22 March 2010

Bloated Sausage-Like Thingies

  • Maybe things really could be worse at GITMO. We've destroyed our credibility with the world; we've destroyed our credibility with ourselves; we've relied on unreliable interrogation techniques; but at least we haven't done this:

    Non Sequitur, 22 Mar 2010


  • Now that I've enlivened your morning with some humor — not literally gallows humor, but close enough — here are a few thoughts on the Independent Contractor Survival Act of 2010 health care "reform" bill passed last night.
    • It really is about small business and independent contractor survivability. It's rather ironic that the Heffalumps' main examples in debate on the high cost have concerned companies like Caterpillar, with their large workforces and union contracts that already pay for healthcare. Conversely, Heffalump/conservative ideology is that it's small companies that create jobs... and now those small companies will have much more equal access to health care for themselves and their employees than before, creating an even greater competitive advantage.

      Authors, and others who are true independent contractors and who do not rely upon spousal coverage, are now at least on a less-unequal footing than before. Sure, there's still going to be a lot of difficulty getting, and affording, health coverage... but "a lot of difficulty" and "virtually impossible for those not independently wealthy" are two different things.

    • Let's see just how vigilant the government is on pre-existing conditions... especially conditions incident to, but not qualifying for benefits from, military service, or an injury, or whatever.
    • Gee. I wonder if anyone has run the numbers on how this might affect workplace-compensation litigation, and come to the conclusion that there's at least one legal specialty that is in trouble?
    • Almost unnoticed in the bill, there's also a significant student-loan reform. On the one hand, it's a good start; on the other, though, in the details it's probably going to really screw anyone going back to graduate or professional school several years after completing undergraduate degrees. Ironically, though, the Department of Education personnel are ordinarily a lot more professional, a lot more lucid and willing to work with borrowers, and a lot easier to contact than are representatives of private lenders in the current market... I've never had a DoE employee outright lie to me (about me or my clients), or send the wrong forms, or refuse to take an emergency request, or refuse to disclose alternative programs for which the borrower may be eligible, but I can't say that for private lenders (even state-chartered private lenders).

      And, in particular, here's to private lenders who insist on violating the ADA. Phhhhhhhht!

  • And here's a big fat raspberry to "means testing" for benefit levels... because it's almost always to the severe disadvantage of those unable to advocate for themselves. It's really, really disturbing when I know the relevant law and regulations better than people who've been administering the programs for twenty years.

    That's a slap at bureaucrats and "cost-cutters" everywhere. It's actually much worse in profit-making organizations than it is with the government; I've been inside of both for long enough to know that first-hand, and litigated with both for long enough to know that with verifiable, replicable data.