Friday, June 12, 2009
Herewith, a dump from my browser tabs...
Health care reform: A possible solution to the "public plan" logjam, including a discussion of the limitations of "reconciliation" as a procedural device and the politics of the matter, from TigerHawk lefty fav Ezra Klein.
Marriage and housework: "Marriage is no longer a man's path to less housework".
In which a certain kind of piracy at least indirectly helps the poorest of the poor.
The mega law firm Morgan Lewis tells us how we employers should react to the World Health Organization's latest pronouncement on swine flu.
Climate models say that cloud cover will operate as a positive feedback loop, turning some global warming into much more global warming. Maybe it ain't so.
Megan McArdle, who is short housing insofar as she rents, thinks that housing prices have not bottomed. Surely not in Manhattan, where the laid-off bankers have not yet, in the main, burned through their savings and given up on returning to seven-figure jobs in financial services. Elsewhere, maybe. There is a national market in credit, for better or for worse, but not in the housing that credit supports.
The new regulation of tobacco: Why Philip Morris is laughing all the way to the bank.
The FBI has opened more Ponzi scheme investigations than at any time in history. Well, Ponzi schemes collapse when asset values collapse, so that makes some sense, doesn't it?
Conrad's "solution" looks to me like Fannie and Freddie redux, a home for political patronage, a sub-rosa way to initiate mandates through agency action without the messy need for publicly visible legislative action, and a way to issue yet more debt to pay for redistributive policies without taxes. I think this "coop" idea is a disaster in the making, and is nothing more than a vehicle for expensive on-going political meddling in the economy.
Conrad is offering a solution to a non-existent political problem. I'm not against the public plan because it's government-controlled-- at worst, this will make it so unattractive that no one will take part, and we're back where we started. I'm against the public plan because I fear that the government will subsidize it to the point that private insurers can't compete and it becomes a single payer, or that government will prop it up by hobbling private insurers. Conrad is not saying anything to reassure me on this score.
I thought an insurance company brought together a population of people, who wanted specific coverage, where their healthcare rates would be negotiated as a total group and the depth/breadth of coverage was dependent upon how much an individual can spend. How will these Co-op's be different? How will they be more efficient? Are we not just re-creating the Insurance model? Will this just do away with the state insurance infrastructure (that needs to go away anyway) and the co-ops through their members decide what is going to be covered and what is not? From an efficiency perspective how the heck will the "members" be more efficient than the current insurance companies who have the systems and the infrastructure to handly many lives already in place?
This is a way to solve the access problem.
A large "public option" (read single payer) reform would be able to negotiate rates with providers all right, but would very quickly be negotiating away service. The co-op plan has the opportunity to allow like minded patients to band together, sign up with like minded providers, perhaps open their own clinics and hospitals, and compete away. I've always thought that any public option should be a delimited product that indeed competes on cost, quality, and services offered, but most single payer plans do not compete, they eliminate the competition and settle for fewer services at lower quality. when it is the only game in town, who is going to complain successfully.
Can anyone link? Daisy, the Skinny Blond, is worth reading about, I promise. Selling beer has always been about hooking sex into the pitch for some reason.