Patterico's Pontifications


Christopher Hitchens Dies

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:34 pm

At 62. R.I.P.

H/t Ag80.

Sandusky Lawyer: He Was Just Teaching the Kid How to Use Soap

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:26 pm

A college education and three years of law school for this:

“Some of these kids don’t have basic hygiene skills,” attorney Karl Rominger said. “Teaching a person to shower at the age of 12 or 14 sounds strange to some people, but people who work with troubled youth will tell you there are a lot of juvenile delinquents and people who are dependent who have to be taught basic life skills like how to put soap on their body.”

I can’t really think of a punch line that doesn’t make me sad.

GOP Debate Open Thread

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:04 pm

Have at it.

What’s behind the Ryan-Wyden Medicare plan?

Filed under: 2012 Election — Karl @ 10:00 am

[Posted by Karl]

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) has joined House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) on a bipartisan plan to revamp Medicare.  The crux of the matter is that Ryan ostensibly gets a premium support plan of the sort he has long championed, while Wyden ostensibly gets traditional Medicare enshrined as one of the options for seniors’ helath insurance. 

Ed Morrissey likes the introduction of more competition into the Medicare system and the supposed political benefit of potentially blunting Democrats’ Mediscare tactics in the upcoming election.  Ben Domenech asks eight questions of Ryan that need to be addressed (although I think Ben’s concern about the lack of means-testing overlooks that the plan contemplates wealthy seniors getting less) and fears the Ryan-Wyden proposal will be viewed as a “walkback” that will actually hurt Republicans who stuck out their necks on the Medicare reforms Ryan included in the House budget.

On a political level, the fact that the GOP frontrunners are already closer to Ryan-Wyden than the House budget suggests to me that the proposal will not affect the overall political environment much.  On a policy level, given that this is a mere proposal, rather than legislation, most of the devil will be in the details.  Aside from Domenech’s primary point that it may be too late on a solvency basis, the two questions that concern me most are: (1) the potential for Medicare to engage in unfair competition in the premium support system (as the so-called “public option” would have under Obamacare); and (2) relying on Congress and the Independent Payment Advisory Board to restrain costs. 

The latter is actually somewhat less of a concern to me than you might think.  Kicking the cost can down the road is already the status quo.  The introduction of IPAB under Obamacare pushes the system in the direction of rationing by cutting payments to hospitals and doctors, which will force many doctors out of the health care system, decreasing access and likely quality of care.  Getting a premium support system in place at least advances market competition as the alternative for cost containment, which is more attractive as policy and politics.

However, that assumes fair competition, which is why the role Medicare would play in the new system is key.  To be effective, a premium support system including Medicare would have to reform Medicare to make it equivalent to a private plan, without taxpayer subsidy… and that’s where I think Dems would start an enormous pushback, even though Pres. Obama essentially conceded the argument during the debate over Obamacare.  Nevertheless, Ryan may be calculating that Republicans would rather have a debate over reforming Medicare to eliminate unfair competition than its outright elimination.



Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:38 am

The Washington Examiner endorses Mitt Romney, deeming him the only Republican who can beat Obama:

And so conservatives now have a crucial choice in the most important election since 1860. They would do well to recall the good advice of William F. Buckley Jr., who said that whenever two or more candidates claiming to be ideological soul mates are seeking endorsement, conservatives should support the one most likely to win. Buckley’s admonition is doubly important, now that the 2012 Republican presidential race has become a two-man race between Romney and Gingrich. The Washington Examiner believes Romney can defeat Obama, but Gingrich cannot. And Romney the businessman is far better suited to the nation’s highest office — by temperament, experience, and cast of mind — than Gingrich the consummate Washington insider. By fits and starts over the years, Romney has become the reliable conservative that America so badly needs at this crucial moment in her history.

It’s the fits and starts that give conservatives fits, of course.

This follows shortly on the heels of Ann Coulter backing Romney and calling him tied with Bachmann for the title of most conservative Republican still standing.

Meanwhile, Romney is attacking Newt as zany and very wealthy. (Horrors!) Maybe Mitt should bet Newt ONE MEEELLION DOLLARS at the next debate.

I think we’re stuck with this guy. I don’t hold out much hope that he will accomplish anything significant in the way of fixing our financial mess that is killing our children’s futures. But I guarantee you he’ll appoint better Supreme Court Justices than Obama.

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