05 March 2009

Newsy day today

And I'm just too tired to blog it all.   There are like a million synopses of the Obama health summit out there.   Ezra Klein has some good wonky stuff that I'm too tired to read in detail.

A couple of things that jumped out of Google reader at me:

Obama wants health care reform by the end of this year.  His tone was inclusive but not weak.  He clearly is drawing a line in the sand that he won't allow obstructionists to hijack the debate:
I want to be very clear at the outset that while everyone has a right to take part in this discussion, no one has the right to take it over.  The status quo is the one option that is not on the table.  And those who seek to block any reform at any cost will not prevail this time around.
But there was a pragmatic streak:
Each of us must accept that none of us will get everything that we want, and that no proposal for reform will be perfect.
On the public plan option, Grassley questioned whether the government would be an unfair competitor, but Obama defended its inclusion (color me relieved).   McConnell suggested that this was one element of the plan that the GOP simply would not compromise on.   I've got to say that this is pretty transparently disingenuous.  As David Sirota asks, "If the free market is so marvelously awesome, shouldn't it have no problem winning a health-care competition with a government-run program?"  I mean, isn't it conservative mantra that private concerns will always be more efficient and more effective than government bureaucrats?  Perhaps they're just worried that if the public program proves cheaper and easier than the private insurers, it would disprove a core tenet of conservative philosophy.  Frankly, it's a toss-up which will win.   The public plan will have no execs to pay, shareholders to pay, and minimal advertising costs.  It will have some economies of scale.   But the big insurers have the same economies of scale, and will aggressively try to select out the healthier customers.   Will the public plan be bogged down by adverse selection, or will it prove cheaper in the end?   I'll be interested to see -- and the market will decide!

Interestingly, Rep Joe Barton (R-TX) made some rather conciliatory noises.  A potential thaw in the House GOP?  I'll believe it when I see it.


  1. There is a problem with your video link - it is obscuring most of the post.

  2. ..I am totally convinced that the government's plan will be so much more efficient and frugal. Why, look at how GREAT the post office is when compared to FedEX!!!

    Pattie, RN

  3. Congratulations, Pattie! You win the Totally Misapporpriate Application of Sarcasm Award 2009.

    The post office is great, not simply compared to FedEx but compared to almost any business or institution you can name.

    Between FedEx and the USPS, which one...

    Delivers to every single address in the US for the same low price? -- USPS

    Has a local franchise in every market, no matter how small or remote or economically depressed? -- USPS

    Delivers any and every type of material or package that is legal to ship? -- USPS

    Has international connections that allow it to send to and receive from every single address on the globe? -- USPS

    Has (and this is anecdotal to my personal experience, I admit) much friendlier and more helpful and knowledgeable staff than I ever come across when forced to slog my way through the line at FedEx/Kinko's? -- USPS

    Hey, FedEx and UPS are dandy. I think the competition has forced the post office to get better, especially in spurring the technology for tracking of packages and in improving envelope and box design. And nothing beats using the company FedEx account to overnight that almost too late birthday present to your Mom (not that I've ever, ever done anything like that).

    But basically, Pattie, no private enterprise on Earth could or would even attempt to do on its best day what the post office does with ease and regularity 365 days a year (minus Sundays, Fourth of July, MLK Day, Flag Day, whatever those stupid, unpatriotic federal employees decide is a good excuse for slacking off), so think before you try n' crack wise next time.

  4. So, how close to retirement from the USPS are ya???

    Absolutely the most appropriate application of hitting too close to home I'm seen since my last fibromyalgia lady who wasn't--nope, never was....a drug seeker!

    Pattie, RN


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