Reposting: Murphy vs. McMahon II: Revenge of the Muck

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Many of the things that were done well in Sunday’s U.S.. Senate debate were done poorly tonight at the Jorgensen auditorium. The outcome was not terribly different. Chris Murphy appeared able to to think on his feet — maybe not quite adroitly as he did on  Sunday but still pretty good. Linda McMahon again seemed mainly to be reciting carefully memorized answers, rather than demonstrating intellectual firepower.

McMahon seemed to come alive when the questioning turned to the subject of personal attacks, which were thrust into the debate most unbecomingly by the panel. Please. We’re all tired of this crap. We’ve heard it. We’ve seen it processed. There’s nothing new to say about it. To waste that much of a precious hour in a state of cerebral reflux is a terrible shame.

While I’m on the subject, let me make another suggestion to Tribune (whose blogging platform this is): When you get a debate, try being a little more collegial. Tonight’s moderator and panel consisted of three Trib employees and a college professor, followed by a statement from the CEO.  WFSB by contrast was somehow able to involve people from three other news organizations.  A debate should be a public service, not a Valentine to your own corporate vertical integration. It would also be kind of nice if the debate weren’t repeatedly interrupted by negative ads from the very candidates onstage.

A final thought. Watching these debates I often feel as though everybody is in an odd state of denial about what Senators — especially rookie Senators — do. They don’t get to enact six-point plans. It’s only marginally interesting that they have six-point plans. Who cares?  Those plans will be of no interest to leadership.  Rookie senators get to worry away at one or two pet projects.  They get to participate in caucuses. They get to decide whether to vote with their party or break from it on principle.  With that in mind, Linda McMahon’s best moment tonight came when she insisted she would not vote with her party on all issues. Of course, that’s an easy thing to say. Harder to do with McConnell and a few other guys grinding  you.

A final final thought. It is intellectually dishonest for anybody — Romney, McMahon, anybody — to say they want to repeal the Affordable Care Act and get rid of the mandate but continue to address preexisting conditions. It can’t be done. The people who told us it can’t be done are not named Obama nor are they part of some Socialist cabal.  The people who say it can’t be done are the big insurance companies, the Market, Private Enterprise.  That’s why the individual mandate arose not from Socialists but from Republicans and conservative think tanks. Ezra Klein:

The mandate made its political début in a 1989 Heritage Foundation brief titled “Assuring Affordable Health Care for All Americans,” as a counterpoint to the single-payer system and the employer mandate, which were favored in Democratic circles. In the brief, Stuart Butler, the foundation’s health-care expert, argued, “Many states now require passengers in automobiles to wear seat-belts for their own protection. Many others require anybody driving a car to have liability insurance. But neither the federal government nor any state requires all households to protect themselves from the potentially catastrophic costs of a serious accident or illness. Under the Heritage plan, there would be such a requirement.” The mandate made its first legislative appearance in 1993, in the Health Equity and Access Reform Today Act—the Republicans’ alternative to President Clinton’s health-reform bill—which was sponsored by John Chafee, of Rhode Island, and co-sponsored by eighteen Republicans, including Bob Dole, who was then the Senate Minority Leader.

The companies, since then, have essentially said: You can’t ask us to cover sick people if we don’t have a lot of healthy rate payers too.  Which is reasonable!  A lot of this is code for young men. Young women suck, because they get pregnant (expensive!). Older people suck, because we have a lot of prescriptions and doctor visits. Young men are the loamy bottom land of health insurance farming.

But don’t say you’re going to get rid of the mandate and still insure people with preexisting conditions.  To do that, you would have to enact — wait for it — socialism.

 

 

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36 thoughts on “Reposting: Murphy vs. McMahon II: Revenge of the Muck

  1. Richard

    No one wants to address the real problems with US Health Care.

    Massachusetts finally got their 95% medical loss ratio in the exchanges and found out that costs were still spiraling. The biggest offenders? The ritzy non-profit teaching-hospital networks (Harvard, etc).

    As long as Democrats are on their broken record of for-profits are bad, non-profits are good and fail to acknowledge the truth about costing and what drives cost we will never be able to afford the ACA.

    Get into Dick Blumenthal’s brother David’s work on the Medical Records system for Obama and then ask yourself why America has one of the worst medical records system on the Planet Earth. No one wants visibility into their records systems. That’s the bottom line. Dysfunction and greed rules. The proposed plans that every state is late on? Electronic dysfunctional that’s all. Everyone wants their electronic fiefdom so they can continue cheating the BS plan to push reimbursement rate cut to the hospitals without visibility into the real cost of a procedure. Like France, US Doctors over test and order unnecessary procedures to get additional reimbursement, The US has the additional dysfunctions of proposely miscoding records to get greater reimbursement which makes them unreliable as records of care. So the next doctor in line overtests to avoid malpractice.

    In France doctors make around $60,000. No malpractice to speak of compared to the US. Education is paid for if they work for the state

    In CT and the US the AMA will never let that fly. The ACA is all about increasing wages for the AMA and driving prices higher and more timely payment by eliminating slow payers and uninsured walk-ins.

    Insurance is only one of 4 legs creating the US Health insurance cost spiral: lawyers, doctors, and hospitals are the other 4. No one wants to take them on. Lawyers, st least, have their just reputation. The sawbones are over-respected in the US.

    Then there’s the policy discrimination under the ACA with the State Unions and their “No Sustinet for Us”
    and the Malloy administration with the “We can’t afford to offer Medicaid in the Exchange–it would cost workers (or the state) too much”. So private sector workers get the shaft: the worst minimum policies allowed.

    Covering pre-existing conditions is about the only positive of the ACA along with keeping kids until age 26 on a family policy. (Until the newly leveled policy rates come in and parents realize there’s no savings there anymore).

  2. peter brush

    You can’t ask us to cover sick people if we don’t have a lot of healthy rate payers too. Which is reasonable!
    ————————————————-
    The first I ever saw a mandate suggested was in a 1991 WSJ piece by Milton Friedman. (http://hadm.sph.sc.edu/Courses/ECON/classes/Friedman.html) However, it was a suggestion made in the context of a broader “reform” consisting of getting rid of Medicare/Medicaid and removing the tax exemption for employer provided insurance that was created post-WWii. Tax CREDITS would go to individuals for buying a high-deductible policy providing coverage for catastrophes. Those who can’t afford would be subsidized with a voucher to purchase insurance. Government would not run any insurance programs. Friedman gave no consideration to the U.S. Constitution, but in this scenario the mandate would be innocuous since there would be every incentive to buy.

  3. Reader

    Colin, anything can be done. Heck, Congress can tax you if you don’t buy insurance — the Supreme Court says so. No matter what, the suggestion that the “individual mandate” is proper or a good idea because it was conceived by a handful of Republicans is a tired one and a red herring.

    Also, are you planning on fact-checking Murphy’s tax comments? His statements that the Bush tax cuts cost us money are flat-out false. The highest income tax revenue year we’ve ever had was 2007 (the increase after the Bush marginal rates were enacted from 2003 to 2007 was more than double the rate of inflation), and the tax curve became significantly more progressive after the Bush rates were put into effect. Murphy’s whining can’t change facts:

    http://www.irs.gov/uac/SOI-Tax-Stats—Individual-Statistical-Tables-by-Size-of-Adjusted-Gross-Income

    Maybe he should consider knowing what he’s talking about. Tax revenue didn’t begin to decline until the Democrats took over Congress. Surprise, surprise.

    1. Bill from Susan Campbell's blog

      Hey Reader: Enough with your phoney fact-checking tax statements. You don’t begin two (not one) wars and reduce taxes. We once reduced taxes then went to war and couldn’t pay for a large enough army to defend the capital from being burned to the ground.

      Foolish you.

      1. Reader

        Billy, income tax revenue went from $747.9 billion in 2003 to $1.032 trillion in 2008. Taxes paid by those pesky 1-percenters went from $256 billion in 2003 to $392 billion in 2008.

        Care to explain how that’s “phoney” (nice spelling, by the way) or that we “reduce[d] taxes”?

        You can say a lot of things about George Bush but you cannot say that we “reduced” taxes. If that kind of tax revenue was possible under Clinton’s rates, don’t you think we would have received it?

        Use your brain, not Kenny Curran’s, OK? Thanks.

        1. Bill from Susan Campbell's blog

          Reader, you have skewed the numbers to fit your argument. I say that we went from a surplus under the Clinton administration to invading two countries under W Bush. If the revenues didn’t immediately lower on account of more prosperous years, most certainly expenses climbed. However you want to reason with yourself, you don’t lower taxes while trying to fight two wars.

          And I haven’t bothered with the idiocy of invading a non-threatening Iraq thereby ultimately handing the country to our enemies in Iran.

          I have an idea; let’s not elect another republican president at least for the next 50 years. It sounds good to me.

          1. Reader

            Bill, I think you’re missing the big point and throwing fluff around just because you hate Republicans.

            Here’s the point: tax revenue went up after the Bush tax cuts went into effect. Because tax revenue is what we use to pay our bills, the deficit is smaller than it would have been if we had NOT cut taxes. Capiche?

            One more time: we cut tax RATES but we did not cut tax REVENUE. Are we done here? Did you learn something?

    2. dom

      “the suggestion that the “individual mandate” is proper or a good idea because it was conceived by a handful of Republicans is a tired one and a red herring.”
      Its not a suggestion, its actually the truth. You can split hairs and perhaps argue that Heritage and Milton Friedman are/were actually libertarian, but THAT would be a red herring.

  4. Todd Zaino

    Billy, did your mommie and daddie allow you to stay up past your bedtime to watch the VP debate last night? Why is so easy to imagine you wearing Star Wars PJs, eating Pop Tarts, and even talking over Joe Biden’s interuptions?

    Team Romney 2 anti-Americans 0
    Perhaps your team will do better on Tuesday.

  5. Todd Zaino

    Joe’s “performance” last night reminded me of a scene in the Movie “The Help” where the women was eating a crap pie…like Obama said in 2008, nobody messes with Joe, and nobody has a sh&!-eating grin like Biden.

    SNL has enough material from Uncle Joe, they should commit the whole show to a skit about how Joe acted.

  6. Todd Zaino

    @Reader:

    Don’t confuse little Billy with your facts-it might upset him and ruin his nap. Billy’s so slow he couldn’t spell C-A-T even if you spotted him the “C.”

    1. cmcenroe Post author

      OK, Todd and Bill. The ad hominem back and forth has to stop. Right now. Or find some other place to do it.
      I will depublish either or both of you if you continue with the personal sniping.
      And don’t tell me “he started it.” I don’t give a crap.

  7. Lucia

    You are so right about freshman Senators. It is laughable to hear Linda spouting off about her “plan”. She will have no influence… thank God! (if she exists)

  8. Richard

    This is going down to the wire as is the national.

    I’ve got Romney with 261 Electoral votes giving him Colorado, New Hampshire, and the south (Virginia) based on post-debate polling. Nate Silver is at 248. Nate hasn’t bought into VA yet. But he will :).

    Ohio, Wisconsin or Michigan could win this for Romney. Or a kludge of Nevada and Iowa.

    It’s good for the body politic. Like WWE its cathartic. Drink a beer, eat some peanuts, and scream at the contestants in the ring. Enjoy the vaudeville. Listen to the stories of McMahon demeaning women and Clinton’s cigar elevating women to the fullness of their being :) It’s partisan politics at its best.

  9. Bill from Susan Campbell's blog

    Moving away from the elemental distractions inevitable on a public forum such as this, and to the subject of the article, the better candidate (being Murphy) has come through and I feel will be our next senator.

    But I still want to encourage Linda to return to the political arena ASAP so that a democratic opponent will win again and again and again. She has served a useful purpose here in CT since spreading her wealth around to all forms of media.

    Now onto saving Obama and he must take on the Mitt without showing a sense of arrogance and over confidence.

  10. Cynical Susan

    I repeat: I don’t know anyone who wasn’t appalled and angered by Clinton’s sexual behavior, as I’m sure those on the right were appalled and angered by Gingrich’s. There are people in power on all sides who become arrogant and take advantage of their positions.

    1. Bill from Susan Campbell's blog

      Cynical: I was not appalled by the incident but by the way the FBI was searching for a stained dress. That is not what shocked me. I don’t give a hoot about adult sexual behavior – just that he got caught. Everyone does it so let’s get over the puritanical bull. Clinton’s mistake was having sex with an inferior who had little to lose opening her little bird beak in one too many places.

      And my only disappointment was that Clinton left very little political capital for Al Gore, who if he had won, most certainly would not have gotten us into a useless and very damaging invasion with Iraq.

      1. Richard

        Clinton was at work during office hours and having sex with a weak little intern.

        That would get me fired from any other job. Using his personal or vacation time and a hotel room would be more acceptable except for the age, position, boss, and power thing.

      2. Cynical Susan

        I don’t think it’s puritanical to hope (but not expect, because we get disappointed) that a president won’t behave badly at work. I agree with Richard (!) about the having sex during office hours — although I’m not so sure about the “weak little intern” description. And no, I wouldn’t be blaming Lewinsky even if she WERE the instigator — a president (of most anything) has far too much power to play this kind of game; plus his previous record didn’t help. I DO think the torches and pitchforks were ridiculous — even though Clinton was guilty of lying, the rest of the investigation was a waste of money and time, and I think got waaaaaay out of hand. Obviously that was far more about politics than it was about “justice.”

        1. Richard

          The Whitewater part of the case didn’t yield any fruit making the rest look rather foolish.

          The fact remains: the Clinton’s partners in WhiteWater (The McDougals) went to jai. Jim McDougal died there. Clinton’s successor as Arkansas Governor went to jail over WhiteWater as did Clinton supporters David hale and Eugene Fitzhugh for illegal loans with various actors in WhiteWater involving Madison Corp.

          Lots of smoke but no fire.

          The Whitewater and Travelgate investigations were prolonged by the tendency of the Clintons to either partially disclose or incorrectly disclose all the facts. Many of their answers were of the “I did not have zex with girl” kind of answers that made them look like suspicious bumpkins. No smoking gun but lots of blocking and tackling and interference from the Clinton’s and associates as they tried to drag the whole thing out until January 2001 and the Bush inauguration and Presidential pardon and clemency time. He did pardon the surviving Macdougal along with Mark Rich and other assorted political cronies and contributors

          1. Richard

            Susan McDougal spent approximately twenty-two months in seven jails, including maximum security prisons with violent offenders. She was also held for seven weeks in a Plexiglas-enclosed soundproof cell, an experience she described as “hellish.”

            On April 3, 1998, after completing the maximum sentence for contempt, she again refused to testify before Starr’s grand jury but, in 1999, was found not guilty of obstruction of justice and ordered to be released.

            In 2001, on his last day in the White House, Clinton granted McDougal a presidential pardon, which she learned about from watching television. In 2003, McDougal published the book The Woman Who Wouldn’t Talk: Why I Refused to Testify against the Clintons.

          2. Todd Zaino

            Too bad Vince Foster and Ron Brown are still not alive…both of them might have had plenty to share with class. Interesting to me how both men died. I suspect if the Clintons were Republicans…both of those deaths would have seen a much more vigorous investigation from the media…but I digress.

        2. Bill from Susan Campbell's blog

          Well I don’t think he was “behaving badly.” He simply got caught. You don’t have any idea how dysfunctional his marriage may have been. You say but he did it during business hours. A President is technically working 24/7. He wanted a little dangerous and exciting action (yes Virginia, HE GOT A HUMMER.) I imagine the religious fanatics screaming “immoral” while catholic men peep through blinds at boys walking home from school. Ya, give me a break.

  11. Todd Zaino

    When you go to a cafeteria you get to pick to pick and choose…how anyone who claims to be a feminist and still not want to vomit in their mouth at the mere mention of Bill Clinton is beyond me.

  12. Cynical Susan

    How do you know what anyone’s reaction to him is, though? One can be a feminist and think “Clinton’s behavior was horrible,” no?

  13. Todd Zaino

    If someone is vile and despicable…isn’t proper not to support them…with our votes? I knew Clinton was a dog long before Lewinski. Today I find Obama to be an utter disgrace and candidate that I simply can’t support because as a Catholic I find infanticide reprehensible. That makes me consistent and not a hypocrite.

  14. Cynical Susan

    That’s very clear although I think you’re wrong in using the word infanticide. But don’t you agree that most candidates have some policies that don’t fit exactly into one’s idea of a perfect choice?

  15. Bill from Susan Campbell's blog

    Having religion is like being a nationalist. And man will most certainly draw his weapons when he is threatened or when he imagines that he is threatened. And even when he is not threatened or lacks any imagination of threats to his way of life, he will still draw his weapons in order to not forget how to kill in the name of religion or nationalism.

    Please tell me which wars are not fought over religion or nationalism. Even future wars over water rights will be fought along national borders.

    No, I will cast my lot with the secularists and the universalists. But one day will will need to take up arms against the religionists.

    All right, so we are all doomed. But some religions just love the concept of Armageddon.

    On the subject of “infanticide,” the Chinese need to practice this because there are simply too many human beings living in that nation. It is a simple fact. They just cannot sustain the population explosion. It will happen one day where we live. And I would like to ask those who doth protest the most against abortion, or as I prefer to say, pro choice, how many babies have you taken in lately. And how many black and brown babes are in that adopted segment?

    My Saturday dissertation. I can’t wait for Sunday. and I can’t wait for Obama to make his comeback on Tuesday.

      1. Bill from Susan Campbell's blog

        Richard: I appreciate the article. I am heartened to see that orphanages (at least the well run ones) are not the cold institutions that we thought. And maybe there is hope for neglected and abused children after all. I have certainly heard directly from DCF staff that there are few places for many of these cases. Do you think you Republican party will, instead of threatening to reduce spending on human services, instead allocate more monies? Do I need to answer that question for you?

        Anyways, my statement had more to do with a woman’s right to choose. Period. This is a woman’s issue. What women will decide what is best for their reproductive organs is fine by me.

        And my statement delved into the massive over population in particular of China but globally as well. Do we cap off the population at 10 billion? If not, how about 20 billion? Maybe 50 billion? Tell me, I want to know. And when we reach that magic number, do all nations on earth begin to realize that the Chinese might have had the answer all along in curbing over population?

        1. Richard

          Technology will render this moot anyway. The CT fertility rate is below the replacement rate. The increasing use of long-term contraception for teens will further reduce the birth rate making abortion as population control a weak argument.

          I prefer the Ayatollah Khomenei’s solution. Killing children in the womb is cowardly. Raising them up to be Holy Warriors to die in a population-reducing Jihad allows the soul an opportunity for redemption. There’s no greater glory for the child or the Mother. Abortion is a clinical deadend for both souls.

          Drones are the other alternative.

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