Lessons To Be Learned
"It would be easy to conclude that the supercommittee’s failure means the big, expensive health care entitlement programs -- Medicare and Medicaid -- are untouchable. It also would be wrong. The real lesson of the supercommittee’s collapse is that the political elements have to line up just right to put the brakes on Medicare and Medicaid spending. It can be done, budget and health care analysts say. But for the supercommittee, just about everything went wrong from the start."
"The timing was off, coming too close to a presidential election. The co-chairs weren’t powerful enough. The work came too soon after a summer debt deal that Democrats hated. Republicans couldn’t give the kind of concessions on taxes that Democrats needed. And the alternative to a supercommittee deal on health care entitlements -- the 2 percent automatic cuts in health care payments and defense funding that will now take place in 2013 -- wasn’t harsh enough to force a deal on Medicare and Medicaid. In fact, it might even have been the easier way out."
STRONGLY SUGGESTED READING: A thoughtful article with many important points. Davis Nather lists the many factors that had a strong impact on these negotiations. We all need to pay attention to these, because the budget problems are not going away, and the conditions for agreement might become more favorable. We need to be smarter about how we address these problems. No doubt, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security have unique financing problems that will require unique financing solutions. Also unique, Americans love these pre-paid public benefits, perhaps the ONLY federal programs with such widespread and deep support. That support needs to be acknowledged and understood . . . and accepted.
NCPSSM Giving Thanks
"For months, Hands Off-No Cuts activists have taken to the streets, met with their Members of Congress and placed literally thousands of phone calls and emails urging Congress to reject flawed fiscal policies that send the bill for those failures straight to the middle class. It’s been an incredibly successful campaign." And, "Since the supercommittee’s real agenda was to bypass Congress and cut social security, let’s give thanks for the 99%."
Change At the Top
GOP Filibuster Ends Tenure Of Health Care Cost Cutting Expert. "President Obama hasn’t used his recess appointment power very often. But he didn’t hesitate to install Donald Berwick as the administrator of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services without Senate confirmation over a year ago, to lead the implementation of the new health care law. Berwick’s has, without a doubt, been Obama’s most important recess appointment, and his most effective. But he will step down early next month -- a few weeks before his term expires -- because filibustering Republicans continue to deny him an up or down vote."
MORE: Gingrich-Endorsed Health Care Expert Don Berwick Forced To Resign As A Result Of GOP Filibuster
For Your Information
"Pepper spray, also known as OC spray (from 'Oleoresin Capsicum'), OC gas, and capsicum spray, is a lachrymatory agent (a chemical compound that irritates the eyes to cause tears, pain, and even temporary blindness) that is used in riot control, crowd control and personal self-defence, including defence against dogs and bears. Its inflammatory effects cause the eyes to close, taking away vision." "The active ingredient in pepper spray is capsaicin, which is a chemical derived from the fruit of plants in the Capsicum genus, including chilis." "Pepper spray is banned for use in war [emphasis added] by Article I.5 of the Chemical Weapons Convention which bans the use of all riot control agents in warfare whether lethal or less-than-lethal."