Linked and Loaded Morning

Links to what I’ve been reading:

We’re #1?

Aaron Carroll wonders how we can be on the top of a list for overall health care given, you know, reality:

So how do you get to #1? Well, check out the variables and weights applied to them. It seems that one of the variables included in the analyses was expenditure on health. As you can imagine the United States is clearly going to win that one. But I’m not sure why that would be a variable to measure “health”. If I’m reading the weights correctly, they also made health expenditure count more than infant mortality, life expectancy, undernourishment, water quality, sanitation, and deaths from respiratory disease (where we were 60th, remember). They also included things like “satisfaction with environmental beauty”, and if I’m again reading the weights correctly, they made that variable more important than any of the basic health outcome or infrastructure variables in the “Wellbeing” category.

Romney’s puzzling Medicare move

From Sarah Kliff:

The Romney campaign’s aggressive embrace of a plan that drastically overhauls Medicare is a puzzling move. To describe Medicare as a politically fraught campaign issue probably is an understatement. Voters just don’t like changing the program, even when Congress wants to expand the program and add new benefits. Mollyann Brodie, who directs survey research for the Kaiser Family Foundation, recalls when Congress added a prescription benefit to the program in 2003. “In Medicare Part D,” they were adding on a huge benefit and even then seniors were very unfavorable,” she says.

*My Note: I really think that they have no idea how unpopular the Ryan Plan would be in a general election.

Nullification Lives: GOP Blocks Cordray

From Jonathan Cohn:

The Senate on Thursday took up the nomination of Richard Cordray, President Obama’s choice to lead the new consumer protection board. It did not vote to confirm him. The outcome isn’t at all surprising. But it’s important to take a step back and understand just what is happening here, because Republicans aren’t simply weakening consumer protection. They’re also weakening American democracy.

*My Note: What’s sad is that some are starting to believe that this supermajority-for-everything is how it’s supposed to work.

Unprecedented obstruction and false equivalencies

Steven Benen on the use of the filibuster:

Consider this tidbit: cloture was invoked 63 times in 2009 and 2010, which isn’t just the most ever, it’s more than the sum total of instances from 1919 through 1982. That’s not a typo.

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