large as our military and things are starting to acquire a familiar ring. When union thugs start breaking up retail stores and painting "Republican" on shop windows and requiring conservatives to start wearing armbands, submitting to "voluntary isolation" and reporting to government isolation centers around election day, we will have come full circle.

We've seen this before, on the History Channel.

The acid test is to ask what would happen if the Bush White House attempted these things. Would libs accept this if the Republicans tried this crap?

I have to wonder if there is anything that Democrats won't do to retain power and force their views on the American public. Libtards have been calling everbody they disagree with Nazis for forty years. I'm not given to wild-eyed name calling, but it's hard not to start feeling uncomfortable about all this.

Personally, I'm going to start growing one of those metrosexual stubble beards as a disguise.

RE: "This past month, 18,0... (Below threshold)
MjM:

RE: "This past month, 18,000 union members attended nearly 400 town hall meetings across the country,..."

Holy smokes! That' a whopping 45 people per town hall meeting!

Out here in the tiny village of Eagle WI (pop.1700) at a town hall held by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) we had close to 300 99% anti-Chappaquidicare people show up.

Which is just about the number that showed up at a national tour stop rally held by Organizing for America - Obama's Dem/Union/thug group.


Under the proposed card che... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Under the proposed card check rules even the self-employed can unionize and benefit from union friendly laws. There are lots of crafty folks out there who are figuring out ways to benefit themselves from the loopholes in these hastily written laws.

So the insurance company/bi... (Below threshold)
jim:

So the insurance company/big government connection is awful too right?

That's the connection that has insurance companies lobbying and astroturfing opposition to real health care reform, and instead is trying to push the reform towards a giveaway of public funds?

Just trying to see where you all stand here.

"Seems I remember another a... (Below threshold)
jim:

"Seems I remember another administration bussing around uniformed supporters to disrupt public meetings and trump up apparent support for an openly complicit media."

Yes. That would be the Bush administration.

As you may be trying to not recall, that would be the same administration that HAD PEOPLE ARRESTED for violating their dress code and wearing T-SHIRTS they didn't like.

That's right, T-SHIRTS.

If Obama's a fascist, then Bush is a fascist. Which means apparently your problem isn't fascism - it's just you don't like it when you're not getting your way.

Just calling it like it is.

Unions backdooring the Amer... (Below threshold)
JustRuss:

Unions backdooring the American people... This is news? I thought this was an accepted practice in America?

Guess thats what I get for graduating from Government run schools.

"That's the connection t... (Below threshold)
ODA315:

"That's the connection that has insurance companies lobbying and astroturfing opposition to real health care reform"

Yup, saw 'um myself getting off that big blue bus. Was curious on why they have SEIU Tshirts on.....

(how about some evidence of this Ins. Co busing, other than Grandma Pelosi's contentions)

Yeah Jim, you're gonna love that "real" health care reform. Ya know, where the IRS must divulge all your personal finance data to an army of healthcare bureaucrats. Where they have direct access to your bank accounts. Where you can keep your current plan, at least until a change in terms or your employer discontinues it. It'll be darn near nirvana.

Put down the crack pipe and READ HR3200.

"As you may be trying to no... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"As you may be trying to not recall, that would be the same administration that HAD PEOPLE ARRESTED for violating their dress code and wearing T-SHIRTS they didn't like.
That's right, T-SHIRTS."

Link please.

That's what B. Hussein 0bam... (Below threshold)
Constitution First:

That's what B. Hussein 0bama's resume read; that's what you got.

What part of Corrupt Chicago Politician aren't you getting?

Can we start impeachment proceedings already?

Here's your link:<... (Below threshold)
Jim:
ODA, if your're going to se... (Below threshold)
Jim:

ODA, if your're going to seriously suggest that insurance companies AREN'T fighting health care reform with every single lobbyist and opinion-molding technique at their disposal, I almost don't know what to say.

But you asked for evidence so here you go:
http://thinkprogress.org/2009/08/27/ahip-lobbying-publicoption/

now how will I like the health care you're describing? If it works anywhere close to as well as Medicare, I'll like it just fine. Because otherwise it's me apying insurance companies money I can't afford, so they can drop me as soon as I'm not healthy and actually need it.

We pay twice as much for half the care as nearly an other first-world nation. Think about that! Insuance cost is rising at 4 times the rat of inflation - with NO rise inhealth care expenses! Families are going broke or choosing between insurance or food.

Is that how it should be? Is that how you want it? Shouldn't we do something to change that?

"Where you can keep your cu... (Below threshold)
Jim:

"Where you can keep your current plan, at least until a change in terms or your employer discontinues it. It'll be darn near nirvana."

In other words exacty like things are now with private insurance companies. Except my money won't also be going to advertising or CEO bonuses.

How is that worse-case scenario actually worse than what we have now? Please explain.

Jim, I'm sure the t-shirts ... (Below threshold)
bobdog:

Jim, I'm sure the t-shirts were the sole reason these people were arrested.

Right...

Thinkprogress as a source. ... (Below threshold)
ODA315:

Thinkprogress as a source. Why not Keith Olbermann?? How about George Soros or Michael Moore as sources? If you read both TP and the WSJ article it becomes clear that one talks of letter writing and what not to do if attending townhalls, while the other wanders all over and attempts to convey a sense of "Astroturfing" in the Axelrod sense. But I wouldn't expect anything less.

Should we do something to "change it" you ask? Yes,
1) Tort reform so we don't piss away $ on defensive medicine and $100k+ annual insurance premiums.
2) Tax exemptions for all health-related expenses, or at least allow health savings plans.
3) Insurance portability - get states out of the insurance legislating business (most of which is special interest group-driven).

Medicare is near insolvency. I have medicare advantage because regular medicare is poorly done. It's slow to pay, complicated, and only pays the doc about 30 cents on the dollar. Guess who gets top pay the other seventy cents. Why is Medicare advantage so much better? It's administered and managed by for-profit entities who are motivated to provide service and efficiency.

btw, Items 1-3 have been proposed by the "party of no" but shot down by the dems. Sen Tom Coburn was a chief driver behind these.

And ultimately Jim, if this is such a great deal why did congress opt out covering itself when a republicans brought this up for a vote? The voting was in Waxman's committee I believe and went by party lines.

"I have medicare advantage ... (Below threshold)
LT:

"I have medicare advantage because regular medicare is poorly done." - ODA315

If Medicare sucks so bad, why don't you get private insurance?

Bobdog, you are free to use... (Below threshold)
Jim:

Bobdog, you are free to use Google to find any other reason why those people were arrested.

Since I looked and there isn't, that's all there is to that. Bush had something don which would make you absolutely hit the foot if Obama did it to conservatives.

And yet you weren't even told of this by the conservative media you trust. What does that tell you? Please think about it.

"How is that worse-case sce... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"How is that worse-case scenario actually worse than what we have now? Please explain."

You cannot add that mythical 47 MILLION "uninsured" to the pot, take $500 BILLION out of Medicare and say that EVERYTHING WILL BE THE SAME. Even the CBO tells you that it will ADD TO THE DEFICIT.

"Thinkprogress as a source.... (Below threshold)
Jim:

"Thinkprogress as a source. Why not Keith Olbermann?? How about George Soros or Michael Moore as sources?"

you're going to use Newsbusters as a source, and complain about Thinkprogress?? Lol!

If thinkprogress' facts are wrong, how about you disprove their facts?Should be pretty easy then right?

As for AstroTurf in the Axelrod sense - I believe you mean the Rove sense?

"1) Tort reform so we don't piss away $ on defensive medicine and $100k+ annual insurance premiums."

the problem: insurance rates have MULTIPLIED 4 TIMES while lawsuits have stayed flat. That right there makes it clear that lawsuits aren't the problem.
2) Tax exemptions for all health-related expenses, or at least allow health savings plans.

That lowers insurance rates how?

Please explain how, once insurance companies are making a boatload of money, this will cause them to spontaneously choose to make less.
"3) Insurance portability - get states out of the insurance legislating business (most of which is special interest group-driven)."
And again, that will cause insurance companies to lower their rates how? Even if that lowers their costs, why would they choose to charge less?
Please explain the mechansm by which that will definitely occur.
Because what seems more likely to me is that insance companes will shop across companies for the least costly patients, and seek to ditch everyone else AND keep or raise their rates. Why wouldn't they? They're a company. But to expect them to just lower their rates in gratitude or out of love for the public - well that's a long wait for a train that ain't coming.

"Medicare is near insolvency."

So in other words, even with our recession it's still deficit neutral.
"I have medicare advantage because regular medicare is poor."
and you have Medicare Advantage because insuance company coverage is better?

Sure, a mix of public and private could be a good solution. Clearly sine you have Medicare Advantage and not some 100% private insurance, private insurance isn't better.

LT -Once you reach... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

LT -

Once you reach a certain age (which I'll assume ODA315 has, but just barely...) you don't have a choice.

And as he points out - that's what Medicare Advantage is.

He also points out there's ways to reform the system. But it sure seems like some would rather just scrap what kind of works for some nebulous 'perfect' system run by the government - which may or may not work.

Just maybe government doesn't need to do EVERYTHING.

LT.....I have medicare ADVA... (Below threshold)
ODA315:

LT.....I have medicare ADVANTAGE you dipshit. It's NOT MEDICARE. I switched because medicare was BAD....

Now, YOU put down the crackpipe. Sheeeesh.

So, Jim, it's been 4 years.... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

So, Jim, it's been 4 years. What's the status of the lawsuit?
Was it behavior, or was it t-shirts, that got them rousted and arrested?

Why, of course, we should h... (Below threshold)
bobdog:

Why, of course, we should have arrested the makers of those t-shirts and slapped them in jail then, I guess.

Right...

"Medicare is near insolvenc... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"Medicare is near insolvency."

So in other words, even with our recession it's still deficit neutral.
21. Posted by Jim

Flunked math and economics, didn't you?

Jim, you haven't a clue. </... (Below threshold)
ODA315:

Jim, you haven't a clue.

Once you reach SSA age you automatically receive medicare (they deduct it from your check). You can choose to enroll in Plans A&B (which I did initially) OR enroll in Medicare Advantage (which takes monthly payments from the GOV which would have gone into medicare system for your care and gives them to a private insurer whose Advantage Plan you are enrolled in). There is no "public-private partnership". The govt just pays my premium (which I pay a part of thru my check deduction) and it works due to the lack of medicare bloated bureaucracy, inefficiency, and incompetence as the middleman.

Now back to the meat and potatoes. Please read the HR3200 rather than quoting John Podesta's little hobby horse outfit. You clearly didn't read, much less understand my response. And at NO time in my posting on wizbang have I used Newsbusters as a source.

Your hatred for insurance companies is palpable. Do you realize that real people work in these companies? Do you realize that millions of investors own these? Do you realize that the insurance industry is the most high-regulated sector outside of medical and financial sectors? And yet they're still evil. I guess the uber-govt masters who control and monitor this regulation haven't done too good a job, huh? Maybe we need more regs to punish them. But wait, these same bureaucrats want to also run your health care system. Great.

Of course if you read the bill you'd know alot more than you do.


ODA315jim only reads... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

ODA315
jim only reads Dem talking points. Anything deeper is over his head.

Dear person who called me a... (Below threshold)
jim:

Dear person who called me a dipshit:

so you're receiving MEDICARE BENEFITS, they're jsut being paid out through private companies.

Can you see how that is not a 100% private setup?

Or do I actually have to draw a diagram for you?

The diagram goes like this:

1. money from the goverment program, called Medicare - therefore not private

2. PAID TO insurance companies which are private

See?

Please read:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medicare_Advantage

"With the passage of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, Medicare beneficiaries were given the option to receive their Medicare benefits through private health insurance plans, instead of through the Original Medicare plan (Parts A and B). These programs were known as Medicare+Choice or Part C plans.

Pursuant to the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003, the compensation and business practices changed for insurers that offer these plans, and "Medicare+Choice" plans became known as Medicare Advantage (MA) plans.[1]"

Clearer now?

Sheesh.

The rest of you, after lunch.

Is your name "LT"?... (Below threshold)
ODA315:

Is your name "LT"?

Read the bill.

I guess according to you my old company which did contract work for the govt., would have been a "public-private partnership". Our board of directors and shareholders would have disagreed.

Maybe I called the wrong guy a dipshit.

Now,.....read the bill Jim.

Kinda makes you wonder what... (Below threshold)
LiberalNitemare:

Kinda makes you wonder what happened to all of the anarchists.

I guess they and code pink have decided to call it quits now that world peace has been declared and globalism has been conquered

If medicare advantage works... (Below threshold)
JustRuss:

If medicare advantage works then why can't we do the same thing for everyone else? Why do we have to dismantle the way things are and create a government black hole to wash our money for us? If we paid $1 into this bureaucracy I bet something like 30cents will make it back as medical care. The rest will go to overhead. Employee pay, buildings, electric bills, so on so forth.

Already medicare advantage has this problem, as does any sort of "stimulus" where they take tax money, wash it, then send it back to your county or city for special projects. Remove the government.

Over all putting this kind of program under govt control is a bad idea. Forcing anyone to get healthcare if they don't want it is a bad idea. Get the damn govt out of my wallet.

ODA:1. This articl... (Below threshold)
Jim:

ODA:

1. This article we're all commenting on, that I'm responding to, uses Newsbusters as a source. If you do not have a problem with that, then for you to have a problem with me citing Thinkprogress makes no logical sense.

2. *You* read the bill. Oh what's that? It doesn't exist in final form yet? There's currently at least 3 different versions?

How about you read the proposed GOP alternative. What's that? There isn't one that even comes close to actually trying to fix the actual problem - rising insurance rates with no end in sight?

3. Are you working for an insurance company or Medicare? No. Therefore you are a *customer* of Medicare advantage.

If a road is built with Gov't funds, even I the work is done by private contractor it's a government project. If a school is built with Gov't funds, same. If the Pentagon hires military contractors, the US Gov't is still in charge of the war.

Do you understand what I'm saying?

You may not like the fact that Medicate advantage is a Gov't creation, privately administered. But it was created by government, and it's private partners are both paid by and monitored by government, and the private operation is within a specific set of Gov't-chosen guidelines. It is a government-run public/private partnership, no matter what else you wish it was.


Garandfan, please explain h... (Below threshold)
jim:

Garandfan, please explain how Medicare being solvent means that it's bad for the deficit.

See, as "solvent" means "bringing in as much or more money as it sends out", that means it's not costing extra money, right?

If I'm wrong, please explain how I'm wrong.

Well Bobdog, since they won... (Below threshold)
jim:

Well Bobdog, since they won a $160,000 settlement,

http://www.progressive.org/mag_mc082007

It would appear that:

a) all they did was wear T-shirts
b) the Bush administration was wrong

Also in the process a Bush Administration *manual* was uncovered, which states"

"If the demonstrators are yelling, rally squads can begin and lead supportive chants to drown out the protestors (USA!, USA!, USA!). As a last resort, security should remove the demonstrators from the event site."

Now imagine - just imagine - an actual Obama manual being released that said the exact same thing.

How hard would you be freaking out about this being proof of Obama's fascism?

Why is okay when there's *proof* that Bush does it, but wrong if it even feels like Obama *might* do it it?

Please think about that.

ODA, here's what's wrong wi... (Below threshold)
jim:

ODA, here's what's wrong with your statements:

"Your hatred for insurance companies is palpable."

Your hatred for non-Republican governments is palpable. And?

"Do you realize that real people work in these companies?"

Do you realize that real people work in non-Republican goverments? And that they really, actually aren't out to try and hurt you?

(supposition a) "Do you realize that the insurance industry is the most high-regulated sector outside of medical and financial sectors?"

(supposition b) Do you realize that they've still quadrupled what they charge in the past few years, with NO actual rise in costs?

Please explain to me how your supposition (a) negates mine (b).

"But wait, these same bureaucrats want to also run your health care system. Great."

Please explain how government bureaucrats are *always* automatically worse than corporate bureaucrats.

"Of course if you read the bill you'd know alot more than you do."

Since you, on the other hand, know so much, you should have absolutely no problem demolishing my points right?

So please. Prove me wrong with facts and logic. If I'm wrong, I'd love to know. Because I prefer to be in step with reality, even if it means I must change my worldview to suit.

My apologies - the settleme... (Below threshold)
jim:

My apologies - the settlement was apparently $80,000 total. I had thought it was $80,000 apiece.

Oh - and yes, ODA that's ho... (Below threshold)
jim:

Oh - and yes, ODA that's how Medicare works. Sorry you don't like how it's paid for. I can understand that being irritating - rather than paying a voluntary check for the health care insurance you need.

But the whole point of Medicare is that it's supposed to cost less *and* be better than a wholly private program.

So if you want to prove that Medicare sucks, you should be able to prove that a 100% private for-profit insurance version would cost the same or less, and offer the same or better service.

Can you do that?

I think not - or such a study would have been trumpeted all across conservative media before Medicare even became a bill.

Jim,80,000 settlemen... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

Jim,
80,000 settlement. That is different from a judgement. And much less than 160k as you say.

Also note that it was the local police that did the strip searching etc.

Jim,Do YOU realize... (Below threshold)
Harmon:

Jim,

Do YOU realize that insurance companies pay claims from a combination of premiums, reserves and investment income on the reserves? If you know this, can you tell me what has happened to insurance companies investments over the last couple of years thanks partially to Barney Frank and friends? The money to pay claims has to come from somewhere, and unlike the government, insurance companies cannot just print more.

SCSIwuzzy, you'll notice I ... (Below threshold)
Jim:

SCSIwuzzy, you'll notice I corrected my own mistake re: $80,000 a couple of posts ago.

You'll also notice that the Bush White House manual I quoted details that protesters are to be reomved rather than allowed to speak. That this was handed off to the local police as an arrest for "trespassing" - when the protesters were in a public place and guilty only of wearing non-Bush approved t-shirts - does not change the fact that the Bush administration wanted them thrown out, **planned in writing** to have them thrown out, and threw them out.

And again, I'd like you to imagine Obama doing the EXACT SAME THING, but to conservatives. How would you react? Why would your ractopn be any different than it was for Bush.

Harmon, I want you to think... (Below threshold)
jim:

Harmon, I want you to think about what you're saying.

You are basically saying that Insurance companies have raised their rates on individuals because ***Insurance companies lost money investing***.

Exactly how is that the fault of their customers?

Exactly why should families be forced to choose between insuring their children or **feeding them**, because Insurance companies made poor choices?

Here's the deal: an unrestricted and unregulated free market, especially in an area that sells something people **need in order to live**, ALWAYS results in gouging of the consumer.

And you give a perfect example of why the government should be paying these costs instead of private insurers - because the government won't invest its future, and risk the collective health of our nation - by gambling on the stock market.

But hey, maybe you're right and the government is guaranteed to screw things up. In that case, a public option hurts no one - because it will prove that insurance companies really are better.

That's how it seems over here.

Mangled word in post # 41 s... (Below threshold)
jim:

Mangled word in post # 41 should read "reaction", as in "Why would your reaction be any different than it was for Bush. "

That's what I get for blog-commenting from my cellphone.

I'll take parts of this one... (Below threshold)
DavidB:

I'll take parts of this one, it's oh so easy.

(supposition a) "Do you realize that the insurance industry is the most high-regulated sector outside of medical and financial sectors?"

(supposition b) Do you realize that they've still quadrupled what they charge in the past few years, with NO actual rise in costs?

Your supposition b is flawed, it does not provide any information to prove the bolded statement.

In the state of California, and most if not all others, the return on premiums is regulated by the state. The insurance companies must prove an increase in costs in order to justify to the insurance commission their request for an increase in rates.

No increased costs, no rate increase, very simple really.

Please explain how government bureaucrats are *always* automatically worse than corporate bureaucrats.

Please, please please, provide one single example of a government run program that is:
A. Run efficiently and within budget.
B. Has a goal and meets those goals regularly and timely
C. Returns something to the investors. (taxpayers)

The difference Jim, investor owned companies must perform well or the management is shown the door. Does it work all the time? Far more often then any government run program ever has or ever will. The government bureaucrats answer to no one, there is not enough space here to provide the copious examples that are available with the simplest of searches. Google is your friend in that respect.

You changing your world view yet?

Didn't think so.

Just one thing Jim...or may... (Below threshold)
JustRuss:

Just one thing Jim...or maybe a few things.

First of all read the post you are responding to, don't just skim it. The word he used for medicare is INsolvency

Medicare is near insolvency. I have medicare advantage because regular medicare is poorly done

Since you think we are all so stupid not to know what words mean let me give you the definition.

Cash flow insolvency
Unable to pay debts as they fall due.
Balance sheet insolvency
Having negative net assets - in other words,
liabilities exceed assets.


Next:

You answer arguments with arguments but when we do the same you accuse and sneer. Not the way to win anybody over, it only serves to make people hate you more.

I agree that something has to be done about healthcare, but it does not need National Socialized Health Care (aka Public Option) At worst it should be state plans not federal, all the countries that the left claims as success stories are small countries in comparison to the US. Canada has less people and in pockets of settlement, I doubt the guy living in the woods has easy access to quality healthcare.

So each state should run its own healthcare program MAYBE with federal guidance, but each state should be allowed to vote on whether to have said option or not, I bet all of them would vote yes.

As for your statements about "OMG What would you do if Obama did what bush did?"

Screw Bush, he sold us out, besides HES NOT THE PRESIDENT ANY LONGER MORON, Hes not your scapegoat any longer. Any mention of Bush is an attemp at distraction.

However, I will turn your argument around on you. What if Bush took over most of the US auto industry and started forcing CEO changes? What if Bush wanted Pro Republican groups to be able to intimidate people into joining them or forming their own group? Can't people already unionize all on there own? Why do they need card check?

What if Bush had proposed something like HR3200 when he had a Republican congress? What if many of the provisions in those healthcare bills had vague wording which could lead to a takeover of a sixth of the economy and put him in control?

Wouldn't the lefties be all panty bunched? It is alot different when it is "them" doing it isnt it?

We do need to fix health insurance, but the current proposal is a power grab that we cannot allow to go forward, and any attempt by the left or the president to label the public option a coop or some other name to distract us from the substance of the bill will not fly either.

If it is about reform, the freakin reform it, dont tear it down so you can make the public option the most attractive one.

The bill most are referring... (Below threshold)
ODA315:

The bill most are referring to is HR3200. (Except for the Pres., who has yet to create one but routinely speaks on it's content).

But I guess you haven't read it yet. Here's a link to help you out.

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c111:H.R.3200:

You're welcome.

How's this: YOU read the po... (Below threshold)
jim:

How's this: YOU read the post.

It is beautifully ironic that in a comment where you are criticizing my reading - your own quotation proves me right and you wrong.

He used the word insolvency...in the phrase NEAR insolvency.

Get it? *NEAR* insolvent doesn't mean insolvent. In the same way that "almost not pregnant" still means someone is pregnant.

Do you read it clearly now?

Whew. Onward.

"Screw Bush, he sold us out... (Below threshold)
jim:

"Screw Bush, he sold us out, besides HES NOT THE PRESIDENT ANY LONGER MORON, Hes not your scapegoat any longer. Any mention of Bush is an attemp at distraction."

I understand you wanting to view it as distraction. But what I am doing is pointing out your hypocrisy. By your own admission, what you don't like about him isn't what he did to those he disagreed with - it's that he didn't do enough for what YOU want.

So you should just be real about it. You have no problem at all with nationalistic power-grabbing and abuse of power - as long as it's coming from your side.

Read the bill Jim.... (Below threshold)
ODA315:

Read the bill Jim.

OK, I'm glad to take on you... (Below threshold)
jim:

OK, I'm glad to take on your challenge.

"What if Bush took over most of the US auto industry and started forcing CEO changes?"

If the auto industry had mismanaged itself into the brink of collapse to the point that it needed saving in order to save the entire American economy, I think that would be just awesome. I don't think Bush would have done this in fact - I think that he (or McCain, if McCain was elected) would have been the next Hoover.

"What if Bush wanted Pro Republican groups to be able to intimidate people into joining them or forming their own group?"

You mean, like he and the GOP did, with their relentless and so-called-liberal-media pushback on any and all who dared to suggest invading Iraq was a bad idea?

"Can't people already unionize all on there own? Why do they need card check?"

I dunno. Why does management need them not to have one?

"What if Bush had proposed something like HR3200 when he had a Republican congress?"

I think that would have been awesome if he had actually been trying to solve a problem. Rather than, say, nuke Social Security because he thought he had the power.

"What if many of the provisions in those healthcare bills had vague wording which could lead to a takeover of a sixth of the economy and put him in control?"

What if many of the provisions had secret plans for alien killer robots? I don't know. See the thing is that a) they don't, and b) Obama isn't making the legislation, remember?

That's one of the complaints of this very article against him. Congress and the Senate are making it.

Now I am here, and I am being combative. That is very true. I could probably soften my tone. Thing is, that doens't seem to get anywhere. Tell me that it will - tell me that if I prove something to you with facts, that you actually will accept it - and I will be pleased to change my tone.

It is just unbelievably frustrating to see lie after debunked lie paraded around like the truth.

Read all 3 bills ODA.... (Below threshold)
jim:

Read all 3 bills ODA.

Card Check is a Union Sham ... (Below threshold)
DavidB:

Card Check is a Union Sham election Jim, pure and simple, again.

There is already the legal ability of any organized group of people, at any company, to unionize. Why do we need another way?

Why, because without slight of hand, unions are actually loosing membership and finding it tougher to organize. Not because management stands in the way Jim, but because quite a few of those that are asked would rather not join or become part of a union.

Again, this could be a whole post, but card check is a sneaky way for a union to get in the door.

Try to be a little more abstract in your thinking there Jim, still waiting on that World View change . . . .

DavidB:You are rig... (Below threshold)
jim:

DavidB:

You are right to ask for citations for my statement. In fact, in looking it up I realized I misstated my case. Insurance premiums haven't risen 400% - instead they've risen at a rate four times as fast as workers salaries.

So the de fact amount the average insurance premium has risen is actually 94% or therabouts. Again, my mistake, and glad to point it out. When I'm wrong I like to come clean.

My source:
http://www.familiesusa.org/resources/publications/reports/costly-coverage.html

As for your request for a government program that have been completed on or ahead of time, at or under expected costs, and creating great value for the US taxpayer, here's not just one but a few for you

Rural electrification
Social Security
Federal Highway System

Want more?

Now here's my challenge for you: please provide a concrete example of a major US corporation spontaneously choosing to put the wellbeing of ordinary US citizens above it's own profit.

Look up the Tylenol scare, ... (Below threshold)
klrtz1:

Look up the Tylenol scare, jim. Years ago there was a corporation that did the right thing with no expectation of any profit from it.

How'd your government do in Katrina, jim?

Jim I'm not pissed because ... (Below threshold)
JustRuss:

Jim I'm not pissed because you are right, I'm pissed because you use twisted logic to make yourself sound right.

You are combative and arrogant but your arguments rely very much on strict reading of documents without any nuance. We all know that laws go before he Supreme Court all the time to be interpretted. All I want is for the language in a freaking bill to be plain. Don't allow any nuance or misinterpretation because that leaves open the possibility of everything that the Republicans are arguing.

Fix the bill in its current form so that is reads the way that they want us to think it does. "The language couldn't be any clearer" yeah right, I can picture Pelosi standing up saying that.

Nobody should trust a politician, especially one who says one thing and then deny's saying it when it is played back to him. President Obama has done this on multiple occasions and what scares the crap out of us is his vision of the future.

The man is allowed to have a vision, he is not allowed to ram it down our throats, and he is not allowed to speak freely about that vision, only to turn around and deny what he said, or nuance it so that it sounds different from "a certain point of view."

You are doing the same thing. All I want is for the bills to read plainly with no wiggle room for the nightmare scenarios being put forth by the right.

Sorry if I attacked you but you were being beligerent. And by the way NEAR insolvency does not equal solvent as you tried to make it. Once again with the nuance.

ODA you idiot, you don't ev... (Below threshold)
LT:

ODA you idiot, you don't even know what you have. Medicare Advantage IS part of Medicare, you moron.

http://www.medicare.gov/choices/advantage.asp

"Medicare Advantage Plans are health plan options that are part of the Medicare program."

"When you join a Medicare Advantage Plan, you use the health insurance card that you get from the plan for your health care. In most of these plans, generally there are extra benefits and lower copayments than in the Original Medicare Plan. However, you may have to see doctors that belong to the plan or go to certain hospitals to get services.

To join a Medicare Advantage Plan, you must have Medicare Part A and Part B. You will have to pay your monthly Medicare Part B premium to Medicare. In addition, you might have to pay a monthly premium to your Medicare Advantage Plan for the extra benefits that they offer."

Again, because you are soooooo stupid, Medicare Advantage WOULDN'T EXIST if it weren't for Medicare. And none of that is stopping you from going out and getting private insurance if it's so much better. Assuming you can qualify. I would expect your total lack of a brain would complicate matters.

In conclusion, you are an asshole.

Hey LT despite the annoying... (Below threshold)
JustRuss:

Hey LT despite the annoying argument I agree with you. If they can make Medicare into something that is sustainable without printing more money and allow everyone to join it, with an advantage option for those who can afford it. I am all for it.

Lets fix Medicare to prove that the government can run a public option correctly then use it as a model for the new plan. Medicare Advantage as described reminds me a lot of TriCare for the military. It really is not the best of the best but it works and its affordable.

Sorry for the invective, Ru... (Below threshold)
LT:

Sorry for the invective, Russ. I asked a question and ODA responded with insults so I played along.

Medicare's not perfect, but most people who have it like it. I think that would be a good way to go. And private insurance should be available for those who can afford it.

Klirtz1, while that was a w... (Below threshold)
jim:

Klirtz1, while that was a wise action on Tylenol's part, it was also protective: if they hadn't done something to protect their product's image of safety and non-lethality, no one would have bought their pills ever again and they would have gone out of business.

I read comments on Democrat... (Below threshold)
JustRuss:

I read comments on DemocratUnderground to the same effect and I actually agree.

If we must have a Government run /Public Option, lets make sure Medicare gets fixed and then expand it to cover anyone who can't afford or doesn't want Private Insurance.

But allow supplemental insurance to cover things that the public option doesnt, whatever that ends up being after they ration it. (Yes I know that private insurace rations too)

We don't need to completely break and rebuild our system, we need to fix it. This would be a good first step. But they need to show that Medicare is stable first to prove that they can actually run healthcare reasonably efficiently.

Sorry if my disagreement co... (Below threshold)
Jim:

Sorry if my disagreement comes across as arrogance.But there are alot of arguments being thrown around here which do not just rely on nuanc - they are in direct conflict with facts.

I agree utterly that all politicians need to be watched like hawks, and should not ever be taken at their word for anything. What troubles me is when people only apply that rule to politicians of other parties, and not their own.

I don't necessarily like Obama or even belive him. There are very, very many things to criticize about him, his policies, and his administration. All iask is that those criticisms are based in facts, and not already-debukned misinformation and cynical manipulation of people's fear.

Then we can have a stronger way forward for all of us, as a nation. Which is all I really want - but the only way we can actually get there is to operate on verified truths. If that requires a "strict reading" then in my opinion so be it.

Klirtz1, you're absolutely ... (Below threshold)
jim:

Klirtz1, you're absolutely right in that the Federal Gov't under Bush utterly bungled and failed New Orleans before, durin and after Katrina. And sure, state and local gov'ts could ahv handled it better as well.

But just as corporations can fail because a bad CEO gets in,, so can governments. That doesn't by itself mean that all corporations are doomed to fail - just all governments are doomed to fail.

Tylenol ended up with a goo... (Below threshold)
klrtz1:

Tylenol ended up with a good result but at the time they didn't know if it would save their company or not. What if they had the ethics of Ted Kennedy or Charles Rangel?

You have just displayed one of the characteristics I hate about partisan liberals like you jim. You never ever give credit where credit is due. You are so invested in your partisan socialist world view that you can't say one nice thing about a corporation can you? Oh, I guess you'd say something nice about the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

No Klirtz1 Tylenol didn't k... (Below threshold)
jim:

No Klirtz1 Tylenol didn't know that. They just knew it was worth a shot.

Your example didn't fit my definition, because I was looking for an example of a corporation not acting in it's self-interest. The point of corporations is that they DO work in their own self-interest.

Which, understand me, is not only fine - it's how things should work. Not everything in society should be altruistic - quite a lot works better if it isn't. Corporations exist to make money, and they provide value for society by doing so.

It's just that for society to work well, **some** things need to be motivated by non-selfish reasons. Not all, perhaps not even most, but at least some.

This is why corporations do not do **everything** best, because not **everything** is made better by a purely-self-interested motivation.

I give credit to corporations for giving us a lot of technical and social innovation, and for making nearly every physical item I have and use. And also for employing me. They just simply aren't the solution for everything, that's all.

Do you understand where I'm coming from?




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