Patterico's Pontifications

6/29/2009

Ed Morrissey vs. Ezra Klein: A larger lesson of Obamacare

Filed under: General — Karl @ 10:36 am



[Posted by Karl]

Blogger spats are often a bit “inside baseball,” but occasionally, such spats may shed light on a bigger issue.

Verum Serum reports on such a spat between HotAir’s Ed Morrissey and the Washington Post’s Ezra Klein, ostensibly over whether Klein believes the “public plan” Pres. Obama would like to see as part of healthcare reform is a “sneaky” Leftist strategy for moving the US towards single-payer health care. It seems to me that Verum Serum has the videos (of both Klein and his fellow travelers), as well as the American Prospect article in which Klein referred to the public plan strategy as “single payer by stealth,” to show that Ed was not out of line in drawing the inference he did, especially given the nature of Klein’s continuing support for a public plan:

This would be like Medicare for the rest of us. It could throw the federal government’s weight around. It could negotiate deep discounts with providers. It could muscle its way into networks. Outside groups like the Commonwealth Fund estimate that it would save the average consumer 20 percent to 30 percent. That would give it a massive competitive advantage over private insurers, and would probably result in tens of millions of Americans dropping their current coverage and entering the public plan to save money. A variant of this was in the draft of Ted Kennedy’s bill that was leaked last week.

As someone who thinks cost control and efficiency are important in health reform, I’m most interested in the strong public plan. Folks who are more interested in preserving something that looks like the current private insurance market tend to fall behind the trigger public plan, largely under the theory that it would be pretty much the same as no public plan at all.

Given the extent to which Medicare dominates its market, Klein’s support for “Medicare for the rest of us” is rather telling.

Moreover, it is not difficult to figure out why Klein would have his backpedal in motion. Pres. Obama has declared, “[W]hen you hear the naysayers claim that I’m trying to bring about government-run health care, know this: They’re not telling the truth.” Pres. Obama has always been at war with Eastasia, just as he has always supported the protesters in Iran, and so people like Klein take up the party line.

The dispute is of larger interest because, even as Klein denies that a public plan is a sneaky Leftist strategy, he is blogging the sneaky Leftist strategy to get the public plan into the final version of Obamacare. Klein believes that as long as the Senate passes some healthcare reform bill, it will return from the House-Senate conference with a public plan, at which point moderate Democrats will be strongarmed into allowing a vote. Klein may overestimate the degree to which Senators will be willing to cross their voters and donors for the sake of party unity, but maybe not. Either way, everyone right of center owes Klein a debt for flagging sneaky Leftist strategies on healthcare before they are a fait accompli.

–Karl

48 Responses to “Ed Morrissey vs. Ezra Klein: A larger lesson of Obamacare”

  1. “[W]hen you hear the naysayers claim that I’m trying to bring about government-run health care, know this: They’re not telling the truth.”

    Talk about a classic case of projection. Obama lies so much it borders on pathological.

    Another Chris (2d8013)

  2. Just like with Cap & Tax, if it was such a great and popular idea, they would not have to be so f*cking dishonest about what they are trying to accomplish.

    JD (8d3f8f)

  3. I denounce JD and AC: Our fEARless leader wouldn’t tell a fib, why, when he was born in a log cabin and chopped down the cherry trees to build it he admitted that he did. Come on guys, give the dude a chance!

    GM Roper (85dcd7)

  4. Yeah, JD, wrong as always.

    The American people support the public option by 76% in the NY Times Karl doesn’t like and two-thirds in every other poll. Maybe you’re out of step with the American people?

    In fact, I thought government was so inefficient that the way to help anything was to privatize. Why should private companies be afraid to compete with “health care run by the DMV”? Won’t those glorious companies practicing rescission and eliminating pre-existing folks win because of their market superiority?

    There won’t be a mandate for health insurance (although there should be one), so people can just buy private insurance and live the good life!

    Except, of course, they won’t, unless private insurers reform themselves.

    Gee, I think the only reason to oppose this plan is if I sold insurance, was a rep for a big pharma or was a Senator on the take from healthcare lobbyists (which, I imagine is just about all of them), because the American people just want to end an unsustainable system; whereas partisan hacks and people with skins in the game try to obscure the facts. Try to decide which one you are.

    timb (ba8c1d)

  5. Private companies can’t compete with an entity which is massively subsidized and therefore able to offer insurance for much less.

    The biggest “skin in the game” is needing, and then demanding, the Government to tax others in order to give you something for free.

    Official Internet Data Office (0a0e22)

  6. The creepy little dude returns, still all full of hate, despite Teh One winning. And to support its hate, it points to polls, polls that Karl has debunked at length. And, that you only think that your false choices are the only possible reasons to oppose this shows a lack of imagination and intellectual curiosity on your part. Now, crawl back under your rock.

    JD (0a78bf)

  7. Even Klein is more honest than the creepy one, as he admits that he is for the public option, and notes that it would have a massive competitive advantage.

    JD (b1f7fc)

  8. The American people support the public option by 76% in the NY Times Karl doesn’t like and two-thirds in every other poll. Maybe you’re out of step with the American people?

    Tim, are you aware of the answers to followup questions, such as “If the public plan caused private insurance to become less available ?” The positive responses dropped off to less than 50% yes.

    In fact, I thought government was so inefficient that the way to help anything was to privatize. Why should private companies be afraid to compete with “health care run by the DMV”? Won’t those glorious companies practicing rescission and eliminating pre-existing folks win because of their market superiority?

    Tim, there is a way to do government subsidized insurance for the people with pre-existing conditions but it has to go with a mandate or no one would buy insurance until they got sick.

    I don’t know if you are aware of it but there was health insurance for those over 65 before Medicare passed. It was gone in a year. The percentage of elderly who were uninsured was higher but it was not 100% or even 50%.

    Those of us who care about this issue would be less concerned about “Medicare for the rest of us” if Medicare wasn’t going broke in the next 20 years. Medicare spending has been increasing faster than private insurance for years.

    I should add that I am in favor of a national health plan and have described my suggestion for reform here. The other posts can be found there, too.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  9. It looks like that link doesn’t work. Try here .

    Mike K (2cf494)

  10. #4
    Okay, false premise alert here.

    New York Times / CBS poll on heath care

    76% support the public option but only if you use the premise that health care would be free. But we all know that there is no such thing as a free anything.

    When asked if they would be willing to pay higher taxes to pay for other peoples health care, the level of support dropped to 57%. Not willing to put their money where their mouth is?

    When only the people who said they would be willing to pay more taxes were asked if the taxes were $500 per year would you still be willing to support health care for the uninsured, the level of support was only 43%.

    So there were 895 respondents to this poll. 510 agree to pay more taxes to pay for other people to have insurance. 384 agree to pay more than $500 in new taxes to pay for other people’s insurance.

    Now for the fun part. The poll stacked the deck by calling more Obama supporters that are statistically found in the general population. 48% of the people called voted for Obama in the last election while only 25% voted for McCain. Since the national statistics were 52% Obama – 48% McCain, you cannot say that this is a representative sample of the population.

    One other point that should have been made in this poll is that 40% of Americans pay no taxes. They should have been asking whether or not the people polled were had a tax liability last year or whether they received a tax rebate or credit in excess of the taxes they paid.

    Why should private companies be afraid to compete with “health care run by the DMV”?

    It is very tough to compete with the entity who has the power to make the regulations that you must operate under. If the Fed decides taht they are going to pay $30 for a $500 procedure, the private insurance company cannot just decide that they will only pay the same low rate. The Medical system simply will not agree to take that hyuge loss. The Fed, on the other hand, can dictate terms to the medical system and they have to accept them or else get put out of business by new regulations.

    The rest of your comment isn’t worth responding to.

    Jay Curtis (8f6541)

  11. Jay, how dare you disagree with Teh Narrative™!

    Seriously, good job fisking something that “everybody knows.”

    Hey, many people are willing to pay more in taxes for all kinds of things. But more people are not. Mostly, the people in the first group are happy to have other people pay more taxes—not more taxes themselves.

    Remember how Michael Moore carried on about healthcare being “free”?

    This is why I don’t trust most polls. We seldom get to see the questions asked…

    Again, thanks for your analysis.

    Eric Blair (0b61b2)

  12. timb’s misrepresentation of polling results is of a par with the perennial dishonesty of Democrats on this issue. Its a constant that they misrepresent and outright lie – just as we’ve caught Obama doing.

    SPQR (72771e)

  13. I actually don’t think that many of these folks are lying, SPQR. They just know that the results fit their world view, so they don’t look at it closely.

    But my guess—again, just a guess—is that a poll that didn’t agree with their world view would be examined VERY closely indeed.

    Eric Blair (0b61b2)

  14. When the President says that it is an out and out lie. I saw some congresswoman on Youtube saying it was a trojan horse for single payer to cheers from a far left wing crowd. That is what they want after all he just can not come out and say that shit.

    Mr. Pink (eae12c)

  15. Americans want the choice of a public option. Anecdotes and data abound on good care at minimal costs administered to U.S. nationals abroad who’ve had to access medical assistence in lands that have a public healthcare system. If free market advocates hold that the private-for-profit insurers deliver access to good care at more affordable costs, then they have nothing to fear from the added choice of a public option.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  16. Yeah, JD, wrong as always

    I thought you were never going to respond to JD again, Timmah! What happened, just couldn’t help yourself? Next time, keep your promise and STFU from now on.

    Dmac (f7884d)

  17. I like that timb says I don’t like the polls on a public option, without addressing the point I actually made, which was that the polls that ask people about the potential downside of a public options show that support plummets way below 50% (in both the Kaiser poll and the latest ABCNews/WaPo poll). So yes, I prefer polls that actually reflect the political discussion that will be going on, as opposed to one-sided questions with hidden assumptions.

    Karl (894fab)

  18. Note how timmah and International Man of Parody ignore the fact that the public option will have a massive competitive advantage, even according to uber-reichwingnut Klein ;-). Convenient to ignore that, I guess.

    JD (121e64)

  19. “If free market advocates hold that the private-for-profit insurers deliver access to good care at more affordable costs, then they have nothing to fear from the added choice of a public option.

    What are the odds that DCSCA is merely ignorant of just how wrong his statement is? Ignorant of the very concept that the government option can subsidize with tax revenue?

    Or is DCSCA in fact dishonest in making that statement?

    Could I be more bored with trying to spot the difference between the two?

    SPQR (72771e)

  20. Anecdotes abound of Americans needing medical abroad and being horrified at what they found. I think most of Europe is OK with emergency care. That is not the issue, it is the elective but necessary surgery. That is where the delays are. Australia once had one of the best health care systems in the world. There was a private insurance system, run out of the Post Office, I believe, and called “Medicare.” In most of the states (but not Queensland) the government built new hospitals and these were staffed with private doctors who saw both paying and charity patients with little discrimination between them. They were paid by Medicare and the hospitals were run by the state.

    Then, the labour Party ran on a platform of free care. That was in the mid-1980s. They were elected and millions just stopped paying their Medicare premiums. There was no source of income for the surgical specialists except in Queensland. There, the nice modern hospitals were privately owned. The doctors told the patients they had better not drop their Medicare if they wanted care in the private clinics and hospitals. In the other states, there was pandemonium as the Labour party had made no plans to pay doctors.

    I was there shortly after and it was a mess. Things have settled down since but it is nothing like it was and waiting lists are long.

    Except in Queensland. Two friends of mine ran a private surgery center in Toowoomba. They were so successful that the public hospital, which was across the street, asked them to take over and run theirs, too.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  21. #4 — Comment by timb — 6/29/2009 @ 11:22 am

    The American people support the public option by 76% in the NY Times Karl doesn’t like…

    The choice of using a skewed poll to support one’s position is interesting and speaks volumes.

    …and two-thirds in every other poll.

    False; From Rasmussen (June 13, 2009): Forty-one percent (41%) of American adults believe it would be a good idea to set up a government health insurance company to compete with private health insurance companies. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that an identical number (41%) disagree.

    Maybe you’re out of step with the American people?

    Not likely, because in the same left-skewed polled, 77% were satisfied with their health care.

    Pons Asinorum (d1c25d)

  22. #4 — Comment by timb — 6/29/2009 @ 11:22 am

    In fact, I thought government was so inefficient that the way to help anything was to privatize. Why should private companies be afraid to compete with “health care run by the DMV”?

    You answered your own question. Since we both agree that the government is much more inefficient than private enterprise, the only way for a government plan to succeed is to force usage by authoritarian means. Indeed, the sudden need to adopt and pass multibillion dollar and trillion dollar legislation without public inspection — complete with “midnight documents” that contain hundreds of pages largely unread by our elected officials — has already become the Standard Operating Procedure of President Obama, Pelosi and Reid.

    This is called fascism.

    From Amanda Busse, Accuracy in Media, 01/16/08: “Many modern liberals and leftists act as if they know exactly what fascism is. What’s more, they see it everywhere—except when they look in the mirror,” Goldberg’s book reads. “Indeed, the left wields the term like a cudgel to beat opponents from the square like seditious pamphleteers.”

    He asserts that liberals hold political principles which are similar to those found in many fascist regimes. They have a desire to form a powerful state which coordinates a society where everybody belongs and everyone is taken care of; where there is faith in the perfectibility of people and the authority of experts; and where everything is political, including health and well-being. Apparently, the Nazis were strong promoters of organic foods and animal rights, fought against large department stores, and promoted antismoking and public health drives.

    From Politics Defined: In an article in the 1932 Enciclopedia Italiana, written by Giovanni Gentile and attributed to Benito Mussolini, fascism is described as a system in which “The State not only is authority which governs and molds individual wills with laws and values of spiritual life, but it is also power which makes its will prevail abroad. …For the Fascist, everything is within the State and … neither individuals or groups are outside the State. …For Fascism, the State is an absolute, before which individuals or groups are only relative.”

    The word fascism has come to mean any system of government resembling Mussolini’s, that exalts nation and often race above the individual, and uses violence and modern techniques of propaganda and censorship to forcibly suppress political opposition, engages in severe economic and social regimentation, and espouses nationalism and sometimes racism (ethnic nationalism).

    From Sheldon Richman, The concise Encyclopedia of Economists, 2008: As an economic system, fascism is socialism with a capitalist veneer. The word derives from fasces, the Roman symbol of collectivism and power: a tied bundle of rods with a protruding ax. In its day (the 1920s and 1930s), fascism was seen as the happy medium between boom-and-bust-prone liberal capitalism, with its alleged class conflict, wasteful competition, and profit-oriented egoism, and revolutionary Marxism, with its violent and socially divisive persecution of the bourgeoisie. Fascism substituted the particularity of nationalism and racialism—“blood and soil”—for the internationalism of both classical liberalism and Marxism.

    Where socialism sought totalitarian control of a society’s economic processes through direct state operation of the means of production, fascism sought that control indirectly, through domination of nominally private owners. Where socialism nationalized property explicitly, fascism did so implicitly, by requiring owners to use their property in the “national interest”—that is, as the autocratic authority conceived it. (Nevertheless, a few industries were operated bythe state.)

    Won’t those glorious companies practicing rescission and eliminating pre-existing folks win because of their market superiority?

    No, the rescission will now be determined by the state (referring to a company as glorious is odd).

    “Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.”
    Benito Mussolini

    Pons Asinorum (d1c25d)

  23. #4 — Comment by timb — 6/29/2009 @ 11:22 am

    There won’t be a mandate for health insurance (although there should be one), so people can just buy private insurance and live the good life!

    Except, of course, they won’t, unless private insurers reform themselves.

    Reading the mind of strawmen is meaningless.

    Gee, I think the only reason to oppose this plan is if I sold insurance, was a rep for a big pharma or was a Senator on the take from healthcare lobbyists (which, I imagine is just about all of them) because the American people just want to end an unsustainable system; whereas partisan hacks and people with skins in the game try to obscure the facts.

    To assist the above speculation: patients, doctors, nurses, taxpayers, privacy advocates, historians, economists, freedom advocates, statisticians, small business owners, employees, elderly people and quality control experts (to name a few more) are also just as likely to oppose the plan, as well as the members of the other professions mentioned.

    Other reasons that many Americans might be opposed to the plan: large expense, lack of quality, inefficiency, inadequate patient input, privacy concerns, government intrusion, inflexible medical procedures, and lack of physician/medical choices.

    Patients, doctors/nurses, and taxpayers are all examples of people with “skin in the game”. Perhaps their needs, particularly the patients, should come before the needs of the Democratic Party or liberal ideology.

    Try to decide which one you are.

    No need, we are Americans, and the smartest and brightest among us will continue to ask question and inspect bizarre assumptions or illogical constructs, regardless of opposition from ideologues or party-first elitists. Especially, when discussing the potential impact of our nation’s Blood and Treasure for generations to come.

    Pons Asinorum (d1c25d)

  24. In a free market, does lowering the price of something normally increase its supply?

    In this case Obama just thinks you’re dumb. He thinks you believe absent other mechanismd, lowering the price of insurance and medical care will increase its supply to Americans. Insurance companies will rush to compete with a government option not constrained by government regulations or the need to make a profit. Doctors and other health care providers will madly race to be reimbursed at lower rates by a government option or to compete with it. Absent some kind of cudgel, that is not normal behavior. The non-level playing field created by the government option skews normal behavior, but it needs to be skewed further to get the health care providers to participate. How is Obama going to hammer them into submission?

    Reading the comments from the left on this subject is almost as entertaining as Paul Krugman’s column today on global warming. It has to take the cake as one of his most dishonest ever. He is not aware odf any dissenting science becaise it is suppressed by the government in this country, the media in this country (including his paper), and he would ignore it if he became aware of it anyway. Asshat.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  25. A reasonable public program would set up a basic, no frills health insurance plan that paid flat fees, like the old indemnity plans that were still to be found in 1972 when I began in practice. They could pay about what Medicare pays, allow patient and doctors to come to an agreement about extra fees, and allow complete freedom of choice in doctor or hospital. It would be financed in a realistic way, paying out benefits and collecting premiums. There would be no state mandates and it would be the same across all state lines. If the insured wanted to go to the best doc in town, he might have to pay extra. Most of those indemnity plans paid only for unexpected events, like a car crash or appendicitis. Office visits would be paid by the patient but from a standard fee schedule posted in the office, as they do in France.

    That would allow young people to insure themselves against catastrophe at low cost. They would not be paying for a lot of usage by the “worried well” who go to the doctor weekly. There would be squawks by advocates of the “poor” but community clinics could be free for the poor.

    The people who like their own gold plated insurance could keep it but the tax exemption would be gone. Note that the present Obama plan would tax company plans, EXCEPT union plans.

    There is a way to do it but this Congress will never do it.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  26. Anyone who thinks Medicare is cheaper than Aetna or Blue Cross has never included all the “free labor Federal and Local government provides to Medicare.

    If you include these salaries and benefits, Medicare is much more expensive and for a big reason …. they insure the sickest people.

    HeavenSent (1e97ff)

  27. I think the lefties here should look at the government mandated healthcare reforms in Massachusetts in 2006 and report back how those are working out.

    Let us know how prices have changed for insurance coverage since 2006 and how much more expensive the plan has been to the state than anticipated. Also let us know why there are still 200,000 people uninsured in the state.

    Use that live example rather than platitudes for a change. Reform, especially when it involves the government, can be expensive.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  28. #27, Sad but true

    HeavenSent (1e97ff)

  29. Hey, here is that great Canadian system of health care:

    http://cp24.com/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20090626/090626_BABY_PASSPORTS/20090626/?hub=CP24Home

    That’s right. No bed to be had for the premie in the entire province.

    Good thing those bloated wasteful plutocrats to the South had a bed open.

    And then we are STILL the bad guys, because of the passport business.

    I guess we need to land.

    Eric Blair (0b61b2)

  30. Comment by Eric Blair — 6/29/2009 @ 5:46 pm

    I guess we need to land.

    Yeah, on runway elevenity.

    Pons Asinorum (d1c25d)

  31. “Private companies can’t compete with an entity which is massively subsidized and therefore able to offer insurance for much less.”

    But I keep hearing that what the public will offer will be crap. Who knows. We have private schools and public schools. Private universities and public universities.

    imdw (5f867f)

  32. It is like they intentionally miss the point, because they simply cannot be that stoopid.

    JD (b64881)

  33. IMDW,

    How would you feel if all the public schools got together and unilaterally said all teachers get paid Federal Minimum Wage?

    Please let me know …….. b/c that is what Medicare and Medicaid do.

    HeavenSent (1e97ff)

  34. “How would you feel if all the public schools got together and unilaterally said all teachers get paid Federal Minimum Wage?”

    Then they wouldn’t have any teachers.

    imdw (5f867f)

  35. IMDW,

    And then, how would you feel if those same public schools turned around and cut back hours in the class room, cut back lunches, et al

    Please let me know …….. b/c that is what Medicare and Medicaid do.

    HeavenSent (1e97ff)

  36. “And then, how would you feel if those same public schools turned around and cut back hours in the class room, cut back lunches, et al”

    Or shockingly, how would I feel if legislatures started cutting funds for universities while also increasing their control and attacks on academic freedom? why, I’d be shocked!

    imdw (41a6d1)

  37. IMDW,

    That exactly is what is happening to MDs in the USA stooooooooooooopid.

    And worse yet, It ALREADY OCCURRED IN CANADA!!!!!

    From #2 MD per Capita to #18 since National Health Care.

    But Teachers are a privileged political class and MDs are not.

    HeavenSent (1e97ff)

  38. Th effects of Medicare and Medicaid is the profession is much less lucrative, much more paperwork, and fact is not many folks want to practice Family Medicine — the very thing O-Moron talks about when talking about his fantasy improvements with his Unicorn Health Care Plan.

    HeavenSent (1e97ff)

  39. “But Teachers are a privileged political class and MDs are not.”

    Rather I think its that your analogy is wrong. Teachers and schools are in an employer/union relationship. But MDs and medicare are not in that relationship.

    But now you tell me there’s an MD shortage? Lets import some then.

    imdw (41a6d1)

  40. I am not MD, but with O-Moron Health Care why in god’s green earth would I go to 10 years of training to make $100K per year as a Family Practioner?

    Better to get a job picking up garbage in New York and work 2-3 hours of over-time to make up for the base pay gap.

    Socialism, Garbage men and Transit Workers make more money than most GP and Family Practitioners.

    HeavenSent (1e97ff)

  41. IMDW,

    Import MDs? We already do it and we are running out of them anyway.

    A simple fact of life only the perenially stupid don’t get is that the less lucrative the profession the less people enter it.

    MDs in Family Practice area are getting screwed harder every day and the #1 SOB is CMS.

    Worse yet, it takes longer to create 1 MD than it does to drill the entire continental shelf for Oil. So all these idiotic O-Moron ideas cause damaged not in months but in decades.

    Facts are facts.

    HeavenSent (1e97ff)

  42. Anyone wonder why Cuban MDs are flooding South Florida?

    Because a part-time hooker in Havana makes more money than an MD.

    O-Bambi care takes us there.

    HeavenSent (1e97ff)

  43. Then they wouldn’t have any teachers.

    Comment by imdw — 6/29/2009 @ 6:12 pm

    Right. Like Canadian maternity wards with only 2 nurses on staff. Now you are getting it.

    carlitos (84409d)

  44. “Right. Like Canadian maternity wards with only 2 nurses on staff. Now you are getting it.”

    So lets have some private maternity wards.

    imdw (7c85b9)

  45. Mendacity is all they have, carlitos.

    JD (ca6b04)

  46. Why should I pay Ezra Klein’s health care bill, again?

    Cam Winston (689026)

  47. imdw – Why don’t you explain to everyone how this is all going to work without rationing and shortages and without the government dictating where new doctors can practice and in what specialties if any.

    We await your expertise.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  48. […] of the above, you might think the government takeover of healthcare is not going well. But if the Democratic strategy is to move any two bills into a House-Senate conference and strongarm moderate Dems into not […]

    Patterico’s Pontifications » Obamacare at Recess (e4ab32)


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