Enter the Grave Dancers

For about the thousandth time, the Republicans are gleefully announcing the death of the Democratic Party, assuming correctly that the dead are about the only ones they can beat, and even then not always.  What is being said about the health care reform could be old tape of what Republicans have said about any non-right wing initiative for the last eighty years: the economy will collapse, the government will go broke, freedom will vanish, and of course, we’ll be just like the commies. Interestingly, many of these initiatives did become law, and none of those things happened, but the media is nonetheless eager to ask the same people the same questions, and they predict the same laughably improbable things.  Never are they questioned about their dismal track record in predicting disaster where none materialized, much less confidently predicting triumphs for their own predictably doomed ideas, many of which are still imploding around us as we speak.

You’d think no one would still listen to Newt Gingrich, given that he predicted the collapse of the economy due to Clinton’s 1993 tax plan, and predicted a boom under Bush; we all know how that turned out.  But listen they do; everyone expects the Republicans to utterly deny the legitimacy of any Democratic government, and nothing they say in service of that accepted goal is considered to be too dumb, false, or hypocritical for public consumption.  Take Bill Kristol, please, who insisted that sectarian violence in Iraq was some kind of “pop psychology” liberal theory that would never happen, and now says, minus a necessary laugh track, that health care reform will inevitably lead to Republican triumphs.  Could anything be less valuable to the national conversation be imagined?  Well, yes.  They could put on a surly, drunken John Boehner to holler “Hell, no,”  and some other unintelligible drivel about Armageddon.  The reason, I think, that Republican craziness, lies, and stupidity are tolerated on television and newspapers is that nobody can find a Republican to spout anything else.

Ever since Watergate, Reaganomics, et al, Republicans decided that they no longer could sell any of their ideas honestly, so they completely set aside rational arguments and upfront advocacy for slogans, smears, dogwhistles, flim-flam, and Dark Predictions.  Even “Morning in America” hinted unsubtly at gloomy days ahead were the party in power tossed out, which was a neat way to distract attention from the deep recession caused by Reagan’s tax and spending policies that led to unemployment higher than today and and presidential approval ratings in the 30′s.  Morning didn’t turn out so bright afterward, either, when the stock market collapsed in 1987, the deregulated S &L’s vaporized, and the economy was still a mess when Bush pardoned all the Iran/Contra criminals on the way out the door.

I guess when your promises don’t turn out so great, it’s time to bring out the threats.  And, if you’ve already threatened economic catastrophe about a hundred times but are nonetheless responsible for the two largest ones in the past century, the upside is that the public is rightly scared of them, and will be inclined to be worried when you start ranting.  The same goes for terrorist attacks; if you ignored warnings and fumblingly mishandled the largest attacks in history, this sort of record could make you a potential Senior Terrorism Analyst, where you could gleefully gin up terror fears to your heart’s content, and not just on Fox, either.

I often complain that the media sit idly by and tolerate lies from the Republicans to be accepted as legitimate opinion, whatever it is they’re threatening on a given day, but maybe they aren’t to blame.  It is simply impossible to find a Republican whose record is unsullied by perpetual error, much less one who will tell the truth… about anything, and the media long ago stopped worrying about it.  The health care debate has been no different; it started and has ended with one party attempting to negotiate a policy, and the other party throwing a tantrum.  When the tantrum failed, the toddlers involved cursed and swore and called everybody poopyheads, and the media duly covered their tearful vows to take their toys and go play with their new friends, the teabaggers.   Poor Karl Rove hasn’t had such a meltdown since his “math” proved lacking in 2006 and 2008, a fact which naturally escaped the bobbleheads but surely not the audience.

More power to ‘em, I say.  If anyone can prevent the death of the Democrats in the next few elections it will be the repeated threats of discredited retreads like Kristol, Gingrich, Boehner, Rove, and the various Cheneys, along with the spectacle of dimwitted nutjobs like Palin, Bachmann,and Steele, attempting to dance on their graves.  If this is your Death Panel, you can probably look forward to a long and prosperous life.


  1. michlib says:

    Let’s hope the voters are catching on to the Republicant post-Nixon strategy – run up deficits galore when in control while coddling big bidness and the super rich, when out of power rail against ” democrat” deficits and prattle about the need to take a hatchet to those ” wasteful ” social programs . The reich wing ” heads I win, tails you lose ” game has run it’s course.
    I’d love to hear Obama channel John Galt and say to the Repubs ” out of my way “.

  2. cocktailhag says:

    My only hope is that this strategy will stop working, if nothing else, because it’s so tired. Lame arguments and idle threats are good as far as they go, but don’t they need to think up a new one every once in a while? I await more creativity.

  3. mikeinportc says:

    Oh wise one, how do we prepare for the upcoming Republican landslide? :) ))))))

    They’re either extremely deusional, or hoping the assume-the-sale rhetoric fools enough of the people all the time. Or something.
    ( Meanwhile on FAUX, Neil Cavuto fellates a poor, beleaguered, IN-surance CEO, tossing premiums-will-rise softballs, while being shocked!, shocked!, I say, that IN-surance stocks went up today, and that maybe, just maybe, they’ll survive the socialist onslaught. Gawd,what a clown. )

    My father noticed that part of the bill includes a tax on the use of tanning booths. His comment ” Must be why Boehner was so pissed last night. “ :)

    • cocktailhag says:

      Hehehe…. The Boner’s gov’t-paid dermatologist may be heaving a sigh of relief. How’d you like to pore over that corpus for melanomas? Caribou Barbie, clever grifter that she is, beat the tax by getting a home tanning bed before she bailed out of AK for good.

  4. dirigo says:

    It’s nice to know our “British cousins” are also trying to help, but they’ll probably be shown the door. Ho hum …


  5. nailheadtom says:

    “That some should be rich shows that others may become rich, and hence is just encouragement to industry and enterprise. Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another; but let him labor diligently and build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence when built.” Abraham Lincoln

  6. cocktailhag says:

    Uh, I actually build houses, and if I tear something down it’s only the icky part. Another irrelevant piece of purloined rhetoric to support some righty fever dream about the worthlessness of liberals. And everyone knows that no respectable richies today have only one house; that’s so, well, 1860′s. Ask John McCain about what the right number of houses is; he could have someone look it up.

    • I’d encourage the intrepid among us to investigate further — I lack the ambition, or the delicacy — but did it ever occur to you, Hag dearest, that Tom appears her because he’s the piece that passeth understanding, and needs a little TLC of the sort which isn’t available in his usual haunts?

      • …appears her… Oops! Is my Freudian slip showing?

        • cocktailhag says:

          Hmmm… I do think that being just another voice in the choir, or worse, in the back row of the corps de ballet, would get a little boring at times, and certainly not get much personal attention.

          • dirigo says:

            Yank your stockings tight, William. Tom is too pithy, and too quaint, to ignore.

            Tom … ?

          • Didja ever see Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo?

            Everybody in my rowdy crew went for the laughs — you know, the hairy armpits, the five-o’clock shadow — and came away absolutely stunned, especially those knowledgeable about ballet. Spectacular, if comically understated performances, but above all — I don’t know how to explain it exactly — a strange and very touching poignance.

            I thought of Elizabeth Barrett Browning — what we gain, but also what we lose

            When feeling out of sight/For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.

            Here, see for yourself:

            La Belle Dame Sans Merci

            Tom would do well to find himself in this corps de ballet — if he had even a shred of humility about him, that is.

          • cocktailhag says:

            Actually, not only have I seen the Trocks, but we had a dancer at Ballet Oregon who was once a member, and had some great stories about them.
            I always liked the names… Ida Nevasayneva, etc. I think most people are amazed at how good they are, even in their pointe shoes, which must last about one performance.

    • cocktailhag says:

      By contrast, I really appreciated the marble-floored luxury of the lavish hospital where my mother died, after getting two different hospital infections…. The ol’ free market just loves antibiotic abuse, you know.

  7. retzilian says:

    Tom, have you ever been *anywhere* in Europe? ((eyeroll))

    If you want to look at living conditions/sanitary conditions right here in the good ol’ USA, today, not a thousand-year-old country but a 230-something year young country, I suggest you visit any random senior Section 8 (gov’t subsidized) housing project.

    If you think the poor and elderly in this country live well, you are seriously deluded.

    I have no patience for people like you. You are simply cruel and stupid.

  8. retzilian says:

    As a good example, I have senior clients who have already hit the famous “donut hole” in their Medicare Part D coverage, and it’s only March. That means that they have to spend another $2,000 plus before the plan covers a single dime of their medicine. When they hit $4550 in total list cost of their meds (and this could take months or they might just not take them because they can’t afford $2000 for Rx drugs no matter how they try) the plan pays 95%. Most cannot get to that point because they simply can’t buy the drugs anymore once they hit the donut hole.

    Meanwhile, many of these clients are prescribed these outrageous Tier 3, 4 and 5 meds by doctors who are completely oblivious of the formularies and don’t do anything to help the seniors who can’t afford the Rxs. Are they idiots? Are they too busy? Think about the Catch-22 that creates for seniors or the disabled on Medicare.

    Anyone complaining about socialist marxist commie universal health care should have to spend a year living as a senior on $800 a month Social Security, spending $10K a year on Meds.

    • cocktailhag says:

      Many times, they kept changing my mother’s medications, rendering useless all the pills they had sold her last week; thousands of dollars in just a couple weeks was typical. Best health care system in the world, and all that.

    • nailheadtom says:

      Interesting comment. What did the ancianos do before social security? It’s only been around for a few decades now. Just approaching bankruptcy. And another thing, if it’s perfectly logical for the government to pay women to run off on their men and then send the child support bill to the supposed father, isn’t it just as logical for the government to require the children, who, after all, were legally required to be supported by their parents for the first eighteen years of their life, to support the old folks in their declining years? Isn’t that actually the way it’s been done for perhaps untold millenium and isn’t it being done that way even now in much of the world? Without government coercion? Ah, but there might be childless geriatrics. What about them? Well, the solution is for government to take EVERYBODY’s money and then distribute it as they see fit. That’s just so much more FAIR. But maybe that sort of thinking is beyond you intellectual slugs.

      • cocktailhag says:

        That was pretty bizarre and nonsensical, even for you, Tom. Should we just go full-on third world, and have women bear ten kids so they can save her from poverty? Never mind; I’m sure that’s exactly what you think. No wonder you think everyone else is a Utopian.

        • nailheadtom says:

          Just the kind of non-response you inevitably dump out when you can’t counter an argument.

  9. avelna says:

    “called everybody poopyheads” not to mention the ni****s and fa****s, etc. from their friends the teabaggers whom these fearless leaders were cheering on.

  10. mikeinportc says:

    What did the ancianos do before social security? It’s only been around for a few decades now.
    It’s been a sucess. The elderly povery rate is lower. If you put some $ into SSI, & some into the market, at it’s inception, the SSI return would be greater. Btw the overhead, last I knew, is ~2.3%. With private funds, the avg. is ~15%. Pay more for less, just like healthcare, eh tommy?
    Just approaching bankruptcy.
    To quote an oft-repeated phrase (about factless RWA bs), Sadly, No. It’s fine for the forseeable future.The bump in boomer retirements was anticipated in the ’80s, and rates adjusted accordingly. You’ll notice that the RW politicians, the privateers, & their media tools always start the conversation with ” Social Security and Medicare , so that they’re not technically lying. ( Btw, illegal immigrants kick in ~ $7B/yr, that they’ll never see.)

    ( trying to anticipate…..) The privatization schemes assume a growth rate ~ 1/2 of historical numbers( the privateers just might make it happen), with 0 [that's ZERO!] immigration.For their rosy post-privitization scenarios, they assume ~ 2X historical growth rates, and similarly high immigration numbers. In other words tommy, the books is cooked. ;)

    One major (THE?) problem with Medicare, is that it was written into the prescription drug bill , that it can’t negotiate on price . Huge ripoff. Not one of our Congresscritters that matter will even consider doing anything about it. I heard one Rep. from MA bring it up, briefly, during the recent healthcare to-do. Then she realized that she’d just let loose with a long, loud one in church, so let it drop.( Ex. : one of my father’s drugs Medicare : $115/mo VA: $23/3 mos. )
    [For those able to retain information, I apologize. I've mentioned this before, here and elsewhere. Sometimes you just have to keep hitting the tommynail on the head, 'til something gets driven into the block of wood . ;) ]

    • nailheadtom says:

      Well, Mr. Actuarial Genius, you don’t happen to know what silo the social security money is stored in, do you? Or where it might be invested?

  11. two_cents says:

    All true, Hag, but Obama’s turning out to be the best Republican yet. I think the rabble-rousing chorus is just a show to keep us from noticing the suave two-timing two-step behind the curtain.

    • cocktailhag says:

      Sadly, you’re quite correct. On economics, he seems somewhere Clinton and Bush, and is quite open about it. The wars? Don’t get me started. What we got was a little less boorish attitude and presentation, and not much else, for our efforts in 2008.

  12. retzilian says:

    There are ways to get around the high prices of Rx drugs – you can get them online from Canadian pharmacies. I have several clients saving hundreds of $$ doing this.

    The problem with most seniors on high-priced drugs is they don’t have anyone advocating for them. I have a client on Procrit, an injectible drug used for people with anemia (and whose kidneys are failing) and when she told me she could not afford the $2K for the drug this month (she has hit the donut hole), I tried to find her something from Canada to no avail. It bothered me that the drug company had a monopoly on this medicine and that there was NO competition for it, no generic, no substitute. So, I suggested she tell the doctor who prescribed it that she simply could not afford it and what was HE gonna do about it?

    He solved the problem – if she gets the shot in his office as opposed to buying the injection on her Part D, Medicare will pay for the shot.

    And people wonder WHY Medicare is such an expense. Wouldn’t it make more sense for the drug company to make it cheaper, let the patent out, let people buy it from the so-called FREE MARKET?

    Don’t get me started. hahaha

    • nailheadtom says:

      You wouldn’t have anything to complain about if your beloved, regulatory-infatuated government wasn’t deforming the market.

  13. mikeinportc says:

    Well, Mr. Actuarial Genius, you don’t happen to know what silo the social security money is stored in, do you? Or where it might be invested?

    So your actual point is that they ( whoever comprises “they” at the time ), will at some point, just not pay it? There is no dedicated fund ( Al Gore’s “lockbox’) , so you may unfortunately be correct. I doubt it would go down that way , though, because then how do you get anybody to keep paying in? ( Also there’s the geezers and near-geezers, with pitchforks and torches votes problem. ) In any event , if it ends, or gets hollowed out,whatever may be said about the ostensible reasons, it won’t be because of actual demographics. More likely because of crony capitalism, and war spending ( ~same thing), dressed up as sustainability problem.

    Britain during Thatcher went to the privitization model . During Bush’s attempt at it, I saw comments by some of the private fund managers in Britain, that said that our Social Security system is better, and they thought Britain should go that way .

    Btw, an instant classic (IMHO) from Brando , re the flip side(the coming Health Caremegeddon) of CH’s original topic : http://cjsd.blogspot.com/ LOL! :)

    • nailheadtom says:

      “I saw comments by some of the private fund managers in Britain, that said that our Social Security system is better, and they thought Britain should go that way.”

      That’s interesting. In our “system” money is taken from our paychecks or income under threat of imprisonment and then dumped in the general fund so Pinnochia Pelosi can put JP-4 in her government jet and the National Endowment for the Arts can subsidize incomprehensible poetry. The money for benefits comes from the same places other government spending does, the debt market. There’s zero relationship between income and benefits. At some point in the not-so-distant future something will have to give, simply printing more money or sending out checks on empty accounts won’t get the job done. Your monthly social security check won’t last five minutes down at the bingo parlor.

  14. michlib says:

    A good starting point for addressing Social Security’s shortfall would be to tax ALL income – reinject some of the progressive tax structure that that commie Eisenhower had in place. Time for those who have reaped the benefits of America to start ponying up with the rest of us.

  15. retzilian says:

    Here’s a perfect example of the brainwashing of the RW media machine on otherwise reasonable people: first, I get a baby shower invitation on Facebook from my nephew’s wife (they now live in Arizona, so it’s just a token invite). I respond that I wish I could actually attend, since I’ve never been to Arizona and I very much like my niece-in-law. She is 34 weeks pregnant with a baby that has been diagnosed via amnio with Down’s Syndrome.

    Her other two children have had serious health problems in the past that I believe are now under control, and she herself suffered from severe health problems. (See also: preexisting conditions.) In fact, my wealthy mother sent her $10K a couple of years ago to help with medical bills.

    Fortunately for her, my nephew has good employment as a police officer in Phoenix, but that was not always the case. She and her children are uninsurable otherwise – that is, if she was not in a group policy.

    Meanwhile, on her Facebook page, she posts talking points verbatim from your typical RW email blast about the new healthcare reform bill.

    I sat on my hands for a few minutes and then decided to respond.

    I reminded her that she was a perfect example of why the HCR bill was so important; that she and her children would now be eligible for health insurance where if they were not covered by a group plan, they would be SOL.

    Then, my younger sister piped in and mentioned that we can’t afford these “entitlements” and that Social Security is now paying out more than it receives, citing a news story.

    My younger sister is also covered under a good group health plan subsidized by the largesse of my parents’ company where her husband works. However, my sister suffers from a serious medical condition that would otherwise render her UNINSURABLE if she were on her own.

    So, the irony is palpable.

  16. retzilian says:

    Thus, the moral of the story is once again: I got mine, Fuck you.

    It’s so short-sighted.

    I am so lucky that I am healthy and my children are healthy. If not, I would be SOL as well, being self-employed and no longer part of a group health plan.

    • dirigo says:


      Sen. Sherrod Brown suggests where things can go, as the health bill is tweaked. Tying community clinics to emergency room care, building more of the former while steering people away from the latter? Implicit in that: a wider and deeper preventive care schedule for all? Small business tax breaks: a stronger heartbeat in the heartland, over time? More long-term investment in the training of medical professionals and a growth in services in rural areas?

      If the ignorant, party of no minority isn’t listening, what can you do?


      • dirigo says:

        And at this point, with all due respect, why keep trying to rebut cocktailhag.com’s very own bete noir, nailheadtom?

        What a waste of time.

        The train is leaving the station. All aboard !!!

  17. retzilian says:

    But, if I do get sick, Tom, I promise to die quickly.

    • nailheadtom says:

      Maybe you don’t understand the concept of insurance. When you buy insurance, you’re paying for the insurance company to assume RISK. In the case of a pre-existing condition, there is no risk, it’s a sure thing. The premium would have to cover the cost of the treatment plus administration. That’s not insurance. So what you must mean is that health care should be free, or cheap or whatever. If this is the case, you are demanding that other members of society should pay your medical expenses. But the sum total of your expenses isn’t made up of just medical bills. You also spend money on food, heat and light, housing, transportation, clothing, entertainment, etc. If you are going to receive MY money to pay for your appendix removal, my money that I could use to buy a new Buick or send my daughter to school or purchase a set of the complete works of Kipling, what should your purchase options be? If you’re going to use MY MONEY to get your appendix removed, should you be able to live in a 3-bedroom house when I rent an apartment? Should you be able to eat Lucky Charms and me breakfast on generic cornflakes? How many Phillies games should you get to go to each season? If you receive government subsidized health care, you are on the dole, you are receiving a benefit that others are paying. Should you then be able to purchase premium cable TV? How about cigarettes? Lottery tickets? Just asking.

      • retzilian says:

        Yeah, I don’t know anything about insurance. I’m just a fucking insurance agent.

        • nailheadtom says:

          And another thing. Your extended tales of health woe, re. your relatives. They have health coverage! Sure they could be in a situation where they didn’t, but that’s not the case, they have better coverage than the fabulist 40 million we keep hearing about. How are they an example of the failure of the health system in the US? You’re making an illogical, goofy argument.

          • retzilian says:

            Obviously, you missed the point. If either my niece or my sister were not covered by a group plan, if they were not married to men who were employed or if they were single mothers without group coverage from their jobs (which describes 30-50 million people right now), they would not be able to buy any kind of health insurance at any price with the current insurance laws.

            However, thanks to the HCR legislation just passed, their kids would be eligible for health insurance in 6 months regardless of preexisting conditions or health status; and they would be eligible for health insurance in 4 years, if they lived that long. In my sister’s case, she takes really expensive meds that were they not covered by insurance, she could not afford and she might die.

            The health insurance system fails because it excludes millions of people.

          • nailheadtom says:

            If my aunt had nuts she’d be my uncle.

  18. retzilian says:

    Here’s the deal, Tom. People in group health plans are guaranteed issue; that is, they get insurance coverage even if they are on their death bed, regardless of their condition. Some large companies are “self-insured” meaning they pay the claims because they have thousands of employees paying into the risk pool, many of whom never make claims.

    In a group health situation, I paid insurance premiums (as did the company I worked for) of over $40,000 over the course of 20 years without making a single claim. That money obviously helped pay the claims of others in the group who were not as fortunate as I.

    If you are in a group health plan, you ARE paying for other people’s claims! Duh.

    Meanwhile, the same companies (Aetna, Anthem BC/BS, Humana, et al) that cover group policies for small and large companies, and therefore have huge risk pools already established in the system, do not offer group rates for individuals. As an individual or family, you are charged based on the sickest person in the group. You can have three healthy people who never get sick and one person who has a preexisting or chronic condition and can either pay a LOT more for that coverage or, as is often the case, be denied coverage altogether.

    Therefore, it is unfair for the same companies who already have huge risk pools built into their system to charge more for individuals, or deny them coverage because of certain health conditions when they are making record profits.

    The same heartless philosophy works with life insurance as well. If you have certain health conditions that many people live long lives with, you can still be refused life insurance. Why? Because actuarial tables dictate the underwriting.

    The system is discriminatory, unchallenged, uncompetitive, monopolized, soulless, and short-sighted when it comes to long-term costs.

    • nailheadtom says:

      The system might be “discriminatory, unchallenged, uncompetitive, monopolized, soulless, and short-sighted. . . .” but it’s voluntary. What you guys want is to forcibly compel people to accept your solution to your perception of a problem. And take more of their money. You might feel that it’s wrong to take tax money and use it to kill arabs. Others think that it’s also wrong to take tax money and pay other’s expenses.

      • retzilian says:

        We “forcibly compel” people to buy auto insurance, wear seat belts, drink flouridated water, attend school until age 16, pay taxes, stop at red lights, among a myriad of other laws and regulations.

        We have “forcibly compelled’ people to serve in the military, recycle aluminum, forfeit butter, live in dire poverty.

        What’s your point?

        • nailheadtom says:

          Those examples are immoral as well, they certainly don’t justify imposition of a government health care system that a huge proportion of the population thinks is wrong.

          • retzilian says:

            Therefore, you think any government regulation is immoral. There is no place in the modern world you can live where there is no government regulation.

            What, exactly, are your options?

            You are currently commenting on a blog that exists because of the government. Without the government, we would have had no internet.

            Have a nice day.

  19. retzilian says:

    Medicare works the same way. People who are in Medicare have paid into the system for 40 quarters (or longer, of course) and then receive Part A at no extra cost at age 65 or sooner if they are disabled. Part B has a premium of $110.00 a month for new eligibles and $96.40 for the rest, or higher if you make more than $80K a year.

    There are about 50 million people on Medicare today. Over half of those are under age 70, and they are the healthiest; they don’t make claims. Therefore, with $5 billion a month in premiums, some part of that goes toward paying the claims of the sickest 40%, just like group insurance without the profit. Medicare operates at 5% administration costs.

    It would make a lot of sense to let anyone who wants to to buy into Medicare – pay the Part A and B premiums until they were eligible for the no-cost Part A. I’m not sure if that rate would be affordable for everyone, frankly. I suspect it would be $300-$400 a month, but some would do it, and it would also make private insurance more competitive since they’d have to compete with a single-payer plan. Everyone would shop the plans like car insurance.

    GEICO used to be a government insurance company.

    • nailheadtom says:

      Medicare’s annual spending exceeded revenue brought in from taxes in 2008, forcing Medicare to begin spending its reserve funds. According to the Medicare Trustees, Medicare’s reserve will be empty by 2017, and Medicare will have to cut benefits or payment rates by 19% to balance its budget [1]. Since the projected date of Medicare’s bankruptcy has been brought forward many times [2], it’s likely that the actual date of bankruptcy may be as early as 2015.

  20. retzilian says:

    Tom, please cite the source of your statistics. TIA.

  21. retzilian says:


    Read the original source. The word “bankruptcy” is never used, the words “empty by 2017″ is fear-mongering. The actual issue is the Part A (HI) insolvency is always fluctuating. If our economy improves, if there are more jobs created, that date will be pushed out yet again. The primary issue here is, as always, job creation.

    If you are really concerned about Part A solvency, you will work toward the creation of new jobs, thus new payroll taxes paying into the Part A (HI) Trust.

    Another reason that HI is losing money is because of Bush & the Republicans’ invention of Medicare Advantage, which put Medicare into the hands of Private Insurance companies that wanted to make a profit on it. That was genius. Now, the privatization of Medicare costs anywhere from 7 – 14% more than original Medicare.

    Heckuva Job, Tommy!

  22. retzilian says:

    Tom I suggest you do not come to a battle of wits about health insurance with me unarmed.

    • nailheadtom says:

      You still (not surprisingly) haven’t addressed the morality of my money being used to pay for your medical procedures when your net worth is more than mine and your life amenities are more luxurious than my own. But, such is the selective thinking of the left.

      • retzilian says:

        If you qualify for Medicare, I am supporting your Part A with my self-employment tax which is the entire amount of 7%, not 3.5%. If you do not qualify for Medicare, I am not helping you right now, but if I enroll in another health insurance plan, I will be helping to support other people who are making claims while I am not.

        If your premise is that it’s immoral to support others’ medical claims, I suggest you not have any insurance at all and just bank the money and hope you never get sick or that your savings will pay for it. Nobody is coercing you to do anything. By the time the mandate takes effect, you still have the option of not getting insurance and it will cost very little in terms of “penalties.”

        Pay the fine. Don’t get sick. One trip to the emergency room will cost more than the fine.

    • nailheadtom says:

      If you’re such an expert on insurance perhaps you might be qualified to organize the like-minded and set up an insurance company that would fulfil the altruistic goals you have in mind without coercion.

      • retzilian says:

        The only institution that is in a position to create a huge healthy insurance pool is the government. You cannot create an organization for the exclusive purpose of getting insurance. It’s against the law.

        Try again.

        • nailheadtom says:

          So all those mutual insurance companies are illegal? And why should there be a law against it, if, indeed there is? The third largest employer in the world is the British National Health Service, just behind the People’s Republic of China Army and the Indian National Railway System. That in a country of a little over 60 million. If 60 million people can organize a socialized health care system, why do you need 300 million to do it here? If there’s a 100 million proto-socialists that want free health care, if it’s such a good idea, why don’t they just set it up? Then us doubters will see how well it all works out and want to join in, won’t we? Why should us skeptics have to buy in to it when we don’t think it will work? Oh, I guess it’s because the public school system has worked so well.

          • retzilian says:

            Actually, you don’t have to buy into anything at all. Be sure to turn down your Part B when you are old enough to opt in, if it still exists then. Be sure to stop driving cars, using highways, sending your children to any schools at all (cuz even the private ones are subsidized), be sure not to use public parks or drink the water in your home.

            I suggest you move to a self-sustaining home, grow your own food, create your own electricity, and get off the public dole yourself.

          • nailheadtom says:

            Actually, I do have to buy in to it, or be fined. So, after 200+ years without this idea in place, now it’s imperative that we adopt it without delay. Twenty-four hundred unread pages of unintended consequences. You don’t know what’s in it anymore than I do, you’re just assuming that it will be a big improvement. Sorry, you’re arguments are weak.

  23. dirigo says:

    The Dow is flirting with 11,000 today. Are investors betting on socialists, Meathead?


  24. retzilian says:

    Tom, feel free to return to Colonial America.

    Or, if you prefer to stay in modern America, start a little business. If you are self-employed, all your insurance premiums are tax-deductible. You can get a really cheap HSA and have catastrophic coverage for under $200 a month and deduct everything you pay into the premiums and use pre-tax money for any expenses.

    There are lots of options right now that do not include your being forced into any insurance plans. Get a job with a company that has group health. Voila!

    I have already explained how the penalty works, so you can choose to continue to post your now-defunct talking points or pay attention. I have no more time for you.

    • The Heel says:

      I am impressed by your tenacity trying to enlighten a wingie. You have better chances talking a shark into becoming a vegetarian. These creatures (both sharks and right wingers) are missing the social gene and in the right winger case seem to have sadistic pleasures in seeing humans suffer (their god obviously wants it that way, so hey, lets be voyeurs). At least the shark has no emotions.
      Your last comment triggered my curiosity. I cashed in all my wellfare checks, food stamps and other government handouts and started my own business (in solar – sorry Tom, can’t quiet stay away from your money, yet) and need to insure my family and soon a few employees. So on a serious note, could you please contact me (at marcus@maedl.com) and if you are a broker, I might as well go through you…

  25. mikeinportc says:

    > but it’s voluntary. What you guys want ….

    & the large majority of the country would volunteer to pool our money/pay in, for public option, Medicare-buy-in type , or single payer, but were not given that option. If so, there’d be no need for a mandate. I don’t like the mandate either, without some mandate on price too.Of course the worthies in Congress, especialy the GOP, would fight that even harder.

    In the insurance model of health care, health care is just a vehicle for profit. A means to an end , rather than an end itself. That’s the basic difference in philosophy. Whether you think it should be just another commodity, that produces income, with actual health incidental, or a public service, maybe even a right, with how it’s delivered, and the $ generated, less important than the end result.

    If you are concerned with best end result , then single payer is the way to go . Better results, measured in life, death, and disease , and costs 1/2 as much, or less. The philosophical argument against is a valid one, that might have more credibility, and carry more weight, if they were presented as such, honestly, rather than the bs-fest we’ve had over the last year+.

    Btw, re the mandate, see the Miliia Act of 1792. It was never tested in court( that I know of), so we’ll never know if it would have passed muster, but it was a mandate, so the current one isn’t completely unprecedented .

    You might feel that it’s wrong to take tax money and use it to kill arabs people.

    Tommy, if you want smaller,less intrusive government, then why not start there, where government(as the agent of it’s sponsors) is most powerful, destuctive, and voracious? Don’t piddle around at the edges, attack it head-on. Dismantle the Empire, rather than have it come crashing down on us. Doing that would vastly reduce the size and scope of government, free up a lot of $($1T/yr,at least) , for tax cuts, infrastructure, etc . The country would be more prosperous , so there would be less need/demand for government social spending, and likely more of a philosophical lean in your direction. (Not to mention, making the world a whole lot better place, and having less blood on our hands.)

    • cocktailhag says:

      Great suggestion, Mike. I’m sure that in Tom’s utopia, the military budget just falls from the sky like rain. “Killin’… it’s what’s for dinner.” Sorry for my absence… I’m up in Seattle for work, and tonight I’m going to Pacific NW Ballet… No time to write until tomorrow, but plenty to write about.

  26. mikeinportc says:

    WSJ? ^ LOL OMFG! Betsy “Death Panel” McCaughey, our ex 2nd Banana Lt.Wack-job ? Pataki knew what he was doing when he ditched her. See her appearance on The Daily Show. Jon Stewart’s not exactly a latter day Edward R. Murrow, but he was more than up to the task of debunking her every utterance .I don’t doubt that there is some objectionable material in that bill, but citing Betsy Mc Caughey? Puhleeeeezzzzz!!!!

  27. retzilian says:

    Puhleeze, Tom. Citing a November 2009 article from the known, proven liar and prevaricator McCaughey? Seriously?

    I spotted three total lies within the first half page of her crap, and that was without even checking the source. I just know off the top of my head she’s dead wrong in her interpretations.

    Feel free to cite the law when it passes in its current, reconciled form. TIA. Then if you need ‘splainin, I’ll be happy to do it without any bias. I have no love for this bill, but the fact that you can’t even cite accurate sources for it or even have a clue how it works, I see no point in futher educating a rock.

    @ The Heel – I sincerely appreciate your offering to give me the business for your Health insurance, but I cannot sell to you unless you live in Ohio. I can, however, consult with you about your options if you want me to give you the straight scoop. I’ll email you.

    • nailheadtom says:

      “I cannot sell to you unless you live in Ohio”

      In “the land of the free and the home of the brave”, you can’t sell him insurance because he doesn’t live in Ohio. And nothing is going to change about that.

  28. michlib says:

    There’s so much truth in anagrams -

    nailheadtom = mania held to

  29. retzilian says:

    Wow! Progress!!

    “California Secretary of State Debra Bowen certified a ballot initiative late Wednesday to legalize the possession and sale of marijuana in the State of California after proponents of the measure submitted over 690,000 signatures. The measure will appear on the November 2 general election ballot.”

    While I am not a pot smoker, when I was in Collyforny twice last year (and I’m sure denizens and frequent visitors can relate), people walked around in public smoking joints. I was a little taken aback the first time I saw it, then I realized it was no different there than smoking a cigarette in the street.

    So, where goest Collyforny, there goest the nation? Wouldn’t that be a hoot!

    • cocktailhag says:

      Well, it’s more like finally accepting reality than it is a move forward, and still law enforcement and the prison lobby is fighting it tooth and nail, but please. Anyone in California, no matter how hale and hearty, can get a “card” if they want one without much effort, and in LA, anyway, there’s a “dispensary” on every other corner, it seems. I walked into a “smoke shop” on Abbott Kinney in Venice and they had every variety of bud imaginable, attractively displayed, and they sold it more like any other delicacy than they did like medicine, along with bongs, volcanos, and other paraphernalia. I asked for a pack of cigarettes and they had those, too, somewhere under the counter. American Spirits only. I didn’t need a card for that.
      I wouldn’t be surprised if it passed; they’re selling it as a way to make money, which is at least honest, and since pot is already CA’s #1 cash crop, the haul could be impressive indeed.
      Anyway, Retz, I’m back, and I appreciate you and the gang keeping the blog interesting in my absence; covering my shift, as it were.

      And props to you, Tom, too… You once again gave it the old college try, often quite entertainingly, in your way. As usual, it was the quality (or lack thereof) of your sources. Airy-fairy fantasies about some free-market paradise, of course, are impossible to link to any empirical results. In fact, the opposite is true, especially after it takes effect in the form of massive inequality and an overbearing militarized “security” system that eats money and freedom in equal measure. Societies like that are neither happy nor durable; look it up and find me one, as I constantly ask, if you know of any.
      Further, your disdain for the restrictions against interstate marketing of insurance smacks of a lust for a heavy-handed federal government trampling states’ rights to redistribute money to insurance companies, yet again. The things you call freedom continue to amaze me.

    • cocktailhag says:

      Again, Tom, bad facts and worse sources. The biggest basket case, short of Ireland, in the countries you mention is us. Most Americans would rather be Swedish about now, despite Steyn’s unhinged fantasies. More slippery slope arguments and childish misdirection that con only appeal to the delusional and/or misinformed. Please, do some travel or something.

      • nailheadtom says:

        The usual dismissal without evidence. When it comes to unhinged fantasies you’re the greatest.

  30. nailheadtom says:

    According to J.E. Dyer: “. . . it was the 1970s in which the percentage of Americans who purchase health insurance began to decline. Incomes didn’t decline, of course; the price of health insurance increased.

    And of course, the reason it increased was the unprecedented increase in government regulation of the industry in the 1970s. The felt need to regulate was brought on by the introduction of Medicare, which at first caused millions of older Americans to drop their insurance and therefore cease paying their higher, age-driven premiums into the private insurance pool. The financial crisis this induced was almost immediate: Medicare went into full operation in 1966, and by 1971 Ted Kennedy was holding hearings on the growing problem of unsustainability.

    In 1971 and 1973, landmark legislation made HMO policies – managed-care policies – the standard that businesses with 25 or more employees would be required to offer. Alert readers will remember the passage in Michael Moore’s Sicko in which Nixon and his contemporaries affirmed that the whole point was to dragoon millions of people into the scheme, have their employers pay into it, and count on the HMOs to ration care. That’s what happened – and Ted Kennedy and a host of other Congressional leftists were all for it.

    The thing about managed-care plans – which is probably what you are covered by today even if it isn’t called an “HMO” or explicitly organized as one – is that they have higher premium costs than the typical old-style insurance plan of the 1970s. The Freeman article linked above outlines the measures Congress took to draw employers and workers away from lower-cost insurance and into the higher-cost managed-care policies. As these measures took effect, straight “insurance” was increasingly hard to find, as were doctors who would accept patients on the quaint cash-payment basis that had been standard for almost everyone only a few years before.

    States’ regulation of “insurance,” which grew exponentially in the 1980s and ‘90s, completed its transformation from true insurance into being, in effect, 50 sets of differently-regulated managed-care policies. In most states now, whether you want to or not, you have to buy a policy that covers things from routine office visits to treatment of autism, sex-change therapy, and the risk of fetal alcohol syndrome. Your only alternative is not having coverage at all.

    The original purpose of levying all these constraints on the health policy market was always to make you pay more into the system through premiums. And it was government that wanted to achieve this effect.

    Achieve the effect it did. The Cato Institute performed a study in 2004 of the cost increases induced in the health care industry by government regulation, and concluded that the net cost increase, caused by regulation, was running about $169 billion annually.

    So, yes, as David Leonhardt says, income inequality began increasing in the 1970s, when federal regulation of all kinds began having the intrusively pervasive effect on the U.S. economy that we have become accustomed to in the period since. And fewer Americans found themselves able to obtain health “insurance” in the 1970s and afterward, once government had stepped in and driven out lower-priced alternatives in favor of managed-care policies with higher premiums.”

    • cocktailhag says:

      Wow, as false narratives go, that one has everything. Chief among them is the absurd notion that because something happened at the same time, it was the cause. The growing inequality was due to the deliberate disempowerment of unions, the downward shifting of the tax burden, and inflation. Regulation had nothing to do with it; aside from some much needed moves to protect the environment, the 70′s were the beginning of a deregulatory era. Further, HMO’s were the brainchild of Henry Kaiser, whose “Permanante” health plan was the first HMO, and he sold it to Nixon because it was successful at holding down costs through preventive care.
      (The CATO study is bogus through and through, especially its out-of-ass $169 billion figure, but that’s what CATO exists to do, not that you’d notice….)

  31. nailheadtom says:

    3M Corporation announced that it was taking a 12 cent per share charge to earnings for the effects of the health care bill. The costs here are really of two varieties. First, is the hard costs that shows up on company’s income statement and is reflected in the reduced earnings per share. The second cost is the effect of the reduced earnings per share on the company’s market value. 3M sells for about 18 times its earnings per share which means that a 12 cent charge reduces the stock price by about $2.16. Multiply that by 711 million shares outstanding and you get a reduction in the market value of the company of about $1.5 billion

  32. nailheadtom says:

    Clean Government Now sums up the disaster that is Obamacare:

    The essence of this bill is quite simple: It makes the health insurance industry an arm of the federal government by mandating (not regulating to be clear) the terms, conditions and comparative rates health insurers can offer. In short, it tells them how to run their business and then picks up the cost where those conditions prove uneconomic. We tried this experiment before. It is called Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and it is a major reason for the collapse of the financial system under the weight of $2T of bogus AAA securities.

    When mandates replace competition, there is only one direction for prices to go: UP. Americans will not put up with rationing, and they have come to expect the best care in the world, so any pretense of cost controls is just that: pretense. Obamacare only expands the cancerous dynamics of the third party payer and creates more of a sense of entitlement to be paid for by the ever diminishing “other guy”. …

    That is Washington: the bad ideas stick around like venereal disease. The good ones just ride off into the sunset like good soldiers who served us well, but whose time is too brief.

    More disturbing is the reality that the comparative effectiveness of medical treatments will not be determined by medical practitioners and their patients, but rather Gucci-garmented lobbyists. …

    Beyond the inevitable failure of central planning, the unavoidable increases in premiums and overall costs, the abdication of personal responsibility and cost control through choice and consequences, the ultimate victim will be the quality of our health care.

    It has only one direction to go and that is DOWN.

    If you liked what Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac did to the mortgage market and the world financial system, you will LOVE Obamacare.

  33. nailheadtom says:

    In a morning session on health care the conference was told that Canadians and their governments must face up to some hard facts and have “an adult conversation” about the future of the country’s health care system.

    The advice came from David Dodge, the past governor of the Bank of Canada and former deputy finance minister who said medicare costs will inevitably rise in coming years at a greater rate than government revenues and the country’s gross domestic product, and require some unpalatable choices to be made.

    Choices he suggested include new taxes specifically dedicated for health care or a steady reduction in the scope and quality of services provided by the public health system that would require people to either pay for private care themselves or suffer ever greater wait times for service in the public system.

    “These are stark and unpalatable choices that we face with respect to health care, but there is no magic solution,” he said. “We absolutely must have an adult debate about how we deal with this. Finding solutions in this area is extraordinarily difficult, but it is imperative.”

  34. nailheadtom says:

    Dems likely didn’t read the bill before passing and signing it
    By: J.P. Freire
    Associate Commentary Editor
    03/26/10 4:08 PM EDT

    As the president has yet to admit, the health care reform bill does not prevent insurance companies from excluding children with pre-existing conditions. HotAir’s Ed Morrissey points out a release from the Senate Republican Conference that showing a number of other omissions as well. Is it possible that the president hasn’t read his own bill?

    Flashback to the health care summit:

    President Barack Obama scolded Virgina Republican Rep. Eric Cantor for the stack of paper he brought with him to the health summit, calling it the type of political stunt that gets in the way of lawmakers having a serious conversation.

    Cantor said he brought a copy of the 2,400-page Senate bill and the 11-page proposal Obama posted online earlier in the week.

    Then flashback to Speaker Pelosi saying we have to pass the bill to find out what’s in the bill:

    “But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy.”

    Maybe the Democrats shouldn’t pass 2,400-page bills if it means they won’t read them.

    Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/beltway-confidential/dems-likely-didnt-read-the-bill-before-passing-and-signing-it-89288372.html#ixzz0jbDbU9LO

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