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These are my notes for the Obamacare Myths series, which I wrote about half of here, along with notes for some related things I might write.

2011 Notes

Original Notes

Obamacare myth #1: It's a luxury we can't afford.

The Congressional Budget Office estimated the legislation would reduce the deficit by $143 billion[68] over the first decade and by $1.2 trillion in the second decade

If you don't believe the CBO's analysis, who do you believe -- and why? Have they explained how the CBO's analysis is wrong?

And if the CBO estimate is somewhat inaccurate, we could have easily covered the GOP would just be willing to tax the people who *can* afford a little extra -- you know, that top 1% of earners who just got their tax cuts extended -- any possible underestimate of the cost would be taken care of.

Obamacare myth #2: It forces individuals to buy insurance they can't afford.

If you earn under 133% of the poverty level, you get Medicaid (free).

That satisfies the requirement to have insurance -- so basically if you can't afford it, they give it to you. If you're too well-off to qualify for Medicare, then this applies: "low income persons and families above the Medicaid level and up to 400% of poverty level will receive subsidies on a sliding scale if they choose to purchase insurance via a health insurance exchange "

In other words, there's no way you couldn't afford to get insurance under this plan.

Obamacare myth #3: If you don't buy insurance, they stick you with a huge penalty.

There's some truth to this one, but again with qualifications:

There is no penalty yet; it takes effect in two stages, the first of which is on January 1, 2014, when there will be an annual penalty of $95, or up to 1% of income, whichever is greater. Considering that this minimum is roughly the cost of a single doctor's visit, this should not be a problem.

By 2016, this will rise to $695, or 2.5% of income, for individuals. This is an individual limit; families have a limit of $2,085. Exemptions to the fine in cases of financial hardship or religious beliefs are permitted

More to the point: if a law benefits millions of people but has a few pieces that are arguably harmful, wouldn't it make more sense to campaign to have those bits fixed rather than throwing the whole thing out?

And if you throw the whole thing out, what are you going to replace it with? Everyone -- conservatives and liberals -- agreed that what we had before was unacceptable and broken. How can it possibly be an improvement to go back there?

Obamacare myth #4: Repealing it will save money and help the deficit.

Obamacare myth #5: Obamacare was forced on America; Americans didn't want it.

Obamacare myth #6: It doesn't actually help people. "I know people who still can't get insurance." Partly in appeasement to the health insurance industry, Obamacare takes effect in stages over several years; Measures already in effect: If you're just getting insurance after a gap, insurance companies used to be able to deny coverage for having a "pre-existing condition" -- a term which they could define however they wanted, including everything from terminal cancer to a hangnail. Under Obamacare, they can't do that anymore.

Obamacare myth #7: It rations healthcare -- government agents will be deciding who lives or dies. (The worst form of this is the "death panels" myth.)

Obamacare myth #8: It will kill jobs if not repealed.

Obamacare myth #9: Obamacare is paid for by tax increases.

Obamacare myth #10: it is unwarranted government intrusion.

 "government takeover" comment: "Allowing the government to tell people they have to purchase with their own money is fundamentally no different then telling someone where or what industry they have to work in, who they have to marry, etc etc." 
 Is it unconstitutional? Maybe. Maybe we should have had "socialized" (be that "single-payer" or "universal") coverage instead, which would have automatically covered everyone. Maybe we should have rescinded the Bush tax cuts to help pay for this, instead of requiring individuals to contribute on the basis of ability (as Obamacare does). Which would you prefer, and why? Or do you believe that the system we had *before* Obamacare was adequate?

NOTES Is this what it seems to be, i.e. a passably sane right-wing counterproposal?

Sunday Thoughts

Certain parts of the Bible are best viewed as horror fiction. (Discuss.)

Republican Myths

Republicans are all about "personal responsibility". (At least 2 examples in Obamacare Myths)
Republicans want to reduce the size of government
  • they love big wars and don't care how dishonest the accounting practices are
  • when they "downsize" government, they often start with the *most effective* parts of government, thus causing govt to be even less efficient
  • they also often start with small programs with which they can make a big splash, thus getting a lot of credit for very little downsizing (often cutting useful programs in the process)
  • sometimes it seems they just want to kill government outright through mismanagement and reneging on prior obligations
Republicans want to reduce government invasions of private business.
Republicans are more frugal than Democrats.
Republicans are better for business than Democrats.
Republicans care more about the family than Democrats do.
Republicans care about life more than Democrats do.
Social Security is in crisis.

Myths about liberals

Liberals spat on returning Vietnam soldiers.

  • No, they didn't. Nobody did. There are no documented cases of this happening, ever.

Liberals like to spend other people's money.

Reagan Myths

vbz post

I've been mostly pulled off coding for the past month or two due to various crises (all of which have their roots in a family mental healthcare situation, I should mention for those of you who are fans of business yet against universal healthcare) but I managed to get a few more things working:

- catalog bulk entry (so the listings can finally be updated)

- restock request entry (so we can keep track of what we order from suppliers)

- restock shipment entry (so we can record what items we actually receive and easily move them into stock)

The next major project is the "Topics" listing, which is kind of crucial for keyword advertising and also helps customers to find what they're looking for.

After that, I have some really interesting ideas for new ways to think about how businesses can more efficiently exchange value with customers.


saved here for now so I don't have to decide whether to blow $12 registering

An OpenTradeMark would be like a regular trademark except:

  • It would refer to a specific set of measurable or testable attributes in the product or service being marked
  • Anyone could use it, as long as their product or service possesses those attributes
  • Marks, and their definitions, would be registered informally on a wiki
  • There would be no legal action taken against anyone who misused a mark (i.e. used it to refer to a product or service which did not meet the mark's definition); instead, they would simply be listed on the registry as a violator, with the nature of the violation described in detail.

A Candid World discard

(On "how the 2nd Amenment" doesn't serve its goals very well anymore by only protecting gun rights)

I've seen the following mentioned in this thread:

  • personal defense
  • competitive sports
  • collecting
  • hunting
  • self defense
  • property defense

The intent of "the right to bear arms" as protected by the 2nd Amendment is arguably one or more of the following (from Wikipedia): 1. deterring undemocratic government 2. repelling invasion 3. suppressing insurrection 4. facilitating a natural right of self-defense 5. participating in law enforcement 6. enabling the people to organize a militia system

Personal arms are particularly ineffective at #1 and #2, given the weapons available to the opposition. We might do better


(just verify that this isn't being mysteriously deleted by Blogger)

Oh man. This is definitely comparable to our experiences with Josh. harder in some ways, maybe easier in others, but definitely on the same scale. "A full-time job."

Bits of it were gut-wrenchingly familiar...

...wrestling Josh into the car (twice -- the first time, I forgot to activate the childproof lock on one side) to get him up to the facility, an ~80-minute drive across the border to Virginia -- with me wondering if his repeated hovering at my shoulder meant that he was going to try to escape over me as I was driving.

...having to lock all outside doors and hide the keys (and add a keyed deadbolt to the front door, and put up a shelf blocking the windows in the living room, and screw down the window crank in the breakfast nook), so that he wouldn't randomly leave the house (possibly in the middle of the night or wearing only a swimsuit).

...not knowing that Medicaid could help, not knowing that he qualified for Medicaid, not knowing the stupid tricks you have to do in order to get Medicaid, being given the wrong form to fill out, applying for SSI three times and being turned down for having too many resources... (how can you have too many resources when your net worth is in the negative 5 digits?)

And yeah, most of that happened before the budgets were cut. And now they're constantly trying to end Josh's stay at the institution when he has just started making real progress and of course long before we've any hope of finding a permanent group home for him (been looking for that since at least 2007).

So yeah, it's a crazy, stupid, system -- and I hope that "smaller government" advocates understand why I think they are full of it when they suggest that the solution to our national woes is to both cut social services and cut taxes for the rich.

If the free-marketeers can deliver universal healthcare, then they can talk about making the government smaller. Until then, STFU.


(save in case needed -- for Mike) I think there's one thing we can agree on: the Democrats are a truly awful party -- a bunch of simpering, spineless nitwits more interested in pandering to the least common denominator whilst lining the pockets of their largest contributors than they are in anything remotely resembling leadership or intelligent decision-making, much less truly representing the best interests of their constituents or defending the Constitution.

The Republicans, on the other hand, are monstrous.

The GOP is a party actively engaged in lying to its own people.

The GOP wants its people stupid, misinformed, and confused, so that they will more readily believe its lies -- despite even the most obvious contradictions. It tells them lies so they will do its bidding, it tells them lies to keep them from being able to understand other points of view, it tells them lies to keep them from being able to reason or think straight -- and it tells them lies to keep them angry and stoked up, like starving lions at the Circus Maximus, so they will jump responsively when their strings are yanked.

The GOP is a party which lovingly nurtures social chaos -- by its excessive support for needlessly destructive personal weaponry; by its support of policies which prevent sane life-decisions from being made by parents and doctors; by its domination of the major channels through which most people form political opinions, and its willingness to use those channels to spread a blatantly false and distorted version of reality; by its support of disinformation in education; by its hostility towards the very idea of public education; by its hostility to science, knowledge, and learning; by its hostility to the idea of rational public discourse; by its hostility to the very idea of rationality.

I pity those who vote Republican, because I understand that they are victims -- of a system which they have been taught to believe has no victims. They believe they are voting for cautious, "conservative" "American" values -- when in reality the GOP has been behind some of the most radical reworking of our society, the most un-American intolerance and ineptitude, the most profligate spending, the most careless inattention, the grossest mismanagement -- and that's just in the past decade.