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Victoria

We went to the opposite of Famous Overpriced Coffee for breakfast today - a been-there-forever short order diner on "Main Street" in small town Alameda. (Where, by the way, they finished breakfast by offering us a complementary plastic flute of champagne.) But health care came up there, too. Heard conversations at three surrounding tables. It reminded me of something I've known about my 2012, which is that I am going to have to do some health care activism. Don't know exactly what yet, but it will be significant. Because I'm one of those people who got caught in the wringer. After an adult lifetime of always carrying health insurance - sometimes thru work, best thru the WGA, I would buy my own when I had to. And then my husband was diagnosed with Diabetes in 2005, and in 2006 our insurance dropped us, and no one else would take us at a rate in any way resembling affordable. And while we were still trying to figure it out, the bottom dropped out, and I got sick with something almost unimaginable and ended up with over a half-million dollars in hospital bills. As I made my way through that journey, every single person I met in the healthcare system just kept saying, "This system is broken. It's horribly broken. It's so broken I hardly know what will fix it... unless it's single-payer."

And speaking of broken, almost every CNA (nursing assistant) I met does not have health coverage... from the hospital! And they almost all work two full-time jobs a week in order to buy their own minimal coverage. Imagine doing that work 16 hours a day 5 days a week, except on a rotation that means they almost never have a whole day off. Consider the single mothers who raise their kids this way, and I met many!

And so I hear these Republican candidates promising to kill the beginnings of health reform and I marvel, "Really? Really?? Is this really a selling point?!"

Chris the cop

OR the Republicans (and many many others) could be terrified that public health care will fundamentally
bankrupt and iumplode our economy at an even warp speed than the present course being charted.

Our debt is too high now, let alone after it skyrockets when a government run aystem is implemented. And the result is that everyone--not just the poor not just those working (or not) in whatever social classs they are in--everyone (other than the 300,000 or so making more than $1 million a year) will be suffering more.

Linkmeister

Chris, read Krugman: "Nobody Understands Debt.

Deficit-worriers portray a future in which we’re impoverished by the need to pay back money we’ve been borrowing. They see America as being like a family that took out too large a mortgage, and will have a hard time making the monthly payments.

This is, however, a really bad analogy in at least two ways.

First, families have to pay back their debt. Governments don’t — all they need to do is ensure that debt grows more slowly than their tax base. The debt from World War II was never repaid; it just became increasingly irrelevant as the U.S. economy grew, and with it the income subject to taxation.

Second — and this is the point almost nobody seems to get — an over-borrowed family owes money to someone else; U.S. debt is, to a large extent, money we owe to ourselves.

Chris the cop

Linkmeister - I've read Krugman. I know he argues we (the government) basically aren't spending enough and I think he is nuts to think that Nobel prize and all.

The economy is never ever ever going to grow large enough and fast enough to make a $17 trillion debt ($18.2 trillion of the President gets his way) feasible. It's nonsensical to think otherwise. The debt is not going to be "increasingly irrelevant" in our life time or our grandchildren's lifetime. The 'too large of a mortgage' analogy in the face of such staggering sums ignores the forest for the trres.

Likewise "U.S. debt is, to a large extent, money we owe to ourselves" is simply not accurate when so much of our tax revenue is simply paying interest and the US dollar plays such an important role around the world.

KC45s

In the early 1990s, the hand-wringing and arguments over the national debt had the exact same tenor, the exact same wording, and the exact same b.s. solutions as today. Not a single note has changed in this bouncy little number. But, hey! The capital gains tax (with a little help) had this "impossible," "future-destroying" monster paid off by the end of the decade. With a surplus provided! So, all respect, don't try to tell me paying down some debt while putting people back to work is nonsensical. Because I've heard that song before.

Linkmeister

The US economy doesn't need to pay its debt off. It just rolls it forward. It always has. In the ~240 years of American history there have only been a few years when the country was completely debt free. As long as it's growing faster than the debt service requirement, it's in good shape.

Morzer

Chris the Cop - I am sorry, but on public healthcare you are flat wrong. Britain gets comparable, or better health care outcomes, for roughly a third of the price we pay. Guess what - their health care system is socialized medicine. As for your supposed deficits - sorry, but that's just extreme paranoia speaking. Public health care would reduce our deficits substantially, and we could remove the remaining problem by ending the Bush tax cuts. If you really care about the public finances, you'd be a lot better off dumping the big-spending GOP and thinking about why other countries can provide good health care without bankrupting themselves.

mac macgillicuddy

Back to the original point of the post, I'm one of those obedient servants who took a part-time job expressly because it comes with healthcare insurance that is very good and very affordable. I am the rest of the time self-employed and tried to buy it on the "open" market, but it just wasn't affordable. Fortunately, I work at a community college, where the tasks they have this servant doing and the environment in which he does them are a tad more palatable than the subject of Lance's post.

The coffee stinks, though.

nancy

Chris -- maybe this chart and its companion link to a NYT editorial from last summer will help out. Morzer is right, but the extant blather out there is still obscuring the bleeding obvious.

GregN

And ultimately, it's our kids owing somebody else's kids (debt). It's not a "burden" on our children.
Sigh.

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