Monday, May 6, 2013

Read Stuff, You Should

Happy Birthday to John Flansburgh, 53.

Here's a little of the good stuff:

1. I sort of think that I should leave that Oregon study alone unless I'm willing to read it myself. Still, I'll link to Kevin Drum's latest try at what to make of the empirical findings.

2. And since I complain a lot about the post-policy GOP, I also should link to Ross Douthat's distillation of the emerging conservative position on health care.

3. And worth reading: John Harwood interviews David Axelrod.


  1. One of the main findings of the Oregon study was that individuals on Medicare had far fewer bankruptcies or other severe financial problems, because they weren't trying to pay health care costs out of pocket.

    That's the biggest take-home message. Health insurance makes people better off. The study wasn't large enough to make conclusions about the efficacy of medical prevention.

    1. Douthat does make a good point on this, though. Paraphrasing: healthcare was largely passed on the premise that it will improve health results. If it does little to improve health results but only improves economic ones, it's worth considering whether or not a different approach to improving economic results would work better.

      This is neck-deep in "ifs" and even then, it doesn't mean we all need to agree with Douthat on what economic policies he'd support. However, I think it's an entirely fair question to look into whether the ACA and its Medicare expansion is the most cost-effective way of reducing medical bankruptcies. A good place to start looking at any policy are the joint questions:[1] what goals do we want to accomplish? [2] what is the most effective (not *COST* effective way, per se) to accomplish these goals?

  2. Check that Oregon Study link.

  3. From Axelrod:

    "It may be, by the way, that after Republicans are through their filing process for the next election cycle and they know whether or not they have primary challengers, you may pry a few more loose [on guns]."

    That's an important poli-sci point in general, including Ds watching out for their left flank, that I haven't heard before. Some politicians will begin their shift to center earlier in the legislative calendar, depending on primary filings.

  4. To see what the emerging conservative position will be, this blog might be worth following.

    I think one of the major ideas that Rs are going to press is that Obamacare is incentivizing underemployment. McCain's 2008 plan highlighted completely separating employment from health insurance provision through tax reform, which Friedman, et al have advocated for decades.

  5. While following the Medicare debate, we should remember Ezra Klein in 2009 on the lives that will be saved through wider implementation:

    And that's a conservative estimate!!


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