Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Jesus Christ, What a Disappointment

Geez, I'm so fucking pleased that our fine president, who ran on a platform of change, has now adopted the abhorrent pratice of issuing signing statements explaining that he'll ignore what he disagrees with.

Or, in the case of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2011, he issued a signing statement saying that he was forced to accept the provisions authorizing him to detain US citizens indefinitely without trial, and that he would certainly use his powers to see that the provisions weren't wielded wrongly.

A strong man -- with unprecedented power.  Why, whatever could go wrong?
A charge refuted by Sen. Carl Levin, who explained (and whose explanation was confirmed by other senator) that the president insisted on the provision's inclusion after noises began to surface about modifying it.

I won't try to argue with anyone about the NDAA's problem with authorizing such detention -- if you're not bothered bu it already, I won't change your mind.

But please don't go around thinking that the president is any different from any of his autocratic, no-holds-barred predecessors.*  "change" my ass . . .




Of course he differs.  What am I thinking -- he didn't actually get dirty and muscle legislators on his original stimulus or his health care proposals.  He was a change indeed - a prez who pissed away his early strength to weaken his succeeding four years.

jeepers.

37 comments:

Fred C. Dobbs said...

I don't disagree.

See? SEE?? See how easy that was?


What whappeen to the good ol' veto?

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Well, I disagree with one thing you said. "Don't think he's any different from his predecessors."

Of COURSE he's different. He passed a stimulus and a health care reform bill (even if you don't approve of how he went about it).

And a lot of other things his predecessor(s) didn't do, even if he is highly similar in many respects to Boosh.

The error you make here is not an insignificant one. I hear people make it all the time. "Similarity" is mistaken for "there's not a dime's worth of difference between the bums."

Of course there is. Obviously there is. That is so blazingly, self-evidently true that I am amazed that I hear it as often as I do.

The reason it is not insignificant is because it is the pretense most frequently offered to excuse voter apathy.

Until you can convince me that if Boosh had a third term he would have put Elena Kagan on the Supreme Court and created a Consumer Financial Protection Agency, you will remain wrong.

That said, I have never seen so much continuity between two administrations of different parties in succession. That BHO ran on a platform of "change" makes that bitterly ironic.

mister muleboy said...

Well, now I wonder if you went for the purposefully argumentative just to shake things up, or if it's merely a function of who we are. I never intended my post to be a "not a dime's worth o' difference" post.

Since I don't think any of my post can or should be read to state or argue "there's not a dime's worth of difference between the bums"I'll just address your general premise that there is a difference between prior presidents and Obama: yup. As you point out, the outcomes differ. They occur in a different time, addressing different issues. They're self-evidently different.

I stand by my advice (or admonition?): don't think he's any different from his predecessors.

Sure the outcome is different, and yes a vote for one rather than another affects the outcome, affects policies, affects lives.

I could have been more specific, I guess. Obama and [most] of his predecessors will pander to their constituencies, set up straw men and knock 'em down in an attempt to divert attention from the consequences of their decisions, ruthlessly wield their executive power, ignore direct questions, jettison beneficial ideas in pursuit of reelection, risk as little political capital as possible (hoarding it for personal or partisan advantage rather than accomplishment), lie about their real position when posturing about what they support or oppose in legislation, drop their "g"s and change their manner of speech when addressing any crowd populated with even a few "regular" people, conduct deals behind closed doors and avoid "transparency," ruthlessly pursue whistleblowers, argue for absolute withholding of information on the basis of "national security,"

my list is longer.


He passed a stimulus and a health care reform bill (even if you don't approve of how he went about it).

I think I'll have to disagree here. As I was trying to point out, by refusing to wield his not insignificant political capital (esp. on the spending bill passed shortly after election), he didn't pass a stimulus bill or a health-care-reform bill.

I'll concede that a spending law was enacted, and that a health-insurance-reform law was enacted. IMHE, the first was not meaningfully stimulative, and the second did not meaningfully address health care.

Now before mister parker notes his amusement that I am surprised that this president isn't different from his predecessors, let me note that I'm not surprised. Just disappointed.




Since my original post was plainly about Barry running as a candidate of change and emerging the same hack as the rest, I won't spend much time on the plain fact (that you make well) that the outcomes are different, that the policies pursued are different, and that there is a dime's worth of difference (and more) between the parties, and that the hack for one party does things differently from the hack for the other party.

Judicial nominees, creation or makeup of regulatory bodies, sure. Different. Sure.

I was talking about the public face of change -- a "new way of doing business" (not just policy change, which occurs with every change in administration). I don't see change there.

The relatively toothless laws passed as Barry's signature statements, though, don't equal the kind of policy change he also promised, but that's another post that I plainly won't be putting up here because I'm not about to waste my or anyone else's time typing about politics or government. That would be wrong, and that's for sure.





I see we agree on lots, since my bitter disappointment is your bitter irony.


PS One reason I hate my posts on these topics: they're ejaculated without thought or editing.

But I guess that's my "charm". . .

Fred C. Dobbs said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fred C. Dobbs said...

Shorter me: he's different, although similar.

Shorter you: he's similar, although different.

mister muleboy said...

[at the risk of unnecessary argument]

[who, me?]


Shorter me says:

Policies and Goals: Different, but in some ways alarmingly similar

Means of Production: No different (allowing for variations in skills).

Fred C. Dobbs said...

I wonder if you went for the purposefully argumentative just to shake things up

OK, I find this totally hilarious. 1) I disagreed with something you said, 2) I explained at great length why I thought the wrong thing you said was deeply significant to the very future of the republic, 3) you accused me of being gratuitously argumentative, and then

...wait for it...

4) you denied that the thing you said was wrong because

Barack Obama actually did not pass a stimulus package or a health-insurance reform bill.

Didn't do it. Never happened. I thought those things HAD happened, but you elucidated me on the matter, and explained to me that those things didn't happen because

Even though he actually did those things

You found them lacking.

Yeah, I'm the one just being argumentative for the argument's sake.

mister muleboy said...

Even though he actually did those things

You can call a Kid's American Flyer wagon a race car, but it's still just a wagon.

I say it didn't happen, you say it did. You're convinced that he passed a stimulating law, and you're convinced that he passed a law reforming health care.

You say I find them lacking. I do.

A brilliant man once said You're all as convinced you're right as I'm convinced I'm right.

Fred C. Dobbs said...

So, is it your position that the stimulus had ZERO effect on the nation's economy, and that the PPACA has had ZERO impact on the nation's health insurance practice?

I mean, that must be your position, since you are saying "they are so lacking, effectively, they did not happen."

Wait - did you also just remind me of how intransigent I am?

"Don't get sagacious on me, man."

"You are so blind right now."

mister muleboy said...

The first law had the effect of wasting his only meaningful shot at stimulus, i had distinguished health insurance from health care, and readily concede the law addressed health insurance, but argue it didn't address health care

One good turn deserves another another another

Fred C. Dobbs said...

I've read more than one non-partisan economic analysis that says the stimulus worked, such as this one:

http://mediamatters.org/research/201102180002

When you consider its beneficial effects with how rapidly the economy was freefalling when it went into effect, its looks even better.

I agree with you, BHO was needlessly timid and conciliatory towards the then-minority right wing in the process, the stimulus probably should have been bigger and better-crafted, but you, Krugman, and all the rest of us big lefty statists will just have to deal.

Your point that PPACA addressed health insurance but failed to address health care is such a violent exercise in semantic hair-splitting that I almost think it doesn't require a response. But I'll provide one that you probably already saw. Anecdotal, yes, but when the anecdote is "I would have died of cancer if not for PPACA" I think it gets the point across.

I think it's dangerously wrong to insist BHO is "no different" from his predecessors. He's done a lot of good for the country in the face of mouth-foaming opposition from a right that has lost its collective mind.

I also think it's absolutely essential to point out how shockingly similar he has been to Boosh, to the great detriment of the nation.

I have no problem holding both of those views simultaneously. They are in no way contradictory.

"It's visual, and it funks."

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Oops...PPACA anecdote link here:

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-ward-in-praise-of-obamacare-20111206,0,6794828.story

I could have an all-L.A. band out here in one week. Don't think it's not possible. It's very fucking possible.

mister muleboy said...

Your point that PPACA addressed health insurance but failed to address health care is such a violent exercise in semantic hair-splitting that I almost think it doesn't require a response.

I keep thinking that this is kidding, but I guess it's not.

I think the distinction is so meaningful that it needn't be explained. A brilliant man once said You're all as convinced you're right as I'm convinced I'm right.

Fred C. Dobbs said...

I think the distinction is so meaningful that it needn't be explained.

To say that the PPACA addressed health insurance but not health care, when almost everything about how health care is accessed and administered in this country is determined by the health insurance industry, is possibly the single silliest argument I have ever heard you make.

So, yeah, I'd say that you have some 'splainin' to do.

I keep thinking that this is kidding, but I guess it's not.

I'm really sorry my arguments put forth here, in all apparent sincereity, are nontheless so ridiculously lame and ineffectual to your great mind that you are convinced I must be clowning around. I'll try to do better.

A brilliant man once said You're all as convinced you're right as I'm convinced I'm right.

Yes, please keep lecturing me on how stubborn and close-minded I am. Every time you cut-and-paste that passage it becomes more persuasive.

mister muleboy said...

Dear Fred:

Thank you for your comment.

You appear to have found my own comments to be sufficiently offensive, or "obnoxious," to warrant a sarcastic response.

Rather than continue to argue with you, I'll point to our last exchange, and state that I don't find them offensive or obnoxious, and thought them at the time as light-hearted as our earlier exchanges had become:

+++++++++++++++

Fred: Your point that PPACA addressed health insurance but failed to address health care is such a violent exercise in semantic hair-splitting that I almost think it doesn't require a response.

Mister: I keep thinking that this is kidding, but I guess it's not.

I think the distinction is so meaningful that it needn't be explained.


+++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I thought the echo of "doesn't require a response" and "needn't be explained" was one of those incredibly witty moments that I am so prone to embrace. This thought apparently was not shared by you.

And then my keen refrain:

Mister:A brilliant man once said You're all as convinced you're right as I'm convinced I'm right.

Again, I thought that put a nice bow on our dialogue. It was intended to show that we'd both reached a point where, at least rhetorically, we observed that our conclusions were so self-evident as to require no response or explanation. Which I thought nicely fell into the statement.


I'm not engaged in formal debate here -- my comments are self-described unedited ejaculations. But I respect the form enough, and you and other commenters enough, not to entirely fuck around without declaring that I'm fucking around.
So I actually do think that [the law] addressed health insurance but failed to address health care, and think the distinction meaningful. You don't, as you explained in your last two posts. I certainly don't think it's the single silliest argument I've ever made -- it doesn't make the top one thousand. And I have a long line of witnesses who'll back me up.

And if you find the argument to be such a violent exercise in semantic hair-splitting that [you] almost think it doesn't require a response, I'm not going to hesitate to say . . . wait for it. . . You're all as convinced you're right as I'm convinced I'm right.

Why wouldn't I say it?

I never thought that equating a reader with me was a great insult, but apparently it is. As for personalizing it as an accusation of "stubborn and close-minded"ness, I already addressed that -- it's not. It applies no more or less to you than to anyone else I know.

And it's not any more persuasive the thirteenth time that I type it, but it's increasingly fun. That's why I did it. And since it equates you and everyone else with me, I'll consider it a compliment -- and I'll consider the point advanced rather than refuted.

Fred C. Dobbs said...

I'm going to let my last comment speak for itself.

Suffice to say, I think your comments became increasingly dismissive, personal, and condescending as you continued.

I'm not going to continue bickering with you about it here. I'll give you a call in the hopes we can discuss what happened here in person.

mister muleboy said...

I am always eager to speak with you. Not always available, as you know, but if I've got my phone and no obligations, I'm here.

I won't bicker either, but if this isn't a case of the typed words not remotely conveying the attitude and sound of a comment, I'll be shocked.

And now that I think about it, how the fuck is a guy named Fred C. Dobbs going to call a guy named mister muleboy? mister muleboy knows Fred, but he doesn't have a phone. Are our alter egos going to smooth things over? 'Cause that'll disappoint thousands (okay, tens) (okay, a couple) of readers. . . .






If you're genuinely steamed, I have no idea what our conversation will sound like.

Fred C. Dobbs said...

OK, I'm going to try to call you this weekend.

Bickering aside you still have not explained this comment:

i had distinguished health insurance from health care, and readily concede the law addressed health insurance, but argue it didn't address health care

I will reiterate, this is the single silliest argument I have ever heard you make.

I just finished reading up on the PPACA on Wiki. It's quite a good entry, I recommend it as a useful overview. No doubt the Act mostly addresses health insurance. However, there are a few key provisions which explicit address health care. Like this:

"Insurance companies are required to spend a certain percent of premium dollars on medical care improvement; if an insurer fails to meet this requirement, a rebate must be issued to the policy holder."

And this:

"A non-profit Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute is established, independent from government, to undertake comparative effectiveness research. This is charged with examining the "relative health outcomes, clinical effectiveness, and appropriateness" of different medical treatments by evaluating existing studies and conducting its own. Its 19-member board is to include patients, doctors, hospitals, drug makers, device manufacturers, insurers, payers, government officials and health experts."

Death panels! And this:

"Creation of task forces on Preventive Services and Community Preventive Services to develop, update, and disseminate evidenced-based recommendations on the use of clinical and community prevention services.

And this:

"The Indian Health Care Improvement Act is reauthorized and amended."

And this:

"The President established, within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), a council to be known as the National Prevention, Health Promotion and Public Health Council to help begin to develop a National Prevention and Health Promotion Strategy."

So the PPACA did address health care. That's just a fact. Of course, one could reply "Well, what I meant was that the PPACA didn't meaningfully address health care, and since all those things you listed are stupid ideas that will never work, that just proves my point."

All well and good. So let's just set aside for the moment the fact that PPACA actually does explicitly address health care in some respects.

Of course, PPACA overwhelmingly addresses health insurance. At the risk of oversimplifying, the effect of this bill will be to dramatically increase health insurance coverage for Americans. And that's an understatement. Whether we like it or not (if the mandate is upheld) almost all of us are going to be covered.

I assume this is the general premise of the Act: "Since health insurance drives health care in this country, we need to reform the health insurance industry if we are to meaningfully impact health care, in terms of access, outcome quality, cost, etc."

Simply put, coverage and care are so bound up with one another, how can you say the Act addresses one and not the other?

Do you think it's the other way around, and health care drives health insurance?

Do you think Obama should have left the insurance industry alone and micromanaged how doctors and hospitals conduct their practices?

Help me out here. I ain't gettin' it.

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Shorter me: if almost everybody is going to be covered, isn't that going to have an enormous impact on health care? What's the point of addressing health care if you don't first solve the problem of access?

I don't care about health care if I can't get any.

Fred C. Dobbs said...

One last thought: if today President Obama gave a speech and said "People call the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act "Obamacare." That's so wrong! We didn't address health CARE, just health insurance! It should be called Obamainsurance! We left health care completely alone. Ok, so the act is called Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. What's in a name? And besides, it shouldn't be called 'Oabama' anything, because Congress passes bills, not the president. I hardly had anything to do with it."

Can we assume that if he said that, you would take to this blog to defend him against the shrieking mockery to which he would be subjected from every corner of this country?

Note the irony: you, the libertarian, complain the stimulus wasn't big enough, that the PPACA didn't legislate health care adequately, and that Obama didn't meddle in the affairs of the legislative branch enough in its drafting.

mister muleboy said...

Vol. I

Thank you for the additional comments.

While you believe it to be a silly argument, I stand by my comment that the law didn't address health care.

And of course I should say "meaningfully" -- in an act of such size, it was bound to tangentially affect or address issues of health care.

Why, as you note, it provides for a rebate of insurance premiums if health care isn't addressed by insurance companies.

And on the off chance that a reader feels or thinks that this provision addresses health insurance rather than health care, I, like you, can point them to multiple committees established to some day address health care.

And finally, as you mention, it reauthorized and amended the Indian Health Care Improvement Act. And let me add that it imposed taxes on tanning salons, and it mandated fast-food restaurants display on the drive through the calories of their various offerings.

So I will your word meaningful -- it's a good word, and more accurate. My hyperbolic failure to do so was distracting.


Now

I’m accused of not really possibly believing the silliest argument that I've ever made. I really just "found [the law] lacking" or found that it “so lacking, effectively, that it did not happen."

May I suggest that you, too, conduct yourself in a similar way? That you perhaps argue that “because the health care law was beneficial and important, it effectively did reform health care”?

You write What's the point of addressing health care if you don't first solve the problem of access?

I don't care about health care if I can't get any.


Following your lead, I'll summarize what I believe this to say: "the Act addresses health insurance because it's a necessary predicate to addressing health care." As you argue, coverage and care are so bound up with one another, how can you say the Act addresses one and not the other?

I don't deny the premise that the two are "bound up" -- I dispute that the president passed a health-care-reform law. I don’t think I’m arguing that because it’s lacking, it’s not health-care reform, I think I argue that because it doesn’t reform health care, it’s lacking.

I read the Wiki on the Act, and I see, as you do, a law that overwhelmingly addresses health insurance. My first comment on this page, and every comment since, readily acknowledges this. But I go on to say it doesn't reform health care, and you dispute this because "access comes first."

Again, this strikes me as the mirror to your idea that I say health-care reform didn't happen because I found the law lacking. I don't think it's a stretch to say you see health care reform as happening because you found the insurance reform important and necessary.

I don't see why that makes me wrong, nor relatively justified in reciting my new mantra. You say that it's just "a fact" that the law addressed health care. I continue to dispute it. I don’t intend to be obstinate; I just think the distinction is important to make. And I think that health-care reform remains unaddressed [largely unaddressed], and that that’s worth noting.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

How all the foregoing posts make what I've said increasingly dismissive, personal, and condescending isn't clear to me. It's clear that the sarcasm of your "great mind/lame arguments" post is personal -- the "you" and "i" stuff was not lost on me. But as I also said, I don't think anything could really be personal on a comments page populated by a film character and the cross of a donkey and a wayward horse. But my continued disagreement – or even obstinacy – wasn’t personal, and as I’ve said over and over, I don’t think that saying you’re as convinced you’re right as I am is either personal or demeaning. Or an insult. It’s not an “answer” or supposed to persuade anyone.

mister muleboy said...

Vol. II

To sum up:

{*} I don't think that Obama is different from his predecessors; certainly not enough to justify the notion of "change." I believe that his policies are certainly different, but that his methods and behaviors aren't;

{*} I don't think he passed a stimulus bill or a health-care-reform bill, and I attribute that principally to his unwillingness (or inability?) to expend political capital;

{*} I readily concede that the 2009 spending law was more stimulative than no law. But I think characterizing it as a stimulus law is belied by barry's final arguments in the second week of February that every federal expenditure is stimulative. My hyperbole that he passed no stimulus law is that -- hyperbole -- intended to say that he didn't expend political capital and pass a meaningful stimulus law in his one opportunity. And you, and Krugman and I *do* have to live with it. Along with everybody else;

{*} yes, reforming insurance does affect -- significantly affect -- health care. But I respectfully continue to maintain that it doesn't reform health-care.
I don't care about health care if I can't get any
seems closer, to me, to an argument that getting access to health insurance and readjusting health insurance to get more people into the flawed health-care system is more important. Fine – I won’t argue that judgment. But are the examples that you provided meaningful heath-care reform? I suggest that they're not.

{*} Finally, I suggest that our positions aren't particularly inconsistent, but that we place different importance on ^stressing that barry doesn't represent a qualititive or behavioral change, but a change in policy v. ^ stressing that there is a dime's worth of difference between barry and his predecessors because barry's done a lot of good in the face of rabid opposition

That we had a good, old-fashioned comment chain arguing whether a law was a stimulus, and whether a law was health-care reform, reminds me of what brilliant men have said:

‘twas ever thus

mister muleboy said...

the character limit was


exceeded

mister muleboy said...

Note the irony: you, the libertarian, complain the stimulus wasn't big enough, that the PPACA didn't legislate health care adequately, and that Obama didn't meddle in the affairs of the legislative branch enough in its drafting.

Irony oft-noted.


Luckily, you didn't say "self-described libertarian"

And finally, I don't think an executive bending the legislature to his will if he has the horses -- political power -- to do so is either a concern to the Constitution or necessarily a threat to liberty.


And by the way, is there even a HINT of an argument in this:

Ok, so the act is called Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. What's in a name?

that the name of the statute defines what is in it?

If that's your argument, Winston Smith and I are gonna get all up in arms. We're gonna get all of the patriots under the Patriot Act to come after you.

mister muleboy said...

and some day we can discuss how the spending bill and the health-insurance reform laws raise far different degrees of concern to some libertarians.

mister muleboy said...

or we can let discretion be the better part of valour and decline to do so

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Vol I.

And of course I should say "meaningfully" -- in an act of such size, it was bound to tangentially affect or address issues of health care.

Tangentially?

Some quotes from the White House health reform Q&A page on the bill’s intended impact on health care:

“First, there is widespread rationing in today’s system. Right now, decisions about what doctor you can see and what treatment you can receive are made by insurance companies, which routinely deny coverage because of cost or the insurance company rules. Health reform will do away with many of those rules that result in rationing today...

Health Insurance Reform will prevent insurance companies from denying coverage because you have a pre-existing condition; prevent them for canceling coverage because you get sick; ban annual and lifetime limits on coverage, which often force people to pay huge sums out of pocket if they develop a serious illness; and prevent discrimination based on gender...

With health insurance reform, we will also put treatment decisions back into the hands of doctors in consultation with their patients.
One of the reasons we spend too much on health care today is that our incentives are perverse: Doctors are paid by the procedure, rather than for quality. We want reform that rewards quality of care not quantity of procedures. Having dozens of procedures doesn’t necessarily make you better. In fact they can make you worse. Right now roughly 100,000 Americans die every year from medical errors, which, in many cases, were the result of treatments that were wrong for them. We want to reduce preventable hospital re-admissions that are frequently caused because patients are not getting the right care in the first place. We want to give doctors the ability to make the best treatment decisions for you and your family...

We have to expand coverage and bring down costs for families as well as transform health care so that it costs less and delivers high quality in years to come. Adding more people to a broken system will only cost us more in the long run.

The majority of the initiatives that would pay for reform will come from cutting waste, fraud, and abuse within existing government health programs; ending big subsidies to insurance companies; and increasing efficiency with such steps as coordinating care and streamlining paperwork. We want to take money that is already being spent on health care and re-allocate it toward reforms that lower costs and assure quality affordable health care for all Americans.
The cuts we are talking about involve spending that currently does not improve care for Americans. For example, we would save $177 billion in unwarranted subsidies to the insurance industry in the next ten years and put that money into actual care for people. These and other reforms will strengthen and stabilize Medicare...

Health insurance reform must also encourage the kinds of reforms we know will save money in the long run: preventive care; computerized record-keeping; and comparative effectiveness studies to expose wasteful procedures and hospitalizations and give doctors the tools to make the right treatments for you.

If you lose or change jobs you will have the peace of mind of knowing that you will always be able to find an affordable health insurance option for your family.

We want to strengthen preventive care under Medicare—no co-payments for checkups and wellness visits. Much of the money we spend on health care goes to treat chronic diseases which could be prevented from becoming more serious if patients received more preventive care. Preventive care is especially important for seniors, because it will increase the chance that your doctor can catch an illness in its early stages.”

And on and on.

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Vol II.

That doesn’t sound like “tangential” to me. Now, before you point out the undeniable fact that I’m quoting from a source biased in favor of the act, remember that the issue is not whether the PPACA will meaningfully improve health care in the U.S., the issue is whether the Act “meaningfully addressed health care.” If it is your point that everything I’ve quoted above is unreliable propaganda, and none or little of it will come to fruition, then I think I will have fairly characterized your position earlier as “all those things are stupid and will never work and that’s why it doesn’t address health care.”

May I suggest that you, too, conduct yourself in a similar way? That you perhaps argue that “because the health care law was beneficial and important, it effectively did reform health care”?

You may suggest that to me.

However, I will not conduct myself that way, because I never said “the health care law was beneficial and important” and I don’t believe it and I don’t know why you made that assumption. I don’t like the PPACA for a host of reasons I don’t feel like getting into here. But I know that, by force of law, at a minimum millions of more Americans will have health care and that pre-existing condition rejections are prohibited, and thus the bill’s impact on health care will be almost incalculably enormous. Whether one loves or hates the bill I don’t see how one can deny that.

I don't know why you are searching for some kind of equivalence in our perspectives. That seems completely irrelevant to the issue.

Fred C. Dobbs said...

On reflection, I think I will modify my previous comment.

Even though I don't like the Act, of course I have to concede that it is "beneficial and important." I think you have to concede that, as does anyone, because that's a fact, not an opinion. Even though I think it is a terrible bill, I can't very well deny that it conveys massive benefits to massive amounts of people, and of course it's "important" regardless of your position.

I think your point is that I'm biased in favor of the bill because of my political beliefs or because I voted for Obama or whatever. But again, I caution you against making such assumptions because I'm not an across-the-board liberal, or centrist Democrat, or progressive, or what have you. I take several positions that are anathema to liberal orthodoxy, and my views often evolve and change.

So, yes I am biased. I am inclined to take the position that the Act "does not meaningfully address health care reform" since I do not like the bill. Unfortunately, I have all this evidence to the contrary staring me in the face, so I can't honestly take that position.

I don't think it's a stretch to say you see health care reform as happening because you found the insurance reform important and necessary.

It's not a stretch. It's just false.

I don't see why that makes me wrong, nor relatively justified in reciting my new mantra.

First of all, you are not justified by repeating your "mantra" (I think it's more of a platitude) because you can't speak for me. Just because I haven't conceded my position does not mean I'm intransigent. In fact, I took some time off from the debate and researched the issue and did a lot of reading and thought about it some more, completely open to the notion that I might be wrong and have to change my mind. Because I didn't really know too much about the Act when I started shooting my mouth off about it.

As it happens, the data I unearthed indicated that the PPACA addressed health CARE much more substantively and expansively than I had previously believed, but that's what happens in investigations some times. If I'd been wrong I would have admitted it to you. So please change your mantra to "I'm convinced I'm right and nothing you say will change my mind" because the other part of it is false.

You say that it's just "a fact" that the law addressed health care. I continue to dispute it.

And you continue to be wrong. The plain text of the legislation explicitly addresses health care, separate and distinct from health insurance. Therefore, it addresses care, whether one thinks it does so meaningfully, or effectively, or wisely, or whatever. And yes, I do think they you are being obstinate to continue to make a statement that is directly and unambiguously contraverted by the plain language of a statute.

I don’t intend to be obstinate; I just think the distinction is important to make.

I don't think it is important in the least. I think it is semantic hair-splitting, as I've said. I think what is important are things of more substance, like whether the bill is a good idea, is Constitutional, is a huge giveaway to the insurance and pharma industries, Barry's conduct in getting it passed, etc.

And I think that health-care reform remains unaddressed [largely unaddressed], and that that’s worth noting.

Leaving aside for the moment that you've slipped the word "reform" in there (previously you said it "didn't address care")
I'm not sure what more the drafters had to do, other than draft long substantive paragraphs addressing health care, to persuade you. Could you give some examples? Perhaps this is where I should have started.

Fred C. Dobbs said...

P.S. Another reason I became annoyed that you kept painting me with your Brilliant Man Mantra (other than the ones ranted about above) is because, if you recall, a few days ago you unveiled the mantra and, assuming it was about me since I'm now the only person here who engages your political post, I objected.

You assured me it was not about me, but about some anonymous woman who doesn't even comment here. I must admit I found your explanation a little dubious, but I had to accept you at your word.

So can you now see why - when just two days later you repeatedly applied the mantra to me in an ad hominem effort to repel my arguments - I got pretty hacked with you?

Fred C. Dobbs said...

And by the way, is there even a HINT of an argument in this:

Ok, so the act is called Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. What's in a name?


No, there is not. I just thought it was funny.

But since, the Act is all about making health care affordable (via insurance reform, as you correctly point out), your comparison to the Orwellian Patriot Act, while a really good zinger, actually doesn't pan out too well.

(Can you tell I have a jury out?)

Fred C. Dobbs said...

I thought the echo of "doesn't require a response" and "needn't be explained" was one of those incredibly witty moments that I am so prone to embrace. This thought apparently was not shared by you.

That's right. It was not shared by me, and it added to my already considerable annoyance.

Why?

Because what I actually said was "it almost doesn't require a response", and then I took the time to provide a response with supporting documentation.

You said your point "needn't be explained." And then you didn't.

And then you said we're both equally stubborn and close-minded.

(Court called! Verdict! Gotta go...)

tomanonymous said...

Are we still going to Brooklyn next week? If so, will I need to stay between mule & fred at all times?

WV: 'quarge' - That pretty much sums it up.

mister muleboy said...

Vol. I

Thank you for the additional comments.

I'll try to address them more briefly than our last few exchanges, and will try to do so seriatim.

Some quotes from the White House health reform Q&A page on the bill’s intended impact on health care: (emphasis in original)

You don't find that to be tangential to health-care reform. I think it is. It plainly affects it, as you argued forcefully above.

The Hite House's own argument reinforces that they were able to enact health insurance reform. For this assertion, I rely on their repeated use of the words health insurance reform in their topic sentences. In those paragraphs lacking it, I rely on their explanation that health care generally will be enhanced by the changes they make to health insurance.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++
Muleboy: May I suggest that you, too, conduct yourself in a similar way? That you perhaps argue that “because the health care law was beneficial and important, it effectively did reform health care”?

Dobbs: You may suggest that to me.

However, I will not conduct myself that way, because I never said “the health care law was beneficial and important” and I don’t believe it and I don’t know why you made that assumption.


Well, I'm pleased to know that my suggestion was couched as a suggestion, and was comfortably modified with the uncertainty that accompanies "perhaps." And I hope I didn't mislead you into thinking I was suggesting that you [in the future] conduct yourself any particular way; better writing and typing would have said "you've conducted." I see now that it reads as a prospective suggestion how you should approach this. The last thing I would suggest is how you want to comment here.

I don't know why you are searching for some kind of equivalence in our perspectives. That seems completely irrelevant to the issue.

Well, I think that this demonstrates that, in our thirty comments, we're interested in far different issues. It's certainly central to the one I'm interested in.

mister muleboy said...

Vol. II


I don't think it is important in the least. I think it is semantic hair-splitting, as I've said. I think what is important are things of more substance, like whether the bill is a good idea, is Constitutional, is a huge giveaway to the insurance and pharma industries, Barry's conduct in getting it passed, etc.
Well, that's certainly grist for the blogging mill. But the hair-splitting, as you call it, which I prefer to think of as an important distinction between health-care reform and health-insurance reform, is what I've found interesting and useful here.


Leaving aside for the moment that you've slipped the word "reform" in there (previously you said it "didn't address care")

You're right; crafty me slipped that in during his first comment here, twenty-seven comments ago. And then, through the subtle use of shorthand, didn't feel obligated to repeat it, since I'd already explained what I was discussing.

I'm not sure what more the drafters had to do, other than draft long substantive paragraphs addressing health care, to persuade you. Could you give some examples?

My fundamental premise has been, and continues to be, that the 2010 law reformed health insurance without reforming health care. I can't describe a collection of paragraphs that could have gone into this law, because the decision was made from the outset to come up with legislation addressing means to enhance access to the health-care system. As you asked, What's the point of addressing health care if you don't first solve the problem of access? This law was an attempt to address that problem.

During the introduction and later the debate on this bill, lots of people, from columnists in major newspapers to academicians in medicine and economics lamented that solving access would not solve the problems inherent in our health-care system. Problems of research monies, delivery of services, stovepiping, reliance on treatment rather than prevention, litigation-fear treatments, pharma-patent-manipulation, reforms to medical-school teaching methods, reform to medical-school curricula were just part of the issues that proponents hoped would addressed in a creative, bold proposal that could then be winnowed down through the endless fighting accompanying any legislation. A revolutionary proposal, if you will. That was never forthcoming. My distinction is in part to emphasize that the changes in access -- the changes in the insurance/payment scheme -- don't particularly address those care issues.

Knowledgeable folks have also suggested that the health-care costs affecting the economy aren't fundamentally addressed by insurance reform. Put too simply, insurance may be a problem, but it isn't The Problem. And that The Problem isn't addressed, and wasn't ever tackled.

So when you say I do think they you are being obstinate to continue to make a statement that is directly and unambiguously contraverted by the plain language of a statute, I can only again say, in a different way, that the plain language of the statute addresses insurance and payment reform, and only tangentially addresses health care. It doesn't health-care reform: the task force and the Research Institute aren't created because no one will acknowledge that the care system would benefit from drastic changes, but I feel comfortable calling it tangential.


Our many comments may boil down to

Muleboy:I don’t intend to be obstinate; I just think the distinction is important to make.


Dobbs:I don't think it is important in the least.

I don't have any need to change your mind on it not being important, certainly never intended to in a post about a president "reluctantly" accepting an enormous increase in presidential. But I'm increasingly obstinate in finding the distinction important.

Why, I remain as convinced that it's important as you're convinced it's not.

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Tom:

Are you kidding? We've been at this for years. It's just that before the internet it used to be on the phone so innocent public was spared.

I can't believe anyone else is still reading.

Oh, and the verdict is...gilcup!

Fred C. Dobbs said...

I think this can be wrapped up here.

Since I've never denied, and do believe that the PPACA is predominantly a health insurance reform bill (albeit one that does meaningfully address health care reform) I think what we have here is a disagreement over whether it "tangentially" addresses care.

tan·gen·tial (tn-jnshl) also tan·gen·tal (-jntl)
adj.
1. Of, relating to, or moving along or in the direction of a tangent.
2. Merely touching or slightly connected.
3. Only superficially relevant; divergent: a tangential remark.

I'll leave it to anyone masochistic enough to still be reading to read the Act in its entirety, and decide for themselves if it "merely touches" health care reform in a "superficial" way.