Tweeting to Jeanne Shaheen

A recent tweet-reply to my state's senior US Senator, Jeanne Shaheen:

Background: one of the provisions of the GOP's repeal-and-replace legislation allows insurers to charge premiums to old people up to five times greater than those charged to young people.

The AARP, demagogic as always, caught on this proposal and slapped the #AgeTax hashtag on it, and off we went. Senator Jeanne is more than happy to go along.

Note that the current Obamacare price controls allow a factor-of-three age-based premium difference. So despite all the heavy breathing, we're really talking about a factor-of-three vs. a factor-of-five. [Added: I should perhaps make it clear that neither regulation is an appropriate the state to make; we're simply talking degrees of hideous road-to-serfdom meddling.]

This Daily Signal article has more info. Key para:

The more accurate characterization is that the Obamacare rating provision “taxes” younger adults by making their premiums more expensive than they need to be, and “subsidizes” older adults by making their premiums cheaper than they should be. Thus, undoing that provision would simply remove a tax on young people and end an artificial (hidden) subsidy to older individuals.

That was the point of my tweet, so far ignored by Senator Jeanne. As I've noted previously about my Congresswoman's Twitter account, Jeanne's also seems to be all-talk, no-listen, never-respond.

Last Modified 2018-12-25 11:26 AM EST

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■ Once again, Proverbs gives us stark contrast. Here's 28:6:

Better the poor whose walk is blameless than the rich whose ways are perverse.

And for those of us (a) not poor; (b) not that rich; (c) not blameless; but (d) not really that perverse (honest)… the Proverbialist offers little wisdom.

It almost goes without saying that "the poor" in 21st century America are richer than "the rich" in 8th century BCE Israel. That kind of muddies the Proverbial waters as well.

■ Megan McArdle continues to write utterly sensibly about health care: Republicans Should Kill Obamacare or Let It Die. But first she wants to talk about concrete:

Concrete is a marvelous substance. There’s a reason it is the backbone of modern cities, and some much-loved ancient treasures, like Rome’s Pantheon, as well as much-hated eyesores, like Boston’s appalling City Hall or North Korea’s notorious “Hotel of Doom”: It's cheap. It's strong. It's versatile … until it sets. Then you're basically stuck with it.

[Today's Getty image: a view of Boston's appalling City Hall.]

Megan's analogy is well put. Given the huge, brutal, ugly "concrete" of the existing American health care system, doing anything will incur huge costs, political and financial. As will doing nothing, since that concrete is also structurally unsound.

I don't envy the GOP's position, finally being tossed the keys to the American political automobile. But this is what they wanted.

■ At Reason, David Harsanyi offers his analysis: The GOP Repeal Plan Sucks. But Is it Better Than Nothing?

First of all, the preferred free-market plan for health care policy should be no plan whatsoever. The idea that we need a federal top-down strategy to manage a huge chunk of the economy is at the very heart of the problem. We don't need a federal plan for health care. Yet Republicans have allowed liberals to frame the entire health insurance debate in these anti-market terms.

Republicans, as usual, will talk your ear off about how much they love the free market. Right up until it's time to actually write legislation to move in that direction.

■ Also at Reason, Veronique de Rugy chimes in: House Republicans' Obamacare Replacement Plan Is a Disaster. Here's Why.

But at the heart of the Republicans' inability to reform health care is their commitment to this notion that the provision of health insurance is the goal rather than the provision of health care or, more fundamentally, the production of health itself. Though insurance companies love it because it guarantees overinflated profits for their industry, this idea goes a long way toward explaining why the supply of health care remains so expensive.

I think there are better ideas out there, like Rand Paul's, but their chances seem slim.

OK, enough about health care.

■ At NR, Kevin D. Williamson writes on A Misunderstood ‘Diversity’. Specifically, the one vignetted here:

A Houston scene: Three men at a high-end health club, two of them middle-aged, one of them a teenager. The older men wear bespoke button-down shirts with their jeans and high-dollar cowboy boots, while the younger man is still wearing his workout clothes. They switch back and forth easily between English and Spanish. They are talking about the sports they played while in school. The young man says that he recently has taken up Ultimate Frisbee. “Frisbee,” says one older man, the contempt in his voice accentuated by his heavy Mexican accent. “Frisbee is for dogs.”

Kind of heartwarming, but KDW notes that that Houston's robust not-quite-melting pot is something that's been, literally, a couple centuries in the making, and is not easily translatable to Greenwich CT, or even LA, CA.

■ Hey, how about that political polarization today? Pretty striking, isn't it? Well, waitaminnit, bunkie. Jonah Goldberg is here (well, at NR) to tell you Today’s Political Polarization Isn’t as Striking as We Think. The actual division is more political (and I would say "tribal") than ideological, and disagreements are, while bitter, over relatively marginal issues. Jonah's conclusion:

“Polarized” is precisely the kind of “dying metaphor” Orwell had in mind. The country is indeed polarized. But it is more socially and politically divided than it is ideologically. The root of the disagreement has more to do with making sure “our” team has power. What it does with that power is, at best, a secondary consideration.

HeatStreet notes another skirmish in the Grievance Wars: US Academic Accuses England Rugby Fans of Cultural Appropriation for Singing Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.

An American academic has criticized those supporters of the England rugby team who sing the 19th century spiritual slave song “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” while watching matches.

Josephine Wright, a professor of music and black studies at the College of Wooster, Ohio, said that she found it “unfortunate” and an example of “cultural appropriation”.

No word on whether any American academics will take offense at "Sweet Caroline" singalongs at Fenway.