Morning Reads for Thursday, August 9th

News from our nation’s far-flung ramparts:

  • College means more money but not if you major in art, (ClevelandFed)
  • Neil Armstrong has surgery on his heart, (Reuters)
  • Romney camp suggests that to Mass Neil (and other sickies) should depart, (Politico)
  • Health care costs per patient aren’t off the chart, (New Eng. J. of Med.)
  • And economic benefits drug dealing does impart, (SanAntonioExpressNews)

News from elsewhere has its roots in the West,

  • Emerging from empire was Asia’s greatest test, (Guardian)
  • American Medal Lead is all down to the women, (WaPo)
  • time to recognize all that Title IV has given, (Opinionater-NYT)

And lastly some news with roots in red clay,

  • I know you’re excited for your sales tax holiday, (AJC)
  • and intown Atlanta transportation may yet have its day,  (CL-Wheatley)
  • and the Beltline’s still a go, if Mr. Mayor gets his way, (CL),
  • water wars update coming from the Army Corps of Engineers, (GPB)
  • Charter Schools on the ballot, time to ramp up the fears, (AJC)
  • Braves beat the Phillies, good news Dan Uggla is no worse than he appears! (AJC)


  1. John Konop says:

    The healthcare debate is disrnginous on both sides. The truth is mandates was a GOP idea fostered by Newt and first implemented by Romney. The concept of all paying who can afford is about personal responsibility end of story.

    While we are debating this rational part of the solution, both sides are avoiding the real issue that healthcare cost is growing 5 to 10 times faster than GDP. And this issue like many are driven by lobbyist buying policy over solving the problem.

    We cannot even implement simple solution like co-op buying of drugs for Medicare and government workers which would save 60 percent ie somehow co-op buying has become anti free market.

    If we make any needed cuts , all we hear from both sides is bs like death panels and killing grandma.

    We get irrational ill thought out talking point solutions ie free market healthcare:

    A private companies job is to make a profit, why do you think insurance companies are against dealing with people who have to much risk ie per-existing conditions, deny first and let you fight for coverage……

    Obviously everyone would like to be on Medicare since the majority of cost is paid by tax payers not them. And it has very liberal coverage that does push responsibility on to paitents.

    I have said this many times, we need to have areal adult conversation about this issue. But both sides it seems would rather hear what they want and not deal in reality.

    • bgsmallz says:


      Solid comment. I believe the mandate is an idea that was developed by economists and first pushed by the Heritage Foundation in the early 90s(?) as an alternative to Hilliarycare.

      I’ve always found the battle against the mandate to be cutting off your nose to spite your face. By eliminating the option of a mandate, you are opening the door wider for a single payer system.

      We have a mandate in our state, just like many states, that hospitals treat a patient through the ER without regards to the ability to pay. Clearly as a society we have some regard for the ability for all to receive basic health care…I just don’t understand why we can’t start with a solution that would (a) efficiently pay those costs we seem willing to pay as neighbors/fellow citizens and (b) eliminate much of the false incentives that currently exist because of bad government policies. Those are the simple steps…create a better way of cost spreading other than ‘hospitals pass along the costs to other patients’ and create economic incentives in the decision making process.

      • John Konop says:

        This article does a very good job of explaining how the mandate got started.

        …….Peter Suderman picks up on something subtle and important in the Gingrich-Romney exchange: that Gingrich adopted the mandate as a tactic “against Hillarycare.” As Peter puts it,

        This tells you something about why Republican party leaders have had such a hard time addressing health policy issues over the last few years. Rather than make a prolonged case for health policy that does not involve endless expansion of entitlements and insurance subsidies, the GOP has instead focused primarily on reacting to Democratic proposals. The individual mandate was an attempt to beat Democrats at the universal coverage game and preempt the what would become HillaryCare. Medicare’s prescription drug benefit was passed by a Republican president and a Republican Congress under the pretense that if they didn’t do it, Democrats would, and it would be worse. In the debate over ObamaCare, Republicans spent more energy arguing against the law’s Medicare payment cuts than any other part of the law. Riding a wave of anger over ObamaCare’s passage to electoral victory in 2010, party leadership continued to refuse to talk about broader entitlement reform. And now they’re on track to nominate a presidential candidate who, in his only gig as an elected official, signed a state-based law that would provide the model and foundation for ObamaCare—their top legislative target…….


        • caroline says:

          John I think you need to realize that conservatives don’t really have any beliefs when it comes to politics. It’s just whatever Obama wants they are going to knee jerk oppose it even if it’s something THEY proposed themselves.

          BTW what happened to your website? Did you shut it down?

    • Three Jack says:

      Government mandates benefit one industry, big insurance. Imposing mandates nationally with the IRS as enforcement agency will end all semblance of a free society. This is absolutely the worst part of any healthcare proposal, I don’t care which bureaucrat/politician supported it.

      • Stefan says:

        well, the idea of ACA was cost controls plus some patients’ rights. If you don’t have a universal mandate, you lose the cost-controls. Would you be in favor of a single-payer system? That’s really the only panacea for the problems you mention above.

        • Three Jack says:

          Stefan, I’m for personal responsibility…if you choose to not buy healthcare coverage and you don’t have money to visit a doctor, then you find home remedies that fit your budget.

          • bgsmallz says:

            If you choose not to buy healthcare and/or you don’t have money to pay, should an ambulance be allowed to leave you bleeding out at the scene of a car accident until you find home remedies?

            Or if you get cancer b/c you didn’t want to buy coverage, should an ER have to take you in once the tumors get so big that you can barely walk because of the pain or can they tell you ‘cash only. pay before you pump’?

            • Three Jack says:

              bg, make EMS a rider on auto insurance, problem solved.

              Regarding the cancer scenario, again it’s about personal responsibility. If that person chose to spend their money on things other than health insurance, then sadly they will suffer the consequences. Do you think taxpayers should cover for those not willing to cover themselves? Is that your vision of compassion?

              • bgsmallz says:

                As long as we aren’t mandating purchasing health insurance and instead are mandating health care through auto coverage, we are avoiding the ‘beauracracy’ and the ‘end all semblance of a free society.’


                (Not to mention that trauma happens in places besides cars…but whatever, this discussion is clearly lost in fantasy world)

                Anyway, you show your ignorance when you ask… “Do you think taxpayers should cover for those not willing to cover themselves? Is that your vision of compassion?” …that’s the point I’m making, fella. That is the state of the law as it currently exists. Has been for a while. Feel free to peruse Title 31 of the Georgia Code and do a google search on “Medical Bankruptcies.”

                It’s no use having a real discussion about health care if there isn’t even a basic understanding of how our system currently works.

                • Three Jack says:

                  You’re right about one thing bg, the discussion has truly devolved into a fantasy world when so many start with the false premise that healthcare is a right. You guys continue on with this abuse of taxpayer funds until there are no longer taxpayers to fund your utopian fantasy world. We as a society cannot possibly care for everybody through government mandates, regulations and redistribution. It is simply not sustainable.

                  • bgsmallz says:

                    Look…I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but right now we have a system that says ‘health care is a right, but we haven’t developed an efficient system to pay for that right.’ That’s the world we live in. That’s not a fantasy or utopia or my false premise. That’s reality, jack.

                    I respect the honesty to the problem though…your opinion says you either have health insurance or you pay cash up front, if not, you stay sick/die/etc.

                    I think that is a fast train to financial ruin and an awful moral foundation for a society and thus will continue to look for a solution to our current health care mess.

          • caroline says:

            This works in theory but not in reality. The problem is that insurance companies have priced themselves out of the market for a lot of people. And I can tell you that having insurance is no panacea for getting treatment as a cancer survivor myself. 75% of all medical bankruptcies are from people who have insurance because having insurance does not mean that you are going to get medical care. Before my first appointment the hospital called me wanting a down payment on a procedure I had not even received yet. And they just set the down payment amount with out regards to what you could pay.

            • John Konop says:

              I agree, that is why the mandate is just a first step. And both parties have refused to deal with the cost issue. Instead we are stuck in talking point spin world……..

              The sad part is all of us are paying the with friends and family. We need a real transformation of the healthcare system that is based on preventive care, wellness, access to treatment before it becomes a bigger problem, carrot and stick approach, co-op purchasing of medicine……….

              But instead of having the adult conversation we talk about death panels and killing grandma.

        • bgsmallz says:

          I think that’s kind of my point…you remove the ability to mandate coverage by private insurers and you are kind of only left with three solutions…(1)single payer, (2)letting people die that can’t afford care, or (3)a fake form of liberty that mandates hospitals to have to bear the burden of the uninsured, forces providers to write off debts through medical bankruptcies, and basically spreads costs in about the most inefficient manner I could possibly think of.

          I’m wary of the mandate (not in a ‘end all semblance of a free society’ way, but in a more measured ‘is this a toehold into our personal liberties’ sort of way). However, I’m not sure we can argue against both the mandate and the single payer system without facing the reality that we also don’t like letting people just die because they can’t afford to pay for health care.

            • Three Jack says:

              “we also don’t like letting people just die because they can’t afford to pay for health care.”

              The vast majority of folks abusing the system are not close to dying. More likely they have a cold or some other ailment that should be treated with over the counter meds. Problem is they are so used to getting handouts for everything else they do in life (food, shelter, etc.) they come to expect it for their healthcare. So instead of spending $10 at a local Walgreens, they head to the emergency room to get ‘free’ meds.

              Nice try bg.

                • Three Jack says:

                  What do you think happens to a family barely getting by while paying their own way for healthcare when it comes time for vacation or to add a few more cable channels? They prioritze so their kids are covered. Why do you want to punish these fine folks in order to pay for those who can’t afford to have babies in the first place?

                  • John Konop says:

                    You support candidates that want to force people to have children, and are against treating them? Your position is, if your parents by chance are irrespirable or fall on hard times, you die over a mandate?

                    • Three Jack says:

                      John, nice dodge. What do you say to the family barely making ends meet that now must take on the burden of your poor, poor, downtrodden freeloaders? Somebody must pay for your utopia John…please tell us how you would approach that cop married to a teacher with 2 children trying to make house payments and put food on the table. How much more should they pay for your utopian society?

                      And you know better than to put me in the category of supporting anti-choice candidates or policies.

                  • jbgotcha says:

                    You have the callous attitude of a person with great privilege in their life. Sitting high above the masses of “poor, poor, downtrodden freeloaders taking advantage of our system” and judging them. I won’t even attempt to change your mind, I just wanted to point that out for those who may not realize they are talking to a brick wall.

                    • bgsmallz says:

                      If you are still using encyclopedias for fact checking and understanding the world, I think we just identified the problem.

                    • Noway says:

                      TJ’s attitude isn’t callous at all. It’s reality. How much more should productive responsible folks be asked to pay for the care of those who have chosen not to care for themselves and their dependents? Seriously! If you have children, it’s your job to care for them, not society’s. If your mom needs help in her aging years, step up to the plate and help her. It’s not society’s job. It’s not society’s job to buy her meds or replace her hip or pay for her old folks home. It’s yours! Don’t shoot the messenger for calling them freeloaders. Call them whatever you’d like but the bottom line is they are an unsustainable burden on the people who actually pay taxes. Enough parasites will eventually kill the host. That is a simple fact. Period.

                    • Three Jack says:


                      You folks who consider it compassion to funnel hard earned dollars generated by hard working citizens through a government bureaucracy in order to care for the downtrodden are callous, not me. It is far more compassionate for families to care for themselves.

          • caroline says:

            Don’t forget the cost shifting that occurs too. It’s one of the reasons insurance is pricing itself out of the market.

  2. A small addition: What is Stan Wise hiding? His Personal Financial Disclosure shows $319,000 in “401k and 457” but doesn’t list the holdings. With a wife that works for AT&T and a son who works for Georgia Power’s law firm, are we just supposed to believe that none of that is invested directly in utility stocks? He constantly criticized his primary opponent for not completely and correctly filling out her disclosure, yet he’s guilty of doing the same exact thing.

      • OCGA 46-2-2:

        (b) During their terms of office, the Commissioners shall not, jointly or severally, or in any way, be the holders of any stock or bonds, or be agents or employees of any company, or have any interest in any company under the jurisdiction of the commission. If any Commissioner becomes disqualified in any way, he shall at once remove the disqualification or resign; and on failure to do so he shall be suspended from office by the Governor.

        Of course, we can’t know whether he owns stock in those companies if he doesn’t disclose it as required by the Commission formerly known as Ethics.

          • Haha, yes, I had written a couple of sentences before pasting the code and decided they didn’t make sense and just didn’t get around to re-writing them before hitting submit. Guess that’s what I get for multitasking with too many different things this morning. Trying to quickly make the best use I can of the internet connection while it’s up, since I’m on a flaky satellite internet connection today. 🙂

              • I believe if he doesn’t properly file his Personal Financial Disclosure, the only options are for him to amend it or for someone to file a complaint with the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission. I suppose the other option is that in the absence of a proper disclosure, someone could file a complaint with the Governor with the assumption that he must own some utility stock and the Governor would either have to suspend him or require him to prove his holdings don’t contain any stocks he is not legally allowed to own.

  3. Jackster says:

    There will not be an adult conversation about any sort of reform or cost reduction until we as a nation can form an opinion about if healthcare is a societal need. You’d think both sides are talking past that specific point, as it would force them to start to compromise.

    The problem here is you can’t talk about single payer, individual mandate, or free market solutions if it hasn’t been established that there is a basic need for all to have these services (the definition services here is apparently also up for debate), not just the folks who can afford them.

  4. Mrs. Adam Kornstein says:

    I think all comments should have to rhyme, given that’s how our host wrote the post.

    • Stefan says:

      I agree on your suggestion but contingent
      that the rules not be too stringent,

      commenters here, you may have surmised,
      don’t wish their liberty compromised,

      and in the interest of free expression,
      as much as I agree with your direction,

      protests of the “state constabulary”
      will ensue from those with limited vocabulary,

      so, in the end, we’d have to retract,
      despite my wholehearted support for your compact.

      • And we have to think
        it would drive some to drink…
        for writing in prose
        is easier for those
        who need to write quick
        without being so slick.

        Perhaps a haiku? Long posts become short and sweet. Maybe that won’t work.

  5. Harry says:

    Obamacare attempts a one-size-fits-all solution. Several levels of service should be designated depending on one’s ability to pay. That’s how it works in reality in every other country in the world. Yes, the basic level of service is less than ideal but at least it’s something. We will simply not be able to pay for one-size-fits-all. Like Margaret Thatcher said, the problem with socialism is that sooner or later you run out of other people’s money. It’s designed to fail.

  6. saltycracker says:

    The current system has to change. The unsolvable problem is recognizing this is an area the divisive politicians picking winners and loosers cannot do better than private industry.

    The choices can be individual mandate or employer provided or personal choice which must also come with the right of refusal of services by providers. For the uninsured, coverage should come from personal finances or non-government charity.

    With personal choice, the charity hospitals would become overwhelmed as the numbers that opt out of medical insurance to increase their personal consumption will grow faster than those that take coverage as a responsibility or even those incapable of paying.

    Whatever direction we go the government must get out of being the provider. Private businesses in a competitive market can be far more efficient and effective in this industry. The corporate profit margins will be less than the waste, fraud, bureaucractic, politically driven and/or bad medical decisions.

    Govt will not or cannot administer or enforce in the complex, extremely large healthcare business. It is just outgunned and undermanned. They can protect the population, open the doors of competition to private companies, define, regulate and set basic funding.

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