TM NOTE [now updated]: Wanted to check in with you summer weekend die hards, but the power is out, so programming of this entry could be odd looking. Will fix any errors when power is back in the area. Thanks for offering slack as you read entry below.*
It is so hot that NBC Washington’s Chief Meteorologist, Doug Kammerer, explained on air “If we did not have global warming, we wouldn’t see this.” – Think Progress
FIERCE STORM stomped through Washington, DC last night. Lightning wripped across and down from the sky making me believe in Greek mythological gods wreaking havoc with us lowly earthlings.
Amanda Terkel tweeted the best lightning bolt shot thrown from the sky I’ve seen so far (embedded above*).
Writing from my Blackberry, as power is out.
To highlight one story being shared widely, a Huffington Post article tells the negative, perhaps realistic, possibility on coming Obamacare scenario. It’s written by health care wonk Marcia Angell. I’ve made the same points on the built-in issues on costs in Obamacare due to the private insurance and Big Pharma deal made with Pres. Obama, though Angell makes the case in epic detail.
Obamacare is simply incapable of doing what it is supposed to do — provide nearly universal care at an affordable and sustainable cost. The problem is that three years ago, in his futile efforts to win over Republicans (remember the embarrassing courtship of Olympia Snowe?), Obama gutted the law before it was even passed. He made the private insurance companies the linchpin of the new system, and promised them millions of additional customers and billions of taxpayer dollars. He also did nothing to rein in the profit-oriented delivery system that rewards providers on a piecework basis for doing tests and procedures. So with all the new dollars flowing into the system and no restraints on the way medicine is practiced, the law is inherently inflationary.
Although there are some provisions to curb the worst abuses of the insurance companies, such as excluding people with preexisting conditions, there is nothing in the law that would stop insurers from raising premiums. A senior executive of the industry’s trade association, America’s Health Insurance Plans, told me privately that that’s exactly what the companies will do if regulations cut into their profits. Thus, costs under Obamacare will almost certainly rise even faster than at present. No reform can work well or very long if its costs are unsustainable.
In fact, it is unlikely that Obamacare will ever be fully implemented as it stands. If Romney is elected, with a Republican Congress, it will be quickly overturned. If Obama is re-elected (and I hope he is, despite my disappointment in his health plan), it will come apart more slowly. But
unravel it will, as costs rise and it becomes clear that there are still tens of millions of Americans priced out of the system.
Here’s how the unraveling will look…
*UPDATE [7.1.12 – 9:00 a.m.]: Programming and HTML added after power restored.