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Why Aren't You on Medicare?

A few minutes ago on MSNBC, Maria Bartiromo and Rep. Anthony Weiner had a shouting match over universal health care. If you like Medicare so much, Bartiromo snapped at Weiner, why aren't you on it?

Weiner is 44 years old.

Update: Here's the transcript:

REP. WEINER: Listen, Carlos talks about Canada. You talk about Europe. Let's talk about the United States of America, Medicare --

MS. BARTIROMO: You have to look at where there are public plans.

REP. WEINER: No. No. The United States of America, 40 percent of all tax dollars go through a public plan. Ask your parent or grandparent, ask your neighbor whether they're satisfied with Medicare. Now, there's a funding problem, but the quality of care is terrific. You get complete choice and go anywhere you want. Don't look at --

MS. BARTIROMO: How come you don't use it? You don't have it. How come you don't have it?

REP. WEINER: Because I'm not 65. I would love it.

MS. BARTIROMO: Yeah, come on.

Yeah. Come on.

By Ezra Klein  |  September 1, 2009; 12:15 PM ET
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maybe Maria thought because Rep. Weiner seems so mentally disabled that he should be on disability medicare???

Posted by: visionbrkr | September 1, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

well, 44 looks pretty old to a hot young lady like Maria. That's a part of the dating conudrum landscape that Ezra didn't know how to go into.

Posted by: bdballard | September 1, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

"a hot young lady like Maria"

Hot, yes. Young, no. She's in her early 40s.

Posted by: ostap666 | September 1, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

I just read about the Jeopardy show she was on. In Double Jeopardy she only answered one question correctly; she finished with zero dollars, and then in Socialistic fashion was "given" $1000 to participate in Final Jeopardy. She got that question wrong.
I can't say she would do any better at health care Jeopardy.

Posted by: flounder2 | September 1, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Maria likes expenses-paid corporate jets, and she's on them all the time.

Poor thing, she's on a hair trigger now because that nasty Matt Taibbi had the audacity to point out that she's very very wealthy.

She said something to me like, “It almost sounded like you were really mad.” To which I said I was. I added that America has great health care if you’re “rich like you.” And that’s when it got nasty. CNBC is emerging as one of the great villains of this decade.

Posted by: pseudonymousinnc | September 1, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

It's just a shame that no one has proposed an "option" for someone who isn't eligible for Medicare to be in a "public" sort of plan.

If only we could think of a name...

Posted by: rpy1 | September 1, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Yes, but Congress can shape its own care however it wants. And as Bartiromo implied, it ain't like Medicare. Or, more accurately: Why isn't it like Medicare?

Posted by: whoisjohngaltcom | September 1, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

I'd be in favor of GOPerCare as an alternative heath care option that GOPers could choose -- I mean, I'd be in favor of it if I weren't afraid of all the dead bodies.

Posted by: leoklein | September 1, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

It's just a shame that no one has proposed an "option" for someone who isn't eligible for Medicare to be in a "public" sort of plan.

If only we could think of a name...

Posted by: rpy1 | September 1, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

I've got it! How about:


Wait, I guess that's too long.

Posted by: visionbrkr | September 1, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

You know, visionbrkr, you're the only one here claiming that Medicare is "wrought [sic] with fraud and abuse" because you have a vested interest in believing that your own private sector is the paragon of proper corporate governance, when in fact it is an industry reviled for its misbehavior and abuse of its clients. Meanwhile, most people are pretty happy with medicare. It's pretty telling that you would badmouth the people who deal with medicare as being crooks when in fact the abuses and problems in our health care system are in fact a failure of the insurance industry, which has consistently engaged in abuse of patients and doctors for decades and takes a certain amount of glee in its policies of recission, denial of coverage, and bankrupting of patients in order to provide jobs for people who were never able to make it professionally as anything other than insurance salesmen.

Posted by: constans | September 1, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

One might also add that visionbrkr and Baritomo are symptomatic of most opponents of health care reform-- the opposition is spearheaded by people too clueless to have an opinion on the matter, as Baritomo clearly doesn't understand how medicare works and visionbrkr only regards it as an competitor that has to be badmouthed and defeated lest people decide that visionbrkr's role in the health care system is redundant.

Posted by: constans | September 1, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

visionbrkr: "I've got it! How about:


Come on, visionbrkr. You must know that many of our peer countries have public plans (which you must know does not constitute "government run healthcare"), and they have not "imploded" upon themselves.

In fact, those countries have about the same health outcomes as we do while we spend far, far more.

And even those countries that do have actual "government run healthcare" have not had those systems implode either.

I understand the theoretical objections to health care reform. But when theory conflicts with the facts, I think it's the theory that needs some reconsideration. And facts should not be conveniently ignored.

Posted by: dasimon | September 1, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Constans, you rule!

Posted by: dkinmd | September 1, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

@ostap666 -- Oh well, I guess early 40s is starting to look pretty young to me!

Posted by: bdballard | September 1, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

post a link if one available.

Posted by: BradF1 | September 1, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Dr. Constans,

I'm not the one saying that about medicare fraud and abuse, its Daniel Levinson the Inspector General of HHS who in testimony before congress stated fraud conservatively at 60 billion PER YEAR. Many people believe its more like 10 cents of every healthcare dollar or 224 BILLION per year. Its the FBI in the attached link to their site.

Here's an interesting note too:

What is Health Care Fraud?

• Altered or fabricated medical bills and other documents
• Excessive or unnecessary treatments
• Billing schemes, such as:
--charging for a service more expensive than the one provided
--charging for services that were not provided
--duplicate charges
• False or exaggerated medical disability
• Collecting on multiple policies for the same illness or injury

Are you trying to tell me this doesn't happen??? How naive are you?

And what has the FBI garnered in restituion in 2008? 1.12 Billion. Don't get me wrong I'm glad they've started to catch the abusers but that's pretty pathetic. Insurers have caught more fraud than that themselves with internal investigations and refusal to pay for services.




Posted by: visionbrkr | September 1, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Constans, you rule!

Posted by: dkinmd | September 1, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

yes doctors that stick by doctors. that's cute. who have you bankrupted today?

DR. Constans,

if my role was redudnant then I would have no role. Then my clients wouldn't see the value of me and I would be out of work. Unfortunately I have plenty of work to do and I honestly should spend more time there but i seem to spend too much time explaining systems to you that you just don't understand. Some days I feel as if I'm beating my head against a brick wall. Would you treat me if I came to your office with a head injury from that??

Posted by: visionbrkr | September 1, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse


while you are correct, IMO the US is different. We've tried government run public options individuall and its failed miserably. (See TENNCARE as the example). The Oregon Health plan was a great example of positve plans but in 2003 100,000 people in mental health and substance abuse coverage lost their prescription coverage.

And their guidelines (which are now being enforced) state that if you're chance of survival is under 5% over 5 years they won't even pay for chemotherapy. Now I'm not saying that's wrong as I agree with that but imagine if United Healthcare said that? Aetna? They would be crucified by every major left wing media outlet. But since its the government its OK??

Now if you want to get into OHP you need to win the lottery!! There has to be a better way.

Posted by: visionbrkr | September 1, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Who is perpetrating the Medicare fraud? It's doctors and clinics and the like who bill for services not performed, or not performed on Medicare patients. It isn't the patients themselves. In other words, it is the private sector bilking the taxpayer, same as the banks and the defense contractors and all the rest.

I'm on Medicare and it is great. I'd love to see it extended. Insurance companies refusing to pay doctors' and hospital bills after people have paid premiums is bankrupting people. Get real.

Posted by: Mimikatz | September 1, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse


so let me get this straight. If you're on a private insurance plan and you have a $2500 deductible and then 70% coverage and you have a $5000 charge for a surgical procuedre (not to mention the facility charge, pathology, radiology, anesthesiology, etc etc etc and you're responsible for your $2500 deductible and then another $750 and you can't pay it then how is that the insurers fault for abiding by the terms of the deal you signed off on? Oh or should we all have $10 copays when we can't afford to pay the premium cost of that??

Posted by: visionbrkr | September 1, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

I find it fascinating watching the conservative 20% dead-enders coming up with excuse after excuse on this. You'll look less desperate and out of touch if you just admit that you adhere to an inflexible dogma ("government is bad") that conflicts with the idea of a public option instead of inventing and cherrypicking details in bad faith.

Posted by: BigTunaTim | September 1, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

I find it fascinating that some people can't realize that government can't fix everything. Goverment's good for some things. (military, police, fire) and bad for others (schools, post office, healthcare). Does it have to be all of none???

Oh and the argument about fire is not 100% correct that leftists use. Many fire stations are volunteer but they conveniently forget that fact. hmmm. I wonder why???

Posted by: visionbrkr | September 1, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

A clear demonstration of the utter ignorance of media on real policy issues. I'll bet a good 90% don't know the difference between Medicaid and Medicare. Reportedly a large number of Congress don't know that distinction either.

Posted by: cmpnwtr | September 1, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

visionbrkr....I do grow weary of your automatic assumption that private industry will do a better job on healthcare. What kind of a job has it done to date for your clients (or are you paid on commission so the higher the premiums, the more you make)? Also, fraud is visible in Medicare.....what makes you think it does not exist in private care? Look at the same report you cited and look at the corporate business fraud section--interesting that fraud can even exist in the private market.

Posted by: scott1959 | September 1, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

*.I do grow weary of your automatic assumption that private industry will do a better job on healthcare.*

Private industry does a fine job providing health *care.* It does a poor job providing health *coverage*. Medicaid, Medicare, and SCHIP exist because many people in America are considered uninsurable or can only get insurance at prohibitive rates on the part of insurance companies that don't want sick people "dirtying" their risk-pools or don't want to cover pre-existing conditions. And even then, the clients who are supposedly "covered" end up getting hit with tens of thousands of dollars of expenses simply because insurance companies don't want to pay for even typical treatments (eg, many insurance companies don't cover more than a few thousand dollars of pregnancy expenses and don't cover significant drug expenses, leaving the pregnant or the ill on the hook for thousands of dollars.

Posted by: constans | September 1, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

@visionbrkr: "I find it fascinating that some people can't realize that government can't fix everything."

Which is curious since I don't know anyone who thinks that government can fix everything. But it is convenient for someone wishing to debate a straw man.

"Goverment's good for some things. (military, police, fire) and bad for others (schools, post office, healthcare)."

What's the difference between the good column and the bad column? WHY is government good/bad for those things? Given the existence of Medicare and the military's health insurance program, why is health care in the "bad" column?

Posted by: BigTunaTim | September 1, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse


actually many of my clients I have recommended to go to HSA plans that reduce my commission. Many other clients I'm helping with Medicare supplement policies that pay me no commission. Most of my larger clients I get paid on PEPM basis. (Per employee per month basis) so I'm averaging about 1% commission on most of my accounts. But hey you're right that's too much. I guess I should work for free. Do you work for free?

Yes it does exist in the private sector but it is also strongly investigaged. I know insurers that deny claims based on proceudre code that denote fraud. They also "red flag" providers that have submitted fraudulent claims in the past to watch what they do more closely. Its THEIR (policy holders and insurers) money that's why they do that. The government seems to have an endless supply of money so they're just now getting into fraud investigation. Its a good thing. 1.12 Billion is a lot of money but not as much when total medicare is about $500-$600 billion. Now obviously not all $500-$600 billion is fraud, only a small part of it is (most estimate at 10%) but then if fraud is $60 billion and you're only catching about 2% of that then sorry you're not doing a good enough job.

Posted by: visionbrkr | September 1, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Oh visionbrkr clever catch there on the fire department thingy, like wow maaaan, you are sooo smart! Whoa dude! Surely next time your house catches on fire you will call the all volunteer fire department in your village and offer to write them a check. It would be the principled thing to do.
It is a shame that Maria could be so dumb after Joey Ramone wrote that nice song about her.

Posted by: fishermansblues | September 1, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

@constans: "Private industry does a fine job providing health *care.* It does a poor job providing health *coverage*."

This line should be in all Democrats' health care speeches because it's a simple truth that's been lost in the fog of GOP demagoguery.

Posted by: BigTunaTim | September 1, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

visionbrkr, I'm sorry that you're having such a hard time explaining how systems work to everyone.

You should try this argument: "Every other developed country uses for-profit insurance to provide coverage for its citizens because they understand that it's cheaper, better and more efficient."

Oh wait, I think there's something wrong with that sentence. Let me think about that one a bit more.

As for the fire department example, you're definitely on to something there. I would push back hard on that talking point. I think if you just list all the for-profit fire departments that'll shut the damn liberals up. (I also wouldn't admit that the government does a good job of running fire departments because that'll just confuse them).

Posted by: AndrewNYC | September 1, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

A clear demonstration of the utter ignorance of media on real policy issues. I'll bet a good 90% don't know the difference between Medicaid and Medicare. Reportedly a large number of Congress don't know that distinction either.

Posted by: cmpnwtr | September 1, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

I agree with this. Do you want to clue in constans or should I?


again you don't get how the system works. Medicare is for anyone over age 65 or anyone that is permanently disabled. Income, health status are NOT A FACTOR. So now wait is the government DENYING people Medicare??? I'd deal with your points of view if any of them were based on facts that were correct.

Posted by: visionbrkr | September 1, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

visionbrkr, I highly doubt that your insurance company would be interested in offering an insurance policy to the elderly at rates they could afford with their social security payments. That's the reason Medicare exists: because you industry failed to cover the money-losing proposition that offering insurance to the elderly is.

The opponents of health care reform, as Baritomo and you demonstrate, are woefully clueless about how the system works and only shilling for their own personal self-preservation, rather than being concerned about, you know, actually giving people health coverage.

Posted by: constans | September 1, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse


they're in the bad column IMO (i'm still allowed an opinion right??) because their costs are unsustainable. They don't manager risk, they're fraught with abuse as the Inspector General of HHS states as well as the FBI. Are we not beleiving them or do we just not care what the cost is? Maybe we can tax the rich some more, right? They don't have staffs of accountants that can shelter their monies now do they?

$15 billion in annual profit <<<<<<<< $60+ billion in fraud and abuse.

Sorry I'll take my system but feel free to cyphon off more profit. if it reduces my costs and my clients costs I'm fine with that. I don't care about shareholder profits.

Posted by: visionbrkr | September 1, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

shorter lookvrthr: "They signed up! Not our fault!"

In other news, a goldfish doesn't see anything wrong with everyone having to live in little ceramic castles.

You still don't get it. You're stuck arguing about how to rearrange the deckchairs on the healthcare Titanic. All this means is that you have nothing to add to the debate.

Posted by: pseudonymousinnc | September 1, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

@visionbrkr: Hasn't "bending the cost curve" been large on the health reform agenda from the start? And didn't you state earlier that they are cracking down on Medicare abuse now?

It's certainly important to care what the cost is, but understand that progressives are deeply skeptical of modern conservatives who have suddenly become concerned about costs after a decade of rampant deficit spending. And let's not forget that it was Congressional Republicans who simultaneously decry the cost while adamantly opposing all proposed measures to reduce that cost.

And frankly, the fact that shareholder profits are in direct conflict with authorized care should be all we need to know that the current system cannot and does not work.

Posted by: BigTunaTim | September 1, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

blah, blah blah,

what do you do?? ______________

Posted by: visionbrkr | September 1, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Back on topic: again, what pisses off Bartilromo is the accusation that her healthcare is somehow tied to her privilege as a highly-paid CEO fluffer at CNBC, even as she scoffs at those on Medicare, implying that Weiner ought to be taking advantage of his privilege as a congresscritter.

That's doublethink of the highest order

Posted by: pseudonymousinnc | September 1, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

How do you keep an idiot in suspense, visionbrkr?

Posted by: pseudonymousinnc | September 1, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse


but i think honestly that you confuse insurers worried about theirs and policy holders money with Conservative Republicans fighting a war or wars or whatever. They are two totally seperate entities and should be treated as seperate and not grouped together. Do you think Aetna was for the war in Iraq??

yes its good that they've started to fight fraud and abuse in Medicare but they need to get a whole lot better at it before I entrust the entire system to them or even another large chunk of it. Why not just emasculate insurers profits to next to zero and let them do the government's dirty work (rationing)? That way everyone can continue to hate insurers and everyone would start to love government again. Wouldn't that work? Or is that some need to destroy insurers, put them out of business, put them in jail because they see them as inherently evil and all those that work for them or with them as evil? Is the grandmother that is a claims processer that pays claims all day long evil? Should we death panel her? What about the twenty something that answers phones at BCBS and transfers people. Is she evil?

Posted by: visionbrkr | September 1, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

oh i'm not in suspense there pal. i've seen your footprints all over the web looking for the smoking gun that puts Cheney and Bush in jail. Good for you. I hope that works for you.

Posted by: visionbrkr | September 1, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

And here we thought there was some substance behind those pouty lips.

Looks like she's the airhead to beat all idiots.

Guess she'll face some flak, lose some of her audience, and finally end up in the Fox News stable where she can utter even more inanities.

Posted by: jaysit | September 1, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Hey everyone, lets give visonbrkr a break. He has his finger in the current pie and is absolutely petrified as to what he might do should his job be eliminated.

Posted by: scott1959 | September 1, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

My word, is that one stupid woman. A fourteen year old ought to have enough understanding of the world around her not to even think what she said.

She's like the John Belushi character, Bluto in Animal House saying "Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?"

Only she's not joking.

Posted by: kuvasz | September 1, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse


haha. actually I'm fine. Every bill in congress uses agents so I'm not going anywhere but thanks for your concern. But i would be concerned for the underwriter at an insurer when that job becomes unnecessary, the staff at a hopsital plan if a robust public option goes into place because they can't survive on medicare rates for all, the medical biller at Dr Constans' office when they are let go because the public plan pays every claim without an issue (ya right).

But hey let's keep increasing unemployment by making large segments of the healthcare industries unemployed. That's a sure fire way to keep the economy going.

Posted by: visionbrkr | September 1, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

visionbrker, you fascinate me: you mean there are actually people still left who think that health care and free markets go together?

it's not a new concept that the basic requirement of a free market - multiple sellers in a field with no or limited barriers to entry facing informed buyers - don't exist in health care.

when i fall and fracture my arm, i don't have the choice to go out and get 3 bids on having my arm fixed.

i don't have the knowledge to comparison shop.

there are extreme barriers to entry thanks to the strength of doctors in keeping a large part of the pie to themselves.

so explain why you think the free market system makes any sense at all in this context? this is such old news that ken arrow wrote about it at least as long ago as 1963:

Posted by: howard16 | September 1, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

"But hey let's keep increasing unemployment by making large segments of the healthcare industries unemployed."

Clearly, the fact that you're now apparently stalking me as well as defending your little goldfish bowl here makes a great case for the efficiency of the private insurance brokerage business.

Posted by: pseudonymousinnc | September 1, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse


i told you before, all my clients are happy, getting all their claims paid and not many policies in renewal over the summer. It'll pick up soon for me and then I'll be off and all of you and your left wing buddies can get back to your conspiracy theories. Again if you ever said what you did I wouldn't have to look now would I?

Posted by: visionbrkr | September 1, 2009 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Yet antoher tip: save that line for when the cops find your telescope pointing at someone's bedroom. I think it'll go down a treat, since you love to blame everyone else for your own foibles.

I do lots of things, but I'm not a part-time p!ssant pool-boy for American healthcare. Nor am I paid to argue for its reform. I just happen to think it's a moral outrage, particularly when it's defended by rich CEO-fluffers like Bartilromo.

Posted by: pseudonymousinnc | September 1, 2009 6:41 PM | Report abuse


Don't have you any work to do? It's almost like your full-time job is to post comments.

Posted by: bettereditor | September 1, 2009 6:49 PM | Report abuse

ChickaBOOMer -- Answer: You Have To Be This Old To Ride That Ride

Posted by: StewartIII | September 1, 2009 7:09 PM | Report abuse

visionbrkr: "while you are correct, IMO the US is different. We've tried government run public options individuall and its failed miserably."

But if other countries can make it work, there is no inherent reason why we can't do so as well. We just have to do it right. Why not use other countries as a model? Or are we so flawed that we are inevitably doomed? For those who tout the can-do nature of Americans, I have problems believing the latter.

If others can do it, so can we--even better, I should think.

And I think it's also pretty clear that purely for-profit systems don't work in this area. I don't think there's a single example of a for-profit health care system that delivers universal coverage at an affordable price. The fact is that while markets usually increase quality and lower prices, they don't always do so. They don't in higher eduction, and they haven't in health care either.

Posted by: dasimon | September 2, 2009 12:42 AM | Report abuse


actually the President disagrees. He sees Geisinger Health Plans (although he mispronounces it) as a model that works. I'm very familiar with them as I have a client in the Poconos that has them and they are about 40 employees and have had flat renewals for the last 3 years (no increase in cost). The model is a hybrid of the 90's models that controlled cost. They group providers together and bundle their cost structures. They use clinic models who handle care as a group as opposed to seperate docs for each level of care. It works. You may not like being told you can only stay within a clinic model but if you want to control cost, its a very effective way to do that.

And as far as public education I respectfully disagree. I'll spend over $500,000 in property taxes in my lifetime in NJ for my children's public education where my 13 year old daughter has already been sexually threatened in her middle school and the answer I get is that they cannot change the boy's classes they'd have to change my daughter's. You know he has rights. My daughter, not so much. And on top of that the education is below average in my opinion. I could find a lot better ways to spend my half a million dollars thanks.

Posted by: visionbrkr | September 2, 2009 7:34 AM | Report abuse

""while you are correct, IMO the US is different.""

I really don't think, "The US is too stupid to have a functional public component" is a viable argument (especially given the fact that we do have a successful Medicare program). Nice segue, too, in trying to sell a product to dasimon. Always Be Closing, I guess...

Countries that do what the US do are typically pre-modern. The rest of the developed world tends to disagree with your view that the public options don't work.

The other funny thing about NJ: lots of people move there for the public schools, so 9 million of your neighbors disagree with your assessment.

Posted by: tyromania | September 2, 2009 9:02 AM | Report abuse


I would argue Medicare is successful because it sets rates below what hospitals could afford if not for private plans. I was listening to cspan radio this morning and a hospital administrator was saying the same thing to a radiologist who was arguing for single payer and they weren't buying. He said that if the hospital had to accept 80 cents on the dollar in a medicare for all style they would be shut down. That's not me a shill saying that, its a hospital administrator.

And i'm not selling anything to anyone on here. THE PRESIDENT SAID IT about Geisinger. So do me a favor and don't put words in my mouth.

Also the US problem is obesity which if i had the time to check into it I'm sure its not as much of a problem in other countries. 7 out of 10 kids are obese. Everyone knows it leads to diabetes, heart disease etc. The most severe high cost and longest lasting illnesses.

And public options have failed across the US from TennCARE to the Oregon Health plan dropping people left and right because of cost and now Oregon has a lottery to see if you get coverage. Is that the public plan you want? A lottery to see if you get care?

And as far as the education goes I didn't say it wasn't better than other areas, i just said it wasn't good. NO child left behind is a joke. (ya i know its Bush's idea but i don't care about politics). In my child's school that started today there are kids that are in 3rd grade that can't even read yet but they're thrown ahead and then completely lost in the system.

Just because NJ is better than other states doesn't mean its good. That's like me saying the US Healthcare system is good when its not but its ahead of whoever is 40th on the WHO list.

Posted by: visionbrkr | September 2, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse

and if public schools were so great there wouldn't be such a demand or any demand for charter schools.

Posted by: visionbrkr | September 2, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

MB is a clueless twit---in a meritocracy she would not be allowed anywhere near a financial news network

Posted by: tamela1 | September 2, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse


"actually the President disagrees. He sees Geisinger Health Plans (although he mispronounces it) as a model that works."

Well, if that model doesn't work, we don't have to use it. My point is that there are plenty of other models with a public plan that do seem to work, so they should not be simply dismissed as inevitably doomed to failure.

"And as far as public education I respectfully disagree."

Well, I didn't say "public" education. I said higher education.

Higher education costs have been rising far faster than inflation. But if competition raises quality and lowers prices, how can that be? It's because competition doesn't always result in higher quality and lower prices.

Universities compete for the same faculty and students. When one school offers a prospective faculty member a higher salary, others have to follow if they want to keep up. When one school builds a new science lab, so do the others. When one school builds plushier dorms, better athletic facilities, serves tastier food, so do the others. But few of these items (except maybe the labs) actually improve the educational output.

There is not a single example I know of of a purely for-profit medical system that covers everyone and keeps a lid on expenses (our system actually does neither). Now I like markets for most things because they usually get good results. But I'm not going to ignore what I think is clear evidence that they don't get those results in every area. Health care seems to be one of them.

Posted by: dasimon | September 3, 2009 12:33 AM | Report abuse

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