The much talked about Massachusetts health care plan, now known as "RomneyCare," will be the main component of political discussion as we get closer to November 2012. If health care is what the GOP is going to use against the president, Mitt Romney’s health care plan when he was governor of Massachusetts will be front page discussion. It looks more and more like Romney will be the nominee (I know it's early) and his task is to find a way to say that he likes his old plan, but does not like the president’s plan, which is very similar.
In the meantime, states are looking at ways to address health care. Democrats and Republicans in Vermont have basically come to an agreement on what they will ultimately call Green Mountain Care, a state-sponsored health care policy. Although Vermont is a pretty liberal state, its Republican Assembly members were united against the measure. The state’s Republican senators, however, were united in favor of it. It appears that Vermont’s Senate Republicans have come up with a series of amendments that they feel will put the Assembly Republicans at ease.
Stipulations include that the plan has to be sustainable; it cannot bring the state’s economy into the negative and administrative costs have to drop from where they are now. These are just some of the amendments that Senate GOPers hope will win over Republicans in the Assembly. What they have not talked about is what happens if the plan does fail to be in compliance with some of the amendments. Do they shut it down? Can they shut it down once the bureaucracy is in place?
The experiment in Vermont might be worth a shot. It starts in about five years, and hopefully they will be able to design a plan that makes this livable for taxpayers and doctors. Vermont is small enough to try this plan and survive if it fails.
Global Warming is Man-Made, But Don’t Blame People?
Last week, at a round-table presentation at a think tank where I work during the week, Professor Thomas Kesselring of the University of Bern (Switzerland) explained how philosophers need to take on the issue of global warming and that this is a moral issue. He was right about that, but he also went to lengths to explain that people who see the world population as a cause of environmental damage are wrong. A theological graduate student bemoaned that it was wrong to make "people part of the problem." He did not want people in Third World countries to be blamed for damage to the environment.
“We can’t make people the problem, because it’s counterproductive,” he explained. Really? Because all we ever hear about global warming is that it is a man-made disaster. Are people not the same as man? What he wanted to say was that we cannot blame Third World countries that ride bicycles for the damage that SUV-driving countries cause.
Population, however, is a contributing factor to environmental damage. Look at the United States’ population growth in the last 100 years, and then look at grazing, fishing, and ownership of automobiles. Even if you stop at those three factors, you see a contributor to environmental effects. There is nothing we can do about it, but we have to at least admit this is causing some strain. To ignore this fact is irresponsible.
This is not to blame birth rates or immigration for the environmental troubles we face, but the more people we have, the more cattle we graze, which means the more top soil we lose. The more top soil we lose, the less we can grow, which means more and more people might have less and less food. Kesselring did not agree with that assessment. He insisted that the problems were cars and coal, and not population.
I reminded him that in the last ten years the billion-plus population of both India and China started driving cars in large numbers, so, again, it is somewhat about population. At this point our conversation stammered to an end…and we were also out of pizza at that point.