A Quick Fix to the Senate Health Bill

I had hoped that the Senate, toiling away in secrecy, would toss out the crap sandwich of the House bill and replace it with something shiny and new that I could really get behind.

No such luck.  The “Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017” is mostly the same crap sandwich, with some of the crust trimmed off.  As I wrote about the House bill last month, this bill, or something like it, would wreck healthcare and ensure Democratic ascendency, in the same way that Obamacare strip mined the Democratic majority in the House and Senate.

It’s not quite a total loss.  It did move in the right direction to fix some of the problems I had pointed out in the House bill, such as restoring tax credits based on income rather than age (I never got an explanation for that).  But of course it fell far short of providing reasonable tax credits.

As for pre-existing conditions, the main issue that tortured the public discussion of the House bill, the Senate appears to have just given up and is keeping the Obamacare requirement.  So after all the trouble, when it comes to pre-existing conditions, it’s Obamacare after all.

Although there’s no CBO score on the bill yet, it will probably come out similarly to the House Bill since it keeps much of the same structure for slowing Medicaid Expansion and although I’ve already criticized the way the CBO score was arrived at, it won’t matter in terms of a Democratic talking point; 26 million will lose their healthcare.  You’ll hear it all over cable news until the vote, then in campaign ads for the 2018 election.

How to solve this issue?  Here is the difference between politicians and regular people; I can conceive of a fairly simple answer that would never occur to a professional, and it’s not one I’ve yet heard either in public policy articles or blathering about on cable news.

Consider: There are about 14 and a half million people covered under the Medicaid expansion from Obamacare.  You can criticize Medicaid all you want in terms of studies on health outcomes or availability of providers, but if you’re on it, it’s free (to you).  There are no premiums, deductibles, or copays.  So even if you provide market alternatives to that, none of them are going to be as cheap to the patient as free Medicaid is.  People being kicked off Medicaid will generate stories for years for the Democrats.  There will be no end to the number of hard luck stories (and the children! Think of the children!).  That will fill nightly news and newspaper stories for years to come.

So just let those people keep Medicaid.

That’s it.  No complicated policy issue or complicated public/private program.  Just allow the people who are currently covered by the Medicaid expansion, as long as they meet their income eligibility, keep their Medicaid healthcare.  It’s not a new entitlement since it won’t be open to any new applicants; it will just cover those who currently have it.  Eventually those numbers will shrink, either by people improving their lot and exceeding the income eligibility, or worst case, aging into Medicare.

Will it cost money?  Yes, but frankly, the Republicans seem to be under some sort of delusion that they can turn health care into a tax cutting bill.  I don’t see how that’s realistic.  At some point they are going to have to realize that the bill is going to have to be revenue neutral.

More importantly, this buys time to fix what’s ailing in the individual insurance market.  Obamacare has wrecked and nearly destroyed the individual insurance market and I don’t think that’s going to be fixed on the day of a bill signing.  This will probably take years, so the fewer people in that market, to buy time and give reforms time to work, the better

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First You Shoot a Congressman…

Well they finally went and done it.  A radicalized leftist, James Thomas Hodgkinson, tried to assassinate several Republican members of Congress.  It’s been leading to this for a long time, and I guess we were all just waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I had written back in January about how illiberal liberals are becoming.  They’ve decided in mass that the purpose of democracy is to provide Democratic Party victories, and if it fails, then plan B is perfectly acceptable, whether it’s intimidating electors or asking the military to stage a coup d’etat.  If the conspiracy theory of “Russia Russia Russia” helps move that along, fine.  If not, move on to something else, like hitting someone.

So after the inauguration, this happened…

…when White Nationalist Richard Spencer was hit in the face during an interview.  Needless to say, the internet was highly amused. .  It seems that many on the left do think it’s OK to “punch a Nazi.”  A “Nazi” of course being defined downward as anyone you oppose politically, like a Trump supporter.  Spencer, the example, is a white nationalist, but he isn’t a Nazi, and even if he were, he shouldn’t be punched on the street without provocation. Steve Scalise isn’t a Nazi either, but I guess he’ll do until a real one comes along.

Certainly since the election we’ve had the rise of Antifa, which has been busy engaging in street battles. Journalists, pundits, and media experts are giving the OK to violence.  Even government officials are getting into the act.

And so are entertainers.  

 

Loosely defined of course.

OK, we get it.  The left wants war.  Not just a metaphorical one, but a real one. And oddly, they want to go against the people who have all the guns.  Well no one claimed they were rational…

This I think is how our democracy will die.  When enough people think political violence is justified, regardless of election results, then “elections” will eventually be decided by political violence and the threat of it, just like any 3rd world “democracy.” I’m just really sorry I’ve lived to see the beginning of that process.

 

 

 

 

 

My Dinner With Ikea

J/K.  I didn’t actually eat there, although I noticed that every menu item helpfully had the calorie count, from the Americanized Chicken Fingers to more native Swedish meatballs and Salmon (mm…Sjorapport!).  Actually, I had hoped to have shed this mortal coil without actually ever entering an Ikea, but man plans, God laughs.  My daughter, getting ready to move into a new apartment, wanted an Ikea dresser, and the fact that we already had a dresser sitting in the garage for her (made from Wal-Mart’s finest particleboard) did not tempt her in the least.  Instead, she wanted to spend whatever meager funds she had on a new dresser. So off we went.

After crossing the desert (Interstate traffic during rush hour) we eventually made it to this false temple of consumerism. Frankly, my initial impression was, “what’s the big deal?”  It looked like a Costco, warehouse ceilings and all.  But as we wandered through the various home furnishing displaces, I recognized Ikea for what it really was, Service Merchandise.

Service Merchandise was a retail store that existed until 2002 (it now exists as a web only business).  It was much like any comparable department store of its day, Sears, JC Penny’s, or Zayre, but it had a gimmick. Instead of filling up a cart with their useless crap, you actually took a ticket, went to a service desk to pay for your items, and the boxed item would come out on a conveyer belt from the warehouse, like a baggage carousel.  I have childhood memories of shopping this way and found it annoying.  But at least the right boxes were delivered to you.  The Swedes had figured out a way to dumb down even that process.

In the display room area of Ikea, you didn’t even get tags with the numerical code of the item; you had to write those down yourself.  Then you went to the warehouse area, and wandered through it until you actually came across the correct shelving and boxes.  Service Merchandise was way ahead of its time compared to Ikea. But…it wasn’t hip to shop at Service Merchandise; the opposite in fact.  Ikea on the other hand, seems to have some sort of cool factor.  For the life of me, I can’t figure out why, but cool isn’t something you figure out, you either get it or you don’t, and when it comes to Ikea, I’m clearly in the latter category.

One interesting thing I noticed was about the people who shopped there.  There were a pretty high number of women wearing hajibs. In spite of that, I rated the Head Chop Threat Level Matrix to be low.  I don’t think it topped a 2.  After all, Sweden is practically a colony of the Caliphate, so I imagine that they want to safeguard their new possessions.

To me, the real disappointment about Ikea is that the furniture is not particularly attractive or interesting looking.  I just wouldn’t care to have it in my house.  Hopefully, I won’t have to repeat my visit there, and if I can accomplish that modest goal, then I’ve had a life well lived.