Thursday, October 22, 2009

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Why can't Republicans support health-care reform?

Ezra Klein asks Is this why Republicans can't support health-care reform? This being that health care premiums will go up because we'll be insuring all those high-cost folks we don't insure now. We've been down this road before. The comment I left:
Under our current system, the $10 folks are not necessarily uninsured. In fact, they're quite likely already on Medicare. The un-insured include a whole lot of people in the $2 range (young adults, for example). So, I think the whole argument that it's the cost side that will drive up premiums is bogus. It makes me crazy when I hear people talking about how much more expensive it will be to cover everybody when many of the most expensive to insure (the elderly) are already covered.
That being said, I do think premiums will go up, because without some kind of regulation of premiums, the individual mandate will allow insurers to raise prices, especially if there's no public option and so, no competition in a lot of places.

So it's still a big mystery why Republicans won't support health care reform. Here's my list of suspects:
- Must oppose Obama, no matter what he does! Obama's for puppies? We're against 'em. Never liked them in fact! Puppies are known socialists! {translation: Republicans have painted themselves into a corner by continually feeding their far-right base red meat; now that's all that's left, and they must be fed, or the Republicans will get zero votes in the mid-terms}
- Health insurance campaign donations. {not that the congressional Democrats don't also get this money; you may note their somewhat tepid enthusiasm for reforming health-care; but the topic is the Republicans}

I think that's a fine list and I vote for all of the above! For the record, I support single payer.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Bank on indiscretion

The Economist writes a good summary of opinion on the banks profits and bonuses, in the wake of huge taxpayer bailouts. I'd say that the last paragraph is a bit off, though:
One doesn't want to get in the habit of seizing profits wholesale. On the other hand, the banks clearly feel no obligation to help pay for the bail-out that kept them afloat, no obligation toward the economy as a whole, and no need to mask their behaviour with even the barest of public relations fig leaves. It is in the interest of everyone involved for policymakers to do something to rein the banks in and publicly rebuke them for their disregard, lest populist rage grow out of hand, leading to ill-considered measures that may ultimately impair the important economic functions financial markets are supposed to serve. If things continue on as they are now, the situation will not end well.

Banks are acting just as if they own the government. It's not in everyone's interest to rein the banks in, though. At least not in the short term. Those who receive large donations from the financial industry do not have a good incentive to rein that industry in. The question is, will legislators be able to convince their wealthy funders that they need to make a show of making them behave to stave off real reform?

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