Saturday, June 27, 2009

Why Iowa Needs Health Reform

From HealthReform.Gov...


Why Iowa Needs Health Reform

Congress and the President are working to enact health care reform legislation that protects what works about health care and fixes what is broken. Iowans know that inaction is not an option. Sky-rocketing health care costs are hurting families, forcing businesses to cut or drop health benefits, and straining state budgets. Millions are paying more for less. Families and businesses in Iowa deserve better.


  • Roughly 1.9 million people in Iowa get health insurance on the job1, where family premiums average $12,206, about the annual earning of a full-time minimum wage job.2
  • Since 2000 alone, average family premiums have increased by 88 percent in Iowa.3
  • Household budgets are strained by high costs: 19 percent of middle-income Iowa families spend more than 10 percent of their income on health care.4
  • High costs block access to care: 8 percent of people in Iowa report not visiting a doctor due to high costs.5
  • Iowa businesses and families shoulder a hidden health tax of roughly $600 per year on premiums as a direct result of subsidizing the costs of the uninsured.6


  • 10 percent of people in Iowa are uninsured, and 71 percent of them are in families with at least one full-time worker.7
  • The percent of Iowans with employer coverage is declining: from 71 to 65 percent between 2000 and 2007.8
  • Much of the decline is among workers in small businesses. While small businesses make up 76 percent of Iowa businesses,9 only 39 percent of them offered health coverage benefits in 2006 -- down 2 percent since 2000.10
  • Choice of health insurance is limited in Iowa. Wellmark BC and BS alone constitutes 71 percent of the health insurance market share in Iowa, with the top two insurance providers accounting for 80 percent.11
  • Choice is even more limited for people with pre-existing conditions. In Iowa, premiums can vary, within limits, based on demographic factors and health status, and coverage can exclude pre-existing conditions or even be denied completely.


  • The overall quality of care in Iowa is rated as “Average.”12
  • Preventative measures that could keep Iowans healthier and out of the hospital are deficient, leading to problems across the age spectrum:
    • 11 percent of children in Iowa are obese.13
    • 21 percent of women over the age of 50 in Iowa have not received a mammogram in the past two years.
    • 36 percent of men over the age of 50 in Iowa have never had a colorectal cancer screening.
    • 74 percent of adults over the age of 65 in Iowa have received a flu vaccine in the past year.14

The need for reform in Iowa and across the country is clear. Iowa families simply can’t afford the status quo and deserve better. President Obama is committed to working with Congress to pass health reform this year that reduces costs for families, businesses and government; protects people’s choice of doctors, hospitals and health plans; and assures affordable, quality health care for all Americans.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Health Care Reform: All or Nothing? Grassley Says Nothing

Here's a quote from Sen. Jay Rockerfeller (D-WV) about bipartisanship and health care reform...
"But do you want to be non-partisan and get nothing? Or do you want to be partisan and end up with a good health care plan? That is the choice."

-- Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), quoted in the Charleston Gazette, expecting little Republican support in passing health care reform.
Sen. Grassley, however, thinks the bill must be bipartisan and Republicans need to make sure there is no public option.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

What's Wrong With this Picture?

Here's a screenshot from Fox News's coverage yesterday of South Carolina Governor, Republican Mark Sanford's press conference.

Sanford admitted to having an affair after going missing for 6 days when he was seeing his mistress in Argentina.

Notice anything wrong with the with the ticker Fox News showed in this picture?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Obama, The Deficit Hawk

From Matthew Yglesias...

There’s a lot of political concern in Washington about public anxiety about budget deficits. Substantively, the public’s concerns don’t really make sense, as deficit-reduction amidst a severe recession will only make the recession more severe. But Stan Collender, whose deficit hawk credentials should not be in question, observes that the political problem is largely a mirage as well:

If you look beyond the very short-term, the deficit situation will begin to turnaround next year, that is, before the election. Under current forecasts, the deficit will fall by a record amount from 2009 to 2010. It will still be high by virtually anyone’s standards — probably around $1 trillion or so. But the big change in the right direction will give the White House the breathing room it needs and alter the politics substantially. Anyone want to bet that there will be a cover story somewhere next year calling Obama the deficit killer?

This will, of course, not be a substantive fix for anything. But the nominal deficit reduction will, indeed, be huge. As the economy recovers, tax revenues will rise, social safety net outlays will fall, and stimulus measures will begin to tamp down. If we can assume further growth in 2011, the complete expiry of Recovery Act provisions, and the winding down of the Iraq War, that’ll be further deficit reduction.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Obama, The Nerd Presidency

John Hodgeman spoke at the Radio and TV Correspondents Dinner over the weekend and discects the culture of war of our time: jocks vs nerd. Hodgeman concludes that the Obama administration is the first nerd presidency.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Is a Public Option for Health Insurance a Good Idea?

The Des Moines Register wrote this editorial this morning about the merits of a public option.

So how do you decide whether a public option for health insurance is a good idea?

Ask people who already have it.

And you won't have any trouble finding them. About one-third of Americans - nearly 100 million people - already use Medicare and Medicaid, which together cover seniors, the disabled and the poor. The programs are administered by the government and heavily funded by taxpayers.

They're optional. No one has to sign up. But millions do.

Ask them why they opted to join a government program instead of just going out to purchase health insurance in the private sector, as every American is free to try to do. Ask people with Medicaid whether the government has denied enrolling them (if they met income requirements) or charged them more because of a pre-existing medical condition. Ask seniors with Medicare whether they're worried about losing health insurance if they change jobs or get too sick or can no longer afford to pay the premiums.

If you have time for only one question, ask this: Did a government employee accompany you to your last doctor's appointment?

The Paradox of Health Care Reform

Matthew Yglesisas explains the paradox of health care reform that left must overcome...

The big problem, politically speaking, with health care is that you basically have people on the left arguing both sides of the question. On the one hand, insofar as your plan is “big government” that’s left-wing. But insofar as your plan is expensive, that’s also left-wing. Which is because people normally think of big government programs as expensive. But when it comes to health care, heavy-handed government intervention is actually way cheaper than private sector alternatives. Consequently, every time you try to make the plan more “moderate” by, for example, curbing the influence of a public option you actually wind up making the plan more “left wing” by needing to raise more taxes. And if you want to make the plan cheaper, while still actually achieving its goals, then you need to make it more left-wing not more moderate. But in the United States,ideological correctness and special interest politics prevents us from admitting this.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Rants Makes It Official

Yesterday, State Rep. Christopher Rants (R-Sioux City) posted on Twitter that he plans to file exploratory committee papers so he can being raising money and officially campaign for the 2010 race for governor.

Here's more from the Des Moines Register...

Rants, who has been meeting with GOP activists for months about a possible campaign, said he had met his early target for fundraising pledges. He also estimated it would take $2 million to mount a successful primary campaign.

Rants, 41, is among the party's younger prospects. His announcement via Twitter, the popular social networking Web site, signaled his response to Democrats' advantages in reaching voters through new media.

But Rants added during the program that the Iowa GOP, beset by consecutive statewide election losses and a voter registration gap of 110,000 with Democrats, would need a winning message as well as media.

"If we talk to those Republicans who believe the party has lost its way on things like fiscal discipline and accountability, if we become the party that's about transparency and reforming government - and that's who we are as Republicans - if we're successful in doing that, I believe we'll bring those independents back, we'll bring the majority back," he said.

Rants also appeared on Iowa Press which aired Friday and will be shown again on Sunday morning at 11:30. You can watch the appearance here.

From the Democratic viewpoint, I believe this means 3 things...
  1. Steve King isn't going to run for Governor. I don't think Rants would have run against King and instead would have run for King's seat in Congress if King ran for governor.
  2. Rants is a more viable candidate than Bob Vander Plaats. Mainly because Rants has more fundraising connection through his leadership positions in the Iowa House.
  3. Rants, Vander Plaats, or any of the other rumored candidates will not be able to beat Gov. Culver in the general election. Republican Doug Gross, the party's nominee for governor in 2002, said it himself...
“I think they are all fine people and I don’t think any of them will be the nominee,” Gross said. ”I think we want to win and our nominee is going to have to have that statewide reach.”

Friday, June 19, 2009

Grassley: "Greed is human nature."

Sen. Grassley appeared on MSNBC today to discuss economic regulation where he said greed is human nature.

And when asked if the banks are in any position to protest if they're not going to make as much money, Grassley comes back with this:

Greed is human nature. We shouldn't blame greed any more than you'd blame gravity when a plane has an accident and goes down.

I'm sorry Senator, but I think we can blame greed for the mess we're in. Greed and the unwillingness of the government to put a check on it.

You can watch the comment here at about the 3:05 mark.

Sen. Grassley says greed isn't the problem. Yet, in 1980 on average CEOs earned 42 times the salary of the average workes and now they earn about 476 times that salary.

Later in the video Grassley says that the problem is that banks didn't have enough money. He probably has a point. The banks were giving all of their money to their greedy CEOs.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Feingold Seeks Strong Public Option in Health Care Reform

Howard Dean has a petition online where you can send a letter to your Senators telling them to support a public option in health care reform. Sen. Grassley needs to hear from you.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Welcome to Iowa Governor Pawlenty

Iowa state welcome signImage via Wikipedia

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty will probably be a frequent visitor in Iowa over the next couple years.

From Political Wire...
Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R), who has decided against running for a third term in 2010, "will spend the next two years traveling the country to see if he can build enough support to run for president in 2012," his associates tell Washington Whispers.

"The Republican, who is expected to play up his humble roots and past in a populist bid against President Obama, will decide in 2011 if there is enough of a base on which to build his campaign. Those close to "T-Paw" said that his focus is the presidency, not a vice presidential nomination or an effort to raise his name recognition en route to a bid in 2016."
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Monday, June 15, 2009

Iowa's Poor Air Quality

The Des Moines Register published this story about the poor air quality in the state, saying that pollutant level are nearing federal limits, which would require the state to mandate costly improvements from bussinesses.

The air across Iowa is so polluted that the state is perilously close to violating new federal limits aimed at protecting human health. Yet Iowans have no way of knowing what chemicals they are breathing because of a limited - and often inaccurate - system of monitoring pollution statewide, a Des Moines Register investigation found.

Catharine Fitzsimmons, Iowa's top air-quality official, defended Iowa's existing air-monitoring system. Yet she said the state is under orders from the federal government to better monitor fine-particle and ozone pollution, among Iowa's most pressing air-quality problems.

"Both of those pollutants affect respiratory systems, particularly in the young, the elderly and those with compromised lung function," Fitzsimmons said. "They trigger heart attacks and other health problems."

Iowans should know better in a couple of years what is coming out of the stacks of Iowa's greatest polluters. The state's Department of Natural Resources will begin requiring major industries to do more thorough testing for fine particles after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency releases a long-awaited protocol.

But a top environmental advocate said what Iowans are breathing today is worse than people think.

"It's surprisingly bad," said Donna Wong-Gibbons, a physiologist with Plains Justice, an environmental advocacy group. "It's sort of a paradox in the sense that Iowa is thought of as this great state with farm country and open land, and at the same time there are serious problems with air pollution."

Sunday, June 14, 2009

John Yoo, Child Testicle Crusher, Ordered to Testify in Court

John Yoo, who has written legal memo stating it is legal for the president crush a child's testicles, has been ordered to testify in court regarding torture and the Jose Padilla case.

From Andrew Sullivan (via the NY Times)...

Encouraging news - and just as encouraging, the NYT's linguistic shift:

A federal judge has ruled that John Yoo, a former Bush administration lawyer who wrote crucial memorandums justifying harsh interrogation techniques, will have to answer in court to accusations that his work led to a prisoner’s being tortured and deprived of his constitutional rights.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Starting a Movement

Last fall I read Tribes by Seth Godin . It is an inspriring book.

This week Godin posted this video on his blog.

My favorite part happens just before the first minute mark. That's when guy #3 joins the group. Before him, it was just a crazy dancing guy and then maybe one other crazy guy. But it's guy #3 who made it a movement.
Initiators are rare indeed, but it's scary to be the leader. Guy #3 is rare too, but it's a lot less scary and just as important. Guy #49 is irrelevant. No bravery points for being part of the mob.
We need more guy #3s.
Yes, the video is crazy and silly and is merely a simple example of a movement starting, but there are connections to political campaigns. There are many candidates out there who are the crazy liberal guy or the candidate that has no money, but all it takes is 1 supporter, then a 2nd supporter, and a 3rd, and so on. The pretty soon that candidate has started a movement.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Health Care Costs Strain Businesses

From MyDD...

U.S. manufacturers spend more per hour on health care than their competitors in Canada, Japan and the UK combined.

When the uninsured can't pay for doctor and hospital visits and have no where else to turn, the cost is shifted to those who have insurance coverage.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Iowa Legislative Session Roundup

From Stateside Dispatch...

With Iowa lawmakers facing not only fiscal problems similar to many states, but the need to pass flood and tornado recovery bills, lawmakers met both challenges by the end of the session. However, the rest of the agenda for progressives saw a mix of wins and losses, with most high profile reforms falling short, but many good progressive policies becoming law. And, the leadership of Iowa legislators stepped up to support the Iowa supreme court decision support marriage equality for same sex partners, refusing to advance a proposed constitutional attack on the groundbreaking decision.

Budget and Taxes: The state's $6.3 billion dollar balanced budget avoids tax increases and adds $441 million to the state's rainy day fund for what will surely be a challenging fiscal situation next year.

Floods and Tornadoes: Lawmakers devoted a total of $360 million for flood recovery, including rebuilding local infrastructure, fire stations and housing, as well as floodplain management and watershed and water quality grants for flood prevention projects and soil conservation practices.I-Jobs Stimulus Package: Partly using a $715 million bond issue, the governor's I-Jobs package highlighted the stimulative effects of the borrowing with a package including $115 million for repairs to bridges and roads; $600 million for repairs at flood-damaged buildings and houses, sewer systems, construction of homeless and domestic abuse shelters, energy projects, a public high-speed Internet systems; $115 million for flood repairs at the University of Iowa and more construction at a veterinary lab at Iowa State University. The spending leveraged many hundreds of millions in federal matching grants, making the work accomplished by the bonds incredibly cost effective. Using Recovery Funds: The state spent about $500 million of federal stimulus funds, mostly to prevent layoffs of state employees and to preserve a promised boost in teacher pay.Tax Reform: A proposed tax overhaul focused around repeal of the deductibility of federal taxes [H 807] failed to be enacted despite broad leadership support. Similarly, a bipartisan plan to increase the gasoline tax 8 cents dedicated to road maintenance died when the governor declared his opposition. Governor Chet Culver did, however, sign a bill requiring that any business receiving a research tax credit from the state of more than a half million dollars have its name made public.

Legislators will likely face even worse choices next year and have established a commission to produce plans for government reorganization to cut costs. "We've got to...[f]igure out those things that we should continue to do and ways to do them more efficiently and figure out those things that we're going to walk away from," said Senate Majority Leader Mike Grondstal.

Same-Sex Marriage: As we've previously highlighted, Iowa's Supreme Court struck down a decade-old law that banned same-sex marriage. Legislative leaders beat back an effort by conservatives in the Senate to reverse the unanimous ruling and made it clear that they will oppose any constitutional amendment that seeks to overturn the Iowa Supreme Court decision. In a joint release by Iowa Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal and House Speaker Pat Murphy, they praised the decision and said "the only lasting question about today's events will be why it took us so long."

Health Care: As we've highlighted, Iowa made big strides in health coverage with one of the most comprehensive bills moving in the states this year. Sponsored by Sen. Hatch, the legislation builds on a 2008 law that created a path for Iowa to achieve health care for all kids and address health care cost and quality. S 389 will extend eligibility for public programs to children in families up to 300% of the poverty line, covering 30,000 of the state's 40,000 uninsured kids, and establish a "soft" mandate that eligible children be signed up (there are no penalties for parents who fail to enroll their children). The program will use state funds, federal SCHIP support and the federal stimulus package. The bill also reins in prescription drug costs, improves the quality of care, and provides more coverage options for businesses and families. Additionally, the bill expands health insurance eligibility for legal immigrant children, implement the new federal law that removes the 5 year wait for legal immigrant children to become eligible for SCHIP funding. In one failure, mental health coverage requirements were not expanded as progressives had hoped [H 234/S 418].

Wind Energy: The governor put his signature on S 456, which utilizes unused tax credits to promote small wind energy projects across the state, and H 817, which provides economic incentives for wind component manufacturers who are looking at building or expanding in Iowa. The state ranks second behind Texas in wind energy production and is home to 1,999 wind turbines that produce nearly 2,800 MW of electricity each year. "With more than 2,300 green-collar jobs created through wind energy, creating new jobs in the green economy will be key to our future successes," said Gov. Culver at the signing ceremony. On another environmental issue, conservation funding was held steady or increasedthrough stimulus and bonding, a significant victory given the low state revenue.

Other Key Progressive Victories:

Pay Equity:S 137 brings Iowa into compliance with federal wage discrimination laws, but will provide protection for women in work places with as few as 4 employees. The federal bill provides protection just down to 15 employees.Child Labor and Wage Law Enforcement: Responding to massive abuses uncovered in local agriprocessors, the state increased employer penalties for child labor violations and the state labor commissioner will have more authority in dealing with all wage violations.Consumer Right of Action:Iowa is no longer the only state without a consumer right of action. The Attorney General's office has been receiving 4000-5000 complaints a year because that was Iowans' only recourse under state law when harmed by a business or product. A new law, H 712, allows consumers who have been the vicitims deceptive businesses to sue directly and allows plaintiffs to get their legal costs paid as well. Unfortunately, a very large number ofprofessional groups were exempted such as insurance companies, attorneys, a variety of licensed health care professionals, architects, engineers, insurance agents, banks, and credit unions.Gender Balance on City and County Boards: Iowa state government boards and commissions have been required to seek gender balance since 1987, but a new law will now require that gender balance be sought on city and county boards, where women presently make up just 20% of those serving. The law provides an exemption if after 90 days an applicant of the right sex can't be found [H 243].

Some Notable Failures

PayDay Loans: Even though Iowa has highest average use of abusive payday loans in the nation, a reform bill failed to move.Labor Rights: The legislature failed to advance any of the top four organized labor priorities in this session: open-scope bargaining rights for public employees [H 821]; the Fairshare Act [H 555]; choice of doctor for worker's compensation care [H 795/S 155]; and prevailing-wage requirements for public contracts [H 333]. The prevailing wage bill even passed the legislature last year only to be vetoed by the governor, he claimed, over process issues. Business groups smeared the proposal as an eviceration of Iowa's "right to work" law and were able to peel off a handful of majority Democrats, mostly from conservative districts. Labor has been a big part of the Democrats recent advances and are clearly stinging from the lack of progress, but leaders remain optimistic and will continue to educate and pressure members on these issues. Government reforms: The Senate didn't agree to the House bill closing exceptions to Iowa's open records and open meetings laws because senators felt it lacked an adequate enforcement mechanism; and a post-election audit bill passed the House but died in the Senate as well.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Rants Running For Governor

Rep. Christopher Rants (R-Sioux City) is running for Governor even though he hasn't officially announced it.

From the Sioux City Journal...
Republican state Rep. Christopher Rants said Wednesday he's edging closer to running for governor, saying the party wants someone who can bridge gaps between social and fiscal conservatives.

"I think people realize that we need a candidate who has good credentials in both camps," Rants said. "I've got solid credentials with both groups."

The 41-year-old former House speaker from Sioux City is in his ninth term in the Legislature. He's been traveling the state since lawmakers adjourned this year's session in late April, talking to activists, collecting financial commitments and mulling a bid for the GOP gubernatorial nomination.

In an interview with the Associated Press, there seemed to be little doubt about his decision.

"There are some more people I need to sit down and listen to and then have the final conversation with the family," said Rants, adding he'll announce a decision this month. "Republicans I've talked to seem to like the idea. It's been encouraging."
Then on Saturday, I saw on his Twitter page...
Great time in Pottawattamie. Picked up a very key supporter. Details later. After 1,400 miles for the week its time to head for home. 17,906
Its pretty simple, if he wasn't running then he wouldn't be picking up key supporters.

With Rants in the race, I believe that he is in better position to win the nomination than Sioux City businessman Bob Vander Plaats and that US Rep. Steve King (R-IA 05) is not going to run for governer.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Stagnant Wages Caused by Rise in Health Insurance Premiums

Ezra Klein makes a great point in a story at the Washington Post.

...most workers think stagnant wages mean their employer is paying them less. They don't know that the main reason for stagnant wages is that their wage increases are going to pay for their health insurance premiums. If they did -- if they realized that compensation is pretty much a zero-sum endeavor and their employers don't so much buy them health insurance as garnish their wages to pay for their health insurance -- you'd probably see a lot more general anger at rising health care costs.
It's time to start getting angrier and demand real health care reform. Our ineffiecient health care system means businesses have to pay more and workers make less.

Real health care reform must take the costs off businesses and let business do what they do best. I don't really want Wal Mart or John Deere or a small business to be providing health care or John Deere. I want Wal Mart to sell things and John Deere to build tractors and small businesses to make local economies stronger.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Howard Dean says to Forget Bipartisanship Health Care Reform if...

Howard Dean says to forget bipartisanship on health care...

"If Republicans want to shill for insurance companies, then we should do it with 51 votes."
We need real health care reform that eases the economic burden off of businesses and helps our economy get back on track.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Buying Food Locally Helps Grow the Economy

Downtown Des Moines Farmers MarketImage by DopT via Flickr

An agriculture expert spoke at Marshalltown Community College about the benefits of buying food locally.

Ken Meter, President of Crossroads Resource Center based in Minnesota completed a study of food production in Marshall County. He discussed the potential economic benefits for the county of buying more food locally.

He noted that, according to numbers from the U.S. Census, which may not be totally accurate, only 46 farms sell directly to consumers in the county. Further, there are only 13 fruit orchards covering 25 total acres, and 13 vegetable farms covering only 43 acres.

Meter said there were some encouraging signs, such as the number of farms now selling directly to consumers increasing 35 percent in the past few years. Sales have increased 16 percent to approximately $228,000.

"It's a rising force and because it's a rising force, some efforts to cultivate that and let it occur seem appropriate," he said.

Still, Meter's research indicated Marshall County residents spend approximately $104 million each year on food. Nearly 90 percent of that is spent on things produced outside the area.

Finding ways to encourage direct interaction between producers and consumers will not only help locally by keeping more dollars in the community and creating jobs locally, it will help in other ways as well.

Stop by your local farmer's market over the weekend and enjoy some fresh food and help your local economy.
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Thursday, June 04, 2009

Jackie Norris Out as Michelle Obama's Chief of Staff

Kay Henderson from Radio Iowa is reporting that Jackie Norris has been replaced as Michelle Obama's Chief of Staff by one of the First Lady's long-time friends.

According to news release issued late today by the White House, Jackie Norris will no longer work for the first lady, but instead will serve as senior advisor to the Corporation for National and Community Service.

Norris met the Obamas when she worked on the Iowa caucus campaign and she was later reassigned to lead campaign efforts in other caucus states. Her husband, John, is working as chief of staff for U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack, the former Iowa governor and the couple lives in a D.C. suburb with their children.

In a statement released by the White House, Jackie Norris said she is "grateful" to the Obamas for "the opportunities and friendship" they have given her over the last few years.

Norris has been replaced by Susan Sher, a long-time friend of Michelle Obama's. Sher was Michelle Obama's boss when the first lady worked at the University of Chicago Medical Center. And it was Sher who recommended Michelle Obama for an earlier job in the office of Chicago Mayor Richard Daley.

Insured Americans Pay a $1000 'hidden tax' to Pay for Uninsured

A new study says that Americans with health insurance pay $1,000 in a hidden tax to cover the health care of those who are uninsured.

"I don't think anybody has any idea about how much they are paying because of the need to cover the health care costs of the uninsured," said Ron Pollack, the group's executive director. "This is a hidden tax on all insurance premiums, whether it is paid by business for their work or by families when they purchase their own coverage."

As President Obama and Congress take up health care legislation this year, the so-called hidden tax is increasingly becoming a talking point as proof that the U.S. health care system needs to be fixed:

• Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., in a May 11 statement announcing policy options for expanding health care coverage, said: "The cost of that care is paid by every American with insurance in the form of a hidden tax of more than $1,000 a year in increased premiums."

The United States pays the most money of any country on health care, but have a large number of people without health insurance. Those with health insurance have to pick up the costs of the uninsured as they lack preventative care and must go to emergency rooms or without much needed care. This inefficient system raises health care costs on everyone and is the reason we must have a universal health care system.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Should Obama ask Mitt Romney to Run GM?

Marc Ambinder poses the question should Obama install Mitt Romney as GM's chairman. Obama has said

The government can't hope to fix G.M. and sell it off without getting under the hood. Over decades now of restructuring plans at the company, two things have demonstrably not helped get much done: Money and time. The government can't simply give more of each to the automaker. What's needed is forceful, even ruthless, leadership to insist on the changes that everyone--the managers, the union leadership, the dealers, everyone--has known were necessary for about 20 years now.[...]
Here's a modest proposal to drive things along: Obama should install Mitt Romney as GM's chairman. Romney grew up outside Detroit and around cars; his father, George W. Romney, saved American Motors from collapse in the 1950s--by killing failing brands and focusing on compact cars! George Romney successfully took on the Big Three with a "dinosaur fighter" strategy. The son would bring to GM that legacy, the turnaround expertise and credentials he developed at Bain & Company, and the outsider's eye that GM desperately needs. He would also usefully jack up even further the stakes and the drama of the undertaking.

And he would create a political firewall for the turnaround. An alliance with Romney to save GM would give Obama and Henderson the protection they need to move briskly to shrink the company. Why would Romney do it? Maybe because the chance to renew an American icon, preserve America's manufacturing capacity, and save tens of thousands of jobs would mean something to him. Maybe because it would give him a platform to demonstrate what an effective leader he can be. Maybe because, along the way, it would allow him to save the Republican Party by proving that it stands for something besides...whatever it is that it stands for right now.
It would be a win for Romney because if he leads GM back he would be a top candidate in 2016. It would be a win for Obama cause it shows his bipartisan approach and would patch over a possible issue in 2012.

With all that said, it probably would never happen because it makes sense.

Socialism, Socialsm! The Government Now Owns 0.0507% of American Corporations

After yesterday's announcement that GM is going bankrupt Republicans are going to be complaining about the government taking over 60% of the shares of GM.

However, when you look at the big picture, it is hardly socialism...

Marc Ambinder explains...

The section of the chart that appears in bright, bumblebee yellow is the percentage of publicly traded American companies owned by the United States.* I don't see much bumblebee yellow. What I do see is that Microsoft Excel feels the need to portray the percentage of American companies owned by the government as an irrational exponential number. That's 5.07e^-02, or %0.0507 of American companies that are owned by the United States. (When I ask Excel to display this breakdown in real numbers without the exponential it just becomes "100%" and "0%.")

Monday, June 01, 2009

Romney Flips Flops on Move to New Hampshire

I posted a couple months ago about Mitt Romney moving to New Hampshire. Well, I guess Romney is denying that he is moving.

Mitt Romney rejected reports "that he is planning to make his permanent residence in New Hampshire to position himself for the state's first-in-nation presidential primary,"Politico reports. 
Said Romney: "No, my residence is still in Massachusetts. That is my home. That's where I vote. And I'm going to continue to be a Massachusetts resident -- I can't tell you how many years that's the case -- but for the indefinite future."
So Romney was first pro-choice now he is against abortion.  He was for gun control now he is in favor of small varmint hunting.  He was for gay rights now he is anti-gay.  He was for immigration reform now he is against amnesty.  After this news, Romney was for moving to New Hampshire, now he is against it.