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Mitt The Twit’s Excellent Adventure

Romney seems to be using the same staff that made Sarah Palin famous. No one tells him what he needs to know before he goes out and talks in public.

Digby notes that he talked in glowing terms about Israel’s health care system and seemed blithely unaware of its tax-supported, socialist foundation or heavily regulated environment.

Then, Yves Smith made my day brighter by noting that the Romney people are looking at Florida’s attorney general, Pam Bondi, as a possible candidate for VP. Ms Bondi is best known to the country at large for leading the opposition to Obamacare, which lost in the Supreme Court. She is certainly a graceful loser, but that is possibly because she has had so much practice. Her main strength is her ability to speak fluent whacko to the Republican base. The only down side is that since it is a Federal office, she isn’t required to resign to run.

12 comments

1 hipparchia { 07.31.12 at 7:20 am }

i can see why mitt likes the israeli health care system – from that description it appears to be all HMOs. ugh.

2 hipparchia { 07.31.12 at 7:24 am }

No one tells him what he needs to know before he goes out and talks in public.

probably it’s by design. obama is doing pretty much what the rich people want him to do, why would they exchange him for mitt? but to keep the rightwing base energized they have to have an opposition candidate, even as they have to make sure he’s unelectable.

3 jamsodonnell { 07.31.12 at 11:36 am }

He doesn’t exactly shine on the world stage, does he!

4 Bryan { 07.31.12 at 12:09 pm }

Come on, Hipparchia, it is, in theory, possible to have a health maintenance organization that actually maintains the health of its members. Just because they are rip offs in the US doesn’t mean that they can’t actually work in environment that doesn’t make profit the only reason to do anything.

People need to realize that this clown is depressingly typical of the successful modern CEO … dumber than a brick, but really greedy.

5 hipparchia { 07.31.12 at 12:49 pm }

it is, in theory, possible to have a health maintenance organization that actually maintains the health of its members

ain’t theory grand? 😈

i’m pretty sure that romney likes, and means for us to have, only the rip-off versions. probably he’s not alone in that.

6 Bryan { 07.31.12 at 4:17 pm }

They want a cut from every deal that happens, essentially to ‘tax’ everyone except each other. They believe that they deserve everything they get, but no one else does. They don’t actually intend to do anything with the money they accumulate, they just want to have it as a method of ‘keeping score’ and showing everyone else ‘how wonderful and important they are’.

They really are extremely ignorant people, with no concept of how the world works.

7 Badtux { 08.01.12 at 10:44 pm }

it is, in theory, possible to have a health maintenance organization that actually maintains the health of its members

The profit incentive of any for-profit HMO is to provide as little care as possible for as high of rates as possible. Even non-profit HMO’s aren’t immune to that syndrome. Kaiser-Permanente, for example, was founded by employers (especially the Kaiser shipyards and aluminum smelters) to reduce their health care costs, so while K-P is officially a non-profit, its corporate culture is to keep expenditures as low as possible so that *employers* can make more profit (due to lower insurance rates). Furthermore, there is a “race to the bottom” effect here — people want their insurance to be cheaper, so they go to the insurance company with cheaper rates. Well, that insurance company has cheaper rates because it pays out less. It pays out less via one of two ways — cherry picking only healthy people, or deny, deny, deny claims. And since only a few percent of people will have any major claim within the five years or so that a customer is enrolled with a specific insurance company, their customers will believe they have a great insurance company unless they’re one of the unlucky few. If they *are* one of the unlucky few… well, the company hopes they die before winning the lawsuit regarding unlawfully denied claims, and count it as just a cost of business.

In short, given the cost of million-dollar cancer treatments and the huge incentive to deny them until the cancer sufferer is dead, I see no — zero — way that health insurance can possibly work for expensive illnesses like liver transplants, cancer treatment, etc. without the government setting rates and enforcing claim policies so that *nobody* has any profit motive to unlawfully deny claims. I.e., Israel, where the insurance companies might as well be official government bodies for all the independence they have from government oversight.

And lest you say “but insurance worked in the past!”, well, in 1955 if you got cancer, you died within a year. If you got liver disease, you died within six months. If you got kidney disease, you died within a few months. Etc. When all that health insurance had to pay for was bandages and scalpels, there wasn’t any way to cut costs the way that denying a single million-dollar leukemia claim will cut costs. There were incentives, certainly, but small ones. Because the big curable things we have today, the things that account for roughly 80% of healthcare costs, were simply a death sentence in 1955. And unless you want to go back to 1955 death sentence healthcare, you simply can’t make health insurance work without government setting rates and payment schedules. That’s just how it is.

– Badtux the Healthcare Economics Penguin

8 Bryan { 08.02.12 at 5:46 pm }

The last time I had health insurance with a reasonable price tag and good coverage was in Rochester, New York in the 1970s. The large employers got together and set the rates and coverage for Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and put controls on the area hospitals so there was no duplication of services. Everyone could buy it at the same rate, even individuals. It was included with your fees at the local colleges and universities.

There may have some people who didn’t have a BC/BS card, but you would have to work at it to avoid it, so it was used for those who are now in the Medicare program.

When industry left the area, so did the system, and now Monroe County is just as screwed up as the rest of the country.

It is so obvious that insurance companies profit by refusing to pay claims, that you have to wonder why the people in the decision-making positions refuse to acknowledge it, and refuse to admit that insurance company profits are the ‘low-hanging fruit’ in cutting the cost of health care.

In the 60s and 70s the HR people at Kodak, Xerox, and GM figured out that ‘when hospitals compete’ the prices go up, not down, so they limited that, as well as expansions that would have added too many beds to area hospitals. Everyone made a profit, but it was a reasonable profit, not a ‘Wall Street casino’ profit.

We are so screwed.

9 Badtux { 08.02.12 at 10:29 pm }

One thing to remember is that back in those days, you went to work for a corporation and you were working for that corporation for the next 30-40 years of your life. So the company had an incentive to keep you healthy, because if you got sick you were less productive. But nowadays companies view workers as disposable, so much so that when the CTO of my (small) employer retired recently, as in, voluntarily decided that he’d had enough of that “work” stuff and it was time to play bocce and build his replica of the Tardis that he’s been designing for the past couple of years (the main thing he’s missing is the inside, the part that makes it go, but that part’s in use by someone else somewhen else right now 😉 ), everybody was in shock because *nobody* retires nowadays — *nobody*. They get laid off, then work contracts until they’re dead or no longer can find contracts. They don’t voluntarily leave, unless they’re going to another employer — it just doesn’t work that way!

So anyhow, that’s that. If your employees are disposable, you have no incentive to keep them healthy — you just throw them away and find someone else to use up, or import someone from India or elsewhere if you’ve already used up all your local people. So the whole paradigm of employer-paid health insurance is just a sick joke now, because they don’t care if you get sick and die — they’ll just hire someone else. The only reason they offer it is because of taxes and competitive benefit, and that’s hardly an incentive for them to offer effective health insurance, as in, health insurance that actually will pay for expensive treatments, given that it’s impossible for you the (maybe potential) employee to know ahead of time whether the insurer will actually pay if you get leukemia or will deny deny deny until you’re dead…

It’s that whole privatize the profit, socialize the risk thing. Someone gets sick? Throw them away. They’ll lose their insurance, but it keeps your rates cheap, so …

– Badtux the Disgusted Penguin

10 Bryan { 08.02.12 at 10:57 pm }

It was like the shift to sharecropping from slavery. You had to take minimum care of slaves because they had value, but if sharecroppers can’t grow a crop that pays the rent, you just throw them out and get a new ‘cropper. Workers are just ‘sharecroppers’ now, and the corporations don’t give a damn what happens to them – all of the abuses of slavery and not even the minimal ‘benefits’ of that system.

I remember the spring job fairs when I taught at the college. Students spent a lot of time looking at the companies because they assumed that they would be working there the rest of their lives. Boy, were they in for a shock.

11 Badtux { 08.03.12 at 1:07 pm }

The biggest problem landlords had under sharecropping was finding labor. One of the reason to disenfranchise voters under the sharecropping system was that the big landlords who owned most of the county wanted to make sure they continued owning most of the county, using tactics such as, e.g., occasionally burning down the county courthouse to eliminate official records of land ownership then using forged title papers to claim ownership of small landholders’ land. Because if the majority owned their own land (i.e. were self-employed using their own resources), they would no longer be available labor to use for sharecropping. And a big point of Jim Crow was to keep black sharecroppers on the farm, since under Jim Crow it was hard to travel and virtually impossible to move to the city (due to restrictions on where blacks could live).

The main problem with sharecropping from the viewpoint of those of us who actually have to work for a living is that if the planters (or today’s oligarchs) can maintain control over resources and labor force, it’s a long-time stable system, one that lasted for over eighty years in the agricultural South. It wasn’t until the Great Depression followed by WW2 disrupted the system with two serial shocks in a row that the system finally fell apart because so much of the labor force migrated away, forcing the South’s agricultural system to finally mechanize (cotton picking machines existed before WW2, but were not widely deployed until lack of labor forced planters to use them in the 1950’s because they only manage to pick around 80% of the cotton off of the plants).

In other words, today’s work force is fscked. I pity youngsters coming out of school into today’s workforce, because they will never have anything, they will be disposable labor to be used then thrown away to die on the streets. Even the possibility of retirement is being stolen from them, Social Security isn’t dead yet, but it will be by the time they’re retirement age, because the oligarchs simply don’t need it anymore. Mexico North. That’s the fate of the USA under the current system, and it makes me sad.

12 Bryan { 08.03.12 at 3:01 pm }

There is a relentless movement to deny workers any rights at all. Work or die are the only choices the oligarchs want people to have.