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March 12, 2006

Quote of the Day

From Matt Bai's profile of Mark Warner:

If he ultimately decides to run for president, Warner will try to build a national campaign around this same technology-driven approach. When I asked Warner to name the issues that would be most important to him, the four domestic issues he ticked off, before he got to terrorism and national security, were fairly standard for a Democratic candidate in the era after Bill Clinton: slashing the federal deficit, improving schools, working with business to reform the health-care system and devising a new energy strategy. What makes Warner, the former entrepreneur, sound more credible than your average Democrat is that he comes at these issues primarily from an economic, rather than a social, standpoint. On health care, for instance, most Washington Democrats will, as a matter of both habit and perspective, talk about the moral imperative of covering workers and the uninsured — and only then might they add, as an afterthought, that the current morass is an impediment to business too. Warner, on the other hand, begins with the idea that if American businesses can't keep up with spiraling health-care costs, the nation will lose the competition with India and China for jobs. The same principle applies with education and the deficit. His fixation on the global economy brings a coherent framework to issues that otherwise seem disparate and abstract.

I've long been a fan of the competitiveness case for universal health care. In an economy where workers depend on their employers for health benefits, talent that could otherwise be blazing new technological trails or testing innovative ideas is instead shackled to employers to guarantee their kid's medical care. And it's remarkable how far this dynamic reaches.

Matt likes to use the example of Indy rock bands, arguing that the overrepresentation of British and English artists is a direct result of socialized health care, which makes the economics of starting a rock group much more plausible. I tend to go with the Garden State example: At the end the movie, it's clear that Natalie Portman (Sam) and Zach Braff (Andrew) are screwed. As an actor, Andrew needs to live in Los Angeles. As an epileptic paralegal in a firm with an "amazing" health plan, Sam can't afford to lose her insurance. So she can't move to be with him and he'd have to give up his profession to be with her. And all because of the employer-based health care system. Not only is it an impediment to economic efficiency on both the worker and employer side, but it obstructs true love.

Now, I'm not sure what Warner is actually proposing here -- I've seen worrying feints towards conservatism from him in the past -- but if he comes forward with a good plan, I think he's making the right case for it. He might want to add some more romance to the appeal, though. Nationalized health care: do it for Natalie.

March 12, 2006 | Permalink

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» Best Argument for UHC Ever from Minipundit
Ezra Klein half-seriously argues for universal health care because PPOs and HMOs stand in the way of true love. It's beautiful. [Read More]

Tracked on Mar 12, 2006 11:54:51 AM

» Ezra's "Garden State" Argument for Health Care Reform from Bloodless Coup
Well, it's original. At the end the movie, it's clear that Natalie Portman (Sam) and Zach Braff (Andrew) are screwed. As an actor, Andrew needs to live in Los Angeles. As an epileptic paralegal in a firm with an "amazing"... [Read More]

Tracked on Mar 12, 2006 2:43:27 PM

» The Garden State Argument for Health Care Reform from Snarkmarket
Best ever: Ezra Klein's talking about health care and the profile of Mark Warner in the NYT Mag when he drops the Garden State Argument. Like so: I tend to go with the Garden State example: At the end the... [Read More]

Tracked on Mar 13, 2006 12:55:33 AM

Comments

"I've long been a fan of the competitiveness case for universal health care."

Yuperoo.

------

In a certain sense, all American politics is about globalization.

The big theme of the first Clinton campaign was about having America compete with Japan and Germany. And the big theme of the actual Clinton Presidency was about entwining the American economy with the world economy to the benefit of all.

Of course, the big theme of the Bush Presidency has been that the Islamic world is out to kill us, and we have to kill the Islamic world first.

(The Dubai ports deal is fascinating in that it seems to tie the jobs aspect of globalization with the security aspect of globalization, but I digress.)

------

On purely pragmatic terms, pitching the case for UHC as a response to the economic challenge posed by India and China is most likely to be both an effective electoral issue, as well as a means to push UHC through the torture chamber of the House and Senate.

Posted by: Petey | Mar 12, 2006 11:04:02 AM

"I'm not sure what Warner is actually proposing here -- I've seen worrying feints towards conservatism in the past"

I've got two or three reasons why I'd prefer Johnny Edwards over Mark Warner to be the next nominee, but chief among them is that I fear it's far more likely that Warner will disappoint Democrats by moving right on substance than the likelihood of Edwards doing so.

Posted by: Petey | Mar 12, 2006 11:07:18 AM

" tend to go with the Garden State example: At the end the movie, it's clear that Natalie Portman (Sam) and Zach Braff (Andrew) are screwed. As an actor, Andrew needs to live in Los Angeles. As an epileptic paralegal in a firm with an "amazing" health plan, Sam can't afford to lose her insurance. So she can't move to be with him and he'd have to give up his profession to be with her. And all because of the employer-based health care system."

Plenty of actors make a good living in New York. He should just stay in NJ to be with her and commuted to the city.

What's that you say? Totally not the point? Okay, I'll be leaving now.

Posted by: Greg | Mar 12, 2006 1:12:14 PM

Greg,

Actually had the same thought. Its a great movie, Natalie Portman has never looked hotter as, umm, an adult. Her movie Where The Heart Is makes a strong case for moving to a small town and finding a nice yet inappropriately young girl. If you go that route, I have just two words for you, West and Virginia.

Anywho, its not like Andrew's hometown is in Kentucky (that would be Garden State's doppelganger, Elizabethtown). He should marry the girl and commute to New York for auditions. Its not like they don't have Japanese steakhouses in New Jersey he could work at.

But yes I suppose its besides the point. The big problem is someone who wants to leave the nest of a large corporation to start a new company. Unless you have a working spouse with great coverage, its a huge risk going out finding insurance on your own.

Posted by: beowulf | Mar 13, 2006 1:57:58 AM

"Matt likes to use the example of Indy rock bands, arguing that the overrepresentation of British and English artists is a direct result of socialized health care, which makes the economics of starting a rock group much more plausible."

So why is French "indie" music so rare and largely awful? There probably is a link between the level of welfare (unemployment benefits probably being the most significant factor) and the number of people who start up a band and keep it going until they have a chance of being signed, but I think cultural factors are far more important in determining a) the quality of the songs produced, and b) their success in the marketplace. It's commonly observed that the higher reaches of the British charts (and for that matter radio playlists) are much more diverse than in the US, despite the prevalence of crappy pop in both countries.

Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Mar 13, 2006 10:56:19 AM

I have experienced this firsthand. My girlfriend of over five years recently moved out and we broke off our relationship because I wouldn't marry her. It would have been financial suicide. She has a chronic illness and cannot work. She was turned down for disability because she made the mistake of trying to work until her illness worsened instead of just quitting as soon as she was diagnosed. She did qualify for county medical aid, but would have lost it if we got married because my lower middle class income would have been included in determining her qualification. I don't have insurance, either, and can't afford it just for myself, much less someone who requires thousands of dollars in tests annually and appointments with specialists every month to six weeks.

It seems ridiculous to me that Republicans tout their family values when they fight tooth and nail against something that would keep couples like me and my ex together.

Posted by: John | Mar 13, 2006 12:47:29 PM

I have experienced this firsthand. My girlfriend of over five years recently moved out and we broke off our relationship because I wouldn't marry her. It would have been financial suicide.

You dumped this woman purely for financial reasons?? Good Gawd, and you tell others what a bunch of heartless bastards they are??

It seems ridiculous to me that Republicans tout their family values when they fight tooth and nail against something that would keep couples like me and my ex together.

Why don't you take some personal responsibility for your own actions? First, get an education so you can afford the necessities of life without begging for a handout from the rest of us. Until you have done what you can to help yourself, don't blame the rest of us.

Posted by: Fred Jones | Mar 13, 2006 4:42:53 PM

Fred,

You have no idea what you're talking about.

1. I didn't dump her. She left me because I wouldn't marry her. Marrying her would have cost her her medical benefits, and eventually, if I had to pay for her five and six figure medical bills, my home.

2. I have an education. It isn't the magical key to a fairyland of financial stability and happiness you might lead everyone to believe, especially if you or someone you love gets sick. You probably don't understand because you've never been sick. I do well enough to support myself in a middle class lifestyle, but I just don't have an extra $1000+ a month to pay for insurance for someone who is chronically ill, and I certainly cannot afford $15000 or more for a hospital stay.

3. I can and will blame whoever I want. Would this have happened had I been fortunate enough to have been born in Germany or Canada or Great Britain or any number of other industrialized nations who value the health of their citizens over dumb shit like starting wars in farflung lands? No.

Posted by: John | Mar 13, 2006 6:02:27 PM

Fred, You have no idea what you're talking about.

A statement that can be used, in complete confidence, whenever 'Fred' 'Jones' shits over this blog.

I remember seeing a tip-jar in a bar in Savannah, collecting donations for the manager. Bar owners and managers are one of the big uninsured demographics, because the margins are tight and there's a great deal of mobility. This particular manager had fallen down the steps to the cellar and injured his back: $50,000 bill for basic treatment, and the problem hadn't been fixed. Which is nice.

Posted by: ahem | Mar 13, 2006 10:43:19 PM

Dear friends! What are you think about USD fall?
Do you know about China Goverment position in this situation?

WASHINGTON (AFP) - President George W. Bush on Wednesday said China would be "foolhardy" to attempt to push down the dollar in retaliation for US pressure over Beijing's alleged currency manipulation.
Bush said he had not seen the report that Beijing was hinting at such a move, in Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper, but warned against any attempt by Beijing to hit back at Washington using vast foreign currency reserves.
Source - Foreign Currency News - http://www.monetarybay.com/
What would you do in this adverse circumstances?

Posted by: RandyMedar | Sep 3, 2007 4:00:43 PM

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Posted by: peterwei | Oct 22, 2007 7:08:29 AM

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