Pundit Wire

The war to reform American medicine has been won.

LyndonJohnsonSigningMedicareBillThe transformation began with the enactment of Medicare and medicaid during the Johnson years — which allowed prices to be contained as a growing percentage of bills were paid by large entities, especially the government — and the HMO act during the Nixon years — which endorsed the idea of an efficient system where experts decided on how to treat any problem,  effectively setting limits on volume.

Once the tools were in place to control both price and volume, the rest was just fine tuning,  which is still ongoing.  The basic principles were ratified in Obamacare and are no longer under serious challenge.  The change hasn’t relied entirely on government action, but reflects private sector movement in the same direction.

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We Hold These Truths to be Inconvenient

CAN-ON-PetroCanada-7314MarkhamRd-FuelPump11b-2005Jun12The Congressional Republicans’ willingness to turn their backs on the sanctity of private property rights demonstrates a lack of genuine belief in anything beyond “feed the kitty.”

Among the most sacred rights enumerated in the U.S. Constitution is the ownership and control of private property. It’s not quite as sacred as our God-given right to cruise Main Street with military-style automatic weapons, of course, but still pretty sacred.

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Guerrilla Warfare Against Gay Marriage

imagesThe chief justice of the state of Alabama, Roy S. Moore, has ordered the state’s probate judges to defy a federal district court ruling and refuse to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The result is that some judges in Alabama are issuing licenses and some are not. The confusion may continue until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the constitutionality of gay marriage in June.

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Winning!

Unknown-16Partisan political rhetoric is constantly drawing lines in the dirt.

You’re on one side or the other.

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A Half-Finished State of Our Union

Unknown-15When President Obama delivered his State of the Union speech on January 20, he addressed Republican House members holding the largest majority since Herbert Hoover was president.

A record number of Americans believe the legislative process in Washington is, for all intent and purposes, broken. Political discord rules the day. Cooperation is a sign of weakness.

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Sun Tzu in a Cubicle (Part Two)

Unknown-15I was trained to manage within rules rather than accepting them unquestioningly.  Gravity, for example, doesn’t always work in my favor, but I see there isn’t much point in trying to defy it.  At least without some sort of plan, like Bernoulli’s Principle, which keeps airplanes up there. This is above my pay grade.

So when I wrote a book later, in 2003, about U.S. policy in Haiti, the point was not to challenge any system.

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Sandra’s Moment (Part One)

Sandra_Day_O'Connor_1982Nineteen ninety-three.  I sat in my cubicle, the window over my back facing the opposite wall without character.

Back in the days of phones, mine rang. It was a friend who was a clerk of a clerk of a clerk of a Supreme court Justice.

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The State of the Union is still very much alive

Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 8.28.31 PM“Rumors of my death have been highly exaggerated,” Mark Twain is supposed to have said after one news story reporting it.

Actually, he didn’t. He wrote a brief, dull note telling someone they had confused him with a cousin. Someone else made it better.

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