News that gets my goat:
-This caught my eye in The Chron’s lead editorial about the Houston economy being immune, so far, from sub-prime fallout:
“Foreclosures sold through the Multiple Listing Service were up a whopping 78 percent during the first eight months of 2007. But Realtors point out that foreclosures largely have been contained to homes that sell in the $80,000 to $150,000 price band. Sales of homes in that range are down 12.6 percent from last year. But foreclosures are lower and sales are higher at every other price point.
Sales of houses less than $80,000 and more than $150,000 make up the bulk of the Houston real estate market. Houses costing more than $500,000 saw an astounding 26 percent increase in sales this year. Also, any downturn in the Houston real estate market this year must be viewed in comparison to 2006, a year in which homes here sold at a record pace.”
-$80,000 to $150,000; sound like anybody you know? It sounds like most people I know, and I live in Mayfield, home of Ward and June Cleaver. And a million homes been foreclosed on this year. Could this be another sign of “republican economic prosperity?”
-Outlook also ran this from Boston University Economics Professor Laurence J. Kotlikoff:
“BIG NUMBERS, like 45 million uninsured Americans, are hard to grasp. But that number came home to me at a recent conference. The keynote speaker was former Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O’Connor. Her topic was our healthcare system, and her message was personal and anguished.
The gist was that even she lives in constant fear of major uninsured health bills. Not her own—those of her son. He can’t afford insurance because his son—her grandchild—has a preexisting condition.
As I listened, a light dawned: O’Connor and the rest of us with health coverage are also uninsured. We too face terrible, albeit more remote, healthcare risks—the risk that our employer will drop our plan, that Medicare will go bust, that our plan won’t cover our needs, that premiums will eat us alive, that our doctor will stop taking our insurance, that long-term care will wipe us out, and that our uninsured friends and family members will need major financial help.”
“Most of the Democratic and several of the Republican presidential candidates support expanding S-Chip. Like many governors, they'd also follow Massachusetts' lead in forcing employers to either provide health plans or pay a modest tax to help subsidize health plans for the uninsured. The end game would be a balkanized healthcare system with the old in Medicare, the poor in Medicaid, most workers in employer plans, and the losers -- the otherwise uninsured -- in highly subsidized, limited-coverage plans. Loser plans.
This won't work. First, Medicare and Medicaid are already on a course to bankrupt the nation. Keeping these programs intact is fiscal suicide. Second, many employers are fed up with healthcare spending and are heading for the exit. In 2000, 66 percent of non-elderly Americans were covered by employer-based health insurance. Today's figure is 59 percent. And the more attractive loser insurance becomes, the quicker employers will drop their plans.
Third, loser insurance requires a major federal bureaucracy (think Hillarycare) and unaffordable subsidies. Fourth, this "solution" does nothing to reduce the administrative costs that consume a fifth of our healthcare dollars. Fifth and most damning, making loser policies available doesn't guarantee their purchase. Millions will remain uninsured.”
-The CHIPS reauthorization before congress is like a Harpers Ferry raid before the civil war over healthcare really starts with the upcoming elections and in the congress to follow. The Torys will trot out the same “socialized medicine,” “Harry and Louise,” and “between me and my doctor” claptrap that worked for them in ’94 but I don’t see people buying it anymore.
I’ve had three jobs in the last twenty years, but I’ve had eight different healthplans. So much for choosing my own doctor. I’m choosing a different one every couple years, and not because I’ve got an Oxy jones like Limbaugh.
And don’t expect establishment democrats to help. So far, Dennis Kucinich is the only candidate I’ve noticed talking about busting up the insurance and pharmaceutical complex that has turned our healthcare delivery system into a private gravy train.