The Spectacle Blog

Mass Care Not Working Out—Part II

By on 8.17.06 | 3:27PM

Lesson number two that Romney ignored: Unintended consequences. From that same Globe article:

Walrath's comments came as the divide between business leaders and healthcare advocates over what constitutes a company's "fair and reasonable" contribution to health insurance deepened yesterday. During a Division of Health Care Finance and Policy public hearing at the University of Massachusetts at Boston, healthcare advocates said the division's proposal would further erode employer health plans, leading to a "race to the bottom."

"The proposed regulations make an already inadequate assessment even more inadequate," said Phil Edmundson, head of a private insurance company and chairman of Affordable Care Today's Massachusetts coalition.

Mass Care Not Working Out—Part I

By on 8.17.06 | 3:16PM

I'm betting that Mitt Romney will eventually come to regret the health care reform he championed. From the Boston Globe:

Representative Patricia A. Walrath, Democrat of Stow, said the regulations proposed in June by the Romney administration do not require businesses to pay enough for healthcare reform. In addition, she said a company's contribution should take part-time employees into account. The rules drafted by the Division of Health Care Finance and Policy exclude part-time workers.

Under the proposed rules, a company is considered a `"contributing employer" if at least 25 percent of its workers participate in the employer-sponsored health plan." Companies that don't meet that threshold can also be considered contributing employers if they pay at least 33 percent of the premium for individual coverage. Businesses with fewer than 11 employees are exempt.

There They Go Again

By on 8.17.06 | 1:23PM

Ok, radio's over for a little while so tv begins again. See ya on Kudlow & Co. on CNBC tonight about 5 pm EDT, talking about terrorist profiling at airports and other such. Lots of SGO, none of it good.

RE: For What Office Is Wal-Mart Running?

By on 8.17.06 | 1:21PM

Oh, but Dave, it can be such a profitable strategy in the short run. That's why Wal-Mart's CEO has urged an increase in the minimum wage. In the long-run, of course, you give the left more power to determine what you can and cannot pay employees. But in the short-run, such a policy makes labor costs higher for Wal-Mart's competitors--you know, all those Mom-N-Pops the left always accuses Wal-Mart of driving out of business? They go out of business, and Wal-Mart expands its market share.

Of course, getting the left to understand that about the minimum wage makes one feel like the proverbial one-legged man at the a** kicking contest.

For What Office Is Wal-Mart Running?

By on 8.17.06 | 12:47PM

The Democrats seem to have confused a corporation that provides jobs (and, by the way, is now toeing their line on emergency contraceptives, the environment, and health care) for a political opponent. At least Mayor Daley gets it ($): if you keep legally harassing Wal-Mart about wages, they'll just up and leave.

It is worth noting, as Mr. Hogberg often does, that corporations often don't understand that appeasing the left is not a fruitful strategy. Wal-Mart has given many inches, and will end up having to give miles.

Dealing with Hamas

By on 8.17.06 | 11:44AM

Writing in today's NY Times (subscription required), Scott Atran, a research scientist at the National Center for Scientific Research in Paris, says that Israel and the U.S. should deal with Hamas.

Although Hamas is sworn to the destruction of Israel, Atran writes:

Hamas's top elected official, Prime Minister Ismail Haniya, now accepts that to stop his people's suffering, his government must forsake its all-or-nothing call for Israel's destruction. "We have no problem with a sovereign Palestinian state over all our lands within the 1967 borders, living in calm," Mr. Haniya told me in his Gaza City office in late June, shortly before an Israeli missile destroyed it. "But we need the West as a partner to help us through."

Many Have Said

By on 8.17.06 | 11:28AM

After two days of prominently placed page 1 stories on Sen. George Allen, the Washington Post has relegated its coverage of his re-election campaign to its previous spot, the Metro section, practically burying today's story in a tiny corner at the bottom of page B1. Evidently it's not big news that Sen. John McCain stumped for Allen yesterday in Norfolk, or that Allen's opponent James Webb drew all of 40 people to his appearance in safe, ultra-liberal Arlington (I think I drew more than that when I once spoke to the Arlington Kiwanis, the group Webb addressed yesterday), or that Webb supporter Wesley Clark included war hero McCain among the Republicans he says have let military veterans down.

Of course, the "macaca" story was replayed early in the report, in the weasely way that has come to exemplify liberal media bias, as editorializing fills in where empirical reporting won't or can't go. This, from paragraph 3, about McCain's appearance for Allen:

Ned Falling

By on 8.17.06 | 10:17AM

This is what people power is all about:

BOSTON (Reuters) - U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman (news, bio, voting record), a three-term Democrat now running as an independent candidate, leads the man who beat him in last week's primary vote by 12 points in a three-way race, a poll released on Thursday shows.

How Government Treats The Private Sector

By on 8.16.06 | 5:02PM

Last week I responded to an argument that we ought to open Medicare to all and let it compete with the private sector health insurance. One of my responses was that since the government gets to run Medicare and regulate private health insurance, it was a bit like letting a referee both officiate and play in a game.

You can get a good glimpse of this by looking at Medicare Part C, which was supposed to let private insurance companies offer health savings account-type policies to seniors (called medical savings accounts (MSAs) under Medicare). However, Part C was weighed down by so many regulations that virtually no private insurance plans bothered.

Apparently the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) decided to revamp the application process. Under "Downloads" on the CMS website, there are nine different links for "useful information" and memos before you get to the applications.