He who has ears, let him hear

I like The Plank's take on the whole Chuck Grassley health care reform kabuki. Like Jonathan Chait, I think Sen. Grassley has made it abundantly clear that his feelings about passing health care reform can be adequately summarized using nothing but a serious of rude hand gestures. I also agree that it's time to stop the whole pantomime of bipartisanship, since it's getting us nowhere.

What I find hilarious, though, is Grassley's stated reasons for mucking up the works. From the WaPo:
After being besieged by protesters at meetings across his home state of Iowa, Grassley said he has concluded that the public has rejected the far-reaching proposals Democrats have put on the table, viewing them as overly expensive precursors to "a government takeover of health care."

Grassley said he remains hopeful that he and five other members of the Senate Finance Committee can draft a better, less costly plan capable of winning broad support from Democrats and Republicans. But as the group, known as the Gang of Six, prepared to continue talking via teleconference late Thursday, Grassley said the members may be forced to reassess the breadth of their efforts in light of public concerns.

Then, from later in the article, there's this:
While [Maine Senator Olympia] Snowe said she is hearing a passionate cry for action on health care from her constituents, Grassley, who is up for reelection next year, said Iowans are more interested in making sure that Congress does not mess up what they already have.
First of all, let us not forget that Ol' Chuck has not been making much headway in correcting the public's misinformation about certain aspects of health care reform. You know, what with his actively spreading said misinformation, and all. And, if Grassley's constituents are "more interested in making sure that Congress does not mess up what they already have," then it should be no great effort for him to explain that the President has made it explicitly clear that no health care reform he supports would require anyone to change if they're already happy with what they've got. That is, if he were actually interested in working to pass health care reform.

But no. As the article points out, Grassley is up for re-election next year, and he clearly doesn't want to fight off a primary challenger. So, it's in his political self-interest to oppose just about anything the Democrats put forward in order to appease the hard-right voters who turn out for primaries. It wouldn't matter if the crowds at the rallies all brought instruments and played Handel's "Water Music." He knows which side his bread is buttered on, so after a set period of pretending to play at bipartisanship, he's going to shoot down anything that emerges, because it's in his political self-interest to do so.


  1. No healthcare reform the President supports will require anyone to change if they are already happy with what they've got. Right?

    OK, what about the 22 yo who has no insurance and is very happy with that plan? What about the 45 yo who has a very basic catastrophic policy and whatever they call an MSA these days? Will the healthcare reforms permit uninsured young people? Will it permit people to have only catastrophic coverage? Or must insurance meet some government requirement before it counts as being "insured?"

    Somehow, I think Mr. Obama is lying about the claim. I'd say Mr. Obama is the one spreading misinformation about healthcare reform, and I'd report him to the Heathcare Unamerican Activities Committee, except they have taken down that fishy tipline at flag@whitehouse.gov.

  2. "Somehow, I think Mr. Obama is lying about the claim. I'd say Mr. Obama is the one spreading misinformation about healthcare reform..."

    Uh... huh. So you have a hunch, is what you have, John. You'll forgive me for not being particularly concerned about your hunches.

    And,as for your questions, the person with the catastrophic insurance would probably be considered "insured," and the 22 year-old would not be. I don't know if the final bill will include a mandate, but I think it should. (Hope that 22 year-old doesn't find a lump in his testicle.)

  3. So a more accurate claim for President Scary-Smart to make would be "If you like your current health insurance, you can keep it, assuming it supplies coverage that Congress deems adequate, since you aren't smart enough to make that call yourself)." You think lying is too strong a term, and it is more like "omits the inconvenient parts that would just confuse the rubes." OK, I'll buy that.

    What about the President's lies, err, bearing of false witness with his just-so stories of greedy physicians ordering $50,000 amputations, costly tonsillectomies, and pacemakers for granny when she could just take a pain pill? He just sounds, well, stupid. I can't figure out which is worse; President Scary Smart really believes this stuff, or he is lying through his teeth.

    You know as well as anyone if preventative medicine is a cost saver. It may be smart from an individual perspective, it may make one healthier, but it doesn't save money, or so says the literature. Hey, if I'm wrong, set me right and give me a cite or three that shows what kinds of savings we should expect.

  4. wow, gj, I see you avoided answering any of my questions on the other thread.

    Repeat after me: "I will not allow anyone to buy into a public option because I am afraid that my private insurance company won't be able to retain enough customers and go out of business, forcing me to buy into a public plan"

    a reasonable fear, but one not grounded in faith in Capitalism. Private schooling exists in America, people pay for it because of perceived value, how much more so with private insurance, since with the public option people have to pay premiums, they might very likely choose to use private plans for a host of reasons.

    What 22 year old is "happy" to be uninsured? If he was he is pretty foolish, I am sure a 10 year old would be happy when school teachers go on strike, but as a society we recognize that kind of "happy" values no one. Obviously, every sane person wants a basic level of health care wherein they can see their doctor for routine care and not rely on self medication. All told it is projected to cost between 1 to 3% more on our total health care costs, however there is no reason not to assume a healthier society will not be 1 to 3% more productive, so it at worst can be a wash financially, while at the same time having the benefit of everyone having a basic level of health care.

    but gj just has silly snark, (really, President Scary-Smart?) but when confronted by real questions just whines about language. Answer my questions from the other thread if you can. I can certainly answer any question you ask. I will refrain from mocking whatever ridiculous things you say such as "nationalized groceries."
    and answer as I would to a young child.


  5. great interview Dan, no objections to anything you wrote.

    we simply have got to get away from employer based health care towards consumer based health care choices. A public option, naturally, being one of those choices. In a global marketplace this is the only way we can compete. Obama's plans sets up mechanisms for this. Republicans have nothing.


  6. Hi, charo. I didn't respond to you because you lack basic human civility. Life is too short to deal with foul-mouthed maroons. Snark is fine, to be sure.

    As far as the 22 yo being happy with his choice, who died and left you boss? You don't get to choose for other people. Maybe it doesn't seem right **to** **you**, but then perhaps permitting abortion doesn't seem right to someone else. Who gets to choose what is and is not out of bounds? In our society, the will of the majority is a good starting place, and right now, the public option isn't the will of the majority.

    AFA the other thread, the answer is no one, least of all me, is going to stop you from getting your insurance from whatever nonprofit you wish. Knock yourself out, champ. And if there isn't a suitable one handy, well, what a business opportunity for you to tackle. No one is forcing you to buy from a for-profit insurance company, see a for-profit doctor, buy medicine from a for-profit pharmacy, and use drugs developed by a for-profit company.

    I'd agree that we ought to fix the tax system to quit favoring employer-purchased insurance over employee-purchased insurance. I am not so sanguine about the public option. But hey, Ds have 60 votes in the Senate, and a clear majority in the House. Go for it. Ignore the Rs. Whatsthematta? Can't carry the Ds on this? Not my problem.

  7. wait a second, so when the 22 year old shows up at an emergency room after riding his skateboard while drunk and cracks his head open, the hospital should let him die? Who do you think pays for his care? The patients who have insurance do. Of course I get to "choose" for other people, if you mean I as part of the collective we who also says that you have to buy insurance when you drive a car. If the 22 year old can't afford insurance I have no problem with subsidizing him getting decent care, give him a voucher, but to pretend that accidents or disease doesn't happy to young people is just irresponsible.

    And the public option is favored by 77% of the people. The simple fact is in America red states have disproportionate power way out of whack to their population. Even with that, Dems have still gotten to 60 Senators, but those red state senators also have to recognize the will of their states.

    And the "not my problem" line is pure selfishness. How can I have civility to a geniune smart ass? What is your philosophical hangup to allow me to buy into a program my elderly mother gets for free? You constantly avoid answering this question. Perhaps the additonal revenues I pay via premiums will help lower the deficits of Medicare (also reducing your taxes) what is not to like about that?
    Do you view health care as a basic right or as something that only the wealthy and fit can have? If you view it as a basic right, then I honestly have not gotten a clue as to how you propose to get there, since you only shoot down what others say without your own alternative.
    So how about it, what is the gj plan to achieve basic health care?

    As I have said before, I can live with co-ops if it will move towards getting basic care as a right to all Americans. It won't solve the problem of spiraling costs, which is "your problem" as much as it is everyone elses, but that will become evident soon enough.


  8. The 22 yo w/o insurance ought to be treated, but be responsible for the cost, insurance or no. I have no problem garnishing wages of the uninsured to recover unpaid bills.

    The public option favored by 77%? Nonsense. Cite your source. NBC News poll of 19 Aug showed a plurality of Americans reject the public option (47% No, 43% Yes).

    The Ds' problems really are not my problem. You not liking that is really not my problem. If you think it is pure selfishness, go pound sand for all I care.

    Healthcare is not a right, anymore than food is a right, or clothing is a right, or housing is a right. My plan on basic healthcare is that you pay your own way or buy insurance. If you can't do either of those, there are charities that I support to help you. But I'll be darned if I'm going to pay for your house, food, clothing, and medical bills as some sort of entitlement.

  9. gj, so you have no plan, no ideas outside out an extreme libertarianistic viewpoint. no idea what to do with the uninsured, denial of payment due to pre-existing conditions, etc. Obviously, you are not married and have no children, you must be, what 17? Listen, no offense to your delicate feelings, but you should understand that your ideas are childish and stupid. You have no first principles beyond carrying guns everywhere and the right to be obnoxious. It is sad that you have no idea how much of a loser you sound like. Be honest, are you married? Do you even have a job? Someone in your life needs to give you a smack upside the head and tell you to grow up. Ayn Rand has nothing to offer. Rush Limbaugh is not smart or witty. Do yourself a favor, get a girlfriend, don't write things that make you sound like a selfish asshole. As to me, I am more than happy to pay taxes to ensure that every human has a basic right to food, shelter, and education. You have no clue that the vast majority of humanity wants to be given the chance to be productive but you seem to view the rest of humanity as a burden on your right to be as selfish as you can be. There is hope, I promise you in 10 or 15 years you will read what you wrote here and think "man, was I stupid." But you have the opportunity to step outside of yourself and try to see how the rest of humanity views you.

    As to me, I have been married for many years, have children, have a house, car, and am successful in my career. I have nothing to prove to anyone and consider myself blessed and lucky. I truly want as many people to have the opportunity to have my success, and realize that without food, shelter, education, or basic healthcare none of this is possible. In fact, since Jesus said do unto the least of my brothers as you would do unto me, I am pretty sure I would be damned if I didn't.

    I truly hope that your immature opinions are just that, opinions, and do not reflect on who you are. Maybe you are kind to animals, help little old ladies across the street, and you write such things just to vent and be provocative. You don't have to. But I like Drdanny, I like his blog, your coming here and with your verbal diarhhea is truly annoying. Get your own blog, I promise I will never, ever read it.


  10. Hi charo! Look, do yourself a favor and learn the difference between deductive logic and inductive logic. Then perhaps you won't be so quick to infer personal fault when someone disagrees with you.

    While you are entitled to your own opinion, you aren't entitled to your own facts. And the facts are that in the 20th century, the socialist governments, the ones who exalted the State over the Individual, killed 100 million human beings. I find that fact illuminating. The great classical liberal idea was the rights of the Individual over the State. We've had rule "for the common good" by powerful States for thoudsands of years. None of them have made the strides in human decency than have occurred under classical liberal emphasis on the respect due the Individual. And that's why I reject the idea of the Nanny-State, the Great Social Collective, as superior to the dignity of the Individual.

  11. I've been staying out of this, but that last comment was just a bit too much for me.

    Let me get this straight. Because of the Khmer Rouge, you oppose a public health care option. Because of Joseph Stalin, you oppose a means of providing health care for the uninsured, who lack means to seek care for illness and injury. Because of the Cultural Revolution, you oppose reform of our egregiously venal insurance industry.

    I suppose one could not gesture toward such places as France, the whole of Scandinavia, or the UK and note that they all seem to have adopted public health plans without descent into hellish abattoirs? That, perhaps, a country can adopt social programs without extinguishing the dignity of the Individual, especially in a place like America when the rights of the Individual are such a central part of our national identity? That one can seek to care for one's citizens without recourse to the so-called Nanny State?

    Or would that be a waste of so much virtual breath?

  12. rducto ad hitlerum. or in this case, reducto ad communismo. This from a guy whose total contribution to the healthcare crisis is this:

    My plan on basic healthcare is that you pay your own way or buy insurance. If you can't do either of those, there are charities that I support to help you.

    Yes, I am sure a charity will pay for chemotherapy for a person who was denied insurance due to a pre-existing condition. This is a guy who is unaware he is quoting Scrooge (my taxes support the workhouses!) (get rid of the surplus population). It would be hilarious if not so pathetic.


  13. You want it straight? You are half right. I don't oppose regulating the health insurance industry, in fact, I think it is essential for the government to be the umpire. I don't even oppose the government running a catastrophic insurance plan for those who lack resources. I am more than willing to discuss, in good faith, how we can improve what we have, and the government certainly has a place in making improvements a reality.

    However, I do oppose the government having control over all aspects of my medical care from cradle to grave, and I catagorically reject having to subject my body to some "expert" panel of government appointees who set rules about care. And yes, I do oppose that government run healthcare system because a hundred million people have died due to the notion that centrally planned economies are efficient and humanitarian. I have several existence proofs that central planning and government micromanagement can easily lead to gulags and killing fields. That's a fact, and observational fact, and you can't snark it away like you snark away the continuation of the Bush policies by President Scary-Smart after promising something completely different. He lied then, and he's lying now, and he'll lie in the future just as easily. And you ought to know, since he screwed over the whole DADT, DOMA, SSM crowd, just to mention one little set of President Scary-Smart's lies.

    I don't trust the State in the hands of Democrats or Republicans with the power a healthcare by government would bring. We have enough power seekers without conscience (hi, Rahm! Hi, Burress! Hi, President Scary-Smart!) as it is. You do remember how our First Lady got those toned biceps? By slamming the hospital door on the poor and uninsured in Chicago. I'm not about to let that happen to my children. I aim to misbehave.

  14. Hey, charo, at least try not to goof up your comparisons. Scrooge was talking about taxes and government workhouses; I'm talking about charities run by private citizens. There is a difference.

    And yes, charities do pay for chemotherapy and a host of other expensive treatments for those denied coverage or denied insurance. Isn't it odd that you aren't aware of the extensive charitable giving in this country for exactly these purposes? You don't give anything, do you? No wonder you think we need a vast new government mechanism.