First show of 2017, people. This week, we’ve got Powerline’s Steve Hayward sitting in for the TV-making Rob Long, we’ve got Russians hacking, we’ve got Republicans repealing, we’ve got Lileks segueing, and we’ve got Avik Roy ACA-plaining. Really, what more could you want? OPhm, right — yep, we’ve got some Ricochet Member Feed posts too, and a little tribute to Carrie and Debbie. Thanks for everything, ladies.

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Music from this week’s podcast: Good Morning by Debbie Reynolds, Gene Kelly, and Donald O’Connor

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Members have made 19 comments.

  1. Profile photo of 1967mustangman Member

    For a minute there I was afraid Steve Hayward was standing behind Peter in his gown.

    • #1
    • January 6, 2017 at 1:42 pm
  2. Profile photo of Eustace C. Scrubb Member

    James really looks a doctor in that picture. Or at least like someone who plays a doctor on TV.

    • #2
    • January 6, 2017 at 1:44 pm
  3. Profile photo of Sheila Johnson Member

    Hey, my next door neighbor has a tractor, and uses it every day to load his dualy flatbed with a one ton bale of hay to go out and feed his cattle. My husband has a Tundra, but drives a Freightliner for work. I hate driving pickups, I drive a Suburban instead. 😉

    • #3
    • January 6, 2017 at 2:18 pm
  4. Profile photo of TaleenaS Member

    So many tractors. Tellingly, the friend with the truck is the very first person on the 7 friends you need list: http://www.cracked.com/blog/the-7-types-friend-everyone-needs/

    • #4
    • January 6, 2017 at 5:07 pm
  5. Profile photo of kylez Member

    I have lived in CA all of my 35 years and I had no idea what that “tembler” dialogue was about.

    • #5
    • January 6, 2017 at 5:39 pm
  6. Profile photo of ToryWarWriter Member

    I just want to say I thought Steve was a great addition to the cast, and if Rob cant come back I would like to see Steve take his place as a regular.

    • #6
    • January 6, 2017 at 7:26 pm
  7. Profile photo of barbara lydick Member

    On term limits, “do you want a dog that knows where the bones are buried, or a dog that’s going to dig up the whole front lawn?” Can’t remember the source (and when doing a quick search, was directed to many dog training sites) but it might have been either P J O’Rourke or possibly Jonah.

    • #7
    • January 6, 2017 at 9:03 pm
  8. Profile photo of Arnold Falk Member

    Republicans should adopt the proven Swiss model for health insurance. Private, i.e., no government or employer involvement, but with individual mandate covering existing conditions and portable. All these characteristics are keys to having a functioning and economically viable system. As an American living in Switzerland, I can vouch for the efficacy of this system.

    AC Falk

    @pilatus2128

    • #8
    • January 7, 2017 at 12:53 am
  9. Profile photo of Tim Williams Member

    I honestly don’t get how all of these people can celebrate Trump’s patriotism and repeat the same cliches about Obama’s lack thereof, right after talking about how America was destined by its ideals to transcend the muck of slavery, without ever mentioning that Trump’s political career was launched with slanders of Obama which he then airbrushed in the best Stalinist fashion. Same deal with the endless repetition (by JPod usually) that Mitt Romney was the best and noblest of men, when he welcomed Trump’s support without reservation at the height of the slander campaign, and Jim Geraghty’s recent sneer at Obama’s overweening pride at the notorious White House Correspondents Dinner– no mention of the birther thing.

    • #9
    • January 7, 2017 at 2:34 am
  10. Profile photo of Rightfromthestart Thatcher

    I daily bless the 22nd amendment , I remind you that without it we would be wrapping up year 24 of Clinton the First , if he let go at all it would be to his Evita for 8 or straight to Obama for another 24. The only people really affected by it were Clinton and Obama , Eisenhower and Reagan were too old, Nixon resigned and W was driven out. As it is since 1992 the only thing that enabled Republicans to win at all was Democrats fielding terrible candidates like Gore, Kerry and Hillary.

    • #10
    • January 7, 2017 at 7:57 am
  11. Profile photo of Randal H Member

    Arnold Falk (View Comment):
    Republicans should adopt the proven Swiss model for health insurance. Private, i.e., no government or employer involvement, but with individual mandate covering existing conditions and portable. All these characteristics are keys to having a functioning and economically viable system. As an American living in Switzerland, I can vouch for the efficacy of this system.

    AC Falk

    @pilatus2128

    I agree with you on what I know of the Swiss model. However, I would drive as much of the responsibility for healthcare down to the state level. California alone has over four times the population of Switzerland, and we have a number of states that are larger than that country. Trying to carry out any healthcare policy in a country of 320 million people would be impossible, in my opinion.

    From what I’ve read, it appears that Europe in general has far lower private insurance rates than we do in the U.S., which may be due in part to lower levels of regulation of the insurance industry there, which is ironic since we’re perceived as the home of unfettered capitalism. Obamacare took the approach of completely regulating the private insurance industry and we’ve seen the results.

    I’ve heard it said that the Founding Fathers used the Swiss model of federalism (the canton system) as inspiration for their own views of federalism. Maybe Switzerland is the laboratory that was envisioned for the states but has since been essentially destroyed here.

    • #11
    • January 7, 2017 at 11:38 am
  12. Profile photo of Aaron Miller Member

    I was surprised by the lack of pushback against Roy’s theory, which seemed to tout government direction and free markets simultaneously. But perhaps the plan makes more sense in detail.

    The US is the world’s primary market for prescription drugs, correct? So would Switzerland have such a productive pharmaceutical market without us as over-prescribed customers?

    Trump was elected largely due to his understanding that a rising stock market doesn’t necessarily translate into jobs and a thriving middle class. Likewise, Republicans should remember the bottom line, however they decide to tweak (and blatantly fail to repeal) Obamacare: cheaper, faster, and less bureaucratic doctor and prescription services. The best theoretical designs in the world won’t spare Republicans in 2018 and 2020 if the bureaucracy and hyper-regulation isn’t shrunk quickly.

    • #12
    • January 7, 2017 at 1:20 pm
  13. Profile photo of Randal H Member

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):
    I was surprised by the lack of pushback against Roy’s theory, which seemed to tout government direction and free markets simultaneously. But perhaps the plan makes more sense in detail.

    I’m enough of a libertarian that I would prefer no government involvement in healthcare at all. I think the problem is that most people now consider healthcare a “right,” which has come to mean something that someone should be provided if they don’t have it (funny that no one seems to advocate that for the second amendment, which is actually an enumerated right). Even if you don’t believe healthcare is a right, it’s pretty safe to assume that many would react negatively to seeing people denied healthcare because they didn’t bother to or couldn’t purchase health insurance. So, we have the situation that – even without health insurance – either hospitals or government are expected/mandated to provide care, resulting in the distribution of costs to those who did provide for themselves.

    Making the assumption that our society wouldn’t tolerate turning away sick people – even though that would be a huge motivator to get and maintain coverage – I guess the theory is that the next best thing is to have government mandate coverage, which protects society from uninsured patients in the same way mandated car insurance protects from uninsured motorists. I’m not opposed to states mandating coverage, but that also automatically means subsidizing those who can’t afford coverage.

    • #13
    • January 7, 2017 at 2:17 pm
  14. Profile photo of Reese Member

    I’m only about two thirds through this ‘cast, but must pause and say:

    Here is proof @jameslileks should be more a participant than a moderator/ad reader. Sure, the segues (sp?) are entertaining, but he is solid in the main.

    • #14
    • January 7, 2017 at 11:29 pm
  15. Profile photo of Sleepywhiner Member

    I keep waiting for The Weekly Standard’s Stephen Heyward, but I got the Powerline one instead. I like them both, but James might want to know who is on the podcast when he does the open.

    • #15
    • January 8, 2017 at 6:00 am
  16. Profile photo of Chris Campion Thatcher

    What did Obamacare “fix”? Did it get more people access to health care? Because carrying around an insurance card, from a public or private insurer, doesn’t get you care. The provider provides care. Ask anyone trying to figure out what Medicare decides it will cover for you.

    Getting more people onto an existing insurance carrier – Medicaid – that they were previously eligible for but had not yet used is not “signing more people up” for healthcare. When someone who’s uninsured goes to a hospital, part of the intake for those who don’t have coverage is getting them signed up for whatever coverage they’re eligible for based on income. Because someone who was previously uninsured goes to a hospital for an illness and signs up does not denote “success” in Barrycare any more than would someone who has purchased a car for the first time in their life in the mid-forties who also bought auto insurance for the first time.

    The mandate requires insurance, but those same people who never bothered to get insurance would be less likely to get it regardless of mandate, even if they’re eligible for subsidy, etc. That’s just not who they are. The mandate was simply a way to declare victory by forcing people who were already eligible for some kind of coverage to sign up for it.

    Avik’s grasp on the entire subject is strong. More market-based solutions by themselves can’t answer the problem because over half the market is not market based, and that’s not going to change. Mandated coverage (like birth control for nuns) and the same old cost-shift is the reason why premiums and other insurance costs continue to rise at similar historic levels. If half the insured population is under Medicare/Medicaid and the amounts that those two “systems” pay for care on a per-unit basis are lower than costs, then the shift still exists – and it does. It always will when those two agencies get to decide how much they will pay, regardless of the true cost of care at the provider and hospital level. There is no way for the gov’t to know that without engaging those providers to determine true cost, but the gov’t knows what it’s doing, so shut up and take your medicine.

    Imagine if insurance companies had the unfunded liabilities that the US gov’t has. Imagine the self-righteous Native American tomahawk-wielding fury of an Elizabeth Warren, charging down this warpath to right this wrong. Instead, we get the same cast of characters populating Congress, and self-congratulating simpletons in the president’s office for the last 8 years. The sad news is that we are not in danger of the gov’t being run into the ground by irresponsible and unaccountable idiots; that danger is over, because we are already there.

    • #16
    • January 8, 2017 at 7:01 am
  17. Profile photo of Blue Yeti Admin

    Sleepywhiner (View Comment):
    I keep waiting for The Weekly Standard’s Stephen Heyward, but I got the Powerline one instead. I like them both, but James might want to know who is on the podcast when he does the open.

    You are referring to Steve Hayes.

    • #17
    • January 8, 2017 at 9:22 am
  18. Profile photo of Don Tillman Member

    Near the end, at 58:30, Steve Hayward says:

    “There’s talk about having an Article Five Convention of the States for a balanced budget amendment. If you threw in term limits with it, it might possibly actually happen.”

    I’ve previously proposed that the real win would be if members of congress could only run for reelection if the budget was balanced.

    If congress can get their act together to balance the budget, they get rewarded. If they need to spend for an emergency, they can do that too, but at a cost.

    • #18
    • January 8, 2017 at 8:48 pm
  19. Profile photo of Archie Campbell Member

    As to the problem insuring folks with severe pre-existing conditions, I remember Ramesh Ponnuru writing something along the lines that those people should just be removed from the insurance risk pools, and the Federal gov’t could just block-grant the money to the states for their healthcare. That would still be way cheaper than insuring those folks under something like Obamacare, he said, and also wouldn’t deform the concept of insurance. Seems right to me, but maybe some of the health care wonks here could comment.

    • #19
    • January 10, 2017 at 3:58 pm