Patterico's Pontifications


Ted Cruz and Rand Paul Bring Attention to the Need for a Free Market Repeal of ObamaCare

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:00 am

Yesterday Senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul each raised awareness of the need for a free market solution to the problem of ObamaCare. Each did so in his own way: Cruz with a serious op-ed, and Paul with some attention-seeking antics. But the ultimate goal of both Senators was the same: making sure that Republicans repeal ObamaCare the right way: with greater freedom of choice for consumers of health care and health insurance.

Cruz’s op-ed begins by insisting that Republicans honor their promise and actually repeal ObamaCare without making it worse.

Cruz outlines six specific proposals: “allow consumers to purchase insurance across state lines…expand health savings accounts…change the tax laws to make health insurance portable…protect continuous coverage…allow small businesses to pool together in association plans to get better rates for their employees… [and] block grant Medicaid to the states.” The general idea behind the proposals is to let the free market do its magic. I hope Republicans who are looking to “replace” ObamaCare decide to “replace” it with the free market.

Rand Paul tried to raise awareness about that same issue with a stunt in which he looked for the secret room where the House version of the ObamaCare repeal bill is being kept:

Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul marched to the House side of the Capitol Thursday morning, knocked on a locked door and demanded to see a copy of the House’s bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, which he believed was being kept under lock and key.

Aides in the room told the senator — before dozens of reporters in a crowded hallway — that there was no bill to see. In fact, it wasn’t the room where GOP members of the Energy and Commerce Committee were told to meet with staff to review the current draft of their bill at all. But that did little to dissuade Paul, openly critical to the House Republican leadership’s preferred path on the process, from making his underlying point.

I’m less sympathetic to Sen. Paul’s demands for an “open and transparent process” than I am to his ultimate goal of freedom in health care. Sometimes an open process in the debating of a bill leads to grandstanding and less productive discussion. It’s not the secretive nature of the process that disturbs me — and ultimately, I think, Sen. Paul reveals his real concern, with which I agree:

Exactly. Let the market work. New entitlements are unacceptable.

Both Senators are following their own path to making sure Republicans do this the right way. Cruz’s method is sober and thoughtful while Paul’s is theatrical. But both of them have their eye on the ball, and I applaud them both.

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]


74 Responses to “Ted Cruz and Rand Paul Bring Attention to the Need for a Free Market Repeal of ObamaCare”

  1. The biggest obstacle to conservatism is, as it has always been, the Republican Party, itself. What seems most astounding to me is that an ostensibly conservative CinC is now our best hope for the repeal of Obamacare.

    Whether you like Trump or not, it is difficult to deny that among our Republican elected officials, sleaze is the norm.

    ThOR (c9324e)

  2. But this is Trump’s mess now, he can swiftly end the elite’s plans by public ally rebuking them and ordering the leadership to follow a Cruz or Paul style, conservative plan, but he’s been absent during this process.

    Sean (41ed1e)

  3. Darn autocorrect… *publicly

    Sean (41ed1e)

  4. My suspicion about the GOP plan is that it is an exercise in logrolling and that’s why it is being kept under wraps. It is not in their interest to show the world their sausage-making process. And then when they are ready, Ryan and his allies will rush the bill to a vote, giving as little time as possible for review. That’s how these sleazes do it.

    I’m hoping that Trump will do the stand up thing. In the same situation, Reagan might have done the stand up thing, but not the Bushes or Nixon. Most of the 2016 Republican nominee contenders could be counted on to roll over, as well. Trump is a thin reed, but he’s what we’ve got.

    ThOR (c9324e)

  5. I love autocorrect – a reader can almost always understand what was intended meaning and the ‘correction’ is often amusing. “(P)ublic ally”, very good!

    ThOR (c9324e)

  6. “Re-puking” as in regurgitation instead of rebuking would have been a Mad Libs level humorous autocorrect change.

    urbanleftbehind (5eecdb)

  7. The Republican Party is quite a mystery. For Trump’s excellent speech, which not coincidentally, was documented by live media, they appeared to be united and coherent. A day later, with the cameras absent, we find a number of these toadies giving credence to the rumors about Sessions and the Russians.

    Dr. Jekyll was normally a decent fellow, but upon taking a potion, he became Mr. Hyde. The GOPe are the opposite. The potion that forces them to be decent is live video coverage, otherwise they are scheming opportunists with interests that seem to be more aligned with the latest Democrat campaign than not.

    Senators Cruz and Paul, and a handful of others, are exceptions to the rule. They are the same fellows irrespective of the presence of cameras and microphones. I hope Trump has the wisdom to back their play. But then again, Trump seems to believe that Cruz’s father was involved in the Kennedy assassination. Karma calls at the most awkward times.

    It would be comforting if the DoJ could get to the bottom of the leaks. It is now clear that every phone conversation in D. C. is likely recorded and available for analysis, particularly if the release of the information by a government employee is a felony. Would it be too much for an investigative agency to trace back the communications to identify the source? Or will this be another Lois Leaner episode where we belatedly discover that Republican investigators are geldings?

    BobStewartatHome (448c1e)

  8. I’m not opposed to secrecy (I can’t imagine anything getting done if there was just a parade of leaks and grandstanding, and people would be afraid to speak up for fear that their proposal could be labeled as extremist or stupid).

    But I also don’t want to see a sprint to the finish line once the proposal is revealed. It should be subject to real debate. And it should be consistent with free market principles.

    One good way to force this issue along would be to pass a bill now that says “in 12 months, Obamacare is repealed entirely.” That way, Congress has 12 months to figure out a replacement, but if they do nothing or get deadlocked, Obamacare dies. If they try to extend Obamacare, Trump would have to veto it or explain his failure to veto.

    Daryl Herbert (7be116)

  9. One good way to force this issue along would be to pass a bill now that says “in 12 months, Obamacare is repealed entirely.”

    That is a great idea! Just put a sunset on the sucker. Some people would be mad that it means it will take a year to get anything done, but this would be a concrete result Trump promised us. And it tips the scales on brinksmanship very nicely.

    Dustin (ba94b2)

  10. 8/9
    The problem being that the same folks who can not get their act together now are the ones who would have to pass that bill.

    kishnevi (8adcb8)

  11. They passed repeal bills something like 60 times before, right? Surely they can pass it one more time.

    Daryl Herbert (7be116)

  12. Re: selling insurance across state lines. Three states allow taht – few insurance companies were interested (maybe because of regulations in their home state)

    If insurers negotiate with doctors and hospitals, they can’t do much in anotehr state.

    Sammy Finkelman (6f9f42)

  13. The most important criteria is no narrow networks, and really free choice of doctors and hospitals.

    There is nothing like that in Cruz’s article, which is actually – he says in fat – nothing more than a list of 6 ideas among republican members of Congress. This would not make a good bill.

    Sammy Finkelman (6f9f42)

  14. Any good bill will cost money. Or leave some poeople out in the lurch.

    Sammy Finkelman (6f9f42)

  15. i’m very disillusioned to where i can’t even handle these people

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  16. I’ve outlined in anoitgehr thread what is needed.

    You need to give everybody some money, (through a refundable tgax credit, uncconnected with the rest of the tax system, and paid in advance, funded through a new tax probably, and pay for people who are uninsurable at a reasonable cost.

    You need to make price important at the time of purchase, which can be ensured in large part by the creation of a doughnut hole.

    But everyone has to have a way to fill that doiughnut hole.

    And you need to make a whole bunch of other changes too, like no surprise billing, low cost access to medicxal records, and something that prevents a hospital charging $30 for an aspirin.

    Sammy Finkelman (6f9f42)

  17. BobStewartatHome (448c1e) — 3/3/2017 @ 11:44 am

    But then again, Trump seems to believe that Cruz’s father was involved in the Kennedy assassination.

    As Wendell Wilkie said, that was just campaign rhetoric.

    Trump only said that for one day: May 3, 2016. He was citing the National Enquirer, which claimed it had a picture of whaty was supposed to be Cruz’s father and Lee Harvey Oswald together on some unknown date, and apparently claimed that maybe that meant something.

    Trump never repeated that after Cruz dropped out.

    This whole thing here that Trump did was not ethical, bnecause Trump is not that stupid.

    It is now clear that every phone conversation in D. C. is likely recorded and available for analysis

    Every phone call where a Russian diplomat is on one end maybe.

    Sammy Finkelman (6f9f42)

  18. Any good bill will cost money. Or leave some poeople out in the lurch.

    Sammy Finkelman

    Yeah, that’s how socialism works. Either you use debt to buy votes, or you let people take care of themselves. Often it turns out it’s cheaper and better if people take care of themselves, and government kinda stays out of the way, but the sob stories are a-comin’.

    Dustin (ba94b2)

  19. WIth health care expenses people can’t take care of themselves. And the market is wrecked. The idea of charity care has disappeared.

    Sammy Finkelman (6f9f42)

  20. Sammy, that’s true. When I got a few medical bills they blew my mind.

    Dustin (ba94b2)

  21. There area lot of ways for the GOP to screw up here. The Dems found many, but that doesn’t mean that undoing those and replacing them with other screw-ups is acceptable. People remember what you did TO them a lot longer than what you did FOR them.

    The nastiest bit is the conglomeration of preexisting conditions exclusions, the mandate, and penalties for ignoring insurance until you need medical care. Obama’s solution was to mandate coverage and tax penalize tax those without insurance in order to make it less appealing to wait until something came up (the preexisting condition) before getting insurance.

    Add to this the non-portability of plans, where people who are being treated under pre-ACA insurance, and have to change plans, find they are being treated the same as freeloaders who only sign up when sick.

    Somehow the idea of continuous coverage, or at worst with small gaps, has to be separated from those who apply after 30 years of neglect.

    It’s not easy. The plan Ryan suggested, with no exclusions, no mandate and no tax, but instead a 30% premium surcharge for rejoining after large gaps in coverage seems like a good starting point.

    Returning to the status quo ante — which had real problems — would be a real mistake. It would probably lose the GOP the midterms as the 50- and 60-year-olds that form their voting base would be pissed off.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  22. If you look at medical bills these days, you’ll find things like a specialist might charge $800 for a 20-minute session to the uninsured, but the insured person gets that discounted to $200 — and only has to pay 20% of that, or $40..

    Of course, he paid a LOT for the premium.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  23. It is dissapointing that Ted’s six are not part of the program. Not surprising when his rino leaders kneel at the zipper of donohues coc pimps.

    mg (31009b)

  24. What’s stopping Kim Davis butt snuffler Paul Rand from writing his own repeal bill?

    nk (9faaca)

  25. Rand Paul has his own bill out there. Just not getting a lot of attention because the GOP elite are cooking up their own bill in the smoke-filled back room.

    Ingot (e5bf64)

  26. “Attention” is the operative word, I think. Does he have Twitter?

    nk (9faaca)

  27. @20. Hell, the ‘free market’ in America can’t, nay won’t, even provide a la carte cable systems to compete as in Canada. Remember, this is the country that blew $13 billion on a single aircraft carrier when once upon a time, the rule of thumb in procuring military hardware was to purchase items w/limited lifetimes at low cost because they are by design and purpose, expendable in a conflict, not subsidize the MIC. The B-52 was a bargain. The U.S. is doing to itself what it did to the Soviet Union– making it too expensive to field an affordable defense. And that’s as it is w/healthcare.

    The primary objective of the American healthcare system is to make money, not provide cost-effective healthcare.

    Once that mind set shifts, the U.S. will adopt a single-payer or two-tiered system similar to Canada, France, the UK, Australia, Japan, Israel etc., and join the 21st century before it ends. It’s inevitable.

    And we all have ‘war’ stories:

    About 10 years ago I took my ailing, well-insured mother to her doctor and she was given a single OTC Tylanol tablet in the office by the doctor to break a bad fever. The cost on the bill: $22 for ONE Tylanol tablet. That same tablet could have been purchased with 99 others OTC at a drug store for $7. It’s absurd.

    When she fell a few years ago on a Saturday evening, her metal framed glasses caught in a door frame and it cut her head in a spot on the left side of her forehead where the skin is tight between the forehead and the scalp. It bled profusely given the location but wasn’t deep or life threatening and frankly if it had happened to a younger person, we’d likely have just have slapped a bandage on it and that would have been that. But given her age, she was driven to the ER (an ambulance ride costs $800) and after a three hour wait was admitted for ‘minor surgery’ given a local and several stiches from a surgeon. They kept her in the hospital on an IV w/a blood thinner and a small drain for observation for two and a half days. When the bill came, the total cost: $43,000. Insurance picked up much of it, but still, the cost was utterly absurd for services rendered. And that’s the racket ‘free market’ conservatives and bought off Republicans want to keep ‘operating.’

    Back in the day, when she lived in the UK, had that same accident occurred, she’d have rec’d the care and paid next to nothing.

    Today, if you want to get sick and survive to thrive, move to Canada or France or the UK or Australia or Japan… the list is long. But if you want to get sick and die poor, slave away in the good ol’ USA. America will adopt a single-payer or two-tiered system before the end of the century. It’s just inevitable.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  28. UPDATE:

    Patterico (115b1f)

  29. DCSCA

    Maybe there will be such a thing as a medical kiosk where a doctor from India removes your malignant mole for thirty bucks. Like a self check stand at Kroger

    Pinandpuller (13f5d4)

  30. And, I’d bet, Mike Lee remains true to his word and continues to support repeal as well. With just three more supporters, if we can find them, we can field a Conference 1-A football team.

    ThOR (c9324e)

  31. I’ve heard preppers suggest that people buy the liquid tetracycline that is carried at pet stores for fish. But we aren’t quite at Doomsday yet.

    Pinandpuller (13f5d4)

  32. Nice props being linked by a Senator. Badass.

    Dustin (ba94b2)

  33. Last time back 2013, Cruz had more flair, and Paul has more reserve, but sometimes you have to rattle the cage.

    narciso (d1f714)

  34. Mccarran ( sen. Gary for shorthand) and fergusin.(tucker’s foil in the film) Have curtailed consumer choice for 70+ yeats

    narciso (d1f714)

  35. The U.S. is doing to itself what it did to the Soviet Union– making it too expensive to field an affordable defense.

    this is Meghan’s despicably cowardly daddy’s #1 specialty after making an ass out of himself on the teevee

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  36. 28… Pretty sweet, Patterico!

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  37. dcsca:

    because they [military equipment and men] are by design and purpose, expendable in a conflict

    You haven’t a clue. In a totalitarian state, your assumption would hold. The Soviet Union expended her soldiers more readily than her equipment, and a feature of her army that wasn’t replicated in our own were the Commissars who followed the troops into battle, shooting all those who hesitated. In the America I grew up in, soldiers were not designed to be expendable. We do not have Party Members executing soldiers on a whim. Our training and our tactics were based on the idea that the other guy was expendable. Our equipment was designed to be extraordinary. From the repeating rifles that saved the day in the first day of Gettysburg, to the P-51, the B-29, our fleet submarines, and the atomic bombs that made such a difference in WWII, not to mention the enormous quantity of B-17s, B-24s that imparted a quality that couldn’t be replicated by the Axis powers, we have a tradition of excellence in the armaments provided to our troops. And when a branch of the service fails, as the Navy’s Bureau of Ordinance did in the design and manufacture of our torpedoes, those fools will forever be remembered for their incompetence. This is something ordinary men would not wish to bring upon themselves. Our Navy emphasized damage control, allowing both the ship and its crew to survive, depending primarily upon the ingenuity and skill of her enlisted men to keep the vessel in the fight and the rest of the crew alive. Midway was won largely because we managed to save the Yorktown following the Battle of the Coral Sea, while the Japanese too easily embraced a fatalistic death.

    Admittedly, this was turned on its head by LBJ in Vietnam, and mediocrities like Kerry and Obama have carried on that tradition, even to the point of suggesting that only the most incompetent were fit for service. But it shouldn’t be so. Our freedom requires us to step forward to serve our country, and if idiots like you assume that our soldiers are designed to be expendable, who will answer the call?

    You, sir, are a disgrace. But you may be in the majority.

    BobStewartatHome (448c1e)

  38. He’s just a walking cliché, bob s, general mcmaster in ‘dereliction outlines how totally penny wise and pound foolish the military as if following Johnson’s lead, mark moyar in ‘forsaken’ showed us how counterproductive jfk and lbj’s policies from 63 tell the landings at danang.

    narciso (d1f714)

  39. wtf is wrong with the goddamned pope

    obnoxious. freak.

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  40. Notice how the two major overreaches in health policy, happened a great shock, the Kennedy assassination along with the Rockefeller rebellion enabled Johnson to force what harry Truman couldnt 15 yeatlier samecwith the 2008 bustout and obamacre

    narciso (d1f714)

  41. He’s gotten as ridiculous as ewan Mcgregor in angels and demons,

    So what are mcturtle and Ryan cooking up ‘inquiring minds want to know’

    narciso (d1f714)

  42. Reminder that the house voted to repeal Obamacare more than 60 times while Obama was President. Now, mysteriously, they can’t seem to do it.

    Davethulhu (18ab69)

  43. BobStewartatHome (448c1e) — 3/3/2017 @ 7:13 pm

    Allegedly said by Patton to soldiers under his command.
    Your job is not to die for your country. Your job is to get the %*$”‘- on the other side to die for his country!

    kishnevi (2f2613)

  44. It seems in character with Sherman’s style, whether or nit Fargo heard him say it

    narciso (d1f714)

  45. narciso, one of the great weaknesses we have as a country is our belief in our ability to make things better. Which, paradoxically, is also our greatest strength. As a young engineer, I knew that there was a lot of garbage in/garbage out, disguised in layer after layer of Bovine Skat, but I still imagined that we could solve a lot of problems with mass programs that coerced the populace to better themselves … for example, I might have supported the idea of riding a bike to work instead of clogging the freeways with cars, had I not been enthralled with performance vehicles … probably because of those chesty models who seemed to want to ride in such a vehicle. This was a form of naivete, a reflection of my lack of life experience.

    Progressive ideas were easy to embrace, because they were based on some modest understanding of the problem … an understanding that was sufficiently superficial that the easy solution offered by politicians like LBJ seemed plausible. Not that I fell for his BS, but I could sympathize with the goals he sought to achieve. I can still recall the War on Poverty. And I was not alone. A bunch of competent engineers feel into the trap, and some, like Dan Evans of Washington, had deep, resonant voices, and were highly electable. These so-called Republicans had the necessary gifts, coupled with an astounding inability to see that they were not the solution but the problem, to propell themselves to multiple public pensions and high office while never accomplishing anything. They are the predecessors of those we call the GOPe.

    So the over-reaches you mentioned seem to be almost inevitable if those with a bit more life experience do not participate for what ever reason. We seem to have no one who can aspire to any of the qualities of Winston Churchill in his later years. So our mammoth economy is driven by child-like adults. Kids always looking for the quick solution, solutions that fail the “OK, so you’ve taken the first step, now what will inevitably happen as a result of the new incentives you have created?” The GOPer’s are incapable of such thinking, and they will never be able to understand “free markets” and free citizens.

    BobStewartatHome (448c1e)

  46. I road public transportation, through college, so the attraction of that form of transport is lost on me, the whiz kids, this brand of technocrat seemed sophisticated but didn’t understand the nature of the enemy, this is mostly true in the current imbroglio.

    narciso (d1f714)

  47. Much of Kennedy’s underlying strategy was underpinned by rostow’s takeoff theory’ of economic development, which meant practically nothing.

    narciso (d1f714)

  48. Must be a thing, Narciso, I rode a bicycle from 2nd year of college through end of Masters. At the conclusion of that perod, I took my bike out of my car and left it unlocked at a bike rack in a then new Target in Cbus OH. Never been on a bicycle since (20 years ago). Public transit has to have the right demos/scenery for me to give a darn.

    urbanleftbehind (847a06)

  49. Yeah, another leftie shrill — also shill — was spouting the same crap on SeeeBS radio today. Where were they when Obama contracted for it?

    As for building cheap weapons with a limited life, that was mainly done in WWII with submachine guns and German last ditch weapons. Given the resources, military weapons are usually made to last for centuries.

    nk (9faaca)

  50. I have many memories of public transportation, but the one that comes to mind first is that of a drunken bum (now known as a “homeless man”) who had taken shelter on the buses of Boston over a period of several days when the temperatures were down around 5F. It was 7 am, his fly was open and he was unconsciously exposing himself as he hung from the overhead straps. Those sitting on a bench in the jam-packed bus got the view up close and personal. The aroma was equally memorable. These bums would ride from one end of the route to the other, never leaving, and hoping to be able to stay in the somewhat heated bus for the duration. This was an expression of liberal compassion.

    BobStewartatHome (448c1e)

  51. A codicil tonthis is Paul Ryan telling us to wait for the ‘sprung surprise, he waxtaken in by patsy Murray and Joe Biden.

    narciso (d1f714)

  52. #28 above almost makes me pause in my never-ending rant against Twitter.

    Congrats. 😀

    Beldar (fa637a)

  53. “wtf is wrong with the goddamned pope”

    “obnoxious. freak.”

    – happyfeet

    Happy, you and I seem to have some sort of telepathic connection. All evening I was thinking the same thought and you had already posted it.

    ThOR (c9324e)

  54. The American Health Care Prioritization Act of 2017:

    1 – Effective September 1, 2019, the Affordable Care Act is repealed in its entirety.

    2 – Effective January 1, 2018, the salaries of all members of Congress shall be reduced by 50%.

    Think about it: they would have to come up with some sort of replacement, and if they don’t, their pay gets cut. If they try to weasel out of it, they need Trump’s permission (in that he could veto any attempt to pass a new law changing the AHCPA).

    They would have nine months to do it before their pay gets cut, but 18 months before the ACA is actually abolished. You can’t expect them to pass a replacement for the ACA the day before the ACA sunsets, that would create too much uncertainty for all of the business owners and humans who want health care. It creates the right incentives to pressure politicians to do the right thing, in a reasonable (maybe: too reasonable) time frame.

    Also, it may be that we CAN’T get past Obamacare until it is completely repealed. People are hesitant to change Obamacare. But if it was repealed entirely, the situation would be very different. It would suddenly become very easy to pass tweaks to our healthcare laws, like allowing insurance to be sold across state lines.

    Maybe we can achieve the same psychological effect as an actual immediate repeal, if the lawmakers knew that Obamacare was destined to be completely repealed. Instead of worrying about how to change Obamacare, they would be worried about what to add to our original American healthcare system.

    Daryl Herbert (7be116)

  55. I should have made my comment over at RedState :-(

    Anyway, congrats Patrick.

    Daryl Herbert (7be116)

  56. I doubt if the Pope actually said that. What we get, purportdedly from him, is like fifth-hand, and it includes a couple of translations from Spanish to Italian to English. Couple that with freaks with an anti-Catholic and anti-religious agenda who want to give it the worst interpretation.

    nk (9faaca)

  57. A good friend of mine is a insurance detective. He has mentioned to me for years that the detectives should investigate the insurance industry. The fix is in with congress.

    mg (31009b)

  58. @37- Put down your VFW beer and look in the mirror, BobStewingAtHome. It is YOU who disgraced yourself for boldly stating military “men” were expendable in a blatant and self-serving misquote because nobody said that but you. And BTW, women serve, too.

    Calculating cost against loss in procurement is essential, be it absorbing acceptable losses in peacetime accidents or in a conflict. You might take some time away from the ol’battle books [Gettysburg… jaysus] and price out the costs of the surviving equipment you admire now in museums, floating museums themselves or antiques flown by the Confederate Air Force — because one of the key parameters in the design and procurement of same was attaining an acceptable balance to budget and absorb the cost against loss for equipment designed to be expendable. And remember, most of what did survive was chopped up for scrap and recycled.

    Fast forward to now. Forget about the billions blown on the F-35 boondoggle. Go read up on the M-2 Bradley boondoggle. Better still, the USS Zumwalt, the tugboat queen, now there’s a juicy $4 billion boondoggle- [Zumwalt Class — Navy’s Stealth Destroyer Program Failure –…/zumwalt-class-navy-stealth-destroyer-program-fail...

    Given the level of government borrowing conservatives love to squawk about, $13 billion is too much for a carrier and that doesn’t cover the annual operating costs. The Navy wants 12 of them. $2.1 billion is too costly for a B-2 bomber– especially when you watch one crash and burn in peace time on a Guam airfield. [The B-2 may cost up to $135,000 per flight hour to operate (in 2010 dollars), which is about twice that of the B-52 and B-1.] The list goes on and on and on. It doesn’t do much good to risk and field absurdly expensive kinetic weapons systems you can’t afford to lose, especially in an era of cyber warfare when a $10 thumb drive carrying a computer virus can throw a country into chaos or bring a nation to its knees.

    Today the military can loft 50 cruise missiles at $1.2 million a piece then cries for an immediate resupply before the smoke clears whereas drones have turned out to be extremely cost-effective weapons in their own right. So was the B-52. The MIC has created a situation where the U.S. is doing to itself what it did to the Soviet Union [don’t forget SDI] – making it too expensive to field an affordable defense.

    And that, “sir” is the disgrace. Last call, bub. Now finish your beer and hail a cab.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  59. Congratulations Pat, on being noticed, good job

    EPWJ (ba8d75)

  60. The Pope should be put out on teh Pampas, his sell-by date is well past expired.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  61. DCSCA. So many facts. So little understanding. The biggest cost drivers in military procurement are the government specifications and requirements for next-generation magic and next-level efficiency in a zero-defect R&D world leading to consolidation of many manufacturers in a competitive environment to three mega-corps who collaborate today and compete tomorrow under the ever watchful eye of a micromanaging single customer that favors production in every Congressional district.

    crazy (d3b449)

  62. dcsca, the bold phrase in my #37 was cut and pasted from your #27. As should have been obvious from the context. The designers of military equipment are not perfect, and they do make mistakes. The Sherman “Zippo” tank can be placed in that category, but it was an honest mistake. The educational system that produced you cannot be excused as an “honest mistake”. It was intentionally debased.

    The B2 was produced in such small numbers that the cost of the specialized production equipment drove the unit costs into astronomical levels. The same is true for much of what the military has procured. The problem is that Congress starts these programs off intending to buy thousands, and ends up buying less than a tenth of the number. The B24 was produced at one plane every 65 minutes in WWII at Willow Run, and the unit costs of these massively produced planes were relatively small. This wouldn’t have been the case if Congress decided to cancel the program after the first 50 had rolled off the production line.

    Your premise that military equipment is designed to be expendable is laughable. The ammunition is expendable, and cruise missiles fall in this category. As are bullets and torpedoes. The equipment is supposed to keep our soldiers and sailors alive so they can learn from their encounters and do better the next time.

    BobStewartatHome (448c1e)

  63. The political industrial complex that grew beyond all reasonable proportions over the last 50 years is the problem whether it’s Obamacare or anything else DC has decided it can control better than market competition. Regular order and days and weeks of Congressional hearings and speechifying on CSpan will roll this stuff back but that’s exactly why bipartisan leadership avoids it in favor of take it or leave up or down power votes. There’s simply too much at risk for “friends and families” for them to voluntarily vote it away.

    crazy (d3b449)

  64. If you are interested in the actual magnitude of the issue, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has a decent compendium of easily accessible data available for perusal. The projected rate of growth in government subsidies for medical care [Net Cost of Health Insurance Expenditures] firmly establishes the stupidity of the defense squirrel tossed into the discussion. The annual net cost of the subsidy has risen by $241 (or 11 aircraft carriers per year) since passage of ACA. Some of the growth is due to demographic changes forcing increases in the Medicare subsidy but the majority of the increased subsidies are due to relaxed qualifications to receive a Medicaid subsidy.

    I find it rather disingenuous to espouse free market principles as potential solutions to a problem caused by very pervasive levels of subsidy. Unless delimiting and reducing subsidies is defined as Job #1, the other elements amount to rearranging deck chairs to achieve the best view of the sinking.

    Rick Ballard (a1c54c)

  65. Exactly right. That’s why DC needs to get out of the business of health insurance not redesign its involvement. Boehner tried to tell us last week that Ryan’s just moving the deck chairs around.

    crazy (d3b449)

  66. @63.the bold phrase in my #37 was cut and pasted from your #27.

    Liar. You altered the text to change context and intent and bolded it to enhance your squawking. Sober up.

    Your premise that military equipment is designed to be expendable is laughable.
    Except it’s not. And to believe otherwise is precisely why the toys you want become unaffordable. Daddy says no now go play with the toys you have. You’re off the beer and into ‘whine’ now. And if you were an honest man, you’d know it. Dismissed.


    @62. It’s crazy, crazy, to make excuses then try and justify the costs let alone rationalize them when the facts and numbers speak for themselves then whine about borrowing billions adding to a massive national debt. “Better” becomes the enemy of the “good” and with those absurd costs you go with good. The MIC has created a situation where the U.S. is doing to itself what it did to the Soviet Union making it too expensive to field an affordable defense.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  67. @62. Postscript. Soyuz is a good ride. Shuttle was better. A 747 is a good ride. Concorde was better. But you know why the United States stopped flying shuttle? The same reason British Airways and Air France stopped flying Concorde; it cost too much. As the late, great Gene Cernan noted in Congressional hearing after hearing, ‘better’ became the enemy of the ‘good.’

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  68. One has to vote for it,,to find what’s in it?

    narciso (d1f714)

  69. DCSCA. I don’t know how you get excuses, justification and whining out of @62. The military industrial corporations are publicly traded companies with large balance sheets and small profit margins. The political military procurement process and zero defect mentality in R&D drives the cost and schedule while trimming required performance for major weapons and weapons systems.

    We are in agreement that some programs reach too far, take too long, cost too much and have a lot of inertia to continue forward. The problem is when you task the Pentagon to do everything with less they turn towards technology for a decisive edge with promised efficiencies. Replacing magic aircraft with more unmanned systems and robo-bullets sounds good until you run the numbers on the total cost to field, protect and support equivalent capabilities.

    The post was about the need to return to free market healthcare and payment. Under Obamacare the major insurance companies operate in much the same way as the defense contractors do. Continuing that is the problem. Cruz and Paul are right. Get Washington out of this business. Obamacare is unnecessary overhead and regulation that closed the actual healthcare markets in the name of creating one. Price transparency (retail pricing for individuals, wholesale pricing for groups), catastrophic care insurance and public or private charity care for the indigent and the problem’s solved but that doesn’t keep the “friends and families” gravy train going.

    I caught your postscript just before posting. I agree. I would simply suggest the shuttle didn’t cost more because it was better. It cost more because it did more just as a 747 costs more than a Gulfstream. The failure of the technology to support a timely turnaround together with the realization that the risk of major tile damage on launch could not be eliminated without a total redesign made the political decision to spend those dollars differently easy. We continue to be without the capability to haul and/or return large payloads though.

    crazy (d3b449)

  70. @70. We continue to be without the capability to haul and/or return large payloads though.

    Well we agree on that. There in lay the battle. Privatizing LEO ops with flat budgets allows development of HLV. But there’s opposition to that as well– mostly it’s a political turf battle but cost will eventually play an increasing role in determining its fate.

    We disagree on ‘free market’ solutions to healthcare. The ‘better’ vs. ‘good’ argument rears its head in that arena as well. The primary objective of the U.S. healthcare system is to make money, not deliver quality healthcare. You notice the political banter is constantly about market issues- insurance and coverage costs, not delivering quality care. That’s unsustainable in the long run so eventually a single payer or two-tier system will be adopted by the United States -probably before the end of the century.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  71. DCSCA. Glad to see we’re in a good place. Good discussion and civil disagreement is exactly what should be happening in Congress through regular order. The future single payer or two-tier system you fear is essentially here right now. It’s just being delivered by an ever-shrinking pool of federally approved private insurance companies. Count me out. Not a fan.

    We’ve been on a glidepath to single payer since the feds set out to fix healthcare for the elderly in the 60’s. We’ll see what Ryan is planning to push to the floor through committee but refundable tax credits, guaranteed issue, college kids on mom’s policy and the like is just Obamacare or Romney’s Masscare by another name. As best I recall, the Price plan was not. We’ll see what they’re hiding soon.

    I’m afraid that when republicans started to talk about repeal and replace the battle for patient-centered care free of state and federal mandates was likely lost but soon we’ll know for sure.

    Imagine if we paid for food the same way we pay for healthcare you wouldn’t see the actual price of your groceries or meal at the register, you’d see the negotiated price for the food your insurance company says you can eat after your co-pays and deductibles are met. Oh yeah, and only after finding a grocery or restaurant covered under your insurance and you filled out your new customer food history and electronic food record. I like the market model better.

    crazy (d3b449)

  72. Gresham’s Law: dcsca replace Steve57.

    Sigh …

    BobStewartatHome (448c1e)

  73. @72. I’m afraid that when republicans started to talk about repeal and replace the battle for patient-centered care free of state and federal mandates was likely lost but soon we’ll know for sure.

    Thing is, it leaves so many in need in limbo. As much as hard line conservative ideologues may hate to accept it, Trump may actually be right about not touching ACA now and just let it fly or fall its own. But those in office are more concerned about getting re-elected than caring for the citizenry. Once they begin messing with it, the mess is all theirs. And of course accessing food isn’t like healthcare. You can grow your own tomatoes but nobody removes their own appendix.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

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