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Sunday, April 9, 2017

Governance, secrets and health care

Regarding our intelligence services: Well, the good news is that the worker bees are still hard at work spreading honey. The storm clouds roiling political skies above WashDC rarely permeate far into the bowels of the hives. What gets done with all that honey can be another story. Obama made the apparently purposeful decision to allow NSA raw material to be disseminated around the town in raw, unevaluated, contextless, condition; and it's been the disaster those in the know knew it would be. This at least partially explains all the "leaks" of tidbits that were likely NSA sourced. Everybody now seems to have their own secret whisperer; it's the latest fad in government and in the media . . . and it all makes this country weaker on the world stage.
It's hard to tell what's truth, half-truth or fake news. Sometimes I wish the media would just stand down until actual decisions are made and reported (I'm willing to bet nothing will come of the investigation of Trump campaign contacts with Russians). This frenzy to publish every nuance, allegation, political ploy, and pure bovine excrement as if they are cast in bronze, does no good but to feed egos and drive politicians farther apart (and make good decisions impossible). (Over the years, the NYT alone has cost the taxpayers billions in reconstituting intelligence they compromised, and made us less safe. But, hey, gotta sell those newspapers.)
Add to these insider ingredients the incompetence of this administration, the three-ring circus that is the Republican Party, and the Democratic Party that is now emulating the Republican Party of the last 8 years (Chuck Schumer is unconsciously (I assume) channeling Mitch McConnell at every turn). The largely misunderstood, poorly explained, and far too draconian for a first try, AHCA, is a perfect example that will likely be followed for the next few months. The attempt to make sure health care doesn't bankrupt the government in a few years or decades may have seemed like a worthy endeavor to Ryan, but you don't take away what's already there (the 24M figure was based on faulty assumptions, but nevertheless, some people would have been forced to give up health insurance), and build a scheme that appears at first glance anyway to be not much more than a tax break for the rich. (All that really needs to be done is expand Medicaid and Medicare, and free insurance companies to sell attractive policies across state lines that include simply catastrophe coverage, and ala carte insurance policies (why should I pay for coverage for prenatal care). Or, aim for universal health coverage using Medicaid and Medicare and put the insurance companies out of business (I'll drink to that).)-pdf

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