Sunday, July 7, 2013

Links worth reading

How's that whole Obamacare thing going?

"I want to cover everybody.  Now, the truth is unless you have what's calle d asingle-payer system in which everyon'es automatically covered, you're probably not going to reach every singel individual."
-Barack Obama, July 22, 2009

We seem to get new information every week confirming the worst fears of opponents of Obamacare from the left--it's a massive sellout to the health insurance industry at the expense of the uninsured.

From Kaiser Health News:

Tens of thousands of uninsured residents in the poorest and most rural parts of Mississippi may be unable to get subsidies to buy health coverage when a new online marketplace opens this fall because private insurers are avoiding a wide swath of the state.

No insurer is offering to sell plans through the federal health law’s marketplaces in 36 of the state’s 82 counties, including some of the poorest parts of the Delta region, said Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney.

As a result, 54,000 people who may qualify for subsidized coverage would be unable to get it, estimates the Center for Mississippi Health Policy, a nonpartisan research group.

Many make a living picking soybeans, working on tree farms or in fast food restaurants, earning too little to buy coverage on their own.

Once again, it is less expensive to cover everyone than it is to cover less than everyone.  We're literally paying money to ensure that some people don't have insurance.

Related, the preamble of 7/03 Wonkbook is worth reading.  I won't comment further.

Police militarization

Border patrol nonsense

Oregon's obvious student debt idea
From the Wall Street Journal:

Oregon's legislature is moving ahead with a plan to enable students to attend state schools with no money down. In return, under one proposal, the students would agree to pay into a special fund 3% of their salaries annually for 24 years.

The plan, called "Pay it Forward, Pay it Back," would create a fund that students would draw from and eventually pay into—potentially bypassing traditional education lenders and the interest rates they charge. The state would likely borrow for the fund's seed money, which could exceed $9 billion, but the program's designers intend it to become self-sustaining.

The Journal then cites the typical statistics of our current student loan morass, notes that other countries already use this exact system with great success, then grasps at straws to criticize it:

...the Oregon plan could suffer because it might turn off students with the biggest earning potential, for whom traditional interest rates would be preferable to promising a share of future income.

That's right--smart kids with rich parents are going to decide not to go to college.  And we can't make the program mandatory, because that could be a slight detriment to rich people.

This is an extremely bad idea.  Why design a complicated system to deal with the fact that state government money for state universities has fallen dramatically over the past several years?  Why not just invest more money into universities and colleges so tuition doesn't have to be so oppressive?  Everyone gains from a well-educated work force; benefits include much higher tax revenues.  With so many winners, financing education shouldn't be a personal responsibility.

BART Strike and Bread and Butter Unionism
Fine, the media has been a propaganda mouthpiece for management.  Fine, there are legitimate problems.  But this is fundamentally the wrong strategy.

Responsibility to Corporate Shareholders
This isn't a current story, but it's worth comparing the transformation of perception of corporate responsibility to current realities.

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