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July 17, 2008

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and yes, i know this isn't technically "mordor's army" for you purists out there.

just wanted to preempt it -- a preemptive "shush"

i know this isn't technically "mordor's army"

Having just rewatched the first movie with the grandkids, I can point out that it's supposed to be "an army worthy of Mordor" . . .

Aneurin Bevan, founder of the NHS in 1948, saw "the sale and purchase of medical practice as an evil in itself".

He also said: "no society can legitimately call itself civilized if a sick person is denied medical aid because of lack of means."

For sixty years, children in Britain have been taken to the doctor when they needed it, and received medical care that they needed.


Hello, you have reached the Uruk-Hai Insurance Company. WE LEAVE NONE ALIVE! Please enter your seventeen-digit member ID followed by the pound sign.

It's too late. We already got a public healthcare plan past them when they weren't looking.

Hey, but John McCain will give the uninsured a tax credit of less than half the cost of a policy. That is, of course, IF they can get a policy. I have a good friend who has been denied by two different companies because of a pre-existing condition. I imagine that both my wife and I are uninsurable as individuals.

The House is now investigating insurance companies that are RETROACTIVELY cancelling the policies of people who pay their premiums, but who suddenly have expensive healthcare needs. I guess they don't believe in the "insure" part of "insurance".

Yeah, the healthcare industry is efficient. Not in providing coverage, mind you, but at making a profit.

I'm very torn by the debate, such as it is, between HCAN liberals and single-payer advocates. The prospect of waging an all-out effort against the army of Mordor just to achieve a minimal result that leaves their power in place -- to continue to undermine, default, cherry-pick, and buy off our political "representatives" -- is not an appealing one.

Yet I'm appreciative of the urgency to win something concrete and beneficial for the millions of without access to health care now.

Single-payer-backing organizations have signed up, and single-payer activists are being wooed to take on the campaign, under the premise that the public health plan component that is HCAN's goal will be the 'camel's nose under the tent', the opening by which a public plan can (potentially, eventually) grow to take up most of the coverage.

I grant that even if we were about to elect a combative, anticorporate, genuinely progressive president and Congress (which we are not), prospects would look bleak for enacting a health system that pretty much legislated the insurers out of business. We have a gigantic chicken-and-egg problem, that the HCAN effort is designed to finesse.

It can only work as part of a much larger effort to change the structure of the "playing field" (some game!), starting with public election financing.

I'm very torn by the debate, such as it is, between HCAN liberals and single-payer advocates.

To the extent that it's a debate about incrementalism as a strategy, I'm not torn at all; I don't think nationalizing an industry that's still turning a profit is at all a realistic expectation, and that its profitability is going to have to be beaten down through a combination of competition from a good public program and regulatory changes in the private market that limit cherry-picking and require a certain level of spending on actual care (rather than advertising/marketing, executive salaries, etc.) before we can get to full single-payer; and it's going to be hard enough to get and keep anything like that.

I'd be happy to debate the merits of different incremental strategies, but the single-payer advocates in my area have no interest in that; they want to toss the ring into Mount Doom and be done with it.

I'd be happy to debate the merits of different incremental strategies, but the single-payer advocates in my area have no interest in that; they want to toss the ring into Mount Doom and be done with it.

The problem with tossing the ring into Mount Doom is that it leaves us with several million unemployed orcs. An incremental strategy, giving us time to smooth the transition, makes more sense, even though in the long run a single payer system is preferable.

I lol'd

One federal agency to rule them all, one federal agency to bind them, one federal agency to bring them all and in the light of universal health care bind them . . .

Man, we could go on like this all day.

"and yes, i know this isn't technically 'mordor's army' for you purists out there."

So why not say "Isengard's Army stirs"?

"I can point out that it's supposed to be 'an army worthy of Mordor' . . ."

Only in Saruman's deluded mind.

I tsk tsk at people citing the movies as sources, though, rather than, y'know, some guy named "Tolkien"'s work.

Tsk.

Only in Saruman's deluded mind.

"Build me an army worthy of Mordor," says Sauron to Saruman through the palantir.

And yeah, it's only the movie--the movies lay out the details of Saruman's treason more explicitly than the books do. It's heresy, I know, but I thought the movies handled this better, although most in other places in which the movies and the books diverged, the books of course were preferable.

Ahead of the approaching health care reform storm

Can we please get rid of "Ahead of"? In what way is better than "Prior to"?

Also "On the ground" (as opposed to "in the air"???). Just say "locally". [/Farber]

thanks -- [/russell]

Thanks for that, Hogan. That lack of real engagement/interaction is why I said "the debate, such as it is".

To the extent that none of the bigger structural changes happens to break the corporate grip on our elections and government, that "smoothing the transition" that rea refers to will have nothing smooth about it: an unremitting struggle, always favoring the insurers and their pharma phriends in the effort to game the system and undermine the public program.

Jeff:

Instead of "prior to" (or "ahead of"), why not simply "before"?

Instead of "prior to" (or "ahead of"), why not simply "before"?

"Before" doesn't imply any connections between two events: "Mark Twain wrote Tom Sawyer before the Battle of the Bulge." "Prior to", IMO, does: "Prior to the Civil War, some states allowed slavery, the others were Free."

Even better is "In anticipation of". It links the two events even more than "Ahead of".

Even better is "In anticipation of".

Okay, I'll bite--"Mark Twain wrote Tom Sawyer in anticipation of the Battle of the Bulge," and "In anticipation of the Civil War, some states allowed slavery, the others were Free"?

rea: That was my point. "Before" has NO linking of two events, and "prior to" has weak linking, but "In anticpation of" has strong linking. That is to say, the first event is occuring not only before the second, but because of it.

So the first example needs "because", the second could use "before", but I think "prior to" is better, but the quote from Politico needs "in anticipation of":

"In anticipation of the approaching health care reform storm, the insurance industry is building an ark"

"Build me an army worthy of Mordor," says Sauron to Saruman through the palantir.
And Sauron was a great seducer and liar, second only to Morgoth. He would never allow anyone to build an army to truly rival his, of course. Saruman was just a diversion.

Usually usage peevers hate "prior to" -- and I'd be surprised if those folks liked "in anticipation of" any better. So at least Jeff is providing some variety.

Wait, what? The Lord of the Rings was based on a book? What, three books?!? Who knew?

"What, three books?!?"

No, six books:

The Return of the Shadow or The Ring Sets Out; The Fellowship of the Ring or The Ring Goes South; The Treason of Isengard; The Journey of the Ringbearers or The Ring Goes East; The War of the Ring; and The End of the Third Age or The Return of the King.
It was Allen & Unwin that turned them into three volumes for publishing convenience, but that was basically arbitrary, and certainly wasn't Tolkien's decision or intent.

West of the Potomac as far as the Rocky Mountains and the Californian peninsula shall be tributary to AHIP, and men there shall bear no other insurance policies, but shall have leave to govern their own affairs. But they shall help to rebuild Enron which they have wantonly destroyed, and that shall be AHIP's, and there his lieutenant shall dwell: not Arthur Andersen, but one more worthy of trust.

This is much to demand for the delivery of one servant. Where is this prisoner? Let him be brought forth from the fortress of Crawford and yielded to us, and then we shall consider these demands.

As for your terms, we reject them utterly. Get you gone, for your embassy is over and death is near you. We did not come here to waste words in treating with Bush, faithless and accursed; still less with one of his slaves. Begone!

>>The House is now investigating insurance companies that are RETROACTIVELY cancelling the policies of people who pay their premiums, but who suddenly have expensive healthcare needs. I guess they don't believe in the "insure" part of "insurance".

I had a similar experience (but with car insurance) in the '80s with an extra twist: The DMV computer kept saying I didn't have a license; every *human* at the DMV said I did, and I had the LA area regional director (or whatever) calling my insurance company, who nonetheless insisted on cancelling my policy, in clear conflict with the law. I spent endless hours dicking around these people. Finally the DMV got the computer straightened out, and I got insurance elsewhere with only a brief scary uncovered hiatus.

Punchline: Six months later, I received a letter from my original insurer, saying (is essence) "It has come to our attention that we improperly cancelled your policy in April. We apologize and have reinstated your coverage retroactively. Attached is the bill for your coverage for April-October. Please remit promptly."

West of the Potomac as far as the Rocky Mountains and the Californian peninsula

Did something sort of geological happen that we need to know about?

Thanks -

"Did something sort of geological happen that we need to know about?"

Nah, just the power of The One Ring.

Correct name: Baja California peninsula (part of Mexico, not the US, although it has a far longer border with the US than with the Mexican mainland).

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