Friday, January 12, 2007

Arnie's Healthcare Plan

Well, it's hard to believe that Schwarzenegger has so turned himself around that he supports a healthcare proposal more sweeping than the one that he actively campaigned to kill several years ago. The only explanations I can come up with for this transformation is that:

1. He's grown in his time in office and believes that universal healthcare is more important than when he started.

2. He doesn't care one way or another, but he can see which way the political wind is blowing so he wants to jump in front to lead the parade. His opposition a few years ago was based on a different political climate and the fact that he would have not gotten credit for the plan, but would have had to deal with the headache of implementation.

3. His healthare plan is designed to fail by being so cobbled together and creating enough enemies that nothing can be passed.

Matthew Holt believes #3 (without the malicious intent) I subscribe to this mishmash of a proposal. I think that it's a combination of 1 and 2 and that merely starting the conversation in the Democratic controlled State Assembly and Senate will yield a bill even if it doesn't look quite like the bullet points in his speech. After all the California legislature managed to pass and have signed a bill previously in a more hostile political climate (the one Arnie got repealed).


Thursday, January 11, 2007

Negotiating with Both Hands Tied Behind Your Back

How NOT to reduce Medicare prescription drug prices. Here is the actual text of Dingell's bill. It's hard to see how this is anything but posturing since no changes in any part of the bill except authorizing/requiring the Secretary of HHS to open negotiations. The problem with that is that the Secretary of HHS is on record as not wanting to negotiate so how much effort will he put into this initiative. Also, no leverage is mandated in the bill; specifically, formulary provisions remain unchanged. I don't understand what this bill can possibly accomplish other than a press release.


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Wasting Time

I came out -1.38 which is left of center on economic issues and -3.90 on social issues. This is a UK quiz so an adjustment for the US probably puts me farther away from the center than these numbers indicate. I'm pretty happy that I'm in the same quadrant as , Ghandi, Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama and polar opposite of Bush.

Who Knows Why?

Rafael Robb was arrested for killing his wife
. Every article makes a big deal about the fact that he was a game theory professor, but I doubt that any reasonable game theory solution (without some additional factor) would cause him to decide to commit the crime since he knew he would be the first suspect. It seems more likely that there was something besides avoiding a messy and costly divorce that would have raised the benefit to him. I suspect that Robb might have been guilty of domestic abuse; that would be consistent with the nature of the crime since the way his wife was beaten would have concealed any evidence of prior abuse.


Friday, January 05, 2007

Nazi appoints Communist, Poland not Happy

I know it's a cheap shot, but I'm not a big fan of the Pope and will never get a private audience so what the hey. I seriously don't understand what happened here. It looks like the Vatican secret files had the information that could have prevented this embarassment, but that they someone failed to do the proper legwork. Reminds me of Bernie Kerik's aborted appointment to be Secretary of the DHS.


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Is it Worth It?

Today there is no mail delivery because of Gerald Ford's funeral. It doesn't seem worth it to me. I'm pretty amazed that this is the only link I can find in google that gives the cost of a federal holiday. What's even more surprising is that it is part of a 3rd grade lesson plan. I love that they are teaching kids that young to think not only about the benefits (i.e. honoring MLK), but also about the cost.


Monday, January 01, 2007

Universal Healthcare

Well Krugman agrees with me even if Kevin does not. We cannot continue to spend more than 16% of GDP on substandard care. The amount the government is already spending (between 6-8% of GDP depending on how you count it) already exceeds what most countries spend to insure all their citizens.


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