On not taking “Yes” for an answer

Steve Benen has it right. The basic fact about the failure of bipartisanship in Washington today is that Republicans won’t take “Yes” for an answer.  It’s not just health care, where there are currently zero Repubilican votes for a bill incorporating half-a-dozen Republican demands. Cap-and-trade, for example, is distinctly market-friendly approach to environmental regulation. The Republicans don’t want compromise. They want to destroy the President and the Democratic Party, and don’t mind at all destroying the country in the process – as they’ve already destroyed the State of California.

That’s the brilliance behind Obama’s challenge to a televised negotiating session. Of course the Republicans aren’t going to compromise, but he’s going to make them refuse to compromise in public.  As President, he has the power to force things onto the agenda, and he’s going to use it.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

12 thoughts on “On not taking “Yes” for an answer”

  1. One problem with health care reform is that (as the pollsters say), “85% of all Americans [approximately] are satisfied with their current health care plan.”

    It is also (approximately) true that 85% of all Americans have never been seriously ill, and have never discovered how badly shafted they can be by their health care plans.

    It takes an exercise of imagination to create a sense of urgency for reform. The “satisfaction” that most people have with a system which has never pinched them personally creates some political drag which has to be overcome. Maybe a political wizard can figure this out.

  2. For the record, I got diagnosed with two completely independent cases of cancer at the same time, AND I'm satisfied with my current health care plan. For the record, you want to outlaw it.

  3. "For the record, I got diagnosed with two completely independent cases of cancer at the same time, …"

    Please, at least try for plausibility.

  4. Feh, you want a letter from my doctor? They found a lymphoma (For which I'm currently undergoing chemo.) during the pre-op physical for my radical prostatectomy. I'm told by my oncologist that, while it was tough luck, it's hardly unheard of; That sort of lymphoma is usually found as a result of a chest x-ray prompted by some other medical problem, and they're both relatively common cancers.

    And I'm quite happy with insurance which is putting out without complaint (Aside from the almost wistful inquiry as to whether I had any other insurance coverage to split the cost with them.) the cost of a nice car every three weeks to pay for the chemo. (Did you know that "Neulasta" costs $7000 a shot? They don't mention THAT in the TV commercials! Don't mention every bone in your body aching for a week after, either.)

    And you are trying to outlaw my policy, it's high deductible, with my employer kicking in towards a FSA to cover the deductible. So much for, "You can keep your current coverage!"

    I know your side has this conviction that everybody who disagrees with you is some kind of sock puppet maintained on a corporate PR budget, but I'm a real guy, who really likes his insurance. There are a lot of people like me, aside from the bad medical luck. (Not all bad, I turn out to be really tolerant of chemo, hardly ever vomit. Makes me pity the people who don't tolerate it well.)

  5. I like my insurance, too, Brett, but I'm happy to trade it in for something else, maybe a little better, maybe a little worse, that produces a better society for my daughter to live in and a stronger likelihood that she'll have a decent plan herself.

  6. Brett Bellmore says:

    "Feh, you want a letter from my doctor? "

    Yes, scan and post. Brett, I've read your postings here and on other blogs;

    you do not have credibility with me.

  7. Brett:

    In Canada, UK, France, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, and all other civilized countries your care would be the same.

    Except that US pays the highest price for Neulasta (http://www.pmprb-cepmb.gc.ca/ENGLISH/View.asp?x=1151&mp=254) and almost all other services.

    Enjoy your new insurance company friends, but don't be surprised if they turn their back on you, if you ever get laid off or try to switch jobs, fail to make a payment on your COBRA coverage, etc.

    In addition to feeling sorry for others on chemo, make a little room in your heart for the 10,000 of thousands in the US who die from lack of coverage annually, or the tens of millions without coverage who have to worry about what that lump means.

  8. I would add to C Betley's comments that Brett is very lucky to not know what 'recission' is through personal experience.

  9. "but don’t be surprised if they turn their back on you, if you ever get laid off or try to switch jobs,"

    Wouldn't be the slightest bit surprised, the government has given the insurance industry some pretty stupid incentives. But the bill discussed does nothing to change tax laws to cut insurance free from employers, and have it follow employees. Or allow interstate competition in insurance. You didn't propose to change the incentives, you wanted to keep them in place, and just order people to not respond to them. Like that ever works…

    You know what? I think that's because you don't WANT private insurance to work. You want it to go down the tubes, so you can replace it with a government run monopoly. So the worse, the better. That's why you guys were so hot to pass the bill, no matter what was in it, and "fix it later". You didn't expect it to work.

  10. Competition among insurers is being addressed in a separate bill under the jurisdiction of the Judiciary Committee: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/21/senate-d

    But then, you suggest changes that completely disrupt the insurance you say you like so much, and set up a strawman argument about the hidden agenda of health reform. It's good that your imagination isn't so crippled by your ideology that you can contemplate change, but what is it you prefer?

    Private insurance might work to supply universal coverage (as it does in a few European countries) but only under strict regulation that negates the perverse incentives of the marketplace to avoid covering people who might actually need the services.

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