Thursday Highlights

Good, err, day.

  1. For the Depends wearing vampire in your life.
  2. And speaking of Romania
  3. Halloween.
  4. Sad commentary.
  5. Ms Sebellius apparently thinks that one of the most heavily regulated industries is unregulated. What I wonder does she think a heavily regulated industry might look like? Or how she might describe an actually unregulated market.
  6. A big atom.
  7. “Every good modeler” which I guess excludes the climate crowd and a lot of economists (at least who offer that the reason their model wasn’t followed was because in real life people acted irrationally).
  8. Apparently not all Democrats are willing to deny Obama’s “if you like it you can keep it” wasn’t a lie.
  9. Completely amazing. If you watch one thing on YouTube this week, make it this.
  10. Heh.
  11. I’ve described Obamacare as “moving around deck chairs on the Titanic” … here’s a similar analogy.
  12. Optimism.
  13. Cool.
  14. Celebrating the grease pen, for myself I prefer ink … except when on airplanes. Ink pens do bad things when cabin pressure changes.
  15. Bang tech.
  16. Getting closer to the next car I might buy. I’m looking for 3 digit mpg before I pull the trigger.
  17. College staff that needs to spend more time with simple arithmetic and expanding thirds as decimals.

 

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8 comments

  1. Boonton says:

    #6
    http://www.slate.com/blogs/weigel/2013/10/31/the_chart_that_could_save_obamacare.html

    While we can continue to engage in the Talmudic question of whether “you can keep your plan” is or isn’t true, we are now at the point where it is true where it actually matters, real life.

    3% is essentially a margin for error. More importantly, any and all cases where the ‘victim’ can get the same or better policy at the same price or less effectively count as fulfilling the promise….no serious person will entertain claims like “I paid $400 a month for a $6000 deductible and $40 copay and a blue id card with a star on it….now I pay $350 for a $5000 deductible and $35 copay and those gov’t bastards got me a card that’s gold with a picture of an eagle on it!”

  2. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    You’re the one trying to interpret and closely parse to rescue the “truthfullness” (which by the by 99% of his defenders have stopped attempting and have admitted that, yes, he lied … which is apparently better than he’s stupid).

    3% is not a “margin of error” it is half of the people who privately buy insurance. And no, “buying the same or better” is not “effectively” fulfilling the promise.

    Look. I’m Mr Obama. We’re putting some new highway safety promises. I promise that when these regulations go into effect that I pledge you will be able to keep your car. The legislation goes into effect and lo and behold, you have to buy a new car. Your defense of my truthfulness is that your new car is “the same or better” even though may costs more (unless you quit your job for a lesser paying one and suddenly are eligible for car-i-caide assistance).

  3. Boonton says:

    You’re the one trying to interpret and closely parse to rescue the “truthfullness”

    If this was the case why did I publically declare that I would not use the ‘nitpickers’ argument and all I asked in return was that you would renounce the ‘amber argument’?

    3% is not a “margin of error” it is half of the people who privately buy insurance. And no, “buying the same or better” is not “effectively” fulfilling the promise.

    Yes it is. If you tell me the policy you wanted to keep, say, had a 10% co-pay, $1000 deductible and $5K max OOP and cost $500 a month and that same policy now costs $450 a month I’m not going to buy that you were harmed, period. If you have some fetish about spending more per month feel free to send me $50 a month so you can continue to pay $500.

    We’re putting some new highway safety promises. I promise that when these regulations go into effect that I pledge you will be able to keep your car. The legislation goes into effect and lo and behold, you have to buy a new car.

    The new legislation went into effect and my car’s transmission broke and the mechanic says it isn’t worth fixing! Obama destroyed my car!

    You fail to consider just what NBC’s logic was. Their logic was that since 50-60% of the individual market ‘turnsover’ every year, then very few plans in 2010 would still be around in 2013 no matter what the ACA says or even if the ACA was never passed.

    Let’s apply your logic to the highway safety example. The average age of any random car on the road is about 10 years. So if some major highway bill was passed in 2010 one would expect about half the cars on the road today would no longer be on the road in 2020. Therefore even though the bill never outlawed any car, it’s responsible for every car that leaves the road over the next ten years.

    Contrast that with a bill that, say, outlawed all cars that didn’t get over 60 mph. That law would clearly violate a promise of ‘you can keep your car’.

    which by the by 99% of his defenders have stopped

    Ahhh conservatives are strange, they seem not only addicted to the argument from authority fallacy (Mr X says he lied therefore he lied) but they seem to love the argument from liberal authority fallacy (I think liberals are always wrong, but noted liberal Mr. X says he lied so you should think he lied). I understand where this comes from, conservatives value loyality over honesty so their instincts are if told their team has adopted X, they should too. Hence they can win an argument with a liberal if they just try to show the liberal that the ‘liberal team’ has embraced X therefore the liberal should go catch up with the ‘team’. This doesn’t work as a logical argument, though, and it doesn’t work as a psychological argument. Liberals like the idea that they have the truth through individual reasoning. Hence they have little problem disagreeing with other liberals, they may even like to do so if it helps puff up their sense of status. Conservatives value loyality more so they are less inclined to disagree with a conservative champion unless that champion is going to be thrown under the bus as not a real team player (see, for example, the treatment of McCain when he ran against Bush, Ron Paul when he was running in 2008 and essentially called a terrorist by his fellow Republicans). So your strateg fails not only logically but rhetorically.

  4. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    But in the comment before you brought up the nitpicker argument (which of course makes you the one doing the talmudic parsing not me) … was that I was fine with you keeping that argument, as it only means Obama is using the “evil” hermenuetic and “he’s not lying .. he’s just evil” is a valid interpretation as far as I can throw this one. I’m not making the amber argument btw. See the last (not the btw) sentence below.

    And the problem is isn’t that people are losing a policy but replacing with an equivalent one, they are losing it (on account of the law) and only finding options which are double the co-pay for twice the money, i.e., worse not basically the same.

    Contrast that with a bill that, say, outlawed all cars that didn’t get over 60 mph. That law would clearly violate a promise of ‘you can keep your car’.

    Ok. You can “keep” your car, you just have to pay 3% of your salary as a fine. Am truthful by saying that you can keep your car if you like it? What if you can’t afford the fine? Normally, you’d figure “you can keep your car” doesn’t mean you’ll be fined for doing so.

    not only addicted to the argument from authority fallacy

    Not my argument btw, I think he lied because (a) he usually lies and (b) what he said clearly wasn’t true then and isn’t true now. My points was that I don’t see anyone out there who hasn’t conceded the he actually lied. Mr Obama himself has done so, by now adding an impossible to satisfy “footnote”, which was never mentioned before. Look, if Mr Obama is conceding what he said wasn’t true. Why are you still arguing that what he said was true? This has nothing to do with loyalty, and everything to do with your obstinacy.

    Their logic was that since 50-60% of the individual market ‘turnsover’ every year, then very few plans in 2010 would still be around in 2013 no matter what the ACA says or even if the ACA was never passed.

    Yes. And if he promised you’ll always be able to cross that stream behind your house … and then points out (after diverting the stream) that you’d never have been able to cross the stream because the you can never step in the same stream twice anyhow. The point being, the reason you cannot keep your coverage is by the statement implied not to be on account of the new law.

    (btw, there were two parts to the statement, keep your coverage and keep your doctor … if your coverage changes very often you can’t keep your doctor. … how did he figure if your coverage was changed you could still keep your doctor?)

  5. Boonton says:

    But in the comment before you brought up the nitpicker argument

    I brought up several arguments and gave examples of what types of laws would both meet and not meet the promise under each. The nitpicker argument seems designed to let almost any policy be ok with the promise, but there are some that would violate even that very flexible reading.

    But I rejected the use of the nitpicker argument unless you were going to use the amber argument. The problem you have with the amber argument is that it would essentially require not just not passing Obamacare, but passing a huge and radical price and labor freeze on the entire economic sector. It’s not that would be an ‘evil hermenuetic’, it is would a sensible, reasonable person honestly belief that was the hermenuetic being used? I would say clearly not, hence you don’t get to use it yourself.

    And the problem is isn’t that people are losing a policy but replacing with an equivalent one, they are losing it (on account of the law) and only finding options which are double the co-pay for twice the money,

    Not in the example I cited.

    Ok. You can “keep” your car, you just have to pay 3% of your salary as a fine. Am truthful by saying that you can keep your car if you like it? What if you can’t afford the fine?

    1. Yes

    2. How could you not afford 3% of your salary? You’re changing the promise here from “you can keep your car if you like” to “you can keep your car and doing so would cause absolutely no additional burdens for you. Imagine if gas goes up a penny after the law has passed. Well now you can keep your gas guzzling car but it costs more to fuel up! Has the promise been broken?

    Normally, you’d figure “you can keep your car” doesn’t mean you’ll be fined for doing so.

    This wouldn’t apply in this case since the ‘you car’ would be grandfathered in.

    Yes. And if he promised you’ll always be able to cross that stream behind your house … and then points out (after diverting the stream) that you’d never have been able to cross the stream because the you can never step in the same stream twice anyhow.

    This would be more like he promises you can cross the stream behind your house but the stream behind your house has shifted radically over the last ten years, sometimes drying up, sometimes becoming a rushing river too dangerous to cross, sometimes shifting to in front rather than behind your house.

    ‘Diverted the stream’? So you’re saying you have to do more than just produce a cancellation note to establish a breach of promise? Or are you going with the amber reading?

  6. Boonton says:

    Why are you still arguing that what he said was true? This has nothing to do with loyalty, and everything to do with your obstinacy.

    So you’ve descended from the argument from authority fallacy (i.e. Obama defenders have stopped defending him on this point) to the argument from peer pressure fallacy (why are you being obstinate, just agree with everyone else!).

    I think you can do a bit better than that. You mentioned “evil” hermenuetics but in order to evaluate this you have to actually present what you think are fair hermenuetics to evaluate the statement and what it meant. NBC news choose to take the statement to mean the market circa 2010 would be somehow preserved so that plans that existed then would remain the same. They then determine not only was that promise broken, it was made knowing it would be broken because the administration knew the ‘normal’ turnover in that market was over 50% per year.

    This would be a bit like saying stock prices won’t be changed if you pass law X. If someone said that, I would say the ‘normal’ state of affairs is that stock prices change all the time so in order for law X to fulfill it’s promise it much impose some sort of system to freeze prices at a particular point in time.

    But what if law X was, say, the consumer financial protection act and the industry was saying if you pass it the gov’t would confiscate all stocks from individual investors and in response it was said “you can keep your stocks under the law”. In that case I wouldn’t read the law as promising to preserve stock prices or even individual stocks. If tomorrow a company pulls its stock off the stock market, for example, I wouldn’t take it as a breach of the promise since back when the law was passed you were allowed to buy that company’s stock.

    So to make this case you’re going to have to better than tell me some unnamed liberal authorities have agreed with you. You’ll also have to do better than tell me that the crowd agrees with you. You’re going to first present to me your hermenuetics for analyzing Obama’s statement. Show me under what conditions the statement would be considered true and what would define a breach of the promise. Before you go anywhere you have to establish you are presenting a reasonable (i.e. ‘non-evil’) set of hermenuetics. Assuming we can align on that, it should be rather simple to examine the evidence to see whether or not the statement has been violated.

    if your coverage changes very often you can’t keep your doctor. … how did he figure if your coverage was changed you could still keep your doctor

    You can’t? What if your doctor decides he doesn’t like what Blue Cross pays him and decides to drop them and sign up with Aetna? What if your doctor decides he wants to quite medicine and become a full time singer in a punk rock tribute band? What if your doctor decides to run off with your wife to a Carribian island?

    I think a reasonable reading of ‘you can keep your doctor’ is that no law will prevent you from using your doctor. Your doctor may or may not accept your insurance, some doctors are so sought after they opt to not accept any insurance. Your insurance may not choose to keep your doctor either. I do not think that such a promise would mean doctors would be chained to whatever insurances they accepted in 2010 anymore than I would expect doctors to be made into slaves and forced out of the punk rock band or off their island resort to tend to patients whether they wanted too or not. Again this illustrates your need to first establish a reasonable and fair hermenuetic that an honest, non-hysterical-shrill partisan would have plausibly used back in 2010 or so to understand the statement.

  7. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    So you’ve descended from the argument from authority fallacy (i.e. Obama defenders have stopped defending him on this point) to the argument from peer pressure fallacy (why are you being obstinate, just agree with everyone else!).

    You’re still flailing.

    I think you can do a bit better than that. You mentioned “evil” hermenuetics but in order to evaluate this you have to actually present what you think are fair hermenuetics to evaluate the statement and what it meant

    And I pointed out what I meant by that, and oddly enough you keep resorting to it. I offered that the “evil” hermeneutics, especially in oft repeated speeches, is to defend them by parsing the words very tightly holding to unusual or extremely precise wording as the actual meaning not the ordinary meaning. I gave an example “Are you having sexual relations with that woman” isn’t normally meant to mean right now in the courtroom, no matter what Clinton might have pretended. Another way to think of it is the hermeneutic you use should not be akin to the djinn who interprets your wish with evil intent (you wish to be very wealthy, voila you are transformed into a $10k T-bill).

    So what does “If you like your health insurance you can keep it, if you like your doctor you can keep him” mean plainly? My interpretation is simple, and what people hearing that would understand, firstly that if I lose my insurance it isn’t on account of the law and second, that there are protections in place that make it harder for an insurance company to drop me if my health is poor and I become expensive. That first (again) the reason my doctor isn’t available anymore isn’t on account of the new laws and their consequences and secondly (as before) there would be protections allowing my coverage to stay with my doctor even if he or I change plans.

    This interpretation is the plain one. It was known to Obama to be false when he made the statement. Ergo, It was a lie (and he is evil) or your other possible defense is that he did not know it was false (and he is stupid).

  8. Boonton says:

    “Are you having sexual relations with that woman” isn’t normally meant to mean right now in the courtroom, no matter what Clinton might have pretended.

    Actually Clinton, if I recall correctly, had his lawyers insist on a very precise definition of sexual relations which ended up being defined as genitals acting upon each other which allowed him to argue that a blowjob didn’t count. Not that ‘having’ was present tense so he could answer no unless he was having sex while offering testimony. But point taken:

    parsing the words very tightly holding to unusual or extremely precise wording as the actual meaning not the ordinary meaning.

    This would seem to imply to me a very large portion of people keeping the same insurance (say 97%?) should be treated as fulfilling the statement. It would also imply to me trivial differences between plans should also not be counted as violations. This would make sense given the fact that alternative proposals (single payer from the left, attacking employer based insurance from the right) would have resulted in huge numbers of people (greater than 40% let’s say assuming Medicare/caid would remain untouched) wouldn’t have been able to keep their plans. If this is the hermenuetic you propose then I accept it but you fail to demonstrate it was violated.

    This is also relevant because one of the objections by more serious intellectual critics of the ACA is that the whole system of reform is premised too much on being non-disruptive to those who already have coverage. This resulted in a very complicated law (because the pre-existing system was already complicated and if your goal is to tiptoe around a complicated floor plan and not bump into anything you’re path will have to be very complicated).

    My interpretation is simple, and what people hearing that would understand, firstly that if I lose my insurance it isn’t on account of the law

    1. Yet you cite people who simply get cancellation notices from a market where it isn’t unusual for huge numbers to get cancelled every year?

    2. You cite a woman whose policy ended before the law even went into effect.

    (I assume you’re not going to pretend that just because a plan is terminated or changed it’s all indirectly linked tot he law).

    second, that there are protections in place that make it harder for an insurance company to drop me if my health is poor and I become expensive.

    1. This strangely contradicts your previous assertions that it was unethical to force people into pools with sick people. If, say, you’re a man who buys a policy with only other men it’s wrong to force the policy to cover maternity care and acccept women. Yet now you say there must be protections that would prevent an insurance company from, say, dropping fertile women so they can avoid paying for childbirth.

    2. This doesn’t seem to be keeping in line with ‘keeping my plan’. If a key element of the plan was that insurance companies would constantly wean their pool dropping people who show signs of potentially becoming ill in the upcoming year you can’t now claim the promise means that has to be stopped.

    That first (again) the reason my doctor isn’t available anymore isn’t on account of the new laws and their consequences and secondly (as before) there would be protections allowing my coverage to stay with my doctor even if he or I change plans.

    1. This is a bit of a stretch. Either you or your doctor should be able to change plans but coverage has to remain? That seems mathematically impossible unless you believed the law demanded that all doctors accept and include all plans and all plans have all doctors.

    2. You haven’t shown this is violated. No doctor isn’t available because the ACA outlaws him. If you like a doctor a lot, get coverage with someone that doctor takes…or don’t get coverage at all…or get coverage but go out of network and submit your receipts for reimbursement. The example you cited was of a woman who had two different sets of doctors (university oncologists and an emergency room) who she both liked but neither shared common coverage. That type of complicated problem was a crap shoot before the law passed (you were rolling the dice on finding a plan that covers both and if you did find such a plan it was unlikely to last very long) and remains a difficult problem.