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And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg
by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Sat Aug 30th, 2008 at 04:34:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Where the Right Went Wrong and a chunk of State of Emergency.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat Aug 30th, 2008 at 04:39:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Good. Not my favorite Buchanan books, but that's a good start.

I disagree with a lot of what he has to say, but there are two places where I strongly agree.

1)That the United States needs to limit how it acts overseas, and needs to use economic power in place of military power.

2) That the foundations of American economic power need to be secured, and that the idea that "free trade" is going to accomplish that is foolish. Buchanan never comes out and says this, but I think that he gets List's distinction between wealth and productive power.  And that he undestands that productive power, not wealth is the basis of national power and sovereignty. This distinction is non-existent to neo-liberals, beacuse there's this blind faith that everyone behaves as the market says they should.  That state power created the market and sustains it through enforcing its rules is lost on neo-liberals.

Why do you think that Palin is more neo-liberal than Buchanan?  I just haven't heard anything that suggests that, but I'm interested if you can point me in the right directon.


And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Sat Aug 30th, 2008 at 04:52:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
On those two points, I'm generally in agreement with Pat.  Like I said, he's not all wrong.  Few are.  And, studying the mechanics of campaigns, I have a great deal of respect for Buchanan as an observer and commentator.  "He's crazy, not stupid" is generally my take on him.

Palin obviously hasn't taken many stands on national issues, but her view on health care should serve as a warning, especially for guys like you who are extremely skeptical of market-based approaches, because her stance is essentially "Let the market decide."  Her view was to support greater information to consumers rather than have active government involvement.

That she calls herself a Bush Republican and has agreed to the veep slot with McCain, who is most certainly a free-marketeer, should also serve as a red flag in comparisons with Buchanan.

She was very big on pushing the big-box retailers while mayor of Wisella.  I'm inclined to not put too much stock in that, for the record.  But what I gather, reading about her, is that you're essentially going to see a Bush Republican with harsher views on social issues.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat Aug 30th, 2008 at 05:19:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is troubling.

Health care must be market-and business-driven

Governor Sarah Palin today introduced the Alaska Health Care Transparency Act which will provide more effective tools to help Alaskans access affordable health care, and to ensure our health care system is responsive to changing demographics and market conditions.

The bill would establish an Alaska health care information office to give consumers factual information on quality, cost and other important matters to help them make better-informed decisions about health care in the state. Recognizing that health care must be market-and business-driven, rather than restricted by government, Governor Palin is proposing a repeal of the Certificate of Need program (CON). CON is a regulatory process that requires certain health care providers to obtain state approval before offering certain new or expanded services. [Palin's administration] concluded that the CON program does not benefit the citizens of Alaska, given the litigious environment surrounding it.

Source: Governor's office press release, "Health Care Transparency" Jan 19, 2008

Flexibility in government regulations to allow competition

I look forward to working with affected parties to find the necessary solutions that will lead to more affordable health care for Alaskans. I support flexibility in government regulations that allow competition in health care that is needed, and is proven to be good for the consumer, which will drive down health care costs and reduce the need for government subsidies. I also support patients in their rightful demands to have access to full medical billing information.

Source: Campaign website, www.palinforgovernor.com, "Issues" Nov 7, 2006

I disagree with market based approaches to healthcare, but I think that the recognition that there's a need to get more information about there.  I think that assymetric information is behind a lot of the cost i healthcare, and that's one of the principle reasons that I think the government needs to intervene, because the marginal cost of gathering information are much lower than for individuals.
t get a better price.

So the principal function of the insurance company is to reduce information assymetries, but the companies use this to screw over their policy holders.  This wasn't such a big problem before the demutualization of the insurance industry, but that's another story.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Sat Aug 30th, 2008 at 05:41:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm perfectly fine with getting consumers more information as an incremental step.  Of course.  But -- and the Dems deserve the most criticism here (since the Reps are at least doing what they say they'll do) -- the model using insurance is simply an inherently inefficient model.  We can talk about technology and new medicines and all that other stuff, but at the end of the day, insurance companies' missions are to get all they can in premiums and not pay out.  That's just stupid, because it places the incentive on insurance companies to hire armies of lawyers and bean counters to find loopholes, which obviously costs a shitload of money.

A "Medicare-for-All" kind of program would be the best first step, in my opinion.  Just raise the taxes and repeal the "over 65/67" bit in the bill.  It'd cost an amazingly small sum -- so small that it'd be a steal at twice the price.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat Aug 30th, 2008 at 05:59:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My brother worked in Seattle as a doctor for a while.  As a European he was amazed that he had to spend half his time negotiating with insurance companies on behalf of patients as to which tests/procedures he could authorise that they would pay for.  He ended up having to do a lot of horse trading - I won't do test X if you let me do Y and z.  

He said it was incredibly inefficient in terms of doctor time.  In Ireland health care, whether public or private, simply doesn't involve a prior conversation with an insurance company.  If a doctor authorises a test/procedure, its covered in terms of the general provisions of the policy.  There is no individual negotiation.

Vote McCain for war without gain

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Aug 30th, 2008 at 06:14:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Overhead for Medicare is somewhere between 1/7 and 1/2 of   similiar costs for private insurers.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg
by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Sat Aug 30th, 2008 at 06:24:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I know the feeling.  I grew up watching my mom, who managed a cardiologist's office, fight insurance companies all day.

The doctors are getting fucked constantly, which is why you've seen the AMA switch allegiances -- going from strong opposition to reform (they blasted Hillary back in the '90s) to support for universal care.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat Aug 30th, 2008 at 06:27:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Demutualization, Drew.  Demutualization drove a lot of this, because it took mutually owned insurance and turned it over to the market.  I think that a remutualized insurance industry where the company is owned by policyholders not shareholders would be almost as good as  a government run plan. It's the imperative to make money that makes insurance companies do evil things.

If they owed their loyalties to policyholders instead of shareholders they wouldn't be putting profits over people.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Sat Aug 30th, 2008 at 06:33:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was a fan of the Edwards plan, because it brought people into the Medicare system voluntarily.  Which smashed a lot of the arguments that government involvement in healthcare means that we are slipping into  becoming the Soviet Union.

Information assymetry is what drives health care inflation. Which is what is limiting access for most working Americans. Limiting that would reduce healthcare costs, but much less so than government run insurance.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Sat Aug 30th, 2008 at 06:17:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A deliberate policy of fucking over the little people drives health care inflation.

Information isn't relevant, because it's not a proper market, it's an oligopoly with huge and very aggressive players who aren't subject to oversight or useful regulation.

The insurance companies are in the annual dividends business, not the health care business. Their only interest in health care is when it distracts from profits.

And while it's been a singularly American tragedy so far, we have our own proponents of exactly the same scam in the UK, who are pushing 'patient choice' as a substitute for high quality free primary care.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Aug 30th, 2008 at 07:56:14 PM EST
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