Massachusetts Set to Offer Universal Health Insurance

“Massachusetts is poised to become the first state to provide nearly universal health care coverage after the state legislature overwhelmingly passed a bill today that Gov. Mitt Romney says he will sign.

The bill does what health experts say no other state has yet been able to do: provide a mechanism for all of its citizens to obtain health insurance. It accomplishes that in a way that experts say combines several different methods and proposals from across the political spectrum, apportioning the cost among businesses, individuals and the government.” (New York Times )

Within three years, 95% of the state’s uninsured will have health coverage under the provisions of the bill! Of course, the biggest political compromise required to get the bill through was the obvious one — it bypasses a single-payor system and perpetuates the historical accident by which health coverage in the US has been largely an employee benefit. The bill establishes a per-employee penalty for any employer that does not provide health insurance for its employees, which as I understand it will subsidize the state free-care pool. Political maneuvering has whittled the size of the penalty down from a proposed $800 to only $295 a year, and Romney (who has line-item veto power on budget measures) says he will excise that provision all together, although that is a line item veto that the legislature will override.

Armageddon

The Ultimate Consequences of Bush’s Coming War Crimes: “I recoil from my own logic. No sane person can look at the possibility of such horrors and not shiver with revulsion. But recent history shows that there are no sane people making these decisions. When sanity again prevails in the White House, I will gladly dismiss the unthinkable as impossible. For now, I fear Armageddon.” — Jon Steinberg (Raw Story) The short version: Iranian military capabilities would make an American fleet sitting ducks. We need to question our assumption that even Bush is not crazy enough not to find that a deterrent, though. Given his administration’s inherent immorality, its need for a war to resurrect jingoistic support, belief in preemption and Manichaean convictions about the Axis of Evil,

“Hundreds, perhaps thousands of Americans would die in a day as the Fifth Fleet was sacrificed. Bush would see no disincentive there — the thousands of American soldiers killed so far have not altered his calculus. Iranian casualties from the U.S response could reach into the millions, but there are Americans who would welcome such a result if they believed Iran attacked us first. 125 billion barrels of proven oil reserves — ten percent of the world total — would be wiped out, which would perhaps double gasoline prices overnight. General Motors and Ford would sink absent massive bailouts our resurgent spendthrift emperor will be happy to disburse. Exxon and its ilk will cry all the way to the bank. Many thousands of square miles of Iran would become uninhabitable for thousands of years, dwarfing Chernobyl in scope, but what right-thinking Christian would want to live there anyway?”

The only preemptive power the American people have would be an explosive antiwar outburst dwarfing the Vietnam-era movement, encompassing all outraged right-thinking Americans and bringing the war machine to a halt with acts of resistance, disobedience and rage. Before it is too late. Do we have it in us?

Housekeeping

My webhost changed a security setting that broke Blogger’s publishing efforts for the past two days. Finally tracked down the problem, and regular updates should now resume…