Thursday, October 04, 2007


Your friendly Basin usually is no fan of George Will. A pencil-necked geek from Arlington Heights becomes Buckley light to the "one true faith" conservatives by going to school in Canada and coming back talking like he's from nowhere. If you've ever watched him on the long shows on CSPAN, you get the idea he's been a pretty serious nocturnal drinker as well. While I read 26 of his columns every year, I wouldn't consider myself a fan.

But ol' Georgie has taken a break from worshipping at the feet of Emil Verban to write something everybody should read.

Shrubbie veto'd SCHIP. One side will say that means he hates kids. The other will say that means he's fiscally responsible. There's something in this otherwise smart-assed column for everybody and, likewise, something for everybody in the whole phony SCHIP debate. This is the reason why folks feel so disaffected from politics. Both sides gaming the hell out of this thing without even letting on they sniff the larger problems looming, no matter what we do about the "social programs" debate.

Please, read this whole column. Comment if you want to, but read and understand. While snide, this column could be a bookmark for historians about national politics in the information age.

Henry Clay and Sam Rayburn have left the building.


At 11:15 AM, October 04, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've read Mr. Will's column. He's picking and choosing what he addresses. Liberal=More Government vs. Conservative=More Freedom...yada yada.

Following liberal ideology we risk becoming the nanny state he warns of but following conservative ideology would be just as bad if not worse. In such a society, those not blessed by "the market" will be stuck begging for crumbs from the ever more powerful elite until an early death due to a private retirement account bled dry and unaffordable healthcare.

What we need is something in the middle...a plan that balances the thirst for profits of the private sector with the health of our society as a whole.

At 1:41 PM, October 04, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Way to lay out the personal attack before you completely agree with the guy. Where does leave your support for Hillary?

At 5:26 PM, October 04, 2007, Blogger UMRBlog said...


My intention was to give weight to my enthusiasm for his raising this overarching concern by laying out that I don't usually swoon at his thoughts. Take that wherever you want to take it.

I don't see any tension between saying it's important to strike a balance and supporting Hillary. She's the one proposing a moderated solution to uniform health care. I'm not the one stuck in the 90's here

At 5:31 PM, October 04, 2007, Blogger UMRBlog said...


The key is to face it as two sides of a coin. Keep in mind that Congress has to solve these things more or less sequentially. They can't usually wave a magic wand and balance the countervailing interests all at once.

It isn't so much whether Will has it right. My urgency here is that active, interested people recognize the discussion can no longer take place in the abstract or as a mere political tactic.

Look at your conclusion. What are the components of that? What component should Congress address first? Can they get it through? Can they override a veto? How will it impact the next component? These are "big boy" questions. We need to be thinking about them in flyover country.


At 5:57 PM, October 04, 2007, Blogger TOOKIE said...

I enjoy George Will . I always have. I like his write ups on base ball and his son.

He and Gene Stahlings share a bond with me on thier life choices .

At 5:58 PM, October 04, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Keep in mind that Congress has to solve these things more or less sequentially."

You really want Congress to solve your problems?

At 6:34 PM, October 04, 2007, Blogger THE ORACLE... said...

I SPEAKED on this a long time ago. The need for a national health insurance plan. I don't remember if you posted any thoughts but I would like to know where you stand on the issue.

At 7:10 PM, October 04, 2007, Blogger UMRBlog said...


I am so sorry for your mother that she gave birth to an idiot.

This is question of governance policy. Who, but congress makes governance policy in our system of governance? I didn't say how congress should address each component and I damn sure didn't say that Congress should solve my problems.

You should have special license plates to warn people that you're coming.


At 7:13 PM, October 04, 2007, Blogger UMRBlog said...


His recent baseball writings have been hollow and pretentious but I agree with you about his son. I love to read him when he writes about his son's achievements. His son has two cool jobs, too.

At 7:16 PM, October 04, 2007, Blogger UMRBlog said...


I don't think I did. That was such an acrimonious discussion (not the speak, the comments.) in a lot of ways that I don't think I put in a comment.

If you don't mind I'll save it for a post later and the ditthaids will come out of the woodwork.

As always, TYFCB

At 7:17 PM, October 04, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hillary Clinton is asking for a giant do over when it comes to health care reform. Don’t be fooled, however, this is simply a smaller step toward the same goal.

She would like you to believe that her plan is reasonable and cost effective reform. But no matter how many times she uses the word choice or insists that her plan doesn’t involve a new government bureaucracy, the fact is that this plan is another step toward government-controlled health care.

Don’t be fooled by the spin. Hillary’s latest proposal is simply a better packaged less complicated version of the government run monstrosity she proposed previously. It may take a few more steps to get there, but it is still the path to government run health care.

At 7:25 PM, October 04, 2007, Blogger UMRBlog said...


Silly me, not only did I think Congress already rejected that idea by not calling 'the plan' to a committee or floor but I sort of thought Congress (both houses) would have to vote on something consequential like National Government-Run healthcare. Guess not, huh? Hillary can just kind of insinuate it into being.

My Bad. Back to the Civics test.


At 7:29 PM, October 04, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hillary’s plan mandates health care coverage for both employers and individuals. Employers have to offer it and individuals, regardless of their employment, have to have it. Her plan doesn’t specify the punishments for failing to comply - she is leaving that decision up to Congress. She did, however, go so far as to suggest that proof of health insurance could be required in order to get a job! So we once again have government deciding what you can and can’t do to provide for yourself and your family.

At 7:34 PM, October 04, 2007, Blogger UMRBlog said...


At 7:38 PM, October 04, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If coverage is required someone is going to have to decide what qualifies as such. Do you think this is going to be left to individuals? No, there will soon be standards and regulations that specify exactly what type of insurance and coverage are required, the documents required, etc. Hillary argues that her plan won’t require a new government bureaucracy, but this assertion requires, to adopt her own turn of phrase, a “willing suspension of disbelief.” Government mandates always mean more oversight, more paper work, and more bureaucracy.

At 8:10 PM, October 04, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

umr 713

Remember you set the tone with the mother comment.

Here's a simple one for you. How would Hillary's moderated solution not make more people dependent on government?

Here's your license plate smart ass.

It's an acronym for "I'm About to prove you're economically challenged in front of your 5 friends".


At 8:28 PM, October 04, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...


This comment moderation sucks the life right out of my goal,no, my quest to teach you basic economics.


At 9:23 PM, October 04, 2007, Blogger UMRBlog said...


I guess that means no URL.


At 9:24 PM, October 04, 2007, Blogger UMRBlog said...


Just show me the part about where I asked that congress solve my problems and then we'll move on to tone.


At 4:20 AM, October 05, 2007, Blogger Allthenewsthatfits said...

Private insurers spend an average of 15 percent of their budgets on administration (i.e., oversight, paperwork, and bureaucracy). Medicare, that evil government-run insurance program, spends 2 percent.

I would also add that government already mandates that we have insurance in another area -- our automobiles. Would our lives be a lot better if that government mandate didn't exist?

At 4:40 AM, October 05, 2007, Blogger TOOKIE said...

I missed all the parts ...I think George Will .....then baseball

then his son

then Gene ..........

Then I picture Teague running down the Caine wideout & taking the ball.

Then I think BAMA National Title

So I missed all your arguements !

have fun guys ......

I am off to you tube to watch Teague again .

(who BTW was the Cowboy who dropped TO when he tried to dance on the Star)

At 4:46 AM, October 05, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

umr 924

Right here:

"She's the one proposing a moderated solution to uniform health care."


At 6:28 AM, October 05, 2007, Blogger UMRBlog said...

URL for the part about proof of Health Insurance being required obtain employment, not a URL for something I said.


At 7:08 AM, October 05, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

According to a September 18 Associated Press article, Clinton said in an interview with the AP: "At this point, we don't have anything punitive that we have proposed" for people who do not purchase health insurance as required by her plan. Clinton added, "We're providing incentives and tax credits which we think will be very attractive to the vast majority of Americans." The article also stated that Clinton "said she could envision a day when 'you have to show proof to your employer that you're insured as a part of the job interview -- like when your kid goes to school and has to show proof of vaccination,' but said such details would be worked out through negotiations with Congress."

Now parse the word envision.

At 7:38 AM, October 05, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many years ago (1982), a group of newspaper people met George Will at lunch at the Washington Post. From me, he mainly wanted to know why Quincy kept sending its best basketball players to Iowa

At 8:32 AM, October 05, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Allthenewsthatfits 420

Comparisons of private sector administrative costs with those of government are misleading. Many government administrative expenses are excluded in such comparisons, such as what it costs employers and government to collect the taxes needed to fund the single-payer system, and the salaries of politicians and their staff members who set government health-care policy (the salary costs of executives and boards of directors who set company policy are included in private sector administrative costs).

But even if the U.S. would save money on administrative costs by switching to a single-payer system, the savings would prove temporary. The main cause of rising health care costs is not administrative costs, but over-use of health care. A single-payer system would not solve that problem. Indeed, it would make it worse.

Your Auto Insurance Analogy collapses at the outset because it’s not a universal mandate. No one is forced to buy auto insurance. Only those who drive are required to. Many of them don’t bother or can’t afford insurance and drive anyway.

Unlike health insurance, there’s a national market for auto insurance. You can buy a cheap policy from an out-of-state company. You can buy only liability and not collision. If you have a history of safe driving, you get a large discount.

n other words, the auto insurance analogy fails for two basic reasons: There is no universal auto insurance mandate, and the market for auto insurance is mostly free of the government-imposed distortions that encumber the health insurance market.

At 9:39 AM, October 05, 2007, Blogger Allthenewsthatfits said...

Back to the original topic of the post for a moment...SCHIP. It's true that there's a lot of posturing going on around it right now, but let's see what comes out post-veto. We may yet see a reasonable bill. Congress should have been ashamed of itself to fund the expansion with a tax on smokers (i.e., more low-income people than others)....if it's such a good idea, we should all share the cost.

Point well taken on the differences between auto and health insurance. My broader point was that we cheerfully accept government mandates when we think they perform a social good.

Comparisons between government programs such as Medicare and private insurers do bog down. But for the most part, I'd say that government-run health programs such as Medicare and the VA have tended to be simpler and kinder than the private insurance firms I've had to deal with.

My mind boggles at the idea that "over-use of health care" is our system's problem, considering that we now rank 38th in the world in life expectancy, right behind Cuba (UN World Populations Prospects, 2006). Maybe the problem isn't overuse, but unequal distribution.

At 9:50 AM, October 05, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonomous 8:42:

Is overuse of health care the reason a simple 15 minute procedure costs over $1000?

The rising cost in my view is a combination of non-profit hospitals acting like for-profits, out of control malpractice for minor medical errors, a generally unhealthy and lazy population, too lengthy patent terms, insurance companies refusing to pay for preventative care and inappropriate use by patients.

I don't like the sound of as a taxpayer paying for someone's health care who doesn't take care of themselves. At least those pushing universal care are searching for a solution rather than ignoring it, patching it or pushing more risk and cost off on the consumer like our current admin is doing with tax credits and HSA's.

My question is why won't the system let individuals or small businesses join together to purchase group insurance at the same lower rates available to large companies? To me this is a no-brainer. Almost universal care without government involvement...except for the fact that private insurance companies can still deny necessary coverage even if your doctor says it is necessary.

At 12:17 PM, October 05, 2007, Blogger UMRBlog said...

0939, 0950

What the hell is the matter with you guys? You're actually discussing the material I had hoped the Will piece would provoke. You're on topic, reasoned and didn't call anybody else a dumbass.

The blogosphere being used for civil public discourse? There must be some mistake.

Thanks a lot for Coming By with worthwhile stuff.

At 12:34 PM, October 05, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...


You sittin this one out?

At 12:43 PM, October 05, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...


By over use I mean that Americans - whether privately insured or publicly covered - tend to be over-insured, and thus less sensitive to prices. And so we come to a paradox: American health care is so expensive because it's so cheap. That is, with Americans paying just 14 cents out-of-pocket for every health dollar, they have little incentive to economize on health expenses. Americans have access to the most technologically sophisticated system in human history - yet pay pennies on the dollar out of their own pockets. The upshot? A health care system that is heavy in cost but not necessarily strong in satisfaction and uneven in quality.

At 12:51 PM, October 05, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The illusion of something for nothing has kept the welfare state going -- and expanding. If there is something for sale in the marketplace for ten dollars and you would not pay more than five dollars for it, some politician can always offer to get it for you free -- as a newly discovered "basic right," or at least at a "reasonable" or "affordable" price.

At 1:44 PM, October 05, 2007, Blogger THE ORACLE... said...

Health insurance must be topic of interest for everyone. I had mine in Feb of 07 and had 70 comments before the idiots chimed in.


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