Thursday, December 3, 2009

Being for the Public Option X

According to a recent poll Reuters reports that "most Americans would like to see a public option in health insurance reform but doubt anything Congress does will lower costs or improve care in the short term, according to a poll released on Thursday."
The survey of 2,999 households by Thomson Reuters Corp shows a public skeptical about the cost, quality and accessibility of medical care.

Just under 60 percent of those surveyed said they would like a public option as part of any final healthcare reform legislation, which Republicans and a few Democrats oppose.

Here are some of the results of the telephone survey of 2,999 households called from November 9-17 as part of the Thomson Reuters PULSE Healthcare Survey:

* Believe in public option: 59.9 percent yes, 40.1 percent no.

* 86 percent of Democrats support the public option versus 57 percent of Independents and 33 percent of Republicans.

The nationally representative survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.8 percent.
Are Congress members elected to Washington at the behest of the people?


zorro said...

The House passed the public option. This is because they reflect the actual population. The Senate represents the states and is not related to the population. Small states like the Dakotas with less than 1% of the population have as much leverage as California. So, the public option is in question in a big way due to the structure of the Senate. 90-95% percent of the Democratic Senators are for the public option. Money and lobbiests and the structure of the senate both play a part here.
Things are much more complicated than the media lets on. For example, today Bank of America paid off its Tarp bill. They did that by hoarding money (not loaning to small business) so they could pay it off quicker and not have to live by government imposed pay caps. So, in some ways, pay caps to executives might be one of the reasons why small businesses are struggling -
Much of the time, we are given news in simplified bites - then we react, based on this simplified information, in relatively simple ways.

Judith Ellis said...

Zorro - You are right on with regards to the Senate. Actually, I have been trying to understand why we even have a Senate. Is their role really constitutional when we have the House? All we need is an executive, legislative and judicial branch, no? Couldn't the House represent the legislative branch? We could reduce the budget by what a billion dollars if we got rid of the Senate? Too radical?

Regarding the population for states like the Dakotas, this puts me in the mind of the counting system of the Electoral College.

With regards to TARP, I also agree 100% with your assessment. These Wall Street banks created a spread by receiving billion on a low interest rate and maintaining the same with regards to fees. It doesn't take any business savvy to create billions this way. In fact, any of us could with the terms they were given. I'm with Reich in that no bonuses should be awarded and that we should demand clawbacks and use this money for domestic policy.

The fact that the banks have not lent after the people lent to them is disgraceful. But the real deal is why did we even expect them to? Geithner, Bernanke, and Summers did not work on our behalf. They were not good stewards of our money and this is why I feel as if they should not longer be in the positions that they are in, not to mention that they watched this crisis happen, as I have said repeatedly.

Please explain the meaning of this: "So, in some ways, pay caps to executives might be one of the reasons why small businesses are struggling."

I wholeheartedly agree that "much of the time, we are given news in simplified bites - then we react, based on this simplified information, in relatively simple ways," except, I would not say simple but simplistic. If the information was meaningful simple, without sensationalism, this is good. What news tends to do is be simplistic, in a very benign way where essence or the core of the issue is not dealt with.

What you have just written is simple. Thank you.

zorro said...

According to what I heard on NPR, Bank of America, in its desire to pay off TARP (so they could get out from under the pay caps imposed by the government) did not loan out money to the degree they would have if they were not so focused on paying off TARP - so, they held off on small business loans for the past year. This was also the conclusion of the commentator on NPR. So when the media first started reporting the salaries of bankers and people started demanding pay caps,the media was simplistic in its reporting because they left out the possible consequences of giving a bank too much incentive to pay of its TARP money quickly.

The reason for the Senate was to allow each state to have equal say - but I don't think the lopsidedness of the populations in the Staes were anticipated. Also, the original way Senators were eleted was they were apponted by the state assmblys. They were not diretly elected by voters. The law was changed in the early 1900's I think.
"Geithner, Bernanke, and Summers did not work on our behalf."
There is no evidence of this - doing a lousy job does not mean they were corrupt. How the TARP money was handled was based on getting banks to actually accept the money. Incorrect assumptions might have benn made as to how to get banks to accept money, but there is no evidene of corruption - at least I have not seen any.
The health care debate is another area where the media simplified everything - it has turned into a debate of - Public Option - No Public Option - when the problem has been solved throughout the world using variuos combination of public/private. The only thing ommon in all successful health systems is the removal of the profit motive. This has never been discussed in a clear way on any of the major networks. They only report on the conflict.
The Party Crasher story is rediulus. No one was killed and there people were not dangerous. It is something to be concerned about, but I don't remeber people being forced to testify in Congress when President Reagan was shot. I don't think there was as big a public stink made about the lapses that happened back then - and the President was actually shot.

Judith Ellis said...

Great points, Zorro. Allow me to address them thusly:

1. Bank of America, Geithner, Bernanke and the Media.

A loan is a loan and how it is set up matters. What Geithner and Bernanke did was not think in ways that would best benefit the people, let alone sit and allow this disaster to happen. They were both directly responsible for this financial mess, having been in positions that should have avoided it. There is no surprise that Bank of America would do exactly what they have done. Usually, how they themselves do it is if you pay off a loan early you have to pay a penalty. Geithner and Bernanke did not even require Wall Street banks to pay a penalty for pre-payment. Duh! Why not use the rules that they use on millions of others?

It is not necessarily an issue of corruption, although it seems very shady with regards to both Paulson of the previous administration, Geithner and Bernanke, but it is most definitely an issue of incompetence and colossal failure. I think you give the media a bit too much power here. It is not their responsibility to suggest or give reasons to a catastrophe, but to point out the facts. I do not expect policy lead from the media. Their job is to report the facts. Of course, there is a lot of opinion in news these days in all forms outside of the opinion page.

Again, it was Geithner and Bernanke to make sure that the people benefited from the billions that were loaned to Wall Street banks. They did not do so in our best interest. Of course, these banks did exactly what any rational personal would do without pre-payment penalties. I’m for clawbacks. NOW!

2. The Senate

Interesting points there about the Senate. You have peaked my interest and I will do a bit of research. You make a great point about the unforeseen consequences of populations in various States.

3. Public Option

I agree with you totally about the debate when there are successful model universally of public/private systems, not to mention that we have such a combination here with regards to Medicare, Medicaid and the VA. You have given links and videos here of countries where there are public/private systems. This was much appreciated. Personally, I am for the public option as there does not seem to be other amendments that would better guarantee health care to the millions of Americans without it. The reason why this has become such a big deal is because it directly affects the bottom-line of the nearly trillion dollar industry that does not want reform. It is clear why it has become the focus. I think we need not be simplistic about this very important point either. I do agree with you that the media had focused on the negative. But this is usually how papers are sold, but it probably inflames issues in inhibit proper dialogue and policy change, because it fires up the base in negative ways. Yeah, I can see your point there.

4. The Party Crashers

Good point regarding the comparison to Ronald Reagan’s shooting. The difference is the time and our increasing salacious appetite for such stories. HOWEVER, I do think that this is particularly important because of the dramatic increase of threats on President Obama’s life, the most ever in recent history. Americans, I think, just want his safety. There are some efforts, so it seems, to make this a political issue. Were there actual congressional hearings with regards to President Reagan’s shooting? Were secret service laid off? Were members of the executive team required to appear. I do think, however, that while there need not be a witch hunt with regards to hearing, the White House should get to the bottom of any lapses within its staff. I do not think that the Social Secretary should be required to appear before Congress and she does not have to. Someone called it "stonewalling" that she will not appear before Congress and I thought that was a bit of witch hunting. You said in another post that this would be political and I questioned you on that. Hmm?

Thanks, Zorro!

zorro said...

"Again, it was Geithner and Bernanke to make sure that the people benefited from the billions that were loaned to Wall Street banks."

If this policy avoided a depression, then we all benefited.
They might well have been partly responsible for the conditions -
Here's Time magazines list of who is responsible -,28804,1877351_1877350,00.html

News has become gossip - the Tiger Woods story completely baffles me -
One minute, a talking head disusses Afghanstan - then transitions to Tiger Woods,as if these pieces of news are equally important -

septembermom said...

I love the discussion between you and zorro. These are the kind of discussions that make blogging both enjoyable and informative. Thanks to you both!

Judith Ellis said...

Zorro - Your point about the avoidance of a Depression is an after thought. My concern is the forethought: Why didn't Geithner and Bernanke, for example, allow AIG to assume such debt where it acted as a hedge fund? This was strictly in purview of both Geithner and Bernanke. According to conventional wisdom what was done was necessary. My concern is repeating this boom and bust cycle again and again. Thanks for the link. I will read it.

I agree that a lot of news has become gossip. The Tiger Woods' story is simply ridiculous as you have noted. It is also good of you to point out that the weight--which boils down to time broadcast news--is equally distributed. Sometimes such stories seem to be even longer than the others. This is complete lunacy. But we really have to start thinking of what really is important and leave the other salacious stuff for blogs and tabloids. Thanks for addressing this important point.

Judith Ellis said...

Hey Kelly - I'm happy that you appreciate the discussion. Zorro is an agile astute compassionate thinker. I appreciate his voice even though we do not agree on all matters. Such agreement is rare indeed. In fact, I am not seeking agreement, but conversation and knowledge.

zorro said...

Look how far people will go to politisize something,0,7860692.story

Judith Ellis said...

Thanks, Zorro. I have finally arrived home and will check out both links and probably have something to say about them.

Judith Ellis said...

Zorro - I laughed aloud with the link regarding the President's Afghanistan speech and the Charlie Brown special. This was obviously "tongue-in-cheek," eh? By the way, this is one of my all-time favorite shows since childhood. I try to catch it every year. Many times I miss it. But I love it!

Judith Ellis said...

OK, the first link is of the Letterman/Joaquin Phoenix interview which was trealy wild. (Phoenix is a great actor.) I saw that one live. But it is not relevent to the responsiblity of the financial crisis. Wrong link, perhaps?