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Posts Tagged ‘healthcare’

Tonight was a complete, 100% redefinition of Mitt Romney. He came across as, well, human. Not a robot. I spent the first half of the debate really confused as to what was going on, because nothing Romney said made any sense as a Mitt Romney thing to say. He completely changed his positions on everything. Tonight was a huge shift to the center for him. This was a completely different Mitt Romney, both in style and substance, than we’ve seen on the campaign trail so far.

On substance, though, Obama was the clear winner. The actual policies promoted by Obama made sense and were fleshed out. Romney’s, to the extent they exist, had no detail at all. But he was able to wave them away. And he completely threw everything back in the President’s face. He came off as the defender of medicare, despite his massive, devastating changes to it. He came off as bipartisan, even though his party has agreed to nothing, been entirely unwilling to compromise. He came off as being anti-Wall Street and a challenger of the big banks, even though he proposes to let them do whatever the hell they want while cutting their taxes.

Incredible.

10:36PM “He looked like a credible alternative tonight”

10:33PM NBC’s closing coverage is that Romney was energetic and feisty and in control, versus Obama who seemed to be just coasting. I agree. Devastating.

10:30PM Now Romney is trying to say that less people would have health coverage under Obama.

10:27PM “Governor Romney has not been able to say no to some extreme elements of his own party”

10:25PM Romney is trying to be more bipartisany. For a Republican to say that today is fucking nuts. Just remember: $10 in spending cuts for $1 in tax hikes got a no.

10:24PM Reaction from Facebook:

Obama, all you needed to do from the very beginning was simply say "47%". Just once. Then go give Lehrer a hug, he really needs one. 😦

10:23PM “Where you put your money is where your heart is” – Mitt Romney. I shit you not.

10:22PM “Mr. President, you’re entitled to your own airplane and your own house, but not your own facts”. Oh come on, Mitt.

10:19PM Obama just hit Romney for having hazy, non-detailed proposals. It’s true.

10:15PM Obama is rambling. But “Governor Romney doesn’t think we need more teachers. I do.” Good line.

10:12PM Romney: “What we did in MA [Romneycare] is a model for the nation”. How the hell is Obama letting him get away with these things? Obama is doing terribly.

10:09PM So… how ‘bout them Nats?

10:08PM Death Panels? Really, Mitt?

10:06PM Obama’s right! I got my insurance premium rebate a month or two ago. $28.00! Almost a case of delicious Sly Fox Rt. 113 IPA. Drink.

10:05PM Now a defense of the cost control provisions of Obamacare. They won’t be enough, but they’re more than anyone has attempted thus far.

10:03PM Obama just made my point. Drink.

9:59PM A good defense of Obamacare. Where has it been these past 2 years? Romney is accusing him of pushing something “completely partisan” through in Obamacare, but it’s a Republican plan. ITS MITT ROMNEYS PLAN!

9:55PM This is bizzarro Mitt. Either he is lying through his teeth tonight, or has been doing so up until this point.

9:52PM Now Romney is arguing that Obama has been too nice to banks. He has spent the rest of this campaign saying that the only reason the economy is bad is because Big Bad Barack has been too mean to banks!

9:51PM Romney: “Every free economy has good regulation”. This is absolutely 100% a completely different Mitt Romney than we’ve seen in this campaign so far.

9:48PM The ability to choose your own insurance provider is in fact a feature of Obamacare.

9:43PM Romney just accused Obama of making the precise same medicare cuts he himself proposes.

9:42PM Obama sounds like a talking spreadsheet.

9:39PM Romney is on tonight. He’s doing quite well.

Reaction from Facebook:

“Governor Romney, you just threatened Big Bird. You Sir, have gone too far.”

9:33PM Romney, on the charge that he has ruled out new revenue: “Absolutely”

9:31PM Romney: The President should have supported Bowles Simpson. Never mind that his running mate Paul Ryan was instrumental in killing the proposal. Why doesn’t Obama point that out?

9:30PM They are both citing Bowles Simpson now

9:25PM Mitt Romney is a dick. He’s also lying about what his plan is. But he’s having the better debate, I think. Forcing Obama to try to explain the math is making him just go through numbers while Romney can try to make points that connect to people.

9:23PM “Math, common sense, and our history” show that Romney’s plan won’t work. “We’ve tried this". A good point.
9:17PM Romney: My tax plan adds up because I say so, and no economist can tell me otherwise.

9:15PM Obama: Your math doesn’t work, Mitt.

9:13PM Romney: "There’ll be no tax cut that adds to the deficit”. Still no word on how he plans to do that, but the give away was when he said it all adds up when you account for growth.

9:11PM Right off the bat, Obama points out that Romney’s math doesn’t add up. Romney says he won’t cut taxes, just provide tax relief. This is weird, Romney is nearly just repeating what Obama is saying.

9:10PM Biofuels! I’m a nerd.

9:08PM Holy shit, Mitt Romney accuses Barack Obama of believing in trickle down economics?

9:07PM Romney doesn’t like “top down economics” either. He does like small businesses.

9:04PM Straight to jobs. What are the major differences between the two candidates policies? Obama: “a new economic patriotism”, investments in the future, paid for by not fighting wars. Now that is change I can believe in.

9:03PM An emphasis on specifics. Ruh roh, Mitt!

9:01PM Hug time. Precious.

8:56PM Going to try live blogging this thing. Probably won’t work well. You’ll probably have to hit “refresh” a lot. Drink.

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Two replies to my earlier post are here and here. Original post is here.

First off, Jastonite takes my examples of limitations on freedom for the sake of protecting freedom, and flips them around:

It is not that I have a right to clean water, it is that my neighbor has no right to put anything in my water.  My neighbor has no right to my property.  The general principal, which Rand Paul articulates, is that rights do not extend to infringe on the rights of others.  I cannot drive my car however I please on a road, not because people also have a right to walk on that road, but because I have no right to operate a vehicle on property that is not mine.

Two things. First, that I have no right to someone else’s property. Well, I agree. So I have no right to tell you that you aren’t allowed to dump toxic waste on your property. But you have no right to my property, upon which your waste will infringe. We can twist these around all day, I’m not certain that it really changes anything about my original point. Secondly, be careful with the statement I’ve put in bold. Can it not be extended to I cannot wear a blue shirt on a sidewalk, not because people also have a right to wear a red shirt on that sidewalk, but because I have no right to wear blue on property that is not mine. Now that’s an admittedly very stupid analogy, but the argument is ripe for slippery slopes. Also, it’s worth pointing out that the guy in the red shirt dies every damn time, so take that under advisement.

Finally:

A business owner turning somebody away from his business infringes on nobody’s rights (unless we accept that people have a right to the property of others); however, preventing a business owner from turning somebody away from his business does infringe on his right to property.

For the record, I absolutely agree that the Civil Rights Act infringes upon a business owners right to run his business as he sees fit, but that does not mean we have the right to the property of others. I simply think that in some cases infringement on people’s rights is needed for society to function, as I explained initially. It’s all about tradeoffs. You may not find my argument satisfactory, but that’s OK. It remains my point. And yes, I recognize that you could use this as a precedent to ban people from wearing their blue shirt because the color blue is disruptive to society, etc, etc. We’re back to limiting principles now, and I have a feeling readers will already know where we all stand on that.

Next,

I get frustrated with statements like “Rand Paul thinks the CRA is a mistake…” because it misrepresents both him and his argument. Why say it?  Why not say “Rand Paul disagrees with one aspect of the CRA…” or “Rand Paul supports the CRA except for…”

Well, OK, but we’re arguing semantics. The point of the Civil Rights Act was to protect against discrimination, so I suppose I should have stated that Rand Paul supports the Civil Rights Act except for the parts where it protects against discrimination. Or something.

A reader reads the sentence and sees that “Paul thinks the CRA is a mistake.” They have already been biased against the part of the sentence that states Paul’s actual position. Paul thinks the CRA is a mistake?!?! How can he think that? In what way does he think the CRA is a mistake? Oh, he doesn’t think businesses should be forced to integrate. Wow, what a complete D-bag. I hate people who are so caught up in the notion of freedom that they would bring back segregation and slavery. FAIL.

That’s one hell of a logic leap, and not at all what I meant to imply. I, in fact, meant to imply nothing. But obviously you could read the sentence in that way and so for that I guess I was remiss.

Again, we can go in circles with all of this all day, but this gives me an opportunity to bring up a complaint I have with libertarianism. Perhaps less of a complaint than a vague idea in the back of my brain. I am probably (definitely) not articulating this nearly as well as I would like but here goes. Libertarianism seeks to strongly protect personal freedom. But many of the views libertarians hold lead to policies with the outcome of less freedom. Those views may be internally consistent, but the freedom is theoretical whereas the policy outcomes are real. Take the example Amused (whose blog you should read) mentioned in her comment on my original post about restricting a woman’s medical rights. The problem, I think, lies in the fact that libertarian arguments about policy are rarely about the actual policy, but rather based on some ideological first principle. A policy discussion thus quickly evolves (devolves?) into a lofty discussion of political philosophy. I enjoy a discussion about political philosophy (why else am I writing this?) but it tends to abstract away the actual impact and details of policy. Missing the trees for the forest, you could say. The result is often that libertarianism is against some detailed policy because it violates their principles. But how would libertarians address the policy problem? We don’t know, because they seem content to point out that others’ solutions are wrong without articulating solutions of their own. Or when they are articulated, they tend to be in the abstract realm of political philosophy. I’m well aware that this is not unique to libertarians, but that’s where I notice it the most.

Simply put, libertarians spend a lot of time on philosophy, but little on actual governance. Ron Paul may be known as Dr. No on capital hill, but we don’t need someone to just point out why we’re wrong. We need someone to propose policy to deal with real problems that impact real people’s every day lives.

Philosophy is of course important, but it isn’t the whole of governance.

 

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That a southern man don’t need him ’round anyhow:

I’m beginning to wonder if it would have been best had the South won the Civil War. Our Founding Fathers’ concept of limited government is dead.

People having healthcare kills freedom! People being slaves, on the other hand, is totally awesome.

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Correction, make that 15 governors (only 14 Republicans, to be fair) that would deny healthcare to millions of people for short term political gain. Its disgusting. 

Note that I don’t actually believe the governors will opt out in the end, I think the politics of that move would be too toxic, and by the time it would come down to it (Jan 1, 2014) the current healthcare obsession will have passed. And so they will very quietly opt in. But the fact they are willing to play games with millions of lives is reprehensible.

And for those of you who think that those denied coverage are just a bunch of lazy welfare cheats who need to get a damn job, read this. An excerpt, describing someone’s attempt to apply for government assistance: 

“I didn’t wear my best clothes, but I wore a light blouse and jeans, and I guess I was just a little too dressed up,” she recalls. “Because the woman just looked at me and said, ‘Are you in a crisis? Your application says you’re in a crisis.’ I said, ‘I’m living in a van and I don’t have a job. I have a little bit of money, but it’s going to go fast.’ The woman said, ‘You have $500. You’re not in a crisis if you have $500.’ She said anything more than $50 was too much.”

If Adkins had filled her tank with gas, done her laundry, eaten a meal, and paid her car insurance and phone bills, it would have used up half of everything she had. But emergency food stamps, she was told, are not for imminent emergencies; they’re for emergencies already in progress. You can’t get them if you can make it through the next week – you have to be down to the last few meals you can afford.

“The money’s for my phone, it’s for gas, it’s for my bills,” Adkins said.

“Why are you in a crisis,” the woman asked, “when you have a phone bill?”

“I need the phone so I can get a job. You can’t look for a job without a phone.”

“Why do you have bills?” the woman asked. “I thought you didn’t have a place to live.”

“I live in my van,” Adkins said. “I have insurance.”

“You have a 2007 van,” the woman said. “I think you need to sell that.”

“Please, I need a break,” Adkins said. “I need some help. I need to take a shower.”

“Why didn’t you have a shower?”

“I live in a van.”

The woman told Adkins to come back when she really needed help.

Even the piece of mind offered by a simple statement that you will be covered if something else goes wrong is better than nothing, and a hell of a lot better than the contempt and derision these people face from their elected officials. 

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South Carolina and Florida will be opting out of the expanded medicaid coverage under the ACA. The result of this will be 1.2 million people without coverage.

So let’s be absolutely clear about this. Two people have decided to withhold medical coverage from 1.2 million people in order to score political points. That’s astounding. But maybe I’m not being fair. FL Gov Rick Scott had this to say:

“Florida will opt out of spending approximately $1.9 billion more taxpayer dollars required to implement a massive entitlement expansion of the Medicaid program,”

OK, so this isn’t about scoring points, its about fiscal responsibility. So again, let’s be absolutely clear. Two people have decided to withhold medical coverage from 1.2 million people in order to keep the bond markets happy. That’s equally astounding. 

But, I’m glad they’re doing this. It’s refreshingly… honest. They are saying to their states’ poor: “your needs are less important to us than reducing the debt”. No Paul Ryan-esque bullshit about how cutting entitlements actually increases entitlements. Just a straight up admission that we really don’t care about you, and if you or your loved ones die from a preventable condition well tough shit, you should have thought about that before you were poor.

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Paul Ryan thinks that the Affordable Care Act needs to be repealed because our rights come from God and not from government:

“I think this at the end of the day is a big philosophy difference,” Ryan told ABC’s “This Week.” “We disagree with the notion that our rights come from government, that the government can now grant us and define our rights. Those are ours, they come from nature and God, according to the Declaration of Independence – a huge difference in philosophy.”

Well, Paul Ryan is right! The Declaration of Independence does actually say that our rights come from God:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

I’m pretty sure anyone reading this knew that line by heart. But did you know the very next sentence?

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed

So, Paul Ryan thinks that the Government cannot grant us the right to healthcare, because that comes from God. Well, OK. But I don’t think “God said you can’t do that!” is going to work very well when an insurance company cancels your policy when you get sick. Luckily, we’ve instituted a government to secure these God given rights for ourselves!

If Paul Ryan wants to use the Declaration of Independence to shout down his opponents he can do that, but he really ought to read the damn thing.

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One last thing. I wrote this:

  • That being said, those worried about the impact of the ACA on the government’s power under the commerce clause should consider today a victory.
  • Those only pretending to be worried about constitutional ramifications, but really just looking to smack around a president they don’t like, should consider today a defeat. Which one did you see more of today?

I should have added that Randy Barnett, the father of the broccoli argument, is a member of the former group. And that is to his credit. However, I simply cannot let this line go (emphasis mine):

From then until today, most law professors have taught that the power of Congress to regulate the “national economy” is limited only by congressional restraint, which means that the power is unlimited.

For someone who seems to consider the constitution and the opinions of the founders to be an important things, he certainly doesn’t hold them in high regard. Indeed, the most important limiting principle ever articulated is that of our form of government. In a representative democracy, congress is limited by their own restraint because their failure to act in a limited manner will result in electoral defeat. Friends of the Broccoli don’t seem to understand this. Or perhaps they don’t trust the electorate to fulfill our end of the bargain. And perhaps that concern is warranted. But the point is that we are the limiting principle.

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