...although (and sorry for 'talking to myself') if other states might copy the Massachusetts formula as several media sources have suggested, it's not a moot point at all.
The health insurance industry hates guaranteed issue (which deprives them of the right to decline customers) and community rating (which requires a uniform premium regardless of health status, kinda-sorta like what large group insurance policies are designed to accomplish). Understandably; they're insurers, they want to minimize their exposure to risk.
What happens when a state like, say, Connecticut - which has no community rating or guaranteed issue laws - tries to mimic the Massachusetts plan? Do they overcome the health insurance lobby? Or do they require chronically sick people buy policies that insurers either (1) won't sell them, or (2) will charge them 10x the usual premium for?
Does the Massachusetts plan address risk pooling in a meaningful way? Adverse selection is an enormous problem in the individual insurance market (on both sides of the market, but focusing on selection action by the insurers here). Is Mass a community rating state for health insurance?
Unions and Democrats mutually may need, as they say, a little distance in their relationship.
I should probably clarify what I mean by this.
The organized labor/Democratic coalition is still founded on a model of union influence that is outdated. I'm not convinced it can just smoothly evolve toward a new equilibrium. At risk of stating the obvious, unions aren't a lobbying group like NARAL or the gun regulation lobby. They're still embedded in the Dem machinery as though they were a partner, not one issue group out of many. Are they a partner, though?
For the long term, I think workers will be better off if unions take a few years to figure out what pressure points work when there's less brute force available and they're no longer powerful enough to truly be a partner with the Democratic party (running independents - I predict - will be a flop, but I guess we'll see). And Democrats had better start figuring out other ways to mobilize GOTV - which, I understand, they're doing.
I'd like to see unions' influence increase, and embeddedness in the Dem machinery decrease.
The unions are in a real bind right now. Their political leverage has been sapped by their steady loss of membership as a proportion of the workforce. They're just not moving elections lately with standard tactics, and while there's no doubt their operations are important, "withholding support" isn't quite as serious a threat as it used to be except in select districts.
Even the high-profile attempt to use their muscle for Ciro didn't quite make it over the finish line.
This newest tactic of supporting an independent bothers me a lot. But if I were speaking to a union rep, and s/he said to me, well, what should we do instead to get some leverage - what would I have to say?
I wish the unions were stronger again. I frankly consider it highly unlikely that the steady trend of the past couple of decades will reverse in any sustained way, though. Unions may try more and more edgy approaches to gain leverage, and in a sense, I can't blame them. Unions and Democrats mutually may need, as they say, a little distance in their relationship.
Yes, absolutely. This is one of the cases where, despite the desperate need for legal reform, I'd rather have nothing at all. Especially given the disaster that would likely come out of the conference committee.
Yeah, while I didn't address that, the pot shot at Schumer is over the top, regardless of whether the poll results are valid. Schumer is not Joementum; we might like to find one or two national democrats we can treat with at least a little bit of respect. Especially one who has unexpectedly put enough seats in play and brought in enough cash that we have a shot at the Senate in a year where that should be impossible.
The logic of a poll responder finding out Casey is anti-choice and then switching his/her preference to Santorum... is bizarre to me.
Do some people not like Santorum primarily because of the choice issue, and when they learn Casey might not be any better in that regard, they just figure they'll stick with what they have? Is that what's happening here?
In any case, what disturbing news. It's not like voters aren't going to learn that he has a questionable record on choice. It'll get hammered home in the primary.
Honestly, I was never particularly a fan of McKinney when I lived in her district, for a variety of reasons, including her tendency to take things too far and undermine her own credibility.
But it's downright peculiar that opinions of this incident have hardened so much already. As I read the news stories, every fact is in dispute except that she was not wearing a lapel pin. And that's hardly something new; she's always been known for refusing to wear a lapel pin, literally since her start in Congress in the early 90s.
It usually takes time for a clear story to emerge, and to make things worse right now the news stories are mostly quoting "police sources" who may or may not have been witnesses.
I'm not suggesting that we need to abide by the standards of a jury trial in forming an opinion about her behavior. (Certainly, we don't do that for DeLay, nor am I particularly inclined to start doing so.) But as I read the reactions, it seems more like people are saying "there goes that crazy lady again," than really looking into the particulars of this incident. And that's important, because she's been accused of all sorts of things, but never something this serious.
In my experience, opinions have been decidedly mixed in her district, largely (although not exclusively) along racial lines. And she was defeated in a primary, but it was never clear to me that Majette could have won without Georgia's open primary system. There is no party registration in Georgia.
I don't live in her district anymore. My biggest problem back then - she was the only representative or senator I've ever had systematically ignore all correspondence. (Even if they don't really care, they usually at least have a staffer send out a form letter in reply.) This was not an uncommon thing for people to grumble about. But I wouldn't be surprised if that issue has been addressed since her comeback.
This is about gatekeeping. Most professions practice it, either formally or informally. If the concern were genuinely disclosure and conflict of interests, she wouldn't have attacked Jerome's work for Warner despite his decision (well-publicized in the lefty blogosphere) to stop blogging except for occasional posts to promote CTG. (A decision that, like many others, I see as an unfortunate overreaction to exactly this kind of criticism.)
Gatekeeping. It's not worth getting too worked up over what folks like this say, because most likely no amount of compliance with the standards they try to set will cause the criticism to stop.