The Respectable Liberal Blogger Ezra Klein in repose
On behalf of all liberal bloggers of purported good faith, the Respectable Liberal Blogger Ezra Klein has chivalrously stepped up to the plate to challenge me to a debate about S-CHIP.
A good-faith debate would require that Respectable Liberal Blogger Ezra Klein actually be a person of good faith. He is treated as such in some elite conservative circles, where his work is linked frequently and intellectual repartee among the Beltway boys’ club is warm and chummy. He is free to continue traveling in those cozy circles where highbrow right-wingers are not so mean and scary.
But I’d just as soon share a stage, physical or virtual, with Respectable Liberal Blogger Ezra Klein as I would with Chris Matthews, Geraldo Rivera, or an overflowing vat of liquid radioactive waste.
First, let’s bust the cherished myth that Respectable Liberal Blogger Ezra Klein is as brilliant as he, the nutroots, and his respectable conservative friends think he is.
I have commented before on the problems with central planning in health care. I certainly am not convinced that a government-run system is the answer, but I do agree with Krugman that there are serious problems with our health insurance system, particularly in the market for individually-purchased (non-group) coverage.
After my husband quit his job earlier this year (to become a full-time stay-at-home dad), we had a choice. We could either buy health insurance from his former employer through a program called COBRA at a cost of more than $1,000 per month(!) or we could go it alone in Maryland’s individual market. Given our financial circumstances, that “choice” wasn’t much of a choice at all. We had to go on our own.
We discovered that the most generous plans in Maryland’s individual market cost $700 per month yet provide no more than $1,500 per year of prescription drug coverage–a drop in the bucket if someone in our family were to be diagnosed with a serious illness.
With health insurance choices like that, no wonder so many people opt to go uninsured.
What he fails to excerpt is the rest of the post:
In the end, we decided to purchase a very high-deductible plan (sold by Golden Rule Insurance Co.) coupled with a tax-sheltered Medical Savings Account (MSA). We couldn’t qualify for the preferred rate because Golden Rule says I am underweight. Hmph! In any case, while Krugman and most Democrats don’t seem to like MSAs, in our case we were glad they were an option.
Update: The Times reports that the proportion of Americans without health insurance is on the rise. The Wall Street Journal, on the other hand, says the proportion has remained steady. (Both are right; it depends on which timeframe one is talking about.) The WSJ editorial writers suggest:
States like New York could do a lot for [those who cannot obtain health insurance] merely by getting rid of the state insurance regulations that make a basic policy roughly 10 times more expensive than it is in neighboring Connecticut. Better still, Congress could save poor New Yorkers from the tyranny of Albany by putting an end to our Balkanized and anachronistic 50-state insurance market and simply decreeing that there shall be nationwide commerce in health insurance. They could then buy policies issued in saner states or over the Internet.
Respectable Liberal Blogger Ezra Klein and his Pavlovian (Yet Respectable) boosters are treating my 2004 post as proof-positive of my utterly flabbergasting HYPOCRISY!
Continue flinging your peas. I do have a spit shield now.
Grown-ups, on the other hand, will be able to grasp effortlessly that if I had decided not to buy private insurance and then demanded that the government cover my medical expenses and insure me after a catastrophic accident, then, yes, why, yes, you could flap two HYPOCRISY! cards up and down in each hand until your feet lifted off the ground.
In fact, I advocated MSAs and noted approvingly the Wall Street Journal’s suggestion that the cure for limited market choices was less government intervention. Not more.
This is perfectly consistent, in other words, with my INHUMAN, FASCIST, CAPITALIST, WINGNUT views.
Is it Respectable Liberal Blogger Ezra Klein’s view that only commentators and analysts who adore the current state of the market are allowed to criticize S-CHIP’s mission creep? If anything, health care entitlement growth will make the problems I wrote about three years ago worse–problems due in significant part to the government regulations the WSJ spotlighted. Herd more people into government-subsidized health care and the private (unsubsidized) individual market will become even more dysfunctional.
True to form, however, other Respectable Liberal Bloggers are mindlessly promoting Respectable Liberal Blogger Ezra Klein’s discovery of my observations as the Holy Grail of Hypocrisy Cards–and falsely characterizing my post to boot. Respectable Liberal Blogger Jonathan Cohn at TNR’s The Plank claims that “I couldn’t find health insurance” and that “there was no affordable coverage to be had.”
Reading comprehension grade: F.
Nutroots pandering grade: A+ with an unhinged smiley face!
RLB Cohn thinks he has another trump card in noting that “[i]t’s the insurers who sell individual and small business coverage that screen carefully for pre-existing medical conditions, raising premiums or denying coverage for those whom they deem high medical risks.” Other left-wing blogs have zeroed in on the Frosts’ reported inability to obtain affordable insurance after their car accident.
Well, yes, it sucks. But Earth to liberals: That’s how insurance works–if you don’t buy it before you need it, you shouldn’t be shocked if it’s impossible to get after you need it.
Yet, somehow, I’m the HYPOCRITE for acting responsibly by considering alternative health insurance plans before anyone in my family required catastrophic care. As I wrote in my post, I wasn’t too happy about the choices at the time, especially the most expensive plans, but instead of expecting Big Nanny and American taxpayers to be our insurer, we made the decision to shell out for an inexpensive, high-deductible plan. (Yes, such plans do exist.)
Most noxious is the continued sanctimony of left-wing bloggers positioning themselves as champions of the children of working-poor in their embrace of S-CHIP expansion. Notice how they say nothing about the entitlement creep that has this working-poor children’s health insurance program covering a growing number of adults.
Large numbers of these adults, also growing in number, are by no sane definition “working poor.” As Tom Blumer at BizzyBlog points out:
In California…it appears that there’s nothing stopping a trust fund baby, if their ONLY income comes from investment returns (i.e., it’s “unearned”), from qualifying for SCHIP! Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie could sit at home and stop boring us with their TV show, appearances, and commercials, have babies by any number of entourage members, and join in the SCHIP party. Is this a great country or what?
Seriously folks, 46 states and the District of Columbi a (HT Democracy Project) do not have an asset test for SCHIP. It seems likely that they, like California, as Kesler has just shown, don’t include “unearned” income either. Such laxity in regards to assets and “unearned” income may also be present in some or all of these states’ much larger Medicaid programs.
This is nuts.
Meanwhile, RLB Cohn piles on with another complaint about us savage right-wingers. I missed his e-mail in the deluge of moonbat mail that’s currently overwhelming my inbox. He wanted to know if I had tried to contact the Frosts. Here’s your answer: The reason I went to the Frosts’ commercial property was to try and interview Halsey Frost. He wasn’t there, which is why I ended up talking to one of his two tenants, who was happy to share his views. In fact, he noted that two other media outlets had stopped by. He was happy to talk to them, too. So much for my “grilling” and “harassment” of the Frosts’ friends. Out of respect for the family, contrary to this mythic image being conjured up of me pulling a Code Pink-style stunt at their home, I did not go onto their private property uninvited. I simply drove by their house, on a public street, and reported what I saw.
Can you imagine if I had gone on their property? Knocked on their door? Or called them up?
If you’re a conservative blogger and you don’t call them, then you aren’t getting their side of the story. If you do call them, you’re guilty of harassing them.
If, on the other hand, you’re an MSM reporter who asks only softball questions and snaps photos of the couple at their doorstep, you’re a Respectable Journalist.
As I’ve said before, you can’t win with these people.
“Debate” Ezra Klein? What a perverse distraction and a laughable waste of time that would be. And that’s what they really want, isn’t it? To distract and waste time so they can foist their agenda on the country unimpeded.
Last point: Let’s take the costume off, Mr. Klein, shall we? More than a year ago, I informed Respectable Liberal Blogger Ezra Klein that he had printed false, libelous claims about my run-in with the thugs at UC Santa Cruz. He refused to retract them and continues to intentionally spread that false, libelous information–weaving it, in fact, into one of his latest diatribes:
Something has gone wrong on the Right. Become sick and twisted and tumorous and ugly. To visit Michelle Malkin’s cave is to see politics at its most savage, its most ferocious, its most rageful. They say they’ve spent the past week smearing a child and his family because that child was fair game — he and his family spoke of their experience receiving health care through the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. For this, right wingers travel to their home, insinuate that the family is engaged in large-scale fraud, make threatening phone calls to the family, interrogate the neighbors as to the family’s character and financial state.
This is the politics of hate. Screaming, sobbing, inchoate, hate. It would never, not in a million years, occur to me to drive to the home of a Republican small business owner to see if he “really” needed that tax cut. It would never, not in a million years, occur to me to call his family and demand their personal information. It would never occur to me to interrogate his neighbors. It would never occur to me to his smear his children.
The shrieking, atavistic ritual of personal destruction the right roars into every few weeks is something different than politics. It is beyond politics. It was done to Scott Beauchamp, a soldier serving in Iraq. It was done to college students from the University of California, at Santa Cruz. Currently, it is being done to a child and his family. And think of those targets: College students, soldiers, children. It can be done to absolutely anyone.
This is not politics. This is, in symbolism and emotion, a violent group ritual. It is savages tearing at the body of a captured enemy. It is the group reminding itself that the Other is always disingenuous, always evil, always lying, always pitiful and pathetic and grotesque. It is a bonding experience — the collaborative nature of these hateful orgies proves that much — in which the enemy is exposed as base and vile and then ripped apart by the community. In that way, it sustains itself, each attack preemptively justifying the next vicious assault, justifying the whole hateful edifice on which their politics rest.
It is a blessing and relief that these mobs, as of yet, do nothing more than smear, that the blood they exult in is figurative and the inflicted harm is emotional or occupational. But they are howling, braying, thirsty mobs nonetheless, and their frequent, communal savagings of chosen representatives of their enemies is ugly and unsettling. It’s impossible not to wonder when the first one will drive by a house, and then decide to ring the doorbell, and then. Indeed, it’s already come damn close.
Christy Hardin Smith, has more, as does Digby. Think Progress has the facts of the story. And it’s worth following some of the links, including the one to Malkin’s attack on college students from years past. Malkin is, last I looked, the highest traffic rightwing blogger. What she’s channeling is real, and it should repulse and worry decent people, no matter their political orientation.
Good faith, eh? What would Ezra Klein know about it?
Now, run along and thump your chest over your “victory” at BloggingHeadsTV or something.
I have to get back to work. You know, “stalking.” “Assault.” “Savagings.” “Howling. “Braying.” “Hateful orgies.”
Update 1:35pm Eastern. WHY DO YOU HATE CHILDREN SO MUCH?!
Update 1:00pm Eastern. Snort-worthy blue-on-blue spat of the day: ThinkProgress vs. CNN.
Snort-worthy reverse conspiracy theorizing of the day: ThinkProgress in a tizzy over a McConnell aide’s e-mail to reporters about blogger coverage of Harry Reid’s poster child abuse, which the left-wing group touts as proof! proof! that McConnell was “involved in the right-wing campaign to smear Graeme Frost and his family.” He’s no more “involved” in the “right-wing smear” than CNN or any of the other MSM outlets trailing behind and finally asking hard-headed questions about the story behind the story.
Update 9:25am Eastern. Your S-CHIP editorial cartoon of the morning comes from Nate Beeler of the Examiner…
Meanwhile, Time magazine recycles Democrat talking points and passes it off as reporting.
Update: Hillary Clinton, She Whose Hand Rocks The Cradle, warns S-CHIP critics to “lay off.” Or else what, Mrs. Clinton?
“I don’t mind them picking on me; they’ve done it for years,” Clinton said to laughter from the audience at Symphony Hall in Boston. “You know, I think I’ve proven I can take care of myself against all of them.
“But President Bush and the Republicans should lay off Graeme Frost and all the other children who are getting health care because we have decided to do the right thing in America,” Clinton said.
Hillary should lay off the kiddie shields. Last time she exploited a sick child to argue for universal health care, it didn’t turn out so well.