Joel pauses between cocktails to say hey

Last night, while my wife was monopolizing the TV watching "So You Think You Can Dance" (that’s OK; I can watch that "Sopranos" DVD tonight), I sent a heads-up to my former pupil who has since gone over to the Dark Side, Joel Wood. Basically, as I told him, I didn’t want to be talking about him behind his back:

Hey, Joel, how are you?

I thought I’d better tell you, as an old friend, that I mentioned you on my blog, in the context of sort kinda disagreeing with your perspective on things:

You see, I’ve become one of those single-payer radicals. It’s funny because I’m not radical about anything else. This is the one thing I agree with Dennis Kucinich about; I promise. Here are a couple of columns in which I set out my thoughts on the issue several months ago:

Anyway, I thought I should give you the chance to demolish my arguments, which you probably can do, on account of being a professional in this particular policy area and all…

I didn’t want to be talking about you and your industry behind your back.

And besides, I wanted an excuse to say "Hey."

So, hey.

— Brad

About an hour later, Joel wrote back, which was nice, because it was good to hear from him. But that’s not the good part; that’s not the schlag, the whipped cream atop the dessert — the lagniappe, if you will (as Johnny Malone used to say — you remember, Joel). The good part is that this now-senior lobbyist for the insurance industry wrote back, at 10:45 p.m. on a Thursday night, on his Blackberry from a cocktail party. If you put this stuff in a movie, they wouldn’t believe it.

Anyway, he promises to send a more substantial rebuttal to my ramblings later. In the meantime, this is all he said:

Total kick, and a delight.

But as I’m still in cocktails at a soiree with my benefits guys at the Homestead (every horrible image you imagine!), I can only glean so much from my peckings on the BlackBerry. First blush is that you have some insightful readers who make my case. But certainly when I get back to town, or to a regular computer screen, I shall respond as a good Republican insurance lobbyist should, probably with some invective about Michael Moore and commie journalists getting their due through diminished circulation. But, in the meantime, I am stupified that this stuff gets read by people I care about, and thoroughly thrilled that you would give it the time of day. And very happy to hear from you …. You would be proud to know my editors and colleagues, to whom I forward this,  are no less redistributionist than you. …. Miss you!

Thanks Brad.

Consider that a preview.

17 thoughts on “Joel pauses between cocktails to say hey

  1. bud

    It’s funny because I’m not radical about anything else.
    What’s really funny is how people see themselves. I don’t find the Kucinich health care proposal at all radical. He’s mostly borrowed from the highly successful health care systems of Canada and Europe. Radical, in my opinion, would be proposals that are clearly untried theories. That’s exactly what the McCain proposal is.
    On the other hand, the open-ended, stay forever occupation of Iraq is very radical. That’s the kind of policy that brought down the British and Soviet empires. My definition of radical would clearly include something that has failed in the past.
    So here’s how I define radical/non-radical:
    Something that has tried and has failed. Example – Occupation of Iraq
    Something that has been tried and has succeeded.
    Example – Single-Payer Health Care

  2. Mike Cakora

    Single-payer works on the principle of taking enough money from everyone, especially the young and healthy who would otherwise not pay, and then dispensing it so as to generate the fewest complaints.
    The Canadian system still has not figured out how to pay for everyone’s illnesses all the time, so their system imposes rationing by restricting the number of providers and types of services offered. The reason that more and more Canuckistani women facing high-risk births come to the US is that neonatal facilities at home were under-funded.
    The Brits have gone one further and are now denying medical treatment to smokers and the obese. Japanese companies are being encouraged to fire male employees whose waistline exceeds 34 inches. The list grows daily.
    I really don’t understand why anyone objects paying for their own medical care. I would prefer an MSA where I can choose and pay directly for my own medical care rather than leave the choice up to some bureaucrat. .
    (Bud is incorrect, not every European country has single-payer, i.e., Switzerland and Austria with compulsory private insurance. I’m sure he will correct his oversight.)

  3. Brad Warthen

    … all of which is just Grandmaster Bud’s way of saying he agrees with me — about health care.
    You know what would be really great? It would be great if the things that bud and I agree on would become reality. He’s with me on the Energy Party. He’s with me on health care. If only our nation’s “leaders” would say, “Whoa — if Brad and bud agree about this, we should just stop stalling and DO it, because how often does that happen?”
    But we are about as far as we can be from a rational, comprehensive energy policy. And no one with a chance of becoming president is proposing the one rational approach that truly addresses the problems with our health care delivery system.
    That’s because they’re not listening to me and bud. And they should.

  4. Brad Warthen

    Mike and I just crossed paths there. I was answering bud, and wasn’t ignoring Mike.
    I feel bad for Mike and most other market-oriented opponents of the wise approach of Grandmaster bud — Joel gets paid big bucks to spout this stuff, and they don’t.
    (The Austrian plan sounds interesting: “Vee haff vays of making you haff insurance!… You vill haff insurance, und you vill LIKE it!”)

  5. bud

    (Bud is incorrect, not every European country has single-payer, i.e., Switzerland and Austria with compulsory private insurance. I’m sure he will correct his oversight.)
    Would: “All western European nations have universal health care” be a correct statement? However it’s done practically all Europeans have health care coverage. Nearly 1/6 of all Americans do without.

  6. bud

    The mother of all neo-con strawmen – “We have not been attacked since 9-11”.
    That’s not true of course. Who can ever forget the anthrax killer, the Utah mall terrorist and the Malvo/Muhammed shooting spree. Besides, terrorist attacks were extremely rare before 9-11. To suggest the slaughter of 4000 Americans and a million Iraqis has made us safer is simply a delusion.

  7. Mike Cakora

    bud –
    As long as your’re expanding definitions, you forgot the Bojinka reprise from August 2006. Shootski, that didn’t kill any Americans, sorry. It was an attack prevented.
    Whence comes the “slaughter of 4000 Americans and a million Iraqis”? Delusions?

  8. Brad Warthen

    Yeah, that’s an interesting piece Mike mentions. I saw it this morning. It was in the WSJ, headlined "The President Has Kept Us Safe." Now, before bud has a total conniption and thinks I’m sticking up for Bush (as I’ve said before over and over, it’s not about Bush), let me say that I personally doubt the proposition. I don’t know why there hasn’t been another 9/11 visited upon this country. But this article, written by a guy who voted against Bush both times, is interesting.

    Maybe I will do a post about it. But until I do, as long as bud and Mike want to talk about this instead of national health care, y’all might want to go read this post.

  9. penultimo mcfarland

    Grandmaster bud, the word “radical” means (1) fundamental, or (2) all-inclusive, or (3) extremist, leftist, socialist, Bolshevik.
    “Tried and failed” seems to apply only to definition 3, which seems to apply to your politics.
    Thanks for being so self-effacing and making us work to figure it out.

  10. Ralph Hightower

    I needed to have an MRI taken of my shoulders, neck and head in 1992. I had company health insurance at the time. Because the MRI was an advanced test, I had to get preapproval for the test. The company’s health insurance plan approved the test and I got the MRI taken.
    Weeks afterwards, I started getting bills from Baptist Medical Center that the insurance company refused to pay the bill. I wasted countless hours at work on hold with the insurance company’s customer disservice representatives waiting to talk to a real person to solve their screw-up! I learned to abhor whiney Texan accents.
    The insurance company’s name included “American” and “General”; I don’t remember if the company was American General or General American, but their business practice and customer service sucks!
    Baptist Medical threatened the use of a collection agency. It took registered letters and the referring doctor to get the jerks to finally pay the bill it had agreed to pay when it approved the MRI!
    My wife and I lived without health insurance for the year of 1994.
    Lee probably worked for that joke of an insurance company. Hey Lee, I hope you don’t get sick with your current insurance plan that you personally pay for.

  11. bud

    Grandmaster bud, the word “radical” means (1) fundamental, or (2) all-inclusive, or (3) extremist, leftist, socialist, Bolshevik.
    Hey, I’m just following Brad’s lead here. I’m assuming Brad is using the term radical to define something as “extreme” or “unusual”. Universal health care and/or single payer health care are both pretty mainstream terms that apply to health care delivery in the western world.
    On the other hand, the invasion of Iraq is clearly a radical “solution” to a problem that was imaginary – Iraq’s WMD. Apparently, given the total pullout of all troops from other countries, qualifies as quite radical.

  12. Lee Muller

    Some reasons we haven’t been attacked since 9/11 are:
    * 2,100 Muslims arrested sneaking across the Mexican and Canadian borders.
    * Saddam Hussein, financier of suicide bombers, taken down by American military.
    * 100+ plots thwarted by our capture and interrogation of Al Qaeda leaders in Iraq and Afghanistan
    * Wiping out hijacker bases in Afghanistan and Iraq
    * Arrests of 200 Islamic terrorists by British, French, Spanish, Belgian and German police

  13. Lee Muller

    Just 2 days before US forces invaded Iraq, Chief UN Weapons Inspector Hans Blix said Iraq still had lots of known, inventoried WMD which had not been handed over, and demanded that Saddam Hussein hand them over to avoid war.
    according to TIME magazine dated Feb 24, 2003:
    “UN weapons inspectors have demanded that Iraq destroy its entire arsenal of the offending missile by March 1. Chief inspector Dr. Hans Blix has declined to negotiate with Baghdad over that demand — leaving no doubt that failure to comply would lead him to report to the Security Council that Iraq has failed a benchmark disarmament test. And although Saddam hinted at a defiant response in a TV interview with CBS, Monday, his handling of the crisis thus far suggests he’ll ultimately comply.

  14. Lee Muller

    I don’t know why “Ralph Hightower” feels compelled to make up yarn about my being connected to his insurance company.
    Ralph forget to tell us if he chose that insurance company himself, or it was provided to him through his employer.
    If you think you are getting poor service now, when you have to take what your employer dishes out, wait until you are chained to one government provider with no competition.
    If you can afford it, you’ll be doing what people in Europe and Canada do – buying a private medical policy so you can get the care denied you by the state.

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