It seems like a good time to be out of the country.
From this little medieval town of Korcula on a small island, purportedly the home of Marco Polo (Venice and Genoa had a whopper of a sea battle near here on September 9, 1298), the antics of modern day America seem strange….
Kanye West epitomizing the buffoonery of much of hip hop culture in particular and celebrity culture in general…..A Congress where over 100 members refuse to chasten a member who blurts out an insult in the middle of a key Presidenal address…a culture where the concept of “country first” is being made into a joke as some opposition politicians admit that they seek the President to “fail”. Town halls attended by angry constituents with weapons…..
And news emerging that in many states, failing to disclose that you are married to a wife-beater is a valid excuse to deny coverage as a “pre-existing condition”:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/09/1 … 86029.html
Time to go drink some of Korcula’s quince grappa and savor the grilled squid. Maybe that quince grappa will shed light on what’s going on at home?
An interesting recent column by David Brooks of the New York Times raises the issue of whether we have have national gridlock. Brooks refers to a theory from Mancur Olson that’s explicated in a recent book by Jonathan Rauch, “Demosclerosis”. The theory seems to be that advanced democracies get schlerotic. Interest groups get entrenched. It’s hard to get anything done (sound like workers’ comp to you?)
The Senate subcommittee healthcare reform plan submitted by Senator Max Baucus was barely in print before we learn that it’s not good for coal miners whose generous health packages would be taxed (Jay Rockefeller), not good for Nevada (Harry Reid, who notes that Nevada can’t shoulder increased the Medicaid costs the Baucus plan would envision), and not good for Maine (Olympia Snowe), with its relatively expensive healthcare system there.
That’s a lukewarm reception, if there ever was one.
More quince grappa, please.
Does Croatia have any lessons for us in the healthcare debate? After all, it was truly a socialist state that’s abandoned socialism.
I have no firsthand experience with the healthcare system here. But apparently in the rush to privatize healthcare there has been much unhappiness with what occurred. The old system gave universal coverage and focused on preventive health. The new system, more market -based, resulted in some access problems and less emphasis on prevention and less availability to vulnerable groups. Here’s the American Journal of Public Health analysis of Croatia’s healthcare transition:
According to a Croatian study, privatisation (with some rationing and fee controls) has led to control of costs, but access problems and much consumer unhappiness:
This shows how difficult it is to get to that “sweet spot” of workable reform.
Time to trundle back down these winding streets as the wind whips off the Adriatic. Stay tuned.
FYI, The original article on Demosclerosis:
http://www.jonathanrauch.com/jrauch_art … l_article/
Category: Political developments