Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Last night Mayor John DeStefano live blogged on My Left Nutmeg. During the primary DeStefano visited MLN several times, but this is his first appearance post-victory.

The following are highlights from his answers.

On how he plans to defeat Gov. Rell:

You beat Jodi Rell by offering a contrast. We Dem's think affordable, universal health care a smart thing - and the right thing - to do. Jodi thinks, well... nothing. That the current system is fine. Then we raise the field op and the $$$ to tell the story. That's how.

Responding to a teacher's question about public schools in Bridgeport and around the state:

We help Bridgeport by strengthening curriculum and providing support to the teacher corps to be prepared to deliver it. We focus to closing the achievement gap by offering pre-k and afterschool programming. Let's focus less on the NCLB standards and more on academic achievement.

By the way we have to change the way we pay for public schools. Less property tax based - more state aid - let's look at income based taxes.

On how DeStefano's proposed healthcare plan differs from Massachusetts:

Similar to Massachusetts in prevention, portability and pooling costs. Different in that we pay for it by repealing corporate loopholes and instead of requiring companies to sign up and penalizing them if they don't - by cutting their income taxes to $0 (companies < 50) or in half (comapanies > 51).

It's always great to see politicians show up at sites like MLN. As November approaches I hope that more candidates will follow Mayor DeStefano's live blogging lead.


bluecoat said...

Binge spending days are over By Mitt Romney | September 12, 2006

bluecoat said...

and here's a problem Fewer people on state health care despite rising poverty
By:Keith M. Phaneuf, Journal Inquirer 09/08/2006
but is this realy the answer from the even bigger spender?:
Speaker vows all children to have health coverage
By Keith M. Phaneuf, Journal Inquirer

bluecoat said...

Rowland-era crony dodges prison
New Haven Register
Randall Beach September 12, 2006

bluecoat said...

Region's Health-care Needs Will Be Studied
Report is designed to improve services
The new London Day
By Elaine Stoll
but why? I thought Ned, JDS and Ammann already know what to do.
and in the on-going saga that never gets resolved:
Report Finds DCF Has Made Some Progress
But court-ordered study also cites lapses
The New London Day
By Kenton Robinson

Southern CT Conservative said...

JDS thinks he's going to win by banking on universal health care? Please John, continue with this severly flawed strategy.

Most people are in favor of this until they hear how it's paid for. Then they run away. Run away! Run away!

bluecoat said...

and seeing as one of the drivers of cost is the oversupply and resulatant overutilization of services don't count on these oversuppliers coming to that conclusion as they spend federal funds on the above referenced study.

and anyway the DCF link I goofed up above is here

bluecoat said...

Anyway, just to close the commentary on universal, or whatever, health insurance, there was a front page article in the Sunday Boston Globe a few days ago (that I can't resurrect on-line but I red it in hard copy) that showed health insurance rates would go up this year across the board - and by significant amounts. Romneycare is a way to pay for it - and I support it - but it's not a way to lower the costs driven by the overutilization of srvices driven by the oversupply of healthcare facilities and providers (and their lobbyists that work to keep it that way) in the Bostn to NYC Corridor. Fahget aabout it if you think more insurance lowers costs - it just lowers the cost that the actual user of the service sees!!!

Anonymous said...

And now we know why Gov. Rell will remain governor.

CTKnows said...

JDS will have to do a lot more than just blog on a site whose audience is his base. Internet and blogs proving to be irrelevant in the Gov race. All one has to do is go to her site to see that.

bluecoat said...

Why's that? Because she hired the former head of the self-serving CT State Medical Society (aka doctor union and lobby) to work at the Dept of Public Health so he could push their agenda from inside the bureacracy??

Litchfield County Conservative said...

DeStefano needs to cover the whole state not just his safe haven in the 2nd and 3rd Districts.

He needs to be in Litchfield County a lot more than he has been Because he has very limited support and he has not brought on a lot of Malloy Supporters despite the line of BS and lies that Keith Crane tells people.

The longer DeStefano writes Litchfield County off The less likely he will defeat Jodi in November.

Chris MC said...

quoth bluecoat:
but it's not a way to lower the costs driven by the overutilization of srvices driven by the oversupply of healthcare facilities and providers (and their lobbyists that work to keep it that way) in the Bostn to NYC Corridor.

So which is it bluecoat? Are you for relying on business interests competing in open markets to regulate health care supply and demand, or should the community use its government to shape the market and achieve certain ends? How do you propose the inequities be addressed, or subsidies be paid for?

And do health care providers have the right to petition their government? Are there no limits to be placed on their activities? Or must we constrain the influence of lobbyists? If so, how, and why?

As to your assertion that services are overutilized: what are you basing this on? And how do you square it with the protestations of many both on their own behalf and on behalf of the working poor and others that they are underserved? Are these people all misguided or lying?

bluecoat said...

Chris: if you hadn't been on this blog longer than me, I would answer your questions one by one. However, I have already answered them numerous times. It appears that you just don't like my position because you want somebody other than the consumer to pay for health services regardless of their ability to pay and that I understand that entitilement position fine but you'll never make a case for it to me. You don't offer a single shred of evidence to rebut what I say either BTW - you can't.

disgruntled_republican said...


You seem to be talking out of both sides of your mouth. I don;t know if this intentional, tend to think it isn;t, but can you try to clarrify what your position i because I am totally confused.

Ghost of Yogi said...

Bluecoat and others,

Before you answer Chris MC, consider this: The "Market" for healthcare is controled by some of the wealthiest entrapeanuers in the world. They rack in billions in profit, much like the oil companies, and they spend big money to petition the government for redress of free-market issues; they particularly don't like too much competition. An example: Drug manufactures are granted monopoly over drugs developed. They set the prices without oversight, either by the market or the government, with seemingly one intrest in mind: Profits. (That is the conventional wisdom of the "Market.") So too, insurance companies basically write their own legislation - Medicaid Part-D anyone? - which protects profit margins and subverts the will of the ever groing majority of Americans without Health Care.

So, considering the heavy governmental influence in favor of the health industry, answer Chris MC's question. And always remember, there is an illusion here: The Invisble Hand is the open palm slap of Big Brother across your free market face.

bluecoat said...

G of Y: I already addressed ChrisMC and I don't disagree much at all with what you are saying about the drug companies - about 10% of the total bill these days - who do have too much influence but Medicare D is by definition govt provided healthcare not free market driven care. About the insurance companies; remember in CT the govt. tells them what must be in a basic insurance policy unless an employer is buying insurance services under ERISA and can ignore state law. And you, like Chris, mix together healthcare delivery with the insurance that pays for it while mixing up the national situation with the situation in CT. I gave numerous posts above but you continue with NedHead soundbites so you leave little room for a discussion by me of whatever it is you propose - even see as a specific problem.

bluecoat said...

DG: I have no idea what you are talking about. There is insurance, services and govt. regulation - all three compnents are distinct.

bluecoat said...

have a nice dinner folks, I won't be around to go back and forth; if you don't follow what I have to say, don't like what I have to say or don't understand what I have to say that's just he way it'll have to be; I don't need to win any arguments here.

Chris MC said...

Bluecoat as usual can't simply respond to the questions (for the record I've never been able to discern any "position" from him on the subject), instead employing that trademark sneer and announcing he's taking his ball and going home.

If someone else wants to take up the discussion, that would be great. There is a post from me on medical insurance and accessability out there in the distance someplace, maybe even on Medicare Part "D" although it would be hard for me to be dispassionate on that subject.

Some of the remarks Yogi posted are right in the ballpark, just to randomly pick something from this thread. Anything I can gather from here will help establish the starting point on that. Or you are welcome to email me - just click on my name and it will take you to a blogger page where there is an email address.

bluecoat said...

I blog when I want and how I want just like I dine when I want and enjoy what I want as i just did - I see health services the same way; and the note above says:Leave your comment not post your comment and be prepared to answer to one of the blogmaster's about your comment. I ain't running for office so I don't need to post my proposed bill and neither JDS nor Ned have offered up a bill yet either. And Rell's had either state benefits or her husband's big airline plan so I don't know where she stands on lowering the cost of services either. It ain't about insurance folks - it's what's paid for not who pays for it.

bluecoat said...

and GofY: let me clear - the govt. should have been able to use its buying power as part of the govt. provided Medicare D program - I have maintained that all along.

Chris MC said...

Bluecoat stop acting the victim. Nobody is being uncivil to you, just pointing out that you aren't being very clear. Honestly you are astonishingly thin skinned.

You're clear on the Medicare D - you are OK with it except for the fact that the government cannot bargain with the drug companies the way, say, the VA can. Is that accurate?

Do you see any problem with the "donut hole"? Or with the open-ended commitment of taxpayer dollars to those who reach the threshold on the other side of that gap in coverage?

Should the government be able to negotiate contracts with insurance companies for goods and services other than pharmaceuticals? Or would this be in effect government run health care because it would have the power to effectively set prices?

GMR said...

An example: Drug manufactures are granted monopoly over drugs developed. They set the prices without oversight, either by the market or the government, with seemingly one intrest in mind: Profits. (That is the conventional wisdom of the "Market.")

Do you have even the most basic concept of economics? If a drug company spends millions, or even billions, or research before they find a drug that works, shouldn't they have a "monopoly" on their intellectual property?

Microsoft does the exact same thing: they have a monopoly on Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, etc. So does Stephen King: he (and his publishers) have a monopoly to sell the books he writes. So does Coca-Cola.

Other companies can develop similar drugs, for instance in addition to Lipitor, there's Crestor and Zocor and one or two others. And other companies can develop spreadsheets and word processing programs, or make other soft drinks, and other authors can write crappy books about weird stuff in Maine. In all these cases, you can't get too close to the original, of course, and you can't just copy it (well, for Coca Cola you could, but they haven't published their formula. Drugs are patented, and uspto.gov has the exact recipes).

Yes, drug companies try to make profits. So do computer companies, and car companies, and all other companies.

Now, for pricing. If a drug has no competition -- meaning that it is the only drug that can cure a certain disease -- then the drug company can theoretically charge whatever it wants. Up to a point: the market still kicks in. If they charged, for instance, $1 million per pill, they probably wouldn't sell any. But they can make a high profit margin on each drug sold. Before the drug was developed, society functioned, so the drug they developed is a privilege for you or anyone else who wants to take it. The patent runs out usually in about 12 years, then anyone can make it and the price will drop radically.

(Just like anyone today can print books by James Fennimore Cooper: their intellectual property restriction has expired).

If we don't allow drug companies to profit from developing medicines that can improve our health, then they simply won't develop any new drugs. Why would they if they can't make a profit?

bluecoat said...

I have already answered those questions Chris; I am not playing the victim nor am I running for office but you are a little annoying ----.

Where's the fly swatter?

Chris MC said...

Quoth bluecoat:
It ain't about insurance folks - it's what's paid for not who pays for it.

This is an intriguing statement, I wish you'd start here instead of ending here. To me, it's pretty hard to imagine teasing out this distinction. What do you mean?

Chris MC said...

C'mon already bluecoat, focus on the substance instead of the snark.

Answer the questions put to you.

turfgrrl said...

GMR- Microsoft does the exact same thing: they have a monopoly on Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, etc. So does Stephen King: he (and his publishers) have a monopoly to sell the books he writes. So does Coca-Cola.

But Microsoft didn't start out with a monopoly in Word, Excel etc. There were viable, some say better, software programs out there, think Lotus 1 2 3, WordPerfect. What changed the market was the introduction of a new operating system and classic compete or die Darwinian R&D strategies. But I digress, part of the problem I have with Drug companies gaming the system is that for all the vaunted costs associated with R&D, they spend more in marketing and administration expenses. In a bio/science/tech company, your R&D is a significant cost of doing business. But it is not something that requires an indefinite cost recovery protection that outweighs the overall public good.

A healthy population seems more important than company profits when balanced against the lack of shareholder return most companies deliver. (See Microsoft Cash on hand is one example.)

GMR said...

A healthy population seems more important than company profits when balanced against the lack of shareholder return most companies deliver.

Companies really don't care about the healthy population: Pfizer and all the rest really care about profits. However, because they can earn profits by developing new drugs that presumably lead to a healthy population, everyone wins. Pfizer gets profits. People get drugs. If you take away Pfizer's ability to make money, then it will not develop any additional drugs. What would be the point? Would your pension fund manager invest in a company that had no chance of profits? I think not! There is significant risk in developing new drugs. Without the chance of a good payoff when you develop a good drug, no one will take the chance.

There are some government labs and some universities that would still do some research, but it would only be a fraction of what we have now.

As for G&A and marketing expenses, yes, drug companies and almost all other companies have these expenses. Why do drug companies spend on marketing? They do so for two reasons. One is to inform doctors of their new drugs: if a doctor is unfamiliar that a new drug for some disease has been developed, he or she won't prescribe it. Secondly, the companies advertise to the general public so in case the doctor doesn't bring up the medicine, they can ask the doctor themselves. With thousands of drugs out there, doctors may not always read all the literature and such.

Anonymous said...

It is, in one sense, astonishing -- and in another, not the least bit surprising -- how often liberals have to have the basics of economics explained to them ... again and again and again.

bluecoat said...

General Motors is the largest single private purchaser of health insurance and health services in the country and those costs to provide the services to employees and retirees are hurting them. And the purpose of this post is not to go all the way back to WWII to tell how they got there but to look at their cost concerns. They are not upset about the costs they pay to the contract insurers who administer their program becasue they negotiate that price; they are not concerned about the price they pay for individual drugs because they negotiate the best price for each therapy through their PBM; they are not concerned about the unit cost of blood tests, etc. because they negotiate a best price; they are concerned about the amount/type of the various services and drugs prescribed by individual doctors who effectively control 80% of the spending that GM pays for - accordingly GM is working with their insurance administrator to get a better handle on what physicians do pushing them all to practice evidence based medicine to improve quality and lower costs whiel at the same time asking the insureds to share in the cost of their personal health. Welcome to America.

bluecoat said...

a lot of the so-called drug company research is for me-too products to enter highly lucrative markets with a patented drug; a historical example of such is the statin/cholesterol reducer market where everybody jumped on the band wago when they saw the size of the market Merck was doing with MEVACOR -price competition really didn't come into play until MEVACOR went generic; Lovastatin (generic MEVACOR) doesn't work for every consumer but it works for a whole lot of them; a lot of the so-called marketing is to create an "aura" with docs and consumers that the brand name alternatives are better than the generic but that isn't always the case and that's why respectable health plans, like Kaiser who employs physicians and pharmacists directly on the payrooll in many cases, have drug formularies for the docs to follow based on head to head efficacy studies of the various players in a drug class.

bluecoat said...

and some drug marketing is based on possbly junk science pushed by certain drug companies and allowed under the Clinton FDA and remarkably some of this laissez-faire approach has been reversed by McClellan under Bush. And before ACR, the anti FDA GOPer chimes in, the FDA still has the compassionate use program that allows for the early use of drugs before approval but too few docs make use of it when it is really necessary.

Ghost of Yogi said...


Many a smart woman has implored me, "Ghost of Yogi, please let this one go and come back to bed, please?" It is a fault of mine that I engage in such silly banter with supposedly educated people.

Yes, GMR, you are correct that Microsoft holds a monopoly on Micro Office and other products. But, should Microsoft hold a monopoly on all word processors? Should BristolMyerSquib hold monopoly on all Cholesterol medication? The answer, if you are truly a free market person, which I seriously doubt, is no! NO!NO! NO!

The market should not be closed for competition. The invisible hand GMR, should be consumer demand not the Federal or State Government.

bluecoat said...

Should BristolMyerSquib hold monopoly on all Cholesterol medication? and they don't and never did - weren't even the first in the market with a player.