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#152 Aug 16 2012 at 7:37 PM Rating: Excellent
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Actually there isn't a single quote I can pull from it, which is kind of the point. The entire document is a guide on how to build/determine actuarial equivalence between plans while staying within some required guidelines. Note that I've never claimed there are no guides or boundaries, I said that you were not guaranteed that the second-cheapest plan would offer directly equivalent benefits to Medicare. Gbaji has spun this off to some strawman arguments ("bottle of generic painkillers and a 20% off casket gift certificate") but the reality is that there's many ways to tweak what the plans offer while staying within the requirements but not necessarily giving the same benefits as you receive with Medicare. That's the entire point of a guide detailing the tests that will be used to judge the plans. And that's just a guide for prescription drugs where there isn't a ton of flexibility, it's not even getting into doctor visits, hospital stays, surgery (critical or elective), hospice care, well being care, medical devices, etc.

There's nothing innately wrong with this -- someone might value some benefits over others, but it's patently false to state that you'll be guaranteed the same benefits.
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#153 Aug 16 2012 at 7:38 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
I don't think it's unreasonable...

I understand that you had no "precise" quote to prove me wrong with. I just explained why you wouldn't have been able to find one, but it was fun watching you try and bluff your way out of it.

Brownduck may not have found it entertaining but I got a few smirks out of it. I can only hope he forgives me.
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#154 Aug 16 2012 at 8:06 PM Rating: Default
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Jophiel wrote:
Actually there isn't a single quote I can pull from it, which is kind of the point. The entire document is a guide on how to build/determine actuarial equivalence between plans while staying within some required guidelines. Note that I've never claimed there are no guides or boundaries, I said that you were not guaranteed that the second-cheapest plan would offer directly equivalent benefits to Medicare. Gbaji has spun this off to some strawman arguments ("bottle of generic painkillers and a 20% off casket gift certificate") but the reality is that there's many ways to tweak what the plans offer while staying within the requirements but not necessarily giving the same benefits as you receive with Medicare. That's the entire point of a guide detailing the tests that will be used to judge the plans. And that's just a guide for prescription drugs where there isn't a ton of flexibility, it's not even getting into doctor visits, hospital stays, surgery (critical or elective), hospice care, well being care, medical devices, etc.

There's nothing innately wrong with this -- someone might value some benefits over others, but it's patently false to state that you'll be guaranteed the same benefits.


Ok. That's actually quite reasonable. But, as I already pointed out earlier in this thread, the ability of those plans to deviate is the same as the ability of the existing medicare coverage to deviate, right? I mean, at some point, there's just a set of guidelines that medicare follows to decide what the exact coverage it provides at any given time is. The same guidelines would have to be followed by any of the alternative plans as well. So while I suppose we can say they aren't guaranteed to be "exactly the same", the same can be said of medicare itself (I know I made this point already). And we certainly can't make any assumptions that one will be worse than another.


IMO, it's a meaningless point because the standard you're using is itself not "exact" either. It's unfair to point to the proposed alternative plans and assume they'd somehow ***** people over, but then insist that medicare, operating under the same set of guidelines, is some sort of magically perfect standard simply because it happens to be named "medicare". Even medicare doesn't guarantee that in 15 years, it'll provide the "exact same care". It only guarantees that the care it provides will meet the guidelines. I'm struggling to see why we'd assume one would result in any better care than another.


Imagine if the government created a set of guidelines for a basic "people's car", with requirements involving number of passengers, safety features, cargo room, mpg, etc and the government currently provides them to people at a cost of $20k. Then someone comes along and says that if we opened the car market to competition and allow private companies to make cars they could find ways to make cars that meet all the requirements for less than what the government charges (like say $18k). Quite reasonable (and historically shown to be true). But you're arguing that this will result in a lower quality car because they're only required to meet a set of requirements and they might find ways to cheat or something. I just think that's an incredibly weak argument. And if history is any indication, introducing a competitive market will not only reduce the cost of the cars over time, but will usually dramatically improve the quality as well.


While I'll freely admit that health care isn't the same as building cars, the basic market argument is the same. By introducing competition, it provides an incentive for private companies to figure out ways to provide the same coverage at a lower price. And we often find that when we do this, we find that costs can be reduced quite easily. It's not like anyone doesn't agree that costs can be reduced. Heck. Obama's own plan (and the justification for his cuts to medicare) assume that he can find ways to reduce waste, fraud, and abuse. But which is more likely to find and eliminate that? A government program created to audit the health care industry to find where it's overcharging medicare? Or a set of free market players, each with a financial incentive to force the care providers to give them the best deal possible in a competitive bidding situation?


Let's not forget that both the Ryan plan *and* the Obama plan cut medicare. Obama's actually cuts more. But does anyone seriously think that the government method of reducing costs will work anywhere near as well as the private market method? Ryan's plan is far more likely to actually be able to cut the costs for the care itself equal to (or greater than!) the amount he proposes to reduce the budget for medicare by. Obama's is basically just wishful thinking. He cuts the budget for medicare, but proposes some magical fantasy method of reducing costs. One of those is a realistic and workable plan. The other is just plain not.

Edited, Aug 16th 2012 7:24pm by gbaji
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#155 Aug 16 2012 at 8:32 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
Ok. That's actually quite reasonable. But, as I already pointed out earlier in this thread, the ability of those plans to deviate is the same as the ability of the existing medicare coverage to deviate, right? I mean, at some point, there's just a set of guidelines that medicare follows to decide what the exact coverage it provides at any given time is. The same guidelines would have to be followed by any of the alternative plans as well. So while I suppose we can say they aren't guaranteed to be "exactly the same", the same can be said of medicare itself (I know I made this point already). And we certainly can't make any assumptions that one will be worse than another.

The issue is that, for instance, the second-cheapest plan can skimp in prescription medicines by adjusting the co-pays required for generics versus name brands and then make up the actuarial difference in something like substantial rebates on therapeutic massage chairs. But if you're a senior who is reliant upon the name brand medication coverage, you're now required to pay an additional premium to keep the coverage you would have had with Medicare.

I'll state immediately that that's just an easily digested example and not to get hung up on the details of massage chair rebates. Given the massive spectrum of things that fall under health care and the technicalities, it shouldn't take much imagination to come up with examples where the second-cheapest plan may well be a "good" plan and yet fail to achieve the same benefits as Medicare.

Do Medicare benefits change? Of course they do. But you don't have to chase paying a premium difference every year to stay on the plan. Making them no longer the default option takes that off the table. You can argue that it "might be just as good" or whatever but you can not honestly state that Ryan's plan will let you keep your same Medicare coverage (or equivalent benefits) without potentially paying a surcharge. Maybe it'll be nominal, maybe not. Who's to say (and who's to say how much an extra $30 or $60 or $100 a month will impact any given senior). But the idea that you're going to be guaranteed the same coverage from the second-cheapest plan is just straight up false. It turns Medicare into an annual guessing game of how "good enough" a plan will be and praying that you understand the technicalities of it well enough to make an informed decision (against a for-profit industry well versed in these technicalities) about which plan you should take.

If you want to argue that Ryan's plan is a good one, go for it. But you can not honestly argue that it's a good plan because it guarantees Medicare benefits without any additional cost.

Edited, Aug 16th 2012 9:33pm by Jophiel
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#156 Aug 16 2012 at 9:06 PM Rating: Excellent
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Lulz...
Political Wire wrote:
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) got tongue tied "as he attempted to rally Illinois Democrats behind President Barack Obama and the state's congressional and legislative candidates," the State Journal-Register reports.

But the Democratic governor's speech ran aground when he tried to praise Obama for the killing of Osama bin Laden.

Said Quinn: "We have a president who understands that. He's our commander in chief and he takes good care of the troops. I think everybody knows that Obama, uh, he's gone, he's dead, and the American auto industry is alive and well, thanks to our president."

The Chicago Sun Times called it the "mother of all gaffes."

They were talking about this on the radio earlier. It seems that a bunch of union guys were booing him and shouting him off the stage because they were protesting impending changes to the state pension program. Quinn got flustered and all around messed up and was trying to at least get out some applause lines about the president and you can see how well that went.

You have to wonder about the (lack of a) thought process that went into deciding to publicly jeer the Democratic governor with the Democratic State Assembly leader before the pension debates. Are the unions expecting to find GOP allies instead?
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Belkira wrote:
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#157 Aug 17 2012 at 7:44 AM Rating: Good
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Jophiel wrote:
Political Wire wrote:
The Chicago Sun Times called it the "mother of all gaffes."
That's "a bit" overdramatic.
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#158 Aug 17 2012 at 8:20 AM Rating: Good
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If we were talking about two men named Johnson and Johnston, it might be the mother of all giraffes.
#159 Aug 17 2012 at 8:25 AM Rating: Excellent
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lolgaxe wrote:
Jophiel wrote:
Political Wire wrote:
The Chicago Sun Times called it the "mother of all gaffes."
That's "a bit" overdramatic.

Your mom is the mother of all gaffes
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#160 Aug 17 2012 at 8:32 AM Rating: Excellent
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Jophiel wrote:
lolgaxe wrote:
Jophiel wrote:
Political Wire wrote:
The Chicago Sun Times called it the "mother of all gaffes."
That's "a bit" overdramatic.

Your mom is the mother of all gaffes


I'm pretty sure someone here is the mother of all Gaffes.
#161 Aug 17 2012 at 8:34 AM Rating: Excellent
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I keep reading it as giraffe.
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#162 Aug 17 2012 at 8:35 AM Rating: Excellent
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Don't giraffe me, bro!
#163 Aug 17 2012 at 8:45 AM Rating: Excellent
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lolgaxe wrote:
I keep reading it as giraffe.

Your mom is the mother of all giraffes.

Because she's a *****. A dirty ***** who fucks giraffes.
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#164 Aug 17 2012 at 8:47 AM Rating: Excellent
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Jophiel wrote:
lolgaxe wrote:
I keep reading it as giraffe.
Your mom is the mother of all giraffes.

Because she's a *****. A dirty ***** who fucks giraffes.
Put me through college. Smiley: crymore
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#165 Aug 17 2012 at 9:40 AM Rating: Default
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His Excellency Aethien wrote:
I'm starting to suspect they're just intentionally trying to make themselves look bad by now. I'm half expecting Romney to slip on a banana peel during his next public appearance.


Obama is definitely the golden boy of our owners, no question about that. Primed and primped.
From this thread is seems like that you people actually believe that you are voting for different candidate with different agendas.. as if both parties have not been all but totally hijacked by people who have more money than we can possibly wrap our pleb minds around.. and money has no borders.. so where does that leave us? It leaves us wherever they put us which apparently is milling about in a maze of propaganda and feeding at the trough of bullsh*t.
I saddens me to see such great minds (lol!) squabbling over which direction to paddle a leaky raft and either completely ignoring or are oblivious to the fact that it's sinking.
Big money is the name of the game; let's keep that in mind at all times... or don't keep that in mind and continue to be herded slowly into further brainwashed contentment.. like a frog slowly being boiled to death.

You people act like this is a parade. It's a funeral.

Long story short; Vote Independent Suckers!!

Edited, Aug 17th 2012 11:43am by Kelvyquayo
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#166 Aug 17 2012 at 10:04 AM Rating: Excellent
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Vote for a guy with with a zero percent chance of winning and who isn't even on the ballot in most states guaranteeing that he can not collect the electoral votes necessary to become president thus effectively removing yourself from the voting process! That'll show... someone!
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Belkira wrote:
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#167 Aug 17 2012 at 10:06 AM Rating: Good
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It's called nihilism, Joph. We can't all be bothered with giving a f*ck.
#168 Aug 17 2012 at 10:17 AM Rating: Good
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If it were nihilistic, the suggestion would be to not vote at all.
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#169 Aug 17 2012 at 10:36 AM Rating: Good
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Voting independent = not voting at all.
#170 Aug 17 2012 at 11:00 AM Rating: Good
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Jophiel wrote:
Vote for a guy with with a zero percent chance of winning and who isn't even on the ballot in most states guaranteeing that he can not collect the electoral votes necessary to become president thus effectively removing yourself from the voting process! That'll show... someone!

Well, your vote in Illinois is going to be just as meaningless, but you're still going to cast it. Smiley: grin

I could see the value in making an independent "statement" vote if your state is already decided, but I wouldn't do it in a battleground state. Sure, it's a near-futile effort to try to promote the viability of a 3rd party by accumulating enough votes to reach a sort of tipping-point of normalcy, but one vote out of 130 million is near-futile anway.


Edited, Aug 17th 2012 12:18pm by trickybeck
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#171 Aug 17 2012 at 11:03 AM Rating: Excellent
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If you want to make some gesture of reforming politics, the time to do so is during the primaries. You're better off trying to drive the direction of the major parties then (a la the Tea Party) than casting an impotent ballot in November.

And my vote will matter on my Congressional House race, so nyeah!
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#172 Aug 17 2012 at 11:04 AM Rating: Excellent
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Guenny wrote:
Voting independent = not voting at all.
Not voting at all = not voting at all.
Voting independent = Voting with the knowledge your vote does nothing.

Subtle difference, but a difference none the less.
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#173Guenny, Posted: Aug 17 2012 at 11:35 AM, Rating: Sub-Default, (Expand Post) A difference that you seem to think I care about.
#174 Aug 18 2012 at 5:25 PM Rating: Good
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Here's Spinney's take.

I generally agree with his analysis, barring his longer term prediction. I just don't think we have the stomach for it. Not in the near to mid term, at least.
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#175 Aug 18 2012 at 5:27 PM Rating: Good
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At least for Romney, being Mormon means he can have multiple VPs.

That's how it works, right?
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#176 Aug 18 2012 at 5:39 PM Rating: Good
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lolgaxe wrote:
At least for Romney, being Mormon means he can have multiple VPs.

That's how it works, right?


And they could be under the age of 35?
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