A new tagline and the Random Ten
About a week and a haf ago, I asked for suggestions for a new tagline for the blog, in part because I'd become disappointed with Barack Obama's rhetoric on Social Security. Well, after reading the new Krugman last night, I decided to go ahead and make a change, and in consultation with Amy, came up with what you see above, which is obviously a direct theft from Oscar Wilde. If you're going to steal, steal well, I say.
Krugman is hitting Obama again, and hard, for his rhetoric on health coverage. Let me start by saying that I think it's awesome that we've gotten to the point in the debate where the candidates are arguing over the details of the plans, and not over the need for a plan in the first place. And if Krugman is accurately describing Obama's plan, then he's exactly right here. It has major flaws, an certainly is not superior to either the Edwards or Clinton plans. Krugman starts on the explanation this way:
The central question is whether there should be a health insurance “mandate” — a requirement that everyone sign up for health insurance, even if they don’t think they need it. The Edwards and Clinton plans have mandates; the Obama plan has one for children, but not for adults.
Why have a mandate? The whole point of a universal health insurance system is that everyone pays in, even if they’re currently healthy, and in return everyone has insurance coverage if and when they need it.
And it’s not just a matter of principle. As a practical matter, letting people opt out if they don’t feel like buying insurance would make insurance substantially more expensive for everyone else.
He's limited by space, and I'm less so, so I'll elaborate on what he's talking about a bit. If you let healthy people opt out, then the ratio of people who are paying for insurance and people who are using it approaches 1, and there's no savings involved. The only way a system keeps costs for the consumer low is if you have people paying in who aren't going to use the system very much.
But wait, you say, that's unfair to those people who are healthy--you're forcing them to pay for other people's health care. Yes, just like we force people who never get robbed to pay for police protection or people who never drive to pay for roads. It's a societal good to have everyone able to get high-quality health care, even if some people rarely use it.
And then there's the "shit happens" factor. Any one of us can be hit by a car, or fall down a flight of stairs, or have some sort of catastrophic accident which is neither our fault nor could be avoided or planned for. I don't have the figures, but the vast majority of money paid out in health care claims is taken up by a relative handful of cases--that's why they're called catastrophic injuries. The 50 or 100 or 500 people who never get badly ill are paying for the care of that one person who did, and while you may think that sucks if you're paying for something you never use, think about how glad you'd be if it were you facing the catastrophic costs of a major injury.
It's called empathy--the ability to see beyond the orbit of your own ass.
My complaints with all these plans is that they don't go far enough. I'd like to see the power of insurance companies in this country destroyed, and I'd like a government-run, single payer, not-for-profit universal health care system, and I think we'll get there, once we've put the early stages in place. But it has to have everyone involved right from the beginning. No exceptions.
Here's the Random Ten, and despite the time stamp on this post, I'm running behind now, so no time for pithy remarks about my questionable taste in music. Or yours. Here we go.
1. Gone Daddy Gone--Violent Femmes
2. Way Down Here Without You--Superdrag
3. Box of Rain--Grateful Dead
4. Let Me Clear My Throat--DJ Kool featuring Doug E. Fresh and Biz Markie
5. Wires and Watchtowers--Thievery Corporation
6. The Harbor Is Yours--Aesop Rock
7. Uh Oh Plutonium--Anne Waldman
8. Stakalee--Dr. JOhn
9.Crooked Frame--Alejandro Escovedo
10. Portland--Loretta Lynn
What's on your player today?