Paranoid's Corner--Come and Be Counted! Why Obama might want to reverse the Gran Salida: Why might the Obama administration want to raise the topic of possible immigrant mass legalization even if it's not going to happen this year ? Even if you assume such talk encourages more people to come here illegally --in the hope of qualifying for the amnesty--or at least discourages illegals currently in the country from going home during the recession, what good would that do Democrats? Illegal immigrants can't vote. ... It's not as if there is a once-every-10-years Census starting up in which areas with more illegals will get more money and representation! ... From CNS:
The Census is used to apportion the seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. There are 435 House seats that are divided among the states in proportion to their population, which is determined by the decennial census. States with more people get more seats in the U.S. House.
This means that a state harboring more illegal aliens can gain more House seats as long as the Census Bureau finds the illegal aliens and counts them. This also means that the illegal alien population resident in the United States during a census year has the potential to alter the regional and philosophical balance of power in Congress.
P.S.: Note that it doesn't matter, for this purpose, if press secretary Robert Gibbs knocks down aide Cecilia Munoz's talk of impending amnesty-- as long as Munoz's message gets out to the "undocumented" immigrant community (and the potential undocumented immigrant community in Latin America and elsewhere). ... 1:33 A.M.
Three obvious problems with Ramesh Ponnuru's op-ed making an argument against universal health coverage:
For people with pre-existing health problems, for example, direct subsidies would probably be more efficient than rigging insurance markets to make sure they are covered ...
So for every potential illness, the government has to determine the amount of subsidy required. As you get older and acquire more illnesses, you acquire more and more subsidies, like barnacles. But why should someone with mild heart trouble get the same subsidy as someone with severe heart trouble? Won't insurers make money by figuring out ways to subtly discourage potential customers with the worse versions of subsidized illnesses? It seems simpler and less bureaucratic just to cover everyone, stick in a decent co-pay, and then pay the bills.
But Ponnuru has a second solution for "preexisting conditions:"
[I]n the long run, the option to buy renewable policies that people could take from job to job would keep most people from needing to face this problem.
A renewable policy the insurer couldn't cancel even if you got an expensive disease? That would be a policy you'd have to hold on to. It sounds like Ponnuru has solved the problem of employees locked into their jobs and replaced it with the problem of employees locked into their insurance companies. If you're stuck with one company, that would seem to defeat the purpose of private sector "competition." If, on the other hand, other companies have to cover you at a rate that ignores your "pre-existing condition," that would reintroduce all the market-distorting cost-shifting Ponnuru is trying to avoid, no? Maybe I'm missing something.
An alternative approach would be to make it easier for people to buy insurance that isn’t tied to their employment. The existing tax break for employer-provided insurance could be replaced with a tax credit that applies to insurance purchased either inside or outside the workplace. At the same time, state mandates that require insurers to cover certain conditions, which make it expensive to offer individual policies, could be removed.
These two reforms would address most people’s anxieties about the health care system.
Not mine! My biggest anxiety is that when I need insurance I'll discover that my private insurance company has stuck in some fine print that cleverly gets them off the hook for paying to treat whatever condition I have. Ponnuru's system seems designed to maximize this anxiety, not eliminate it (since he specifically rejects the idea that the "government specify what constitutes adequate coverage.")
The third complaint against free-market health insurance is that it wouldn’t cover absolutely everyone, because it would neither force people to buy insurance nor require the government to provide it. ... [snip]
For most people, though, especially those in the middle class, it would mean paying less for health insurance. Some people, of course, would still choose to go without it. But that would be their call, as it should be in a free country.
Their call? If they make their "call" against being covered, we aren't going to leave them bleeding on the sidewalk because they don't have insurance. We are going to give them medical care and pay for it ... somehow. Maybe, as Ponnuru claims, this "free rider" problem isn't as large in dollar terms as is generally assumed. But using the bracing language of liberty and individual responsibility seems inappropriate when the "choice" is really a choice to foist society with the cost. ... 1:33 A.M.
All those broken windows were kind of cool ... The NYT celebrates the "golden, assaultive years" of subway graffiti. ... Doesn't the Times know that graffiti artists are " the performing spray can monkeys for gentrification ?" ... 12:56 A.M.
Fire Mickey Kaus misses joke ! Hahahaha! Mickey Kaus one step ahead of Fire Mickey Kaus ! Fire Fire Mickey Kaus ! ... 12:43 A.M.