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Saturday, November 07, 2009

They Passed HealthCare Tonight

The House, that is. Soon the country will be sick as a dog. See the CBO letter at their website. The bottom line is that an awful lot of money is supposed to be transferred from Medicare to the program; but what is not included is that those changes would force up the cost of health care to private insurers (or the govmt), so their scoring is wrong. The other thing, of course, is that most of the new CARE proposals don't kick in for years, whereas the revenue provisions do, so the estimate is flawed that way.

If you want to achieve a quick death from disgustion, read this Watts Up post about an aluminum factory that had to shut down because it couldn't buy electricity. In Montana.

This is another article which I think explains the situation more clearly. However people have to understand that all the existing mandates are raising, not lowering the cost of power, and that it is making many US manufacturers uncompetitive. The future of manufacturing is highly automated, but that does use a lot of power, and eventually, all the plants will wind up where power is cheapest.

Update: Washington Post has a nice sortable table of the votes on the bill. You can click on the headings and sort it any way you want. I knew my weasel was a Y, but I won't fail to write him a nice note telling him what I think of his vote and asking whether he read it, and giving a quiz he can answer to see if he understood it. All of this, of course, is to no avail. A version will pass in the Senate and will be reconciled and will be foisted upon the public.

It's almost as though someone was trying to dismantle the country.
Perhaps a few do want that; most simply don't understand what they are doing.

It's sort of like having your car repaired by a three-year-old child.
John - very apt. They don't mean badly, but some of these people just have no concept of how an economy works.
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It wouldn't be so bad, except that their typical response to discovering that things don't work they way they think things should is not repealing their mistakes, but committing entirely new, larger mistakes ...
Some of them do mean badly...some of them think America is such an awful country, and Americans are such terrible people, that anything that reduces our affluence and power is a benefit to the world.

I'm in Europe with "socialised " health care.Can't complain, cause I got no probs yet and hopefully it stays that way. But a question for you.

If you are unemployed in America(currently 10%) and have health issues, what becomes of you ???? and does this bill do anything to address that ???

Here I know the answer.
Anon - that's the worst of it. It really doesn't for years.

There are many routes we could have gone that would have been better. A straight public system would actually work better than this.

Direct aid to the people who don't have the incomes, plus a 1% additional Medicare tax and an increase of Medicare premiums would have worked even better, because private premiums then would have dropped, and people would have had medical care right away.

That's the burn of this. It will not work; it does not help most people now, when they really need it; it will raise private insurance premiums in 2010 and every year thereafter until we get serious.

I cannot understand how we could have had two reasonable options and managed to create a far worse third that manages to multiply all the current inefficiencies without getting much in the way of real help to people who need real help right now.

I can't understand it. It is almost as if Congress doesn't realize what a fix the country is in.
Even crazier is the fact that the dam (Hungry Horse) that supplies the power for the aluminum plant is 2 miles from the plant. In fact the plant was built there in large part to justify the dam years ago. It has always been a touch and go economic proposition as all raw materials have to be shipped in and all product shipped out (and nothin's close to Montana). The only thing that made it work was a several decades long sweetheart deal from Bonneville Power for the electricity. When Bonneville's Nuclear plant in Washington State was mothballed before it was finished it became crunch time for the northwest (and California) as far as power was concerned and the price of electricity and demand for the power from the Hungry Horse dam went way up. Now, with out the power deal, CFAC would have to compete on the open market for power which would likely have to be transmitted 300 miles from eastern Montana which is expensive because of demand and transmission line power loss. It was just never going to work.
As neoneocon wrote, there's years and years of assumptions and perceptions that go into these beliefs. And national health care has been the holy grail for them for so long, that a little thing like destroying the economy is simply not going to stop them from enacting it while they have the chance.

Aluminum: Iceland is a funny place in many ways. They have one export: fish. But they can generate a lot of electricity cheaply. You can export electricity--in the form of aluminum. They got a new, huge hydro-fed aluminum smelter up just in time to see the price for the metal collapse.
Nothing is more important to Democrats than getting control of health care to the greatest extent possible. It's the one industry that they can make a real argument should be nationalized for reasons of morality, and people will listen. Their assumption is that once they've got control a) everyone will see how well it works and want more, and b) it doesn't matter whether it works or not--such things cannot be undone, and it'll be a gravy train big enough that little things like elections just won't matter anymore. If you're a Democrat politician, you and your aides will always have a patronage job somewhere in health care and your campaign coffers will always be full of union money. It's a winner-take-all situation.

Unfortunately, there's no such thing as a stable winner-take-all democracy.
Another aside on the Columbia Falls Aluminum Plant:

The original owner of the plant ( can't remember but it may have been Alcoa) pulled out 25 to 30 years ago because margins were declining rapidly. Many of the people that worked there had major portions of their lives invested and were in danger of losing their pensions and having to start over at relatively advanced ages (for manufacturing workers). They banded together and bought the plant themselves, secured some government help and some more cheap electricity and struggled along for another 25 years. The guys that were in danger of losing their retirement made it out; the new guys always knew it was a crap shoot and didn't invest much of their lives in it (I believe they had quite a lot of turnover). In the end it closed out as well as could be expected.
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