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POLITICS: Ghost in the Attack Machine

I’m up at Spot-on discussing the return of one of the more improbable and unlovable charcters in the last health reform debate, and her recurrence as a Ghost in the Attack Machine. As ever come back here to comment…

It’s almost full-on election season so I’m getting email from the Republican National Committee suggesting that there are problems with both the Sen. Hillary Clinton and Barrack Obama plans for health reform. Funny that – given my politics – but it gets better.

The RNC thoughtfully sent along a copy of a Wall Street Journal op-ed featuring an appearance by that blast from the health reform past, Betsy McCaughey who these days hangs her hat at the ultra-right wing Hudson Institute. In the 1990’s she was a brief star of the new right after writing, in early 1994, a magazine article in the then-quasi-liberal magazine The New Republic. Called No Exit, it contained a damning account of the Clinton Health Plan and got a fair amount of attention at the time. No Exit was a fair load of old tosh (you really keen health policy archaeologists can unearth the Clinton White House’s full rebuttal to see what I mean).

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Luvaibev M.D.BradAnonMatthew Holt Recent comment authors
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Luvai
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Hi! Anyone heard on what the Government is doing regarding privacy protection with the new push on electronic medical records? I understand that once data is collected and shared for research and data analysis to 3rd party, most Health care organization will de-identify the key data like Patient ID and name. However, even after removing these fields if there are only two people with HIV and black race in a Zip code – any data snooper can easily match data with another database and figure out the patient identity. I was wondering whether there are any new HIPAA regulations to… Read more »

Peter
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Peter

“Peter; Re non-citizen, are you Canadian or what? You say non-citizen and then “we” referring to Americans…..” Bev, when I say “we” I don’t mean I’m an American, but I am a member of this country subject to all of its advantages and disadvantages while I live here – who has to pay taxes AND who can’t vote. So I’m in this as a part of the collective, just not a citizen collective. I’m Canadian and my wife is an American citizen. I participate in my state and local government as well up to the point of not being able… Read more »

Donald E. L. Johnson
Guest

Well, Brad, seeing as you use your full name and provide a link to your web site, I guess I can suggest that you click on my name, which will link you to my blog.

Brad
Guest
Brad

Donald,
No agenda with this question. Just curious, what state and city do you reside in?
Brad

Donald E. L. Johnson
Guest

I’m amazed that Jeff thinks illegal immigrants and legal immigrants should be subsidized by American taxpayers and those of us who by private health insurance. That’s morality run amok. We don’t want immigrants, legal or otherwise, who come here to leach off our taxpayers and premium payers. Yes, immigration is an important part of our history, but that is history. We have to look forward. And in doing so, we have to realize that we don’t have the wide open spaces and economic opportunities begging for exploitation by immigrants that we had in the good old days. We have congested… Read more »

Jeff Goldsmith
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Jeff Goldsmith

OK, Peter. So you have legitimate reasons to hate the health insurers. How do you propose fixing this problem?

bev M.D.
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bev M.D.

Peter;
Hear, Hear to your last paragraph. Re non-citizen, are you Canadian or what? You say non-citizen and then “we” referring to Americans…..

Peter
Guest
Peter

Ya, I’m one of those voluntary legal non-citizen uninsured with an income level above those stated above, and Donald and Jeff want to call me a free-rider not worth counting? Guess what guys I pay for my healthcare in more ways than just paying cash for treatment. I WAS insured, but BCBS behaved so badly for a minor claim it opened my eyes to what a corrupt and dishonest system is being sold to the American public that I walked and took my premiums with me – the classic free market choice. But if you don’t want to count me… Read more »

Jeff Goldsmith
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Jeff Goldsmith

Matthew has misread my position on immigration. I think legal and illegal immigrants should be covered under any “universal” health insurance plan or we don’t have anything resembling universal coverage. Schwarzenegger’s plan covered illegals, so at least one politician was willing to bite that bullet. It is unpopular to say this right now, but whole industries depend on illegals (construction, hospitality, agriculture), and we need a credible method of giving those here illegally, as some have said, a path to citizenship. Our country was built by immigrants, and that fact that people go through hell to come here and build… Read more »

Brad
Guest
Brad

Matthew or Jeff, please clarify:
When the 10 million figure is broken out of the 47 million uninsured pool, are those 10 million typically considered “illegal,” or, like Matthew says, immigrants that are here legally, like he himself was at one point. This is an important distinction. The former, while paying taxes through whatever canard that got them on the books on the first place, are a different animal–socioeconomic, hiding in the shadows, fall through safety net more easily, etc.
Please develop.
Thanks
brad

Anon
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Anon

What is really painful is to read the kind of dribble put out in the WSJ from someone at a second-rate conservative think thank who selectively chooses points that are out of context or don’t nearly do justice to their complexity/nuanced nature. It is a real shame that there are way too many people involved in the healthcare policy agenda who are solely driven by an ideological agenda. Even worse is that these people don’t understand/aware of even the most basic tenements of how US health care policy has been formed (e.g., like the RAND Health Insurance experiment and its… Read more »

Donald E. L. Johnson
Guest

Matthew, thanks for the welcome back. What I object to is not the health care insurance debate, but the promises the candidates are making that they can’t deliver on. And I object to the idea that Betsy, Jeff or I can’t pose serious questions about the candidates’ schemes. I call them schemes, because there are no real plans out there. If I trusted Obama, Clinton or Tom DeLay to buy my health insurance and make the rules under which I would buy that insurance, I might go for universal health insurance. But nowhere in the world have politicians been honest… Read more »

Matthew Holt
Guest

Ok, Jeff I’ll take 80% of your speaking/consulting fees for the next year. After if I leave you 20% of them by your logic that’s the major part of them, eh? If not, then stop the BS about immigration being a big part of uninsurance, and stop connecting immigration with illegal immigration. They are different. The immigration figures and your stance on them are crap. Most immigrants are NOT illegal; they pay tax, have green cards or legal status etc etc. I was one of those for 10 years here. You think people like me shouldn’t have been included in… Read more »

Donald E. L. Johnson
Guest

Betsy nailed Clinton in 1994, and the left obviously don’t want voters to focus on the key questions she is asking about the Obama and Clinton schemes, because the answers show their schemes are unworkable and unaffordable, not to mention dishonest.

Donald E. L. Johnson
Guest

I see Matthew’s still trying to sell a pig in a poke. Hey, guy, take a look at today’s New York Times. There is no consensus among health economists about how many free riders there are, or on their economic impact. But of the 47 million uninsured people in the United States, 7.3 million come from families with incomes of $75,000 or more, and an additional 6.9 million earn between $50,000 and $75,000, according to 2006 census estimates. And then recall the LA Times story a couple of years ago that cast doubt on the 47 million uninsured figure. There… Read more »