H.R. 3962

[Additional Additional- Ahem Anti-Editor’s Note: I appreciate your concern. My sincere apologies. But I must not be distracted in my quest(s). I’m reading Cicero:The Life and Times of Rome’s something or other Politician. by Anthony Everitt. Very good. I suggest you get it. $16. For your shelf. I don’t give a fuck if you read it. You should. You would love it.. it’s just… well, he was a lawyer and all, and… I mean, they say he was the best, I’m jus sayin… maybe like you should have it. I’ll read my email tomorrow… morning. swear.]

[Additional Editor’s Note: You also need to lose this fixation with not checking your e-mail.]

[Editor’s Note: Jesus Christ! 66 comments. Although, I can’t really consider myself an editor. Not until I lose this fixation with alcohol and Russian spies… This was my plan, though. From the very start. I wanted Bif and Holmes more involved, as well as some others. I would say I have been 85% successful. I wish I had something interesting to talk about. Maybe swine flu will make a comeback. I know ABC News is pushing it.]


If you want to follow along with me, and explore some of the nooks and crannies of this monstrous farce, here’s a link to the text of H.R. 3962.

As an ignominious point of departure, according to Sec. 59b of the bill, individuals who fail to maintain “Acceptable Coverage” are subject to a tax penalty up to the “applicable national average premium for such taxable year.”

Naturally, there are exceptions [under subsection (c)], such as for NONRESIDENT ALIENS. Notice there’s no exception for RESIDENT ALIENS (i.e., those who have a Green Card, or who were physically present in the U.S. for 31 days during the current year and 183 days during a three-year period that includes the current year and the two years immediately before that).

And there’s a RELIGIOUS CONSCIENCE EXEMPTION, set forth below:


(A) IN GENERAL- Subsection (a) shall not apply to any individual (and any qualifying child residing with such individual) for any period if such individual has in effect an exemption which certifies that such individual is a member of a recognized religious sect or division thereof described in section 1402(g)(1) and an adherent of established tenets or teachings of such sect or division as described in such section.

‘(B) EXEMPTION- An application for the exemption described in subparagraph (A) shall be filed with the Secretary at such time and in such form and manner as the Secretary may prescribe. The Secretary may treat an application for exemption under section 1402(g)(1) as an application for exemption under this section, or may otherwise coordinate applications under such sections, as the Secretary determines appropriate. Any such exemption granted by the Secretary shall be effective for such period as the Secretary determines appropriate.

Uhhh… H.R. 3962 doesn’t include a section 1402(g)(1). (Jus a little typo, probably, as I’m reasonably sure they intended to refer to 1402(g)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code. )

Anyway, as I was saying, MEDICARE (Coverage under part A of title XVIII of the Social Security Act) and MEDICAID (Coverage for medical assistance under title XIX of the Social Security Act) are considered to be Acceptable Coverage.

I’m no expert in MEDICAID, but it sounds like anyone who is sufficiently poor isn’t going to have to pay for anything. Fair enough, I guess.

It also appears that RESIDENT ALIENS, if they qualify for MEDICAID, will be considered to have obtained Acceptable Coverage. Business as usual.

As to NONRESIDENT ALIENS, well… that’s what emergency rooms are for. More business as usual.

So what are conservatives getting so riled up about?$?

It’s all in the bill, except for the parts that aren’t. I will mine and deconstruct for you additional nuggets of H.R. 3962 legislative grandeur, as my schedule and interest in the topic permit.

God bless America. Land of the Pathologically Stupid.

107 Replies to “H.R. 3962”

  1. bunn-

    As I was saying about 43 posts ago, we are all tribalists at base. One tribe voted for it and one tribe voted against it…. down through the millenia.

  2. EE, I agree completely. One tribe is comprised of those who want to enslave and make as great a percentage of the population as possible dependent upon the government for access to medical care in symbiotic collaboration with those amongst the populace who fantasize about doctors, advanced medical technologies, pharmaceuticals, etc. being free as the air to themselves (and to everyone poorer than themselves) with nary a thought given to how it will all be paid for or upon whose back the responsibility of keeping such a system (soon to be straight-jacketed and disincentivized as never before) from rapidly becoming second rate. The other tribe would rather simply expand the role of Medicaid, or some such benefit, for poor Americans and pursue more aggressive tort reform and other legitimate cost (of doing business) cutting measures, instead of trying to force Americans via various financial penalties to purchase a one-size-fits-all product from the government and imposing doomed-to-fail Soviet-style price controls.

  3. yes the realm of fantasy medicine is doomed, no matter what. it will be kind of a shame, i guess, that the parts of western medicine that i personally consider usefull will also disapear along with the system(industry) that made them possible. i’ve often thought that it’s a good thing that i have someplace to go, that’s staffed by highly trained people who understand germ theory and the importance of cleanliness, when i need to get stitched up or get a bone set or something.

    eh, just have to keep reminding myself that to live is to suffer and none of us get out alive.

  4. as far as the bill being a piece of dog shit; that’s like being surprised that there’s apples growing on an apple tree, i guess.

  5. of course there’s always the strike on iran floating around out there, maybe. that’s where oil goes to 250 in about 3 minutes, 4 mins. before it actually happens.

    suffering and death, that’s all we have to look forward to.

  6. As the mother of a very dear friend of mine who lived through it used to say, “You know, lots of people made money during the depression.”

  7. http://www.2000wave.com/article.asp?id=mwo102309

    He’s much more positive in this one… (sorry, doomer types) and he raised an issue that my antennae have been telling me for a long time is on the road ahead: paradigm shift, singularity, fourth turning, future shock, tipping point. Whatever we call it, it’s coming.

    “But before we get to the main letter, I want to recommend a book to you. I am on a 17-day, 12-city speaking tour. It is rather brutal, but I did it to myself. However, one of the upsides of traveling is that I get quiet time on airplanes to read books. I am working my way through a very large stack of books on my desk. One that caught my eye – and I’m glad it did – is a book by Tom Hayes called Jump Point: How Network Culture is Revolutionizing Business. Hayes writes about how we are getting ready to experience a cultural change every bit as profound as the Industrial Revolution. He argues that as the 3 billionth person gets online sometime in 2011, it will shift the dynamic of how we interact as businesses and consumers. We get to 5 billion by 2015. The mind boggles.”

  8. Bunn-

    According to the dates on my printed copies, I’ve been reading this guy for almost ten years. (Yikes! It was one of his buddies that owns a Bunnbunn that I pointed out to you this spring. )

    I don’t always agree with some of his conclusions, but he raises many interesting points. He has been writing for some time about our real problem being deflation not inflation, which dovetails into the piece you or dave just linked to about the coming commercial RE crash.

    This leads back to Jeremy Rifkin’s point in “The End of Work” (1994, revised 2003) that automation has been eliminating the need for workers for 50+ years and we neither need workers, nor can we afford to maintain the energy sinks that office buildings have become.

    Here you go….

    URL: http://www.frontlinethoughts.com/printarticle.asp?id=mwo103009

    Catching Argentinian Disease
    October 30, 2009
    By John Mauldin

    Catching Argentinian Disease?
    The Ascent of Money
    The Independence of the Fed Threatened
    A Few Quick Thoughts on the Dollar, GDP, and the Recession
    Uruguay, Philadelphia, Orlando, and then…

    I have been in South America this week, speaking nine times in five days, interspersed with lots of meetings. The conversation kept coming back to the prospects for the dollar, but I was just as interested in talking with money managers and business people who had experienced the hyperinflation of Argentina and Brazil. How could such a thing happen? As it turned out, I was reading a rather remarkable book that addressed that question. There are those who believe that the United States is headed for hyperinflation because of our large and growing government fiscal deficit and massive future liabilities (as much as $56 trillion) for Medicare and Social Security.

    This week, we will look at the Argentinian experience and ask ourselves whether “it” – hyperinflation – can happen here.

    The Ascent of Money

    I will be quoting from Niall Ferguson’s recent book, The Ascent of Money. I cannot recommend this book too highly. In fact, I rank it up with my all-time favorite book on economic history, Against the Gods, by the late (and sorely missed) Peter Bernstein. There are very few books I read twice. There are too many books and not enough time. This book I will have to read at least three times, and soon, and I have a lot of underlines and mark-ups in it already.

    If there were one book I could require every member of the Congress to read, it would be this one. As I read it, I am struck again and again by how fragile and yet resilient our economic systems are. Fragile in the sense that governmental policy mistakes, no matter how well-intentioned, can destroy the wealth of a nation, and resilient in that it doesn’t happen more often.

    In his introduction Ferguson writes, “The first step towards understanding the complexities of the financial institutions and terminology is to find out where they came from. Only understand the origins of an institution or instrument and you will find its present day roles much easier to grasp.”

    As is often said, those who do not understand history are doomed to repeat it. If you want to understand what is happening in the economy, what the consequences of our choices could be, then I strongly suggest you get The Ascent of Money. It is easy to read, engaging, full of moments where you are led to pull together different ideas into an “Aha!” Ferguson is a brilliant writer and historian, and we are lucky to have this book at a time when it is sorely needed. (order it at Amazon.com)

    As I have been writing, the United States in particular, and the developed world in general, are faced with a series of very unpleasant, if not downright bad choices. The time for good choices was ten years ago. Now we face the prospect of painful decisions, no matter what we do. It is not a matter of pain or no pain, of somehow avoiding the consequences of our bad decisions, it is simply deciding how much pain we will take and when, or allowing the pain to build up to a climactic event. Today we look at what I think would be the worst choice of all.

    Catching Argentinian Disease

    At the beginning of the 20th century, Argentina was the seventh richest nation on earth. It’s very name means “silver.” “As rich as an Argentine” was a byword. Even after falling from the heights through a series of bad decisions, the country was still so wealthy that, in 1946 when new president Juan Peron first visited the central bank, he could remark that “There was so much gold you could barely walk through the corridors.”

    Argentina had actually defaulted on its debt in the late 19th century, not once but twice! But still they managed to avoid destroying the currency and devastating the country. But in 1989, after years of massive budget deficits that were financed with borrowing from abroad and Argentinian citizens, the country was left with so much debt and no one was willing to lend it any more money, that the leaders felt compelled to resort to the printing press.

    My Uruguayan friend and Latin American partner, Enrique Fynn, tells me of his experience of going to Buenos Aires and buying a pack of cigarettes one evening. He went into the store the next morning for another pack, and the price had doubled. He came back that evening and the price had doubled again (thankfully for his health, he has quit!). There were no prices on any items in the grocery stores. There was a man with a microphone who would announce the prices of various items, often increasing the price every few hours by 30% or more.

    Workers would get their pay in cash and rush to the store to buy anything, as by the end of the week their pay would be worthless. Of course, shelves were empty. The US dollar was king, and could purchase things at amazing prices. I heard stories that were truly compelling. (It made me wish I had gone shopping in Buenos Aires at the time!)

    Interestingly, the dollar is still the real medium of exchange. I was told by several people that if you want to buy a house for half a million dollars, you bring the physical cash to the closing. One person counts the money and the other checks the paperwork and title. Argentina has the second largest hoard of physical dollars in the world, only exceeded by Russia. Is it any wonder they are concerned with the value of the dollar?

    Let’s look at some quotes from Ferguson (emphasis mine):

    “The economic history of Argentina in the twentieth century is an object lesson that all the resources in the world can be set at nought by financial mismanagement… To understand Argentina’s economic decline, it is once again necessary to see that inflation was a political as much as a monetary phenomenon…

    “To put it simply, there was no significant group with an interest in price stability…

    “Inflation is a monetary phenomenon, as Milton Friedman said. But hyperinflation is always and everywhere a political phenomenon, in the sense that it cannot occur without a fundamental malfunction of a country’s political economy.”

    Look at the chart below. Using realistic assumptions, It suggests that the annual US government fiscal deficit will approach $2 trillion in 2019. How can we come up with what looks to be about $15 trillion over the next ten years? The Argentinian answer was to print the money.

    [CHART indicating the disparity between the optimistic White House deficit estimates out to 2019 ($900+ billion) and the Heritage Foundation estimate for the same period ($1.98+ trillion).

    In the US, the short answer is that unless the US consumers become a massive saving machine, to the tune of 8% or more of GDP and rising each year, and willingly put their savings into US government debt, it’s not going to happen. So sometime in the coming years, interest rates are likely to start to rise in order to compensate bond investors for what they perceive as risk. That will bring us to some very difficult and painful choices.

    As I wrote a few weeks ago, this scenario could be averted IF the Obama administration produced a credible plan to lower the deficit over time and stuck to it. But today’s thought process is about what happens if they don’t.

    Ferguson pointed out in the quotes above that hyperinflation is always and everywhere a political decision. Governments have to choose to print money. In theory and in practice, what would happen if the Fed decided to accommodate a politicized US government that wanted to spend money on favorite projects and support groups, maybe even deserving programs like health care or defense or pensions or Social Security? Money they could not borrow?

    Then Peter Schiff and like-minded thinkers would be right. Once you start down that path, it is hard to stop short of the brink. Brazil got to 100% inflation per month and has really lowered that level over time, but it is not easy.

    In such a scenario, you want to own hard assets. Gold. Foreign currencies. Stocks. Almost anything other than the currency that is being printed.

    I was asked at almost every speech about that scenario. In Latin America, hyperinflation is not a theoretical issue; it has been reality. More than one person commented on that no one in US economics schools studies hyperinflation. It is required material in Latin America. For many Latin Americans, the dollar has been their safe haven. And now they are worried, with good reason.

    For the record, I do not think the US will experience hyperinflation as long as the Fed maintains its independence. Read the speeches from various Fed governors and regional presidents. These are strong personalities, and they understand that going down that path ends in massive tears. Bernanke warned just a few weeks ago that the government needs to get serious about the fiscal deficit. Watch the rhetoric from the Fed heat up after his reconfirmation and the confirmation of two new governors in the first quarter.

    The Fed has committed to buy a fixed amount of government debt in its quantitative easing program. That commitment will be finished by the end of the first quarter (if I remember correctly). Then comes the tricky part.

    I have been writing for a long time that the main force in the economy right now is deflation. The Fed will fight deflation tooth and nail. But they don’t have to buy government debt to fight deflation. They can buy mortgage securities, credit card securities, commercial paper, etc. That will have the effect of easing without encouraging the government to run massive deficits. And such debts are naturally self-liquidating, while government debt is not, at least not in the same way.

    I believe the Fed will maintain its independence. Not to do so is to court economic disaster of the first order. These are bright and serious men and women. They get it.

    The Independence of the Fed Threatened

    The risk is that something changes to compromise their independence. And sadly, there is some risk. Let me quote my fishing buddy friend David Kotok:

    “It’s now official. The proposed legislation to reform America’s financial service supervision includes granting the Secretary of the Treasury a veto over Section 13(3) emergency action by the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. If this becomes law, it will be a sad day for the independence of America’s central bank.

    “The Secretary of the Treasury, a very senior cabinet position, is appointed by the President and meets with the President in the Oval Office weekly. The governors of the Federal Reserve Board are also appointed by the President. Both cabinet officers and Federal Reserve governors are confirmed by the US Senate. There are supposed to be seven governors; politics has purposefully limited this to five throughout the three-year financial crisis period.

    “The Federal Reserve governors are supposed to serve staggered 14-year terms with all seven seats filled. Instead, we have been governed by the present five-member, politically configured board.

    “The original seven-governor construction was designed to insulate them from political pressure, for very good reasons. Decades of monetary history throughout the world have disclosed what happens when political influence on a central bank intensifies. The Weimar Republic and Zimbabwe are evidence of the worst inflationary effects of politics. The Great Depression in the US and the nearly two-decade deflationary recession in Japan demonstrate that monetary policy is not only inflation-prone. When central banks are under political influence you can get fire or you can get ice.

    “In Japan, the central bank contends with two members of the cabinet sitting in on its deliberations. There is no way to know how much of the last 15 years of deflation and recession is attributable to the inside political pressures placed on the governors of the Bank of Japan. But there is evidence to suggest political influence, especially when you observe how little the Bank of Japan has engaged in asset expansion during this crisis.”

    This is the nose of the camel under the tent. Starting down this road is very worrisome indeed. I find it appalling that Tim Geithner and Larry Summers went along with this. This is a very clear attempt by the political class to put political pressure on the Fed. I hope the Fed responds with vigor. I can tell you that the officials of whom I am aware will not take kindly to pressure. And that might be an understatement.

    (Yes, I am aware of the problems of the Fed being able to decide whom to bail out and why. It is not a perfect world. But better the Fed than Congress.)

    All that being said, if the Fed starts to increase its buying of government debt above its initial commitment, then my “optimistic” scenario of a very rough economic patch, which I have been outlining the past few months, is far too rose-colored. I do not think it will happen, but I can guarantee you, I and a lot of other people will be watching.

    A Few Quick Thoughts on the Dollar, GDP, and the Recession

    Just a few quick notes. When world trade collapsed, so did the need for US dollars, which is what the world uses to transact business. The data looks like world trade is finding a bottom and maybe even recovering somewhat. That means there will be the need for more dollars. And since everybody and their mother are short the dollar, there could be a vicious snap-back rally. I am still bearish the US dollar (and the yen and the euro and the pound) over the long term, but there is the potential for a real rally here.

    And my friend Mish Shedlock commented on the US GDP report, which said the US GDP rose 3.5%:

    “Today the market is cheering over what is actually an ugly report. A misguided Cash-for-Clunkers added a one-time contribution of 1.66 percentage points to GDP. Auto sales have since collapsed so all the program did is move some demand forward. Government spending increased at 7.9 percent in the third quarter which is certainly nothing to cheer about. Personal income decreased $15.5 billion (0.5 percent), while real disposable personal income decreased 3.4 percent, in contrast to an increase of 3.8 percent last quarter. Those are horrible numbers. The savings rate is down, which no doubt has misguided economists cheering, but people spending more than they make is one of the things that got us into trouble. The only bright spot I can find is exports. However, even there we must not get too excited as imports rose much more.”

    John Williams notes that one-time stimulus or inventory items represented 92% of the reported quarterly growth. The nature of the stimulus-related gains was that they tended to steal business activity from the future. The months ahead are the future. Accordingly, fourth-quarter quarterly GDP change will likely turn negative, again. (The King Report)

    And David Rosenberg writes: “Only economists see the recession as being over; the man on the street sees it a little differently, perhaps less enthused by the fact that a lower rate of inventory destocking is arithmetically underpinning GDP growth at this time. Put simply, a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll just found that 58% of the public believe the economic recession still has a ways to go — and that is up from 52% in September and means that the private investor, unlike the hedge fund manager, is not interested in adding risk to the portfolio even after a 60% surge in the equity market.

    “Only 29% of those polled believe the economy has hit bottom — imagine having that psychology with nearly zero interest rates, a bloated Fed balance sheet and unprecedented fiscal deficits (poll was taken from October 23-25). Nearly two in three (64%) said the rally in the stock market (still a bear market rally — not the onset of a new bull market) has not swayed their view (or ours for that matter).”

    Uruguay, Philadelphia, Orlando, and then…

    I am finishing this letter in Montevideo, Uruguay. I have been in Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro this week. I must say that Rio is beautiful, very green and lush with marvelous beaches, which I sadly only got to drive past. I will come again. I fly back Sunday and am home for a week, then speaking trips to Philadelphia and Orlando. Then my schedule only shows a few days in New York in early December for Festivus with the gang from Minyanville, and Europe in January. I am sure other things will come up, but I am looking forward to being home for awhile.

    My friends at International Living have been writing about Uruguay, and I was really looking forward to visiting the country. I have spent a few days with partner Enrique Fynn in this delightful place. Turns out it is the Switzerland of South America. Reasonable bank secrecy laws, and trades zones where you are not taxed on any business you do outside of Uruguay. Many international companies set up their headquarters here. Beautiful beaches, friendly people, and the charm of a small country, plus what will be a brand new airport in a few weeks, which can get you several times a day to any part of the region, directly to Europe, and one hop away from any major city in the world. You can learn more about the country, and other countries you may want to live in or have a second home in, by subscribing to International Living.

    One of the laugh lines I use in my speeches down here is that if the Fed actually does start to monetize the debt, I will have to move to Uruguay. I could make worse choices.

    Have a great week. I think this weekend I will switch it up from the heavy reading I have been doing and find some science fiction. Reality is way too scary.

    Your ready to be in his own bed analyst,

  9. “…you will emerge buffed, scrubbed, and sporting the healthy tan of a museum curator. ” –bunnbunn

    You betcha!

  10. “I believe the Fed will maintain its independence. Not to do so is to court economic disaster of the first order. These are bright and serious men and women. They get it.

    This is a report of a recent development, right?

    Greenspan:”I made a mistake in presuming that the self-interests of organisations, specifically banks and others, were such that they were best capable of protecting their own shareholders and their equity in the firms”.

  11. Anyone do peak oil any more around here?

    Key oil figures were distorted by US pressure, says whistleblower

    Exclusive: Watchdog’s estimates of reserves inflated says top official

    The world is much closer to running out of oil than official estimates admit, according to a whistleblower at the International Energy Agency who claims it has been deliberately underplaying a looming shortage for fear of triggering panic buying.

    The senior official claims the US has played an influential role in encouraging the watchdog to underplay the rate of decline from existing oil fields while overplaying the chances of finding new reserves.

    The allegations raise serious questions about the accuracy of the organisation’s latest World Energy Outlook on oil demand and supply to be published tomorrow – which is used by the British and many other governments to help guide their wider energy and climate change policies.


  12. “This is a report of a recent development, right?” -AU

    As I said, he has some interesting things to say and there are many things on which we don’t agree: I’m not a fan of Friedman (Milton or Tom); it’s a complete myth that small business is the economic engine of the US; etc.

    That being said, Greenspan is a total fraud. He should have stuck to jazz and saved his phony Ayn Rand hucksterism as his hobby.

  13. So Bunn, what would like to see happen? Or should nothing be done?

    I wish I had the time to read as much as I used to. I don’t… too busy trying to catch puke in a bucket (child), scoop poop (puppy), clean house, yadda, yadda. Keep it simple for me, please : )

  14. You gotta admit, a nonresident alien with religious conscience objection would be funny. Well anything would be funnier than that Guardian PO article MOU just posted. Fark.

  15. [Good of you to drop in JR. I just noticed your comment.]

    tipping point, glad you could join the party.

    What would I like to see happen (the simple version)?

    1) Start by throwing H.R. 3962 into the recycle bin.

    2) Tort reform. Much of the reason why medical care is so expensive is because of medical malpractice lawsuits. People need a way to be compensated when they are injured as a result of a clear failure to provide medical services that meet what is considered to be a “reasonable standard of care”. Finding a way to lessen the potential medical malpractice liability of doctors, hospitals, etc., without completely giving them immunity from being sued, is something that a lot of people think is needed; it’s often referred to as “tort reform”. This is one of the things that I believe would greatly reduce the cost of doing business for providers of medical care and, consequently, the amount that people are charged for their medical care.

    3) Health insurance vouchers. Kinda like food stamps, but instead people can use them to purchase whatever health insurance they want to.

    4) Change the laws to facilitate more competition among insurance providers nationwide, which should lower costs. Right now, in some states, health insurance shoppers have very few choices.

    5) No public option. I don’t want the government determining who gets what sort of health care and under what circumstances. If almost everyone is forced into a public option (which clearly appears to be the intent of the legislation, notwithstanding propaganda to the contrary) then deciding who gets what procedures and under what circumstances, the amount of money that can be charged for particular services, which doctors/specialists you are allowed to see, etc. will all be dictated by the government. If doctors, hospitals, and the medical sector in general are essentially conscripted into public service according to the mandates of some public option, there will be fewer financial incentives to become a doctor and the ranks of qualified physicians will dwindle. Similarly, if no one is allowed to profit from the extraordinary investments required to develop advanced medical technologies and pharmaceuticals, then very soon these efforts will grind to halt. A great many doctors will — as a matter of financial necessity — take at least a portion of their practices underground, perhaps claiming to be “semi-retired” to provide “concierge care” for the wealthy. Bright young people will see no upside to medical school, with the crippling debt that it imposes (now with even fewer opportunities to pay it off within a reasonable time horizon, if ever). Venture capital will go somewhere else. And finally, even foreign doctors will see the practice environment in the U.S. as mostly undesirable and set up shop elsewhere.

    6) Medicaid and Medicare reform. Start out by trimming the roles. Benefits under these programs should only be available to American citizens. Draconian perhaps, but there is no non-exploitative justification for rewarding illegal aliens for breaking immigration laws at the expense of tax paying citizens.

    7) Assisted Suicide Tax Credits. Inheritable tax credits (or similar) are given to those terminally ill patients who decide to take up hospice residence and forego receiving additional Medicaid or similar government benefits.

    8) Health Insurance Companies’ Expenses Incurred in Paying Benefits on Behalf of Those with Serious Pre-Existing Conditions Need to be Fully Deductible. This way, much of the motivation of health insurance providers to “discriminate against” those with pre-existing conditions is eliminated.

    9) Unlimited Charitable Deduction for Health Insurance Donations. Dollar-for-dollar deduction available for those tax payers who donate money to a government fund that is diverted, on an as-needed-basis, to Medicaid, etc.

    10) [If we must have a public option, it should be off-shored. For example, decommissioned cruise ships can float a few miles off the coast and serve as P.O. Health Collective Cruise Lines where all of your public option funded health care needs and duty-free shopping can be simultaneously attended to.]

  16. The medical stuff is a distraction. There is no fixing it because there is no fixing the underlying economy. They put this crap out there to keep us all engaged in a debate while they desperately try to prop up the economy back stage. The FDIC or any kind of government backstopping of anything is not credible. We have too much debt to GDP ratio. We can’t finance what we are doing now.

    We are currently monetizing our own debt because the foreign investors have specifically refused to buy more. We are “buying” our own treasuries. It is the equivalent of kiting checks. Bad assets are backing all kinds of money we have “borrowed” and the taxpayer is on the hook if they value does not “come back.”

    The dollar is in the tank and gold, silver, and oil are stratospheric (though apparently there is a chance the dollar could rally because some really big unwinds are coming down the pike, but that will be temporary, I think the dollar is not credible).

    Deep breath here. Iran is no longer accepting $ for oil. Other countries have said they will follow this. I do not have updates on that. The economy slowing down is a plus for oil, but the article I posted above, could be well timed scare propaganda, or it could be the truth.

    Amazingly, our daily lives slog on, as before. With unemployment at 10.2% (U3) to 17.5% (U6), tax receipts have fallen, on average, 35% across the board. Housing prices are still dropping, foreclosures and strategic walk aways will keep happening at least through 2012 (post fucked up loan reset loan peak). Commercial real estate is caving in. There is a greater strain on government support services at a time when there are fewer taxes coming in to support them.

    When I look at all of this, and more, I find the debate on medical services laughable.

    There is no social security.
    No medicaid.
    There is no “retirement money” unless you are dealing with it yourself.
    The banking system is a game of poker where everyone is bluffing.

    There is no fixing health care because there is not fixing us.

    I have not even talked about the derivative market that needs to unwind.

    We are so fucked.

    Love you guys, I wander over to peek from time to time, but I have become obsessed with the economy and the further in I go, the blacker it gets. I may need to stop surfing the net for a while because there is just too much to know that we are kind of helpless to do anything about.

    I do have a project I have been asked by another website to work on and I am in a intellectual jam with it. I don’t know if you’d be willing to help or not. Ya’ll can be bastards so you would actually be pretty perfect to beta test it on. I’ll do it in a different post unless you tell me to fuck myself.

  17. MOU,

    Thanks for dropping in. It sounds like you are fully immersed in a super gloomy social network. It’s bad for your health and almost as pointless as me cranking out 10-point plans to save this or that for my own entertainment.

    You don’t need to ask anyone’s permission to post stuff here. If you want it to be a separate post (which I recommend), e-mail it to me and I’ll post it (in pole position). Obviously, any of the editors here would be more than happy to put your beta material up as a guest post. Actually, you’re family, not a mere guest, but you get my drift.


  18. Thanks bunnbunn,

    You are the best.

    Email will happen soon.

    A taste of what I am working on:

    I posted this comment on an economics blog, kind of in jest, kind of a proposal

    Maybe we have it all wrong with teabags. Maybe we should mail them condoms. Lots and lots of condoms. Lubricated. And tell them if they are going to fcuk us, they should at least wear these. We could mail them to the regulators too and say, “Since you won’t do your job and regulate, the least you could do is protect us.

  19. That above posted by accident.

    Instead of the Boston Tea Party, we could have a giant CONDOMNATION party.
    The point being, it got positive response. So much so that someone proposed it to the blog staff who in turn challenged the one proposing it to come up with a manifesto and that they would maybe link to a website and start some kind of campaign around it.

    Manifesto? WTF.

    Well the guy did some work, cloning off the manifesto at the website. We have emailed some, I don’t like the idea of a manifesto, or the manifesto itself. But he did put a lot of work into it. So in anything I put together, I would like to try and preserve some of it. He says (all of us on the web can “not be” who we say we are, after all) he is a 100% disabled vet, who also used to work for DOJ. When he talks those issues, he sounds like the real deal. Holmes could maybe give him a “veracity” test drive. He sure is itching to do something and this is doable.

    Later, it occurred to that a Condomanifesto would be kind of humorous.

    In the emailing back and forth, I did have ideas to add. like:

    At the website I could see it as kind of like a “kit,” where you find your rep., and listed would be snail mail, email, and fax. Also you would have the same info for the White House, the SEC., all other regulators you could think of, the Fed, Treasury, (maybe even The Squid). On the website you could have down loadable pictures of condoms and maybe if we poked around there are some Youtube vids of condoms somehow (could there be one being put over a banana as a demo, for instance?).

    From the website, one could send reps and other players pictures and videos of condoms. Or one may wish to make their own vid to send (scary). At the website I could see an idea that Miles had being useful and fun. Sell condoms that have “fuckers” featured on them, rather like collector cards (collect them all!). You could do it by institution, (congress, fed, sec) you could do it by individuals (Watts, Ben, Tim). You could offer to sell these condoms so folks could mail them themselves, or you could offer, for a price, to mail the condom for them.
    So I have shared lots of stuff here, but not the manifesto which I have not worked on at all. I have told the person I think it is overly long, overly complicated, and not easily readable to extract a point out of. But I also think he has some good ideas in there.

    The point is to mail them condoms because we are being screwed (I said fucked, but that will probably need to be toned down for mass consumption) and we need to be protected from them somehow. This may be all that needs to be communicated, the rest may cloud too much.

    Can you imagine being a staffer and a bunch of condoms are being mailed to your Rep? The president? Faxed, emailed…Twittered?

    What do you think so far?

  20. “Much of the reason why medical care is so expensive is because of medical malpractice lawsuits. ” -bunnbunn

    There is no basis in fact for this assertion. It is a myth perpetuated by the medical-insurance business complex to distract folks from what the real issues are–the same issues (waste, fraud, abuse, etc.) that dog every “business” once it gets too big.

    Hazel Henderson pointed out 20 years ago that the fastest-growing segment of GDP was “healthcare”–which in fact was a negative situation. And who was benefitting from this “growth”? The very tiny segment of the population making huge salaries running these faux “healthcare” companies. And if you dig deeply enough, you’ll find out many of them are making huge amounts of money from government grants.

  21. MOU, I’ll read your post later today, but first I need to deal with something.


    What?!? You think this stuff about medical malpractice suits driving up the cost of practicing medicine is a fucking myth? No basis in fact??? Hello. (Yes, of course there is waste, fraud, abuse, etc. in big companies — more areas where reforms and greater efficiencies can be achieved. However, you cannot seriously expect to convince anyone that med malpractice suits, the need to purchase med mal insurance, etc. do not add significantly to the cost of practicing medicine. A cost is a cost.)


    “Malpractice premiums cost doctors tens of thousands of dollars a year, not because an individual doctor has a history of making mistakes, but because in some states juries make excessively generous awards, knowing that insurance companies will pay.

    Medical specialties with the highest premiums include obstetrics and anesthesiology. Insurance premiums for some doctors in high-cost states can reach $200,000 per year, whereas premiums in low-cost states are closer to $20,000 annually. Resolving a suit takes at least three years, distracting physicians’ efforts from the practice of medicine.

    According to Towers Perrin, a global professional services firm, malpractice litigation costs $30 billion a year and has grown at more than 10% annually since 1975. But that’s less than half the story. To avoid being sued, doctors use excessive tests and other procedures to avoid lawsuits, and stay out of certain areas of medicine. The result is higher costs for medical care.”

  22. “To avoid being sued, doctors use excessive tests and other procedures to avoid lawsuits, and stay out of certain areas of medicine. The result is higher costs for medical care.”

    Fear of a suit may be one of the reasons too many tests are ordered but doctors are also motivated by the current system which incentivizes multiple, often unnecessary diagnostic tests- to the detriment of patient care.

  23. And anyway Bunn, your 10 point plan isn’t pointless- there’s ten of them duh

    Really, thanks for taking the time to do that. At least I have an idea of where you’re coming from; most rants are essentially ‘rage against the machine but damned if I have a better idea.’

  24. Thanks, tipper. I must have whacked my sleep cycle rounding out that list (when I get going I just can’t stop), so I’m slightly delirious at the moment.

    EE, I was going to make some smart ass comment about the irony of you being aligned with trial lawyers, but knew that it would have been an unfair attribution.

    I definitely get that you don’t think a whole lot about the medical system in America.

    “how to decouple medicine from business, government and religion”

    Wow, that’s a tall order.

    One army of non-profit atheistic holistic healers coming right up!

  25. MOU, as symbolic speech goes, this condom idea kinda sounds like a one-note symphony, but maybe all you want is one note, sent over and over and over again as a reminder.

    Maybe this guy has hit upon the next form of viral political activism (although it’s not entirely without precedent) or envisions a dazzling array of products, the next pet rock but with hundreds of variations. I haven’t the foggiest.

    The problem with ideas is that once you put them out there (without timely taking steps to secure rights, although I’m not saying that this has necessarily happened here), there’s not much you can do to stop other people from running with the idea.


    There’s probably a lesson to be learned in here somewhere.

  26. Wow. I did say that I did not feel proprietary about it to the people at ZeroHedge. So now it ain’t. Interesting…

  27. Just so you know:

    by MsCreant
    on Tue, 11/03/2009 – 00:12


    Maybe we have it all wrong with teabags. Maybe we should mail them condoms. Lots and lots of condoms. Lubricated. And tell them if they are going to fcuk us, they should at least wear these.

    We could mail them to the regulators too and say, “Since you won’t do your job and regulate, the least you could do is protect us.”

    Instead of the Boston Tea Party, we could have a giant CONDOMNATION party.
    My name on that site came from a thanksgiving party we did here on ZH. I was with Doom an Uncle Remus when it came up!

    I have emailed dude about the other site.

    I am fine if it goes viral without me. If it did, I would know all my life it was my idea.

    And it could be, like monkies on different islands, who start using tools at the same time when the species never did before, that it is just time for the idea and that woman thought of it too.

  28. so i’ve always, well at least for a long time, been something of a lemmy/motorhead fan. this intereview just reminds me of the point in time when i stopped working. i was sitting and talking to a woman; basically telling her how sick i was of donig this stupid shit(working). so she says to me; well, why do you keep doing doing it? i was kind of stunned, but the only thing that came to mind was something like: so i have $ to go out and attract and fuck different women. the gods have since provided. of course it’s thiers to take away whenever they want.


  29. “That was in 1968. It was very rushed, obviously. But the speed was very good in those days. I sat up all night and wrote all the fucking songs. Eleven of them, I think.”

    That’s called getting things done.

    Lemmy’s a real treasure trove of first-hand-witnessed rock’n’roll history. That douche interviewer should have asked him some more questions about Hendrix instead of trying to interject himself into the narrative. Whatever. Lemmy’s a good sport.

    dave, have you read L’s book?

  30. Sufficiently lubricated presently. It’s the only time I write. Right.
    EE caught my eye at the top of the page. Point: check out Les Paul (the man) during the Depression, inventing the humbucking pickup, the multi-track recorder, and making (nominally, mind us) $30 grand a week, when everybody else was wetting their pants in soup-line stance. The odds don’t mean a thing if you’re the one to win the lottery by force or luck or anything else.

  31. Thusly, the elliptically orbiting thal intersects. Bless us all.

    I, myself, owe as many people letters as can be imagined.

    You’re absolutely right, my brother: The agile stand to gain, or at the very least they might be able to deftly sidestep a falling piano to thereafter dust off lapels and shake a fist in the general direction of the broken block and tackle.

    Time to eat. I’ll be back…

  32. healthcare, ugh.
    the common model equates it to compulsory auto insurance.
    except, i went without auto insurance for well over a year, because i had no car by choice. to demand of me that i procure health insurance because i am alive is sick. stupid is the new pandemic.

  33. F1 withdrawal? Sounds treatable by Levitra.
    Herr Doctor friend is morose, actually. Suspects that Medicare is slated to cut by 21% and convert him and ilk into serfdom of penury. It’s all lobster, improperly cooked.

  34. Yeah, what next… anyone who sleeps will be required to purchase a mattress?

    By similar logic, requiring all who continue to participate in the above-ground economy to purchase rice picker hats makes nearly perfect sense as well.

  35. I must have spent 15 minutes looking for a better rice picker hat video… sometimes you win… other times you shoot a helpless fish in a barrel.

    I’m done for this evening. It’s been fun. Visit more often, amigo!

  36. Timing is cruel, you have obligations. In another world they might call it noblesse oblige. If I spelled that rightly.

  37. “I definitely get that you don’t think a whole lot about the medical system in America.” –bunnbunn

    Ya got that right, bunn! And, frankly, I don’t think highly of any other “system” that humans have concocted to cope with the enormity of living. Although I do understand that much of it is rightfully driven by self-interested survival mechanisms, that doesn’t mean I have to like it or enable it.

    At any rate, IMHO, there is enough intellectual firepower here at ZK to deconstruct and reframe the “system” so that it is an organic, sustainable, extension of living. The bigger question would be whether there was the will, attention span, camaraderie, and mutual respect to do so.

  38. this will be no problem when will, attention span, camaraderie and mutual respect are being driven by self interested survival mechanisms. can’t think of any instances where it’s acctually happened though.

  39. Why didn’t you say so. I got rice hat pics. Was in southern China a couple years ago and saw lots of women working in the marshes who looked like this:

    Always they had the black veils. I don’t know why. No faces. I watched them work. Slow, but steady, graceful and economical. There’s probably some knowledge going on here for working in the 90 degree heat, and dealing with the bugs.

    Anyway I thought the hats with black veils were cool.

    I also thought she might look rather smashing with an AK slung over her shoulder.

  40. Bug and sunburn protection, so it would seem. How do arabs wear all that cloth and make a go of it, I know it must be local knowledge we don’t have.

    White reflects the sun.

    Maybe black doe not draw bug attention?

  41. Whot is de mood of dez blog? Is der a mood of de blog?

    Saw EEKG, Tipper Gore, Thalidamide, Boomboom, Taint Beef, JeRk Chicken (or iz dat Ham?), Budget, Ukulele Yarrow, doobidge, genebean.

    Some Whoa Fat mota fookah.

    I’m geetingz zilly for da reeeeason.
    Whot de fock is dis place come 2?


    Where is da Doooooom? Whot da place be wid out da doooooom? Every dooooomer blog gots da dooooooom. No dooooom no dooooooomer blog.

    No Doom, what be da place den?

    All over suxxing Kuntsler’s deeeeck? Asoka yer ass Mr. Kunt Slur, and buy de book.

    What da fock?

    Baan me from da blog now you gnarly little rat faced Boston living, physician assisting, blog abandoning motha focka.

    You gotz blog ballz, you gotz real ballz? Maybe you hide behind da blog because you gotz no ballz.

    No ballz! You are really a lesbian named Christine who won’t meet Budget because then the game will be up? Doobidge like lesbians. Doobidge play with your buuuuttt.


    If I imitate a troll am I a real troll? Am I a troll imitatin’ a troll? Can a troll have his own blog and troll his own commenters? Classic skillz.

    For whom the blog trolls, why it trolls for U!
    Troll no burn da bridge.
    Troll stir da shit.

  42. Inspired lant, Mz. MOU. You rish to be mother to prodigal doom… in so doing, pleazing yourself feel expertry dun! If I not mistaken, full glown man is doomie, of big boy self-styling no less, and theareticree capeabull deciding on own when panties no longer in twist.

  43. Twisted panties rub asshole wrong.

    i’ll fix em fer ya, with my gosh dern tounge, of course. eww, dat’s smelly. but somehow mighty fucking tasty at the same time, kinda like kimchi. god, i can eat that stuff day in and out.

  44. shit, all i meant to say was something like: loke the frenchies(well kinda french anyway) don’t need no fucking pussy drones.

  45. “Various neurologists pointed out that fetishism could be the result of neuronal cross links between neighboring regions in the human brain. For example, in 2002 Vilayanur S. Ramachandran stated that the region processing sensory input from the feet lies immediately next to the region processing sexual stimulation.”


  46. If this FFL option were more publicized, they’d probably be flooded with applicants. Free total-immersion French language instruction. French citizenship after 5 years of duty. The Bad News Bears end of the spectrum of state-sponsored military forces. The legends. The tradition. The romance. The raspberry baret. I’m practically there.


  47. gold at like 1150. i always said to myself that i’d sell at 1200. but now i’m thinking of holding a little longer, just another greedy asshole.

  48. Interesting that you don’t see anything about the FFL’s ignominious defeat in Indochina on its Website.


    “Three works written during or about the Vietnam era are highly relevant
    to fighting counterinsurgencies: “The Guerrilla and How to Fight Him,” edited by Lieutenant Colonel T. N. Greene; the US Army’s “1966 PROVN Study;” and Lewis Sorley’s “A Better War,” published in 1999.

    “The Guerrilla and How to Fight Him” is a great single-volume compendium on the nature and theory of guerrilla warfare. The most germane chapter in the book is “The Theory and the Threat,” which includes a primer on guerrilla warfare by Mao; an analysis of Mao, time, space, and will by Edward Katzenbach; and a section on guerrilla warfare by Peter Paret and John Shy. This book also includes two sections on why the French lost the first Indochina War, one written by Vo Nguyen Giap and the other by Bernard Fall.

    The “PROVN Study” and “A Better War” offer valuable insights on pacification and the command and control required for integrating the civil and military efforts in counterinsurgency. “A Better War” is the shorter and more readable of the two, but the executive summary, the “resume,” and Chapter V of the “PROVN Study” merit reading because this analysis
    formed the foundation of the approach explained in “A Better War.”

  49. yeah, 1250 might be the number. i was thinking 1500.

    i sit here and think, well if i have more cash, aside from buying single malt, what the fuck am i going to do with it? so i’m not sure if i really care about this rally. i’ll wait for the next one. of course you never know when, or if, there will be a next one, and single malt don’t go bad. fuck, it’s a tough life when you’re motivated strictly by greed.

  50. Who has oil? I’m debating on what to do with a least a portion of the oil index shares I own. I’m up 40% in 11 mos- where do you guys see it going in the next 6mos?

  51. I’m up 40% in 11 mos- where do you guys see it going in the next 6mos?

    if credit unwiding continues as widly predicted – 30. under other senerios it could just about as easily go to 200. i’m not going to pretend to know.

    never anything wrong with taking some profit while you can in my mind.

  52. sure, no problem. maybe i’ll finish the little essay i’m working on and post it over there. but maybe not, seems like a lot of work. here’s the working title.

    “a brief treatise on the complete failure of the 911 truth movement as an intellectual endeavor, and why a functioning human must experience feelings of disgust upon exposure to it’s doctrines”

  53. Dave wrote: “if credit unwiding continues as widly predicted – 30. under other senerios it could just about as easily go to 200. i’m not going to pretend to know.

    never anything wrong with taking some profit while you can in my mind.”

    Those are my sentiments as well. I think I’ve figured out where I want to move it for a while, I just have to make the move, now, before I get suckered into staying. Did you decide to stick with gold til $1250?

  54. EE, just having a little harmless fun with Dave, and in a way that’s cleaner than the fun he’s been having with others on the internets.

    Besides, I think Dave is hot. ;)

  55. yeah, peg, just like making foi gras, only more stupider. then again, i’ve never tried pate of human liver, so i really can’t say for sure.

Comments are closed.