Sunday, December 11, 2005

Al Franken shows with Obama, Blagojevich

After reading the Austin Mayor's blog here, continually calling for an Obama '08 campaign (which I still think is unlikely), I found Al Franken's radio show and a couple of Illinois interviews: this one with Barack Obama taped in Chicago on Friday (two blocks from my office -- why didn't Al call me?) and this one from October with Rod Blagojevich on AllKids which really isn't getting the attention it deserves as a monumental move for social justice and a great example of Democratic governments going on the offense in the national public policy debate.

By the way, if you have kids and want to pre-enroll in AllKids, you can do so online here. The program kicks in this summer, so affordable health insurance is only six months away.

11 comments:

respectful said...

Let's wait a couple of years before pronouncing All Kids the greatest thing since Social Security. Since it starts next summer, we won't know for awhile if the performance equals the promise.

leo said...

As far as Allkid is concerned it's already a runaway success -- compared to the alternative which of course is no healthcare at all.

How that prospect isn't disgraceful enough for even opponents of the governor to get behind the initiative is beyond me.

On the Al Franken front -- which is what I really wanted to comment on -- I'm a pretty regular listener. All I can say, is it's still pretty good but you really appreciate what Katherine Lanpher contributed -- now that she's no longer there. Also, I miss the skits they used to have.

AntiLabel said...

Dan and Leo,

What do you think about school "vouchers"?

Leo Klein said...

Why, Antilabel, somewhat OT but thanks for asking.

I think a good strong public education system is one of the foundations of our democratic system. Vouchers, as far as I can tell, do nothing to strengthen this system. In a sense then, they're a distraction, and a costly one at that.

AntiLabel said...

Leo,

Here is why my initial post was not off topic.

Back nearly two hundred years ago, when we decided that we needed public education, we didn't just shovel public money to the existing private schools. We set up a true "public" education system.

I am starting to agree that, perhaps, we do need some publicly provided health care.

However, most of the current health care system is privately operated. If we hand a bunch of public money to the private sector, we lose accountability.

In addition, generally, the private sector is in business for profit, so hiring the private sector to do a public service is more expensive.

For these reasons, I don't think that we should subcontract with the private sector.

If we want public health care, we need to set up a true public health care system. It will be less costly in the long run and will allow for greater accountability.

respectful said...

Antilabel, you mean public accountability such as we have with the Cook County Hospital?!?

Nathan Kaufman said...

an idea for the state government:

http://njk42.blogspot.com/2005/12/clean-air-and-revenue.html

Leo Klein said...

First, breaking, breaking: the AllKids program from the great State of Illinois is going National (see IGNN Press Release).

Second, healthcare is expensive no matter how you slice or dice it. It makes up a significant percentage of national budgets no matter how well or badly (as in our case) the system is run.

I would hesitate to "nationalize" the entire system, first because making state employees doesn't necessarily get you better efficiency. I mean, the Brits do pretty well with the NHS -- certainly better than we do! -- but it's unusually bureaucratic in ways that may not even be necessary.

I mean, if you ruled out the private insurance companies and replaced them with a nationwide program -- essentially extending Medicare to every man, woman or child in the U.S. of A. -- you'd improve our system a thousand times over. You'd do this thanks to all the common-sense efficiencies that are guaranteed to accompany a government-run insurance system.

That is how people do it all over the world. To argue otherwise is sheer ideology.

Nathan Kaufman said...

I do not know enough to have an opinion on "AllKids".

Generally, one can make a decent argument that kids are under-represented in the political process. Older people may be more adequately represented due to organization and money (e.g., AARP). This is a tentative hypothesis. This hypothesis may surface in many places.

In theory, the government doing something nice and incremental for kids who find themselves in difficult situations for reasons beyond control might be a decent long-term investment.

Look at the federal government's recent Medicare expansion to include prescription drugs for retirees. Something new for kids may only be fair.

CF said...

How is Allkids different than Medicaid? I don't know much about it, but I'm assuming that it's not really for "all kids" i.e. an investment banker from Goldman Sachs wouldn't qualify...or would he? If this is a government welfare program to provide medical care, especially preventive care, to needy children, I'm all for it (seriously). But why extend it (i.e. force it upon) everyone? I like my healthcare and my employer and I pay for it ourselves. Why should the government get involved in that? Finally, I assume this statement by Leo Klein is sarcastic: "thanks to all the common-sense efficiencies that are guaranteed to accompany a government-run insurance system."

leo said...

cf: Why extend it (i.e. force it upon) everyone? I like my healthcare and my employer and I pay for it ourselves.

You're not forced into it. You have to bring it upon yourself and your defenseless children by actually signing up for it. As to your happiness over your own healthcare, that's fine though you may be the only person in the entire state of Illinois who feels this way.

cf: Finally, I assume this statement by Leo Klein is sarcastic: "thanks to all the common-sense efficiencies that are guaranteed to accompany a government-run insurance system."

The advantages of a government-run health insurance system are so manifest all over the civilized world (including parts of our own -- say, 'Medicare') that you really have to be living on some strange planet or be so consumed by ideology not to recognize it.