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Expectations
Posted by: McQ on Monday, November 13, 2006

Interesting article in the LA Times about the expectations of many liberal groups now that Democrats have the power in Congress.

The ACLU:
Lobbyists for the American Civil Liberties Union, for example, are all but counting on Democrats to repeal the most controversial provisions of the Patriot Act, the anti-terrorist law pushed by the White House that some critics call unconstitutional. They also want to end President Bush's domestic wiretapping program.

"We are not going to let them off the hook," said Caroline Fredrickson, the ACLU's legislative director, of the newly empowered Democratic leaders in Congress.

"We will hold their feet to the fire and use all the tools we can to mobilize our members."
Obviously "controversial" doesn't mean "illegal" or even "immoral". It means the ACLU doesn't like them and, give the fact that it dropped its lawsuit against the Patriot Act, views the Dem Congress as the best way to effect the changes it wants.

Labor, pro-abortion and gun-control groups:
Similar vows are coming from lobbyists for abortion rights, who want to expand family-planning options for poor women and scale back Bush's focus on abstinence education, and from gun-control advocates, who hope to revive a lapsed ban on assault weapons. Labor unions, a core Democratic constituency, are demanding universal healthcare and laws discouraging corporations from seeking inexpensive labor overseas.

"It's been kind of a drought for 12 years, and there is some pent-up energy," said Bill Samuel, legislative director for the AFL-CIO, the labor federation that has long been a Democratic Party stalwart and spent millions of dollars on get-out-the-vote activities.

Several of the labor movement's less-controversial goals, such as raising the minimum wage and allowing Medicare to seek discounts on drug prices, are found both in the AFL-CIO's brochures and on a Democratic leadership wish list designed to appeal across ideological lines.

But labor officials said they expected Pelosi, Reid and others to go further.
Labor wants to protect jobs and expand health care. My guess, given the last sentence, is minimum wage won't be enough. And of course the pro-abortion folks and the gun-control types have seen erosion of their pet causes. They'll demand action as well.
"I honestly believe there was no bigger winner in this election than Planned Parenthood Action Fund and women's health," said Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards, referring to the group's political arm.
Does that sound like someone content to see Dems ignore their issue for the next couple of years?

Of course Dem leaders are assuring everyone, even after the election of more conservative Democrats than ever before, that they'll find a way to build the bridges necessary to make everyone happy. Sounds like a sure formula for making no one happy.

I mean when you see statements like this ...
Sen. Charles E. Schumer of New York, chairman of the committee that designed the party's Senate campaign strategy, is publishing a book in January that is expected to lay out a plan for long-term Democratic dominance. He is expected to embrace a philosophy somewhere between the Democrats' old New Deal reliance on government and conservatives' outright disdain for government.
... you know they haven't the faintest idea of how to do what they're claiming they will.
 
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Comments
And according to Drudge, Hilary wants Hilarycare back.

Not that I think she’ll get it.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
The ACLU, abortion lobby, big labor, gun control lobby...

Boy, it’s a good thing we got rid of all those Republicans who were so beholden to special interests.
 
Written By: steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com/
Tell you what, I’m gonna get a big bag of popcorn and watch the fireworks. The Dems wanted power back so badly? Here ya go scooter!
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Unfortunately, I see the Leftie Democrats getting support in three areas from Republicans.

1) Illegal Immigration Amnesty - Democrats have negative population growth. 10-20+ million mostly democratic voters now and millions more in the future has a definitely positive appeal. The Republicans (Bush) get cheap labor dumped on the marketplace and a policy that will encourage even more illegals to fill the void created for their corporate masters.

2) The Oximoronical "Face Saving Withdraw" from Iraq - Republicans can say the Democrats or the New Reality made us do it. Regardless I’m sure many consider the Iraq War to be an albatross around their necks they want to get rid of by any means necessary.

3) National Healthcare - Corporations are hoping the government steps in and takes the healthcare burden away from them. Like dumping cheap labor, this is another marriage made in heaven between greedy stereotypical corporate types and Leftwingers.
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
Of course Dem leaders are assuring everyone, even after the election of more conservative Democrats than ever before, that they’ll find a way to build the bridges necessary to make everyone happy. Sounds like a sure formula for making no one happy.
Not that facts matter to McQ, but the following - from yesterday’s LA Times, is a decent rejoinder:
In fact, of the 27 Democratic candidates for the House who won outright Tuesday, only five can truly be called social conservatives. Far more are pro-choice, against the Iraq war and quite liberal.

....So the experts got it wrong again, which is really not so surprising given that what happened last week was quite nuanced. The Democrats moved to the center and to the left at the same time. In doing so, they became more like the hegemonic Democratic Party of old. And if, in 2008, it turns out that last week did in fact usher in an era of Democratic resurgence, it will be precisely because the party managed to sustain this left-center coalition and render the distinctions between the two groups less important.
Keep hope alive, McQ. Keep hope alive.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
only five can truly be called social conservatives
Nice artificial narrowing of the field.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
On healthcare, if you step away from the ideologue view that government involvement is unacceptable, and consider the facts, the corporations and their employees are feeling a severe crunch on healthcare and something has got to give.

Consider this:

America spends about 16% of the GDP on healthcare, by 2015, it will be 20% of the GDP.

Canada spends about 8% of their GDP on healthcare. Health care spending accounted for 10.9 percent of the GDP in Switzerland, 10.7 percent in Germany, 9.7 percent in Canada and 9.5 percent in France, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The administrative overhead for healthcare in the US os almost 30%.

Over the course of a given year, about 45 million Americans are without health insurance. In virtually every other industrialized nation, 100% of the citizens have full healthcare coverage.

Health insurance expenses are the fastest growing cost component for employers. Unless something changes dramatically, health insurance costs will overtake profits by 2008.

I have been an opponent of a national single payor health plan for most of my life, but in recent years, it has become clear that what we have is broken and way too expensive for what we get.

I believe we can IMPROVE care in general, reduce costs overall, and simplify heatlhcare dramatically with a single payor plan.

Although I was vehemently opposed to Hillary Care the first time around, I have to admit that they were right about everything they said was going to happen in healthcare.

Cap



 
Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://
On healthcare, if you step away from the ideologue view that government involvement is unacceptable, and consider the facts, the corporations and their employees are feeling a severe crunch on healthcare and something has got to give.
What you’re really asking, Cap, is for those of us who don’t agree, to step back and understand that if you have your way, government involvement is inevitable.

I’ve talked about this ad nauseum and have shown there are many ways to do a better job without government (other than in it’s "prevention of force or fraud" mode). Three immediate things to do are:

1. Take health insurance away from employers and put it back in the market. That takes care of two major concerns - portability and preexisting conditions. Make it the same sort of insurance product that you have with the common insurance products you now buy on the market.

2. Deregulate it. Or better said, "unmandate" it. Let consumers choose only what they want to have covered instead of mandating levels of coverage.

3. Make it a true insurance product. No ’oil changes’, but they will pay for replacing the engine.

Add the options of MSCs and catastrophic insurance, etc., and it would make the care less expensive and put consumers in charge again with the ultimate benefit being costs and pricing leveling off and keeping care affordable for the majority (obviously some will need help, but we can plan for that).

But to agree with that, you have to step away from the ideology which says government must be involved.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
I don’t understand why a blog that favors "free people" would be against civil liberties.
 
Written By: Nicolai Brown
URL: http://www.nicolaibrown.com
McQ, some things to think about:

- typically, insurers charge more for higher-risk people, and will deny coverage for those whose risk exceeds a given ceiling. If you want to move Big Health back to a pure insurance model, what do you have in mind for people with long-term expensive problems? Why would an HMO offer to insure, say, someone with kidney failure for anything less than the $50K+ that s/he’s guaranteed to need for dialysis?

- Re "no oil changes" — this may cause people to skimp on primary care, which may lead to higher health care costs in the long run. So this might be penny-wise, pound-foolish (or not, I don’t know how the numbers come out).

- Do you think that we as a society will be willing to stand around and let people suffer the consequences of their own health insurance decisions? As we hear stories of hospitals turning away people with horrible illnesses who don’t have the insurance or other means to pay for their treatment, will the American people be on the side of the hospitals? ’Cause they sure aren’t at the moment.
 
Written By: kenB
URL: http://
Social welfare programs work best in small states where there is a greater sense of social partnership and oversight over government. Moreover, there are various models, such as the liberal Swiss model where things are more private, or the governmental Austrian model (see: Peter Katzenstein Small States in World Markets: the data is out of date, but the theory still strong).

IMO, Centralized governmental programs won’t work well in a country as large as the US unless a lot of power is given to state governments. Even then, funding problems and federal mandates often create a mesh of confusion. Private efforts are likely to fail due to the profit motive; small liberal states where domestic compensation is private usually build on what Katzenstein calls an ’ideology of social partnership.’ In big states social partnership is often legal and governmental in nature, in small states it can emerge as part of the political culture. I sometimes think the best path would be to divide the country up into about 80 sovereign states. We wouldn’t invade anybody then either ;-)
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I don’t understand why a blog that favors "free people" would be against civil liberties.
Well having said that now you get to tell us what civil liberties we’re against.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
2. Deregulate it. Or better said, "unmandate" it. Let consumers choose only what they want to have covered instead of mandating levels of coverage.
Exactly. I have a friend from my undergrad days that works for a state department of insurance who constantly lectures me about this point whenever the topic of insurance comes up in conversation. Keep in mind that this is a mid-level civil service person whose job depends on regulating insurance and even he’s telling me that we need less regulation. The example he provides is Vermont which switched to a guaranteed issue mandate for healthcare insurance, which means that anyone, including a terminal cancer patient with 24 hours to live cannot, by law, be denied health care insurance coverage. After this law passed (in 1991-92) he informs me that every insurance company that could leave the state, did. I’m told that this story regularly makes the rounds at the NAIC conferences as an example of what not to do. For some nice breakdowns of this situation, see here. Notice the gentleman responsible for getting this type of law passed.

Healthcare insurance should be provided a la carte. Consumers should be able to pick and choose exactly which coverages they would like. I do not have any desire to pay for coverage that I will never use, for example alchohol and substance abuse counseling. I recognzie that these are legitimate areas of concern and if consumers would like them covered then they should have that option, however it should be an "option." Hearing aids for children under 18 is another "mandated benefit" that I have no desire to pay for. I don’t have any children. Those who have or are planning to have children in the near future should have the option to take out this type of coverage, those who do not want it should not be forced to pay for it.
 
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
- typically, insurers charge more for higher-risk people, and will deny coverage for those whose risk exceeds a given ceiling.
That’s one of the points of moving it away from employers. Most of those denials of coverage come when a worker changes jobs or loses a job. That was my point about such a move mostly solving the portability problem and the preexisting conditions problem.

That said, the pool will be huge, much larger than a single employer, regardless of how large that employer is. So I’d suggest that would ameliorate much of the typical higher cost found for higher-risk people in employer based insurance systems.
- Re "no oil changes" — this may cause people to skimp on primary care, which may lead to higher health care costs in the long run. So this might be penny-wise, pound-foolish (or not, I don’t know how the numbers come out).
Again, that depends on how much primary care ends up costing without the prop of insurance as it’s structured today.

If it costs $20 to see a doctor v the $150 today because people are shopping around, then maybe not.
- Do you think that we as a society will be willing to stand around and let people suffer the consequences of their own health insurance decisions?
We managed it for a couple of hundred years prior to this. I mean look at your statement. Give that, do you think we, as a society would be willing to stand around and let people suffer the consequences of their own homeowner insurance?

We do.

How about life insurance. I mean they could leave their family destitute. And they do.

Even when we mandate minimum insurance coverage for autos, it’s done to cover those they may injure, not them.

So yes, as with any learning experience, we can and should let people suffer the consequences of their own health insurance decisions.

It’s called freedom.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
the pool will be huge

Hmm, maybe I missed something — where would the risk pools come from? When you mentioned the "common insurance products" we now buy, I assumed you meant auto, life, home, etc. AFAIK there’s no risk pooling in those markets, just individual contracts.

If it costs $20 to see a doctor v the $150 today

I doubt competition would bring it down that much — even as it is, GPs aren’t getting rich like the specialists are. And in my area, many docs charge the uninsured $100 per office visit so they can make up the loss from the $70 HMO reimbursements.

Re the other insurances: in cases of major property or income loss, people can always fall back on the government’s safety net — welfare, food stamps, etc. Denying treatment for someone having a heart attack pretty much means that he dies. I’m not saying that you’re necessarily wrong to suggest that we should take the long view and hold people accountable in this way, just that it’s a tough sell for today’s society.
 
Written By: kenB
URL: http://
That said, the pool will be huge, much larger than a single employer, regardless of how large that employer is. So I’d suggest that would ameliorate much of the typical higher cost found for higher-risk people in employer based insurance systems.

Not according to adverse selection. Premium wars to get the initial costs as low as possible for young, healthy people will lead to outright denial of coverage for old, sick people who raise the minimum premium amounts needed to be charge to young, healthy people - who will be the pursued market share, because they are the profitable ones.

Where outright denial of coverage does not occur, premiums will increase greatly for those old and sick people - people who feel they have little or no choice but to get insurance *somehow* - again, so that insurance companies can afford to push the premiums for the younghealthy target audience as low as possible.

Taking responsibility for yourself means little in a free market where sick people are inherently more expensive than healthy ones and will be treated accordingly.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
"Canada spends about 8% of their GDP on healthcare."

It’s easier to spend less on health care if you limit how much is offered. We could beat Canada if we just slowed down the pace of health care delivery below theirs. % of GDP is not enough data for comparisons.


 
Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
More good discussion on health care.

 
Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
"over the course of a given year, about 45 million Americans are without health insurance. In virtually every other industrialized nation, 100% of the citizens have full healthcare coverage."

Health insurance and health care are different things. A person can have health care without having health insurance. Millions do.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
I don’t understand why a blog that favors "free people" would be against civil liberties.
Welfare (or as I like to call it, free money) is not a privilige, it is a RIGHT! We are entitled as "free people" to dip our hands into the dole however many times we want, for any imaginable reason (especially the reasons we lie about to get more money). If you are against our entitlement to taxpayer money for life, then you must not approve of being free.

Did I make my point?

BTW some chinese spammer guy or something is messing up the tables on the comment pages.
 
Written By: Josh
URL: http://
"Did I make my point?"

Yep, and I agree as long as I can be at the head of the line.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://

 
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