Airbrushing History: ACA Edition

Reader Rick Stryker writes, after asserting Paul Krugman has misrepresented history:

…apologists fall back on the claim that Obamacare is a conservative idea. … That’s nonsense.

Let me quote from A National Health System for America (Heritage Foundation, 1989), chapter 2, by Stuart A. Butler, Director of Domestic Policy Studies at the Heritage Foundation:

Creating a New Health Care System for Americans

By modifying the existing system, the U.S. can develop a new health care system that will achieve the stated but unfulfilled goals of health care systems overseas — choice, access, and economy.

Element #1: Every resident of the U.S. must, by law, be enrolled in an adequate health care plan to cover major health care costs.

This requirement would imply a compact between the U.S. government and its citizens: in return for the government’s accepting an obligation to devise a market-based system guaranteeing access to care and protecting all families from financial distress due to the cost of an illness, each individual must agree to obtain a minimum level of protection. This means that, while government would take on the obligation to find ways of guaranteeing care fore those Americans unable to obtain protection in the market, perhaps because of chronic health problems or lack of income, Americans with sufficient means would no longer be able to be “free riders” on society by avoiding sensible health insurance expenditures and relying on others to pay for care in an emergency or in retirement.

The requirement to obtain basic insurance would have to be enforced. The easiest way to monitor compliance might be for households to furnish proof of insurance when they file their tax returns. … If the family did not enroll in another plan before the first insurance coverage lapsed and did not provide evidence of financial problems, a fine might be imposed.

The entire Heritage Foundation document is here. Chapter 2, written by Stuart A. Butler, Director of Domestic Policy Studies at the Heritage Foundation, starts at page 35.


86 thoughts on “Airbrushing History: ACA Edition

  1. Robj

    Well, see when your revisionist history like Rick Stryker is defined by Fox News you can just riposte that the Heritage Foundation was RINO and really the document you post has been completely disproved and shown to be created by Obama from Kenya in ’78 and the links to the Heritage Foundation website derive from a parallel universe of global warming since it was a bad winter.
    Disprove THAT firm sense of reality and conservative history, if you dare!

  2. jonathan

    What bothers me is the misunderstanding of the original idea – which literally was generated by Heritage Foundation. That was individual responsibility, meaning that free-riding on the system – which costs hospitals many billions if you believe their numbers and which thus raises the cost for all the insured – is antithetical to the conservative concept of individual liberty: when we allow free-riders, we allow others to take our liberty from us. In the bluntest of terms, this was a major conservative policy position and was opposed to the liberal concept that we needed a single payer, Medicare-like system. That policy position was explicitly a means of making sure each person has a stake or, as the saying goes now, that each person has skin in the game. It matched the conservative policy position that the tax code should be broadened as much as possible so citizens would have “skin in the game” as taxpayers, not merely as recipients of aid. The point was that markets depend on people participating and that making each person a stakeholder with skin in the game would make the free market work better.

    I thought the original Heritage idea was terrific. I’m indescribably disappointed that it has tried to erase the existence of what was a true conservative idea

  3. Anonymous

    So the idea of universal healthcare was invented in the ’80s? Don’t think so. And just because one person says that everyone should have healthcare doesn’t mean that it is an economically conservative idea (it doesn’t say that it is not, either). Overall this is an odd blog post. Krugman also thinks that the 09 stimulus bill was ok because inflation didn’t go up – he seems to have conveniently forgotten that he said unemployment would go down…

    1. Gridlock

      Um, unemployment has gone done since 2009. All while inflation has NOT gone up. Am I missing something?

      1. Anonymous

        Yes, unemployment kept going up after the stimulus bill was implemented. Years later, after we started austerity in fact, unemployment went down.

        1. David A

          Indeed, and unemployment went down primarily as a result of people falling out of the workforce in record numbers, and as a result of people getting pat time jobs. Add into the work force the number of working age Americans, and we are still over 9%.

  4. Patrick R. Sullivan

    Of course, Rick Stryker was talking about ‘Romneycare’ not being what Romney himself actually proposed. So Menzie is simply misrepresenting his argument.

    As usual.

    1. Rick Stryker


      Yes, I thought my point was pretty clear. I was talking about Romney’s original proposal not being Obamacare. But Menzie reached back into the mists of time, all the way back to the era of Big Hair bands, to try find a way to hang Obamacare on conservatives. I guess it’s understandable given the panic in the air about the coming drubbing at the polls in November. Anyway, I went into a lot of detail on the Romneycare and the Heritage Foundation issue in my comment below just to drive the point home.

      1. Menzie Chinn Post author

        Rick Stryker: Not that I followed this aspect of popular culture closely, but 1989 is the era of the big hair bands? I was under the impression that was a little earlier. But I might be mistaken.

  5. BananaGuard

    There is a definitional issue here. On the one hand, “conservative idea” is taken to mean an idea put forward by a conservative thinker or organization, based on traditional conservative notions. On the other, “conservative idea” is taken to mean whatever position so-called conservatives currently hold, without regard to history. This latter definition justifies intentional default on government obligations, wars of choice and a preference for tax cuts over budget balance as “conservative ideas” and spurns any notion that they could be otherwise.

  6. Rick Stryker


    No, I’m not airbrushing history but you and Krugman are photoshopping history by claiming that Obamacare is a conservative idea. Krugman, in his typical fact free analysis goes through a sort of ontological proof of the existence of Obamacare, not by examining any facts, but rather by reasoning that Obamacare has to have the features it does if conservatives are not willing to support single payer. Therefore, according to Krugman’s logic, there is no conservative alternative to Obamacare. Krugman justfies all of Obamacare as a conservative idea based on pure reason, whereas your factual link has only established that some conservatives, about 25 years ago, supported one piece of Obamacare, namely an individual mandate. Right from the start, it’s important to note that you are not defending Krugman’s sweeping claims. Let’s descend from Krugman’s world of pure reason and look at some facts.

    Krugman claims that support for the individual mandate follows from the need to cover pre-existing conditions, implying to his gullible readers that that was the reason for Butler’s support for the individual mandate. But that’s not true. Butler and some other conservatives at the time proposed the mandate as a technical solution to the problems they feared would be created by the 1986 Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA). Their worry was that EMTALA, by imposing an unfunded mandate on hospitals to provide emergency care, would encourage a free rider problem in which people dropped out of insurance coverage. The mandate was designed to correct what they worried would be the deleterious consequences of EMTALA. The motivation of the mandate was to shift the costs of the unfunded mandate back to potential free riders; the motivation was not to cover pre-existing conditions.

    Krugman’s readers might well jump to the conclusion that the mandate enjoyed broad support among conservatives 20-25 years ago. But in fact it was controversial among conservatives. Peter Ferrara left Heritage over his opposition to the mandate and organized a number of conservatives to oppose the mandate, including Phyllis Schlafly, Grover Norquist, and Paul Weyrich. Moreover, there was significant opposition from the Cato Institute and conservative health think tanks such as the Galen Institute. The controversy among conservatives about the mandate ended around 1993 when Phil Gramm and the National Center for Policy Analysis (another conservative health think tank) put together a plan based on medical savings accounts. Medical savings accounts have been a feature of conservative health care proposals since then and almost all conservatives have rejected mandates at the national level and most at the state level. At the national level, the belief is that mandates are unconstitutional. Moreover, most conservatives have accepted Ferrara’s practical argument that the mandate naturally leads to creeping regulation, since the government must decide what insurance plans satisfy the mandate.

    Coming to the present then, it’s not surprising that opposition to the Obamacare mandate was almost universal among conservatives. Stuart Butler has recognized that he was wrong about the mandate and has reversed his previous position. The Heritage Foundation filed an amicus brief against the Obamacare mandate with the Court of Appeals with the 11th Circuit. Conservative health care policy analysts such as Ferrara, John Goodman, Grace Marie Turner, Betsy McCaughey, and Sally Pipes all opposed the Obamacare mandate as did virtually every conservative analyst, newspaper, think tank etc.

    Although the battle over the mandate was largely settled among conservatives, there were still some conservatives that favored a mandate for some particular cases. Romney’s proposal in Massachusetts did include a mandate, which he justified essentially along the same lines as Butler did in 1989. And some conservatives supported that. However, Romney never supported a mandate at the national level. Romney believed the mandate and some other reforms were justified at the state level given the particular problems that Massachusetts faced, the most important being a requirement to change the way the state paid for medicaid or lose a federal waiver and $385 million in federal medicaid funding. But the mandate itself was specifically motivated by the fact that Massachusetts’ uncompensated care pool, which was supported by contributions from hospitals, insurers, state, and Federal funds, often could not fully reimburse hospitals for uncompensated care. Hospitals were complaining and Romney did not want to raise taxes in general. Romney wanted to shift the costs from the Massachusetts taxpayer by requiring the purchase of catastrophic insurance so that the cost would be borne by the people using the services. Catastrophic insurance was not defined in any prescriptive way in Romney’s proposal. Nonetheless, Romney’s support for the mandate, even at the state level, hurt him with conservatives in general and Romney’s support for it does not mean that it had general support among conservatives.

    Krugman implies that other features of Obamacare were supported by conservatives including Romney. But that’s false. Romney was adamantly opposed to an employer mandate to provide insurance. When the Democratic legislature inserted an employer mandate into his bill he vetoed it, only to be overridden. He also vetoed other additions from the Democratic legislature and was overridden.

    Romney and the Heritage Foundation also introduce the idea of the Connector in the health reform bill. But that concept was very different from what it eventually became. The idea behind the Connector was to deregulate the non-group insurance market in Massachusetts. Since 1997, the law in MA required that insurance companies sell only 2 types of plans on a guaranteed issue basis with continuous open enrollment and a community rating system. So, contrary to Krugman’s misinformation, these features of Obamacare were already present in MA before Romney arrived on the scene. Of course, this MA law had virtually destroyed the non-group market in MA. The Connector essentially was designed to correct this bad feature of the law by merging the individual and small business markets. As Romney saw it, the Connector was an unsubsidized exchange in which insurance companies could offer a range of deregulated policies. The hope was that small businesses could make a defined contribution, allowing people to purchase insurance in the Connector and thus break the connection between employment and insurance. But the Deval Patrick Administration changed all that when they implemented it. Insurance became highly regulated through the Connector and the now familiar Bronze, Silver, and Gold plans emerged. That was not Romney’s or the Heritage Foundation’s idea.

    Ultimately, the Deval Patrick Administration and the Democratic legislature in MA took Romney’s original proposals, which were designed to mitigate the effects of previous Liberal interventions in the health system, and turned them into something that became the prototype for Obamacare. The Deval Patrick Administration and the Democratic legislature hardened the mandate, changed the connector, and imposed an employer mandate, while increasing regulation on the insurance that could be offered. What emerged was not a conservative idea.

    Krugman’s ontological argument for the existence of Obamacare leads him in the last paragraph to the ludicrous idea that since Obamacare is the conservative alternative to a single payer system, there can’t be any other conservative alternative to Obamacare. Is there a uniqueness proof in there somewhere in this argument from pure reason? I continue to be amazed that people read this sort of silliness and believe it. And I’d just note again Menzie that your attempted defense only focused on the mandate. You did not try to defend the rest of Krugman’s argument.

    1. Gridlock

      The need for the individual mandate was not something conservatives considered and then dropped. Conservatives supported the mandate because it was required by the insurance industry in order to avoid the problem of adverse selection. If everyone did not participate in the health insurance market, then only those who had health problems would participate and cause the insurance companies to be adversely selected against.

      Anyone with any brains and an understanding of the insurance market understands this point. In order to provide “choice, access and economy” the only way it works in a privately run healthcare system (private insurance companies) is to guarantee that everyone participates. The only way to accomplish that is through a mandate. Period.

      The other choice is to have a single payer system, either run by the government or sub’d out to a private administrator, but still paid through the tax roles. Period.

  7. 2slugbaits

    Rick Stryker’s history of the healthcare battles is as bad as his history of medieval kings. Tell us again who was king in 922 AD? In their heart of hearts (assuming conservatives have a heart), they may or may not have liked the Heritage/Romneycare/Obamacare solution back in the 1990s when it first came to the forefront of public debate. Conservatives, almost by definition, always stand astride history and yell “STOP!” so deep down I’m sure many of them opposed any changes to the crumbling healthcare system. It worked okay for the rich, and if you’re a Republican that’s all that counts. But the reality is that in the mid-90s there was this thing called “Hillarycare” that looked like it might become a reality. So conservatives looked around for some kind of alternative. Now it may well be the case that the Heritage plan was just a Trojan Horse and the real intent was to just derail healthcare reform of any sort. That is the kind of thing conservatives do. Republicans aren’t exactly known for intellectual honesty. But the fact remains that most conservative opinion leaders jumped on the Heritage plan as the preferred alternative to Hillarycare. It might not have been their first choice, but in the end they signed onto it and so they owned it. Public debates in the political realm are all about making choices, and the conservatives agreed to accept the Heritage plan as an alternative to Hillarycare. The fact that today’s Republicans want to retroactively move the goalposts and pretend that they never really meant what they said 20 years ago might be true in a perverse way, but it’s irrelevant to the public debate. The fact is that they agreed to support something like the Heritage plan. Romneycare was just the executed version of the Heritage plan…we know this because the principal author of Romneycare (Jonathan Gruber) tells us that’s where he stole the idea. And Obamacare is just a nationalized version of Romneycare. We know because the principal author of Obamacare (Jonathan Gruber) tells us that.

  8. T.J.

    Conservatives were for individual responsibility and markets before they were against them. Many on the right are simply reactionaries. They simply oppose any policies that the Dems and Obama support, not out of reason or logic, but out of spite.

    Just look at the mental gymnastics that Rick Stryker plays in running away from Obamacare. This was evident during the 2012 elections when Romney was running away from Romneycare. The simple truth is Obamacare is essentially the Conservative alternative. There is a reason why Conservatives have tried to repeal it 50 times. They simply have no alternative besides repealing Obamacare.

    1. Patrick R. Sullivan

      I’ve seen some bizarre logic here before, but;

      Major premise: Obamacare is the conservative alternative.
      Minor premise: Conservatives have tried 50 times to repeal the conservative alternative.
      Conclusion: Conservatives have no alternative besides repealing their own alternative.

      has to be a new low.

      1. T.J.

        Your problem is that you see the modern day conservative movement as logical, coherent, and consistent. It is not. It largely a reactionary and regressive movement.

  9. baffling

    on this blog rick stryker has shown his true colors by stating he would rather see his son and brother skip out on obamacare, and then act as leeches on society if/when they became ill and needed medical treatment. talk about somebody who believes in taking responsibility for oneself! free loader.

  10. Rick Stryker


    From your reference to who was king in 922 AD, I guess you are referring to my history of the multiplier as one of the sacred relics of the barbarous age of macroeconomics. You know that history wasn’t real, right? You know that there was really no Sir Postalot, although any resemblance to any living person was entirely non-coincidental, right? And it’s not necessary then to get the historically correct king in 922 in joke history, right?

    But let’s discuss some real history. By the Heritage Plan, I assume you are referring to Chafee’s “Health Equity and Access Reform Today Act” of 1993, co-sponsored by a number of moderate Republican Senators. That bill contained no funding. It was opposed by more conservative senators such as Gramm and House Republicans. It was never voted on and never even taken up again after its introduction.

    At the time, Republicans were coming up with many alternatives to HilaryCare. Who knows what the motives for Chafee’s bill were? Maybe they were trying to do something symbolic to see if they could split the Democrats. I don’t think we know, but we do know that many Republicans opposed it and offered alternative bills. For example, Santorum and Gramms’ “Comprehensive Family Health Access and Savings Act” was a more popular alternative and not the Heritage plan. Ultimately, none of the many different Republican proposals went anywhere as the Republicans eventually decided that they didn’t need to offer compromises–HillaryCare would collapse by itself.

    To claim that conservatives got behind the Heritage proposal is just plain wrong.

    By the way. You seem to be sure that Obamacare was invented by conservatives because Gruber and Krugman told you it was. Have you ever considered doing some independent investigation and checking things yourself rather than relying on authority? Do you ever wonder whether these authorities, might, just might, have an agenda of their own?

    1. 2slugbaits

      I think we can translate Rick Stryker’s latest screed as follows: Reactionaries, conservatives and other hacks on the far right assembled a plethora of Trojan Horses that were misrepresented as sincere alternatives to Hillarycare. None of these proposed plans were ever intended to go anywhere, so when Rick Stryker says that conservatives did not support the Heritage plan, he sorta, kinda has a point. In truth they didn’t support any reforms. They proposed many alternatives, but all of these proposals were dishonest to the core. They were simple diversions. This tells us a lot about their intellectual integrity. The truth is that reactionaries and conservatives have always opposed anything that might hurt the interests of fat cats and plutocrats. Every Republican must take an oath to comfort the comfortable and afflict the afflicted. So basically they lied their collective asses off about healthcare reform. And that’s pretty much the way it was in 2009/2010. Remember when Sen. Grassley got caught bragging to his supporters how he bamboozled Obama by pretending to want healthcare reform when all along it was just a stalling tactic? As to the Heritage plan, many of the conservative intellectuals did at least claim to support it…not all, but many. It was the plan that got all of the attention among the conservative “intelligentsia.” But again, it was just another Trojan Horse. So maybe you’re right; they didn’t really support it. They just lied instead.

      BTW, it’s a fact that Gruber was the principal author for both Romneycare and Obamacare. It’s also a fact that he used the Heritage plan as his template. It’s also a fact that Heritage is a conservative outfit. It’s also a fact that Heritage presented their plan as an alternative to Hillarycare. The fact that evil people preferred more Trojan Horses to just one Trojan Horse doesn’t change the fact that Obamacare was originally a conservative idea.

      It wasn’t the King Postalot reference that was pathetic; it was your incorrectly identifying a real life French king as being English.

  11. Rick Stryker


    It’s a familiar pattern. Instead of refuting the counter-evidence and counter-arguments to Krugman’s misinformation campaign, you first attack the motives of conservatives. Then you simply repeat Krugman’s argument as if no one ever challenged it. I guess that’s the only strategy you have if you can’t answer the counter arguments.

    1. baffling

      so Hillarycare prompted conservatives to consider health care reform in the early 90′s. twenty years later they still could not produce a coherent plan that was acceptable, even when they controlled government under bush. conservatives punted the ball away for 2 decades, and then have the nerve to cry foul when somebody comes along and actually puts a plan into action. you had your chances and you failed to take initiative and act. next time maybe you shouldn’t punt the ball when you are in need of a touchdown. you are not allowed to gripe when you stand on the sidelines afraid to play the game.

    2. David A

      Thank you for your detailed and informed posts. Anyone using simple logic can follow them, and the broad based attacks against republicans in general that some use to counter your real deductions, only face-palm the authors of such poor methodology.

  12. eric

    Who came up with the idea is basically irrelevant, and I’m sorry I brought it up. The main issue is that some of us think health care is a human right that society should make sure everybody has and some of us think that individual freedom (as they define it) is more important. Some think the US should be like all other developed countries and have universal health care. Others think the US shouldn’t try to do this via govt intervention and taxes even if other countries do. This is an honest difference of opinion, and that’s fine. Again, if I were you, Menzie, I would try to avoid getting sucked into this kind of nonsense debate. We disagree. Okay. We’ll see how Obamacare goes. Okay. Now let’s stop with the silly debating!

  13. Ricardo


    You are as dishonest as any Progressive. You make the statement, “Rick Stryker’s history of the healthcare battles is as bad as his history of medieval kings.” But then you offer no proof: no quote, no correction, nothing. The Progressive technique is to make an accusation with no foundation or proof an then hold to it as if it were true. This does not add to the discussion. It actually stiffles discussion. But then this is not new with Progresssives only more codified.

    1. baffling

      ricardo, slug was referencing an absurdly long exposition posted by stryker which was thoroughly ridiculed and disproven in a past post. do a simple search if you want to read it, but it is not even worthy of a link at this point.

      1. Rick Stryker


        How was that previous post ridiculed and disproved? Do you even know what 2slugs was referring to? If you are going to make a comment like that, then link to the post and then show specifically how it was ridiculed and disproved.

        1. baffling

          ricky, the post was ridiculed immediately in responses. i remember reading the LONG WINDED article you provided. if you are proud of it you can link it yourself-but i certainly won’t link to such garbage. if you produce coherent passages not filled with ideology-you get a link. otherwise nothing.

          1. baffling

            you can man up and link to that piece of garbage if you are proud of it. we both know it exists. denying its existence exposes your integrity.

    2. Rick Stryker


      Yes, you are absolutely right. 2slugs just makes assertions. No proof; no correction; no links; no quotes; nothing.

      What can you really say to all this? It’s all so deeply irrational.

  14. 2slugbaits

    Ricardo I’m not sure what unsupported assertions you’re talking about. Do you not know that Gruber designed Romneycare and based it off the Heritage plan? This isn’t a supposition. He has said so many times…and quite explicitly. If you don’t know this, then you don’t belong in the conversation. As to the rest of the post, I was simply translating what Rick Stryker really meant to say. Clearly he was telling us that the Heritage plan was not a conservative idea for two reasons. First, the phrase “conservative idea” is something of an oxymoron. Second, he was telling us that when conservatives talked up the Heritage plan and offered up a blizzard of other pretend alternatives what they were really doing was offering up some Trojan Horses. It wasn’t really a conservative idea because they were just lying all the time. What other explanation can there be when someone argues for a plan and then says they don’t really support that plan? And hey, Sen. Grassley was quite proud about how he lied to Obama. Go find the youtube video if you don’ t believe me. I’d give you the link myself, but I know the slimeball and wouldn’t want my PC to catch any cooties. Besides, it’s not like you work or anything, so it will give you something to keep you occupied.

    Rick Stryker The Greek goddess Mnemosyne called. She asked that you stop torturing the English language.

  15. Rick Styker


    You still don’t understand the point that Ricardo made, since you respond to him with another unsubstantiated assertion. You say:

    “Do you not know that Gruber designed Romneycare and based it off the Heritage plan? This isn’t a supposition. He has said so many times…and quite explicitly. If you don’t know this, then you don’t belong in the conversation.”

    Notice how you claimed that Gruber has said many times that he designed Romneycare based on the Heritage plan, and yet you link to no evidence showing him saying that. You don’t quote him. You merely claim that if we don’t know he said this, we don’t belong in the conversation.

    Saying that everyone knows a particular fact is not substantiating that fact.

    In fact you are wrong about Gruber, just as you have been wrong about every other assertion you’ve made on this topic. Now if I just stopped there, I’d be doing what you are doing, making unsubstantiated claims. Let me illustrate by example how to make an argument based on evidence.

    If I claim that you are wrong about the fact that Gruber has said that he designed Romneycare based on the Heritage plan, the best way to substantiate my claim is to link to Gruber’s very words. So let’s do that now so that you can see how this works.

    Let’s go the the Frontline Interview with Gruber and see how Gruber describes his own role in the development of Romneycare. You’ll notice that the link has 2 levels of evidence. First, it has a transcript. And, second, it contains a video, so that you can watch Gruber say the words, just in case you somehow don’t believe what you are reading.

    How does Gruber describe his role? Gruber says that he “helped” develop Romneycare. How did he help? Was he the architect? Did he design the system based on the Heritage plan? No, that’s not how he describes his role. He says “So, I was sort of the numbers guy.” As Gruber tells us, before Romney became governor, Gruber, working for the state of MA, had built a model to predict what alternative health care reforms would produce in terms of outcomes, costs, etc. Since Gruber had built that model already, Romney’s staff called him to use that model to help predict the outcomes of various proposals Romney was considering. Gruber’s role was similar to the CBO–he helped to predict what the outcomes would be. But he did not claim to have designed Romneycare. And he did not mention stealing anything from the Heritage foundation.

    In fact, Gruber makes it clear that his interaction with Romney was very limited saying: “You know, once again, I was only in a two-hour meeting with Mitt Romney so I don’t claim to know him well.”

    Thus, 2slugbaits, your claim that Gruber designed Romneycare based on the Heritage plan is wrong. Specifically, your statement that ” Romneycare was just the executed version of the Heritage plan…we know this because the principal author of Romneycare (Jonathan Gruber) tells us that’s where he stole the idea.” is wrong.

    If you have been paying attention, you’ll understand that if you want to refute what I’m saying, you can’t ignore what I’ve just shown you and just keep repeating your claims, as you are wont to do. You can’t change the subject. You can’t question anyone’s motives. You can’t make off-the-wall references to Greek goddesses or French kings. Instead, you’ll need to throw away your playbook and link to some evidence. That’s what Ricardo is asking you to do. And I’d like to see that too, just once.

      1. Rick Stryker


        That won’t work. You need to link to something that shows Gruber claiming to have designed Romneycare and to have based it on the Heritage Foundation. That’s what 2slugbaits asserted Gruber did. I don’t think you’ll find any evidence for that since it didn’t happen.

        I am not denying that Gruber’s opinion is that Romneycare and Obamacare are the same. But he’s wrong about that–that’s what my first comment was about.

  16. s2c

    Styker, I read the Gruber transcript and either you are delusional or a charlatan. How can a sane person read the Gruber transcript and not conclude that Obamacare is based on Romneycare and Romneycare is based on conservative principles. Gruber was specifically thanked by Romney in his speech celebrating the law and he was much more than the “numbers guy.” While he doesn’t say specifically that “I designed Romneycare and based it off the Heritage Foundation,” one cannot read that transcript without reaching that conclusion. He was involved in the most important parts of Romneycare and he notes that the Heritage Foundation took credit for Romneycare. I began wondering if you were delusional or a charlatan. I now think you are both. Delusional in your beliefs and a charlatan in how you argue.

    1. Rick Stryker


      Your comment demonstrates that Ricardo’s point generalizes to progressives beyond 2slugbaits, since you are engaging in the sort of tactics I asked 2slugbaits to refrain from. You attack a point I never made, then you make an illogical claim without any evidence, and finally, as so many progressive commenters do, you finish with some personal insults.

      First, you ask “How can a sane person read the Gruber transcript and not conclude that Obamacare is based on Romneycare and Romneycare is based on conservative principles?” But I did not make any assertion about whether Gruber’s transcript showed that Obamacare is based on Romneycare, etc. Gruber expresses that opinion in the interview, yes, but that doesn’t make it true. I argued extensively against that opinion in my first comment, a comment that you should go back and read. In any event, your first point attempts to refute a claim I never made in this particular comment. I only used this interview to show that 2slugbaits’ assertion that Gruber specifically claimed to have developed Romneycare from the Heritage program is false

      Next, you say “While he doesn’t say specifically that “I designed Romneycare and based it off the Heritage Foundation,” one cannot read that transcript without reaching that conclusion.” But 2slugbaits said “He has said so many times…and quite explicitly.” Well, Gruber didn’t say it explicitly, which is the point of the comment. In fact, Gruber made it clear that his own role was much more limited.

      But in an amazing leap of illogic, you somehow conclude that Gruber’s role was much more extensive than he himself claimed, saying, “He was involved in the most important parts of Romneycare and he notes that the Heritage Foundation took credit for Romneycare.” And from that you conclude that Gruber designed Romneycare and based it on the Heritage Foundation.

      So, let’s see. From the fact that Gruber was “involved” in the most important parts of Romneycare, you conclude that he designed it? How does being involved in something mean that you designed it? If a carpenter is involved in building a house, does that mean that he designed the house? What were the “most important parts of Romneycare” that he was involved in? Gruber explained what being “involved” meant, which was that he was the “numbers guy.” Somehow, you have read the text and found some deeper involvement. Apparently he had a role beyond the role that Gruber himself claimed. Well, what was it?

      And, speaking of questions, here are a few more that are suggested by your leap of illogic:

      Why did Gruber claim is role was just being the “numbers guy?” Why didn’t he just come out and say he designed Romneycare if he did it. Was he being modest?

      Why did Gruber say that he barely knows Romney and was only in a 2-hour meeting with him? Wouldn’t the designer of Romneycare have been meeting with Romney much more often?

      Why would a Republican hire a liberal democrat such as Gruber to design his healthcare system? Wouldn’t a Republican hire other Republicans?

      Gruber must have added something to Romneycare that Heritage didn’t have, since if he didn’t add anything, then Heritage would have designed Romneycare. What specific feature(s) did Gruber add?

      Romney proposed a very soft mandate originally. Was that liberal democrat Gruber’s idea? Romney was adamantly opposed to an employer mandate. Was that liberal democrat Gruber’s idea? Romney wanted insurance in the Connector to be deregulated? Was that liberal democrat Gruber’s idea? What were Gruber’s contributions if not? Did Romney overrule Gruber on all these points?

      Besides “reading between the lines” in this interview, do you have any other evidence that Gruber designed Romneycare? Is there a whitepaper with Gruber’s name on it? Did Romney say that Gruber designed it?

      The fact is you do not know the answers to these questions. You have simply made up out of thin air that Gruber said or implied that he designed Romneycare. Clearly he didn’t. What Romney initially proposed is not what a liberal democrat such as Gruber would have designed.

      In the last part of your comment, you resort to insults and name calling. You would not need to engage in these tactics if your arguments could stand on their own merits.

  17. Kevin ONeill

    1993 Senate Republicans proposed (HEART) Health Equity and Access Reform Today. Co-sponsors included Minority Leader Bob Dole, R- Kan., Sens. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, Richard Lugar, R-Ind., and John Chaffee, R-RI. This bill included:
    An individual mandate;
    Creation of purchasing pools;
    Standardized benefits;
    Vouchers for the poor to buy insurance;
    A ban on denying coverage based on a pre-existing condition.

    Heritage introduced the concept of the individual mandate. I have never read the full plan, so other similarities may or may not exist. But it’s pretty obvious that in 1993 Republicans were behind a program very similar to the ACA in most major respects.

    1. Rick Stryker


      Please see my earlier reply to 2slugbaits in which I discussed HEART. In that comment, I noted that the act contained no funding mechanism, was not voted on, and in fact was never brought up again. HEART was opposed by the more conservative senators in the Senate as well as by House Republicans. I also noted the many other Republican proposals that were made at the time, many of which were not based on the Heritage foundation. I don’t think you can really say that Republicans got behind the Heritage foundation proposal.

      1. baffling

        rick stryker, then simply admit the conservatives actually have never had a legitimate alternative plan, because they did not want a plan. the idea of alternative “plans” was simply as a stalling tactic. and the proof is in the action (or inaction). republicans controlled the government in the bush years, and did not enact any legislation to deal with health care. their action (or inaction) speaks more loudly than any words. it is disingenuous to argue a republican alternative exists and the president did not work with the republicans on the aca-the republicans did not want a plan, period.

  18. Kevin ONeill

    Rick, is it a question of who got behind it – or whose idea it was? Obviously if enough Republicans had got behind *any* healthcare idea it would have become law.

    The claim has always been that the ACA (by other names) was a conservative idea. You’ve raised the bar by saying that not all Republicans were behind it, or that conservative Republicans weren’t behind it.

    The hypocrisy/revisionism is even clearer when we consider RomneyCare. Heritage praised Romneycare on the very same grounds that it criticised the ACA.

  19. Rick Stryker


    No, I haven’t raised the bar by requiring that all Republicans or all conservatives support an ACA-like bill before I’m willing to call it a conservative idea. Rather, the point I’m making is that HEART garnered so little support among Republicans that it was dead on arrival. The sponsors did not bother to try figure out the funding mechanism, did not try to vote on it, and in fact never brought it up again. Of the many proposals made by Republicans in the early 90s, HEART, which had a lot of similarities with Obamacare, went nowhere with Republicans in general. I don’t think you can call a bill proposed by moderate Republicans that was dead on arrival with conservatives a “conservative idea.”

    But there is quite another problem with HEART for Menzie’s and Krugman’s case. If you believe them, you might think that HEART, which most resembled Obamacare, was the Heritage Foundation plan, since Obamacare was supposedly invented by the Heritage Foundation. But HEART was not the Heritage Foundation plan. The Heritage Foundation plan at the time was the “Consumer Choice and Health Security Act,” proposed by Stearns and Nichols, who translated the Heritage plan into a bill. Nichols-Stearns was pretty different from the ACA in some important respects. For example, Nichols-Stearn tried to break the relationship between health insurance and employment by eliminating the employer health plan tax deduction as well as the medical expenses and self-employed tax deductions. Individuals would be incentivized through the tax system to purchase insurance without the mediation of an employer so that insurance would be portable. If you didn’t purchase qualified insurance under Nichols-Stearns, then you would automatically be covered by your state’s plan, which would be set up under the bill, and you would lose certain tax deductions. Nichols-Stearns would have been a radical departure from employer-provided insurance, whereas Obamacare is built upon continuing employer-provided insurance, going so far as to require employers to provide it (insofar as the Administration does not overturn this aspect of Obamacare by executive fiat.)

    Although Nichols-Stearns did not have an explicit mandate, the loss of tax deductions that resulted from not having insurance was interpreted as an implicit mandate by both the Heritage Foundation and by the bill’s critics. As such, the implicit mandate and increased regulation of insurance in Nichols-Stearns was severely criticized by the more free market Republicans, notably the Cato Institute. As I said in an earlier comment, none of these plans really went anywhere, but ultimately after the squabbling in the early 90s, Republicans by and large, including Stuart Butler and the Heritage Foundation, coalesced around opposition to mandates in health insurance, at least at the Federal level.

    There is no hypocrisy around Romneycare. The thinkprogress article that you linked to fails to consider the differences between what Romney originally proposed and what Romneycare became after it was implemented by the Patrick Administration, as I already discussed in a previous comment. Heritage was supporting what Romney originally proposed. What the Democrats in MA turned it into was something much like Obamacare.

    Obamacare is not a conservative idea invented by the Heritage Foundation.

  20. Ricardo


    The Republicans you mention have either been removed by conservative Republicans or are being strongly opposed by conservative Republicans. If you want to make the point that some Progressive Republicans supported the individual mandate I would never dispute that, and I don’t think Rick would either, but I can’t speak for him. But to say that “conservative” Republicans supported the individual mandate is totally false.

    I would never say Texas Democrat Henry Cuellar’s criticism of President Obama on immigration proves that the Progressive Democrats oppose Obama on immigration. A serious assessment of that is wrong on its face. But the same is true of “conservative” Republicans approving of the ACA or even the individual mandate. True “conservative” Republicans do not support despotism. The individual mandate is despotism.

  21. baffling

    ricky and ricardo,
    just admit the republicans through the years have continued to produce alternative “plans” which they never intended to support or implement-because in reality they did not want a change in the healthcare system. be proud and support the deceitful practice of the past decade, which was based on lying about policy. if you really wanted a plan, you would have passed one during the bush years.

  22. Rick Stryker


    Yes, I’d agree that there were some moderate or “progressive” Republicans who supported, at the time, a mandate that was similar to something like ACA. HEART is an example of that, although as mentioned HEART went nowhere.

    But I think it’s also worth pointing out that just because a conservative or libertarian supported a mandate does not mean that he somehow supported something like Obamacare. For example, Milton Friedman himself supported a mandate in 1991, but that support was part of a program to completely privatize the medical system. In Friedman’s proposal, Medicare and Medicaid would be eliminated and everyone would have to purchase catastrophic insurance on the private market, including everyone currently in Medicare and Medicaid. Furthermore, the tax exemption for employer-provided insurance would be eliminated but taxes would be cut so that people are net flat on taxes. And, if you could not afford catastrophic insurance, the government would help you buy it through tax exemptions and credits, depending on your income. Medicine would be completely privatized then and most medical expenses would be paid out of pocket rather than through insurance.

    I don’t think anyone could describe Friedman’s proposal as somehow Obamacare. Mandate != Obamacare.

    1. David A

      Rick, good points, but have not republicans strived for other market solutions as well? (answering Baffling assertion that republicans simply do not care) Has it not been expressed that tort reform alone could have improved healthcare. Have any conservatives suggested that favorable laws in organizing medical charities could improve healthcare. Have some conservatives not argued that even with all the flaws of the US healthcare system (before Obamacare) it was still a system that in many ways was a good system, and market reforms, tort reforms, favorable charity status, (look at what Wal-Mart does to keep prescription costs down) and other ideas could make it a system to be proud of, all without the incredible costs of the current ACA, which will (has, even before full implementation) cost jobs, decrease the quality of care for most, and skyrocket costs while creating yet more debt for future generations.

  23. baffling

    “all without the incredible costs of the current ACA, which will (has, even before full implementation) cost jobs, decrease the quality of care for most, and skyrocket costs while creating yet more debt for future generations.”

    completely false propaganda. reality is stunningly different from the alternative bubble you are living in-get out of the conservative talk world before the rest of your brain rots!

  24. Rick Stryker


    Yes, I agree with your points and think it’s important for people to understand that conservative and libertarian Republicans have free-market oriented solutions to the health care. No one is pretending to come up with faux proposals just to stop the Democrats, as Baffling alleges. Republicans have a different point of view.

    Krugman makes the ridiculous point that Obamacare is the conservative alternative to single payer, but that’s only because he can’t imagine a world in which government regulation isn’t the solution to problems. The conservative point of view on health care starts from very different premises:

    1) The US medical system is the best in the world. But it could be much better without all the intervention and regulation. Costs could be much lower and service could be much better.
    2) Health insurance and access to health care are not the same.
    3) Costs are not reduced because of too much regulation on the supply side, which prevents competition and in particular prevents the introduction of disruptive new technologies and business models that we see in more competitive industries
    4) Costs are not reduced on the demand side because the insurance model is a combination of pre-payment for expected medical costs plus insurance. People consume too much medical care and do not have an incentive to economize. Moreover, service is poor because the customer is not directly paying for services.
    5) Problems with pre-existing conditions and lack of portability are significantly exacerbated by government intervention into and regulation of the health insurance market.

    There are many proposals out there but what they have in common is that they attempt to make health care a less heavily regulated industry, so that costs can come down, access is increased, and service is better. A less regulated market can solve the pre-existing condition and portability problem.

    A good example of a free market oriented proposal is Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise: 5 Steps to a Better Health Care System by Cogan, Hubbard, and Kessler, who are economists from Columbia and Stanford.

    1. baffling

      ricky, funny how all these alternatives exist-but NONE have been put into action! you had plenty of time to develop a workable alternative to the ACA (i.e. obamacare, romneycare, heritage plan-they are all the same) but conservatives sat on their hands and did NOTHING. so don’t cry foul when somebody comes along and puts a plan into place-it is better than the alternative which is another decade of stalling tactics.

  25. Rick Stryker


    You obviously can’t even name the comment that you were criticizing so I’ll make it easy for you and show you the link. I don’t think you understood it at all. Can you answer the following questions? I’ll make the first three easier by giving you some hints:

    1) Who is Sir Postalot of Nassau? (Hint: Nassau street runs in front of which well-known University?)
    2) Who is Sir Lucas Freedman (Hint: Permanent income hypothesis, rational expectations, dynamic micro foundations)
    3) Who is John Canard Caines? (Hint: Bloomsbury Group, currency speculator)
    4) How was that ancient parchment ridiculed and disproved?

      1. Rick Stryker


        I can see that you are having trouble with the questions. Let me help you with the first.

        Nassau Street runs in front of Princeton University. The Princeton economist who has been pushing the simple textbook IS-LM model is … Paul Krugman. And he certainly does post a lot.

        Why don’t you see if you can get the second question? I’ll give you another hint. The Lucas critique called into question the use of large scale Keynesian models of the 1960s and 70s for policy analysis.

        If you are still having trouble with the second question, you might want to consider taking a macroeconomics course.

        1. baffling

          ricky, if you can post something serious which merits a response, you will get one. you get no response to the garbage from that post. i know you thought you were being cute when you wrote it, but cute doesn’t overcome garbage.

          1. Rick Stryker


            Obviously you can’t answer any of the questions, but since I’ve told you who Sir Postalot is it’s dawned on you that the comment wasn’t serious. I may as well give you the answers to the other questions. I imagine that you don’t know who these people are but you could google them.

            Lucas Freedman is Robert Lucas + Milton Friedman
            John Canard Caines is John Maynard Keynes.
            Chicago is the University of Chicago

            The comment was just a satirical version of the multiplier logic taught to undergraduates.

            The fourth question which I asked you to answer is the most important since it is the question that asked you to justify your original statement that the comment was “ridiculed and disproved.” I knew it was impossible for you to do that because you can’t really ridicule and disprove a satirical comment. 2slugbait’s references to kings, viking raids, etc. are irrelevant since he was just joking around too. So, I knew you were just making up your claim. But I didn’t know the extent of it. You couldn’t even link to the comment since you didn’t really know what 2slugs was talking about. And, when I showed you what you were criticizing and asked you to demonstrate that you understood it, you couldn’t answer basic questions that would have shown that you understood it was satirical.

            Have you ever made a comment that you didn’t just make up out of thin air?

          2. baffling

            your entire rambling article was a cute attempt to prove a point by taking it to absurd levels. this was not satire, because this is actually how you view the world-in extremes. the article was immediately ridiculed by slugs-and you are correct in that an article of FICTION cannot be disproved. but that does not change the fact it was filled with garbage and ridiculed.

  26. Rick Stryker


    Thought you might enjoy this funny video If Air Travel Worked Like Healthcare, which illustrates what air travel would be like if it were a highly regulated industry like health care. The conservative solution is to reduce regulation but Obamacare increases regulation of an industry that’s already heavily over-regulated.

    1. David A

      Thank you. Indeed, as an example of how Government watchdogs are often counter productive, the senate finance committee was run by democrats before and throughout the entire financial crisis. Janet Reno introduced about a dozen major law suits to force the banks to lower lending standards. Fannie and Freddie, (Government Sponsored Enterprises) led the way in bundling mortgages and leveraging ratios vastly exceeding common sense, and Ivy League MBA’s passed it all off as triple A rated. Essentially the collapse was government regulated, led and instigated throughout.

      Now before “Baffling” , perhaps “Baffled” would be a better handle, gets his panties in a bunch and screams about how evil all selfish republicans are, regulation is necessary because the dark side of human nature does not stop with government. (The Robber Baron era as an example) And, it was a republican Idea, signed by Clinton, that allowed the financial markets to merge as they did. So, yes, the democrats did not do this on their own. However the new regulations are counter-productive. Common sense is not a government forte.

      Baffling pretends my post was all lies. The last jobs report was an ample demonstration of the rapid increase in part time work. Common sense alone tells you an employer in a competitive field will look for anything possible to save costs. Even in advance of the employee mandate “Obamacare” is doing irreparable harm to this nation. Full implementation of this legislation, that not one republican voted for, will be a disaster. Here is just one link on why the part time affect of the ACA is real…

      baffling, I can provide a dozen more links, enabling a true comprehensive perspective, but I doubt you would read any and would instead this shout some charter assassination attacks against republicans in general. In general I suggest you force yourself to read, at a minimum of 40 hours on each side of any subject, before beginning to form a perspective.

      1. baffling

        david, the problem is that when you say “common sense” what you really mean is “my intuition”, and i really do not take “your intuition” with any value-it is mere speculation. it is not backed up by solid research. for example, the link you posted cannot be taken seriously. i have read mish for years, and occasionally he has some interesting points. but ALL of his thoughts exist within a very flawed ideology. he will find fault with the sky being blue and blame it on obama and the fed, with the solution being a return to the gold standard! never mind that he is in the gold business himself!

        david, before you lecture somebody else on research you really need to reassess your current information gathering paradigm.

        1. David A

          As expected, an instant attack on the character of the person, (Mish) instead of the content of what was written. That combined with completely ignoring the suggestion of what is required for the BEGINNING of real research (and not taking my one link as just a little example of some common sense logic applied to the reality of Obamacare) shows you to be not serious, except about protecting your own ideology. You compound this illogical post by redefining what I call common-sense to be “my intuition”, and therefore win an illogical argument with yourself. My common-sense point was that just as you go to an accountant to take advantage of legal tax breaks, a business will also save money where it can.

          1. baffling

            david, you do not see the irony in requesting that i conduct serious research by reading an article by mish? it was not a character attack on mish. i simply stated the reason why i would not take his blog seriously when conducting research. when you can offer up a legitimate source of information, then you gain my respect. but don’t ask me to comment on the authority of a biased blog and then get upset when i claim that to be a waste of my time.

          2. David A

            You attacked the source, instead of the facts and logic of the link. (not surprised)

            Also, what part of this did you fail to understand., ” I can provide a dozen more links, enabling a true comprehensive perspective, but I doubt you would read any and would instead this shout some charter assassination attacks against republicans in general. In general I suggest you force yourself to read, at a minimum of 40 hours on each side of any subject, before beginning to form a perspective”

          3. baffling

            David, for your enjoyment
            “For 2014 anyway, regardless of what South Carolina does or does not do, low income people will likely opt out across the board if their employer does not provide insurance.”

            “At upper income levels, healthy people may compare the cost of insurance with higher penalties and make the decision to opt out.”

            “In addition to encouraging more part-time work, the law as written is begging for noncompliance regardless of what states like South Carolina do.”

            david, these are three quotes from the mish article from a YEAR ago. the were written vaguely to insinuate this would be the future outcome with obamacare-we saw the same types of comments from stryker as well. they were written to set up a dire scenario. it never panned out-but it was written with authority so some fools take these types of comments as fact.

            david there is nothing to be gained from reading this type of COMMENTARY! you use this as an authoritative reference source-it is not. why would i waste my time with any other of your links? poor customer service-i move on to a better business partner.

            “You attacked the source, instead of the facts and logic of the link. (not surprised)”
            they are very much related. a biased source does not produce “facts” or “logic”. that is why you cannot use conservative talk radio as your source of “facts”. its is commentary!

          4. David A

            At a business level, the penalty for not offering a qualified healthcare plan is $2,000 per person, for companies that have more than 30 full-time employees.

            Baffling, you are a bit curious. Long ago I gave you a link to a far more comprehensive analysis, as well as pointing out that their are dozens of other sources. Mish is no more biased then you. IMV, far less, yet clearly you listen to yourself. It is curious the parts you quoted, which were just a few simple logical monetary reasons Obamacare will fail.

            Some of the facts were… Part-time employment rose this month by a whopping 441,000 as private average weekly hours fell 0.2 to 34.4 hours and average weekly earnings fell from $824.52 to $821.13 due to fewer hours worked.

            The reason the part time numbers have not become far worse, and they are bad, is that Obama has not implemented many aspects of Obamacare. Also, there is very poor transparency of number from this admin, especially since open enrollment was closed. How many of the sign-ups are Medicare? How many are forced, (automatically enrolled) into Medicare if they were on SS disability retirement. That is correct, this was done without their consent. Many already had insurance through their spouse, but suddenly they found their SS check was reduced for Medicare. They are having a hell of a time opting out. How many enrolled because their prior plans were terminated??? How many have actually paid for their insurance??? How many forms were incorrectly (some fraudulent) filled out??? (Lots) Are the insurance companies realizing profits on this yet??? What is happening to the patient doctor ratio in Medicare, and Medicaid? or here… so lets see, lots more covered patients, fewer Doctors = good healthcare coverage, but bad healthcare. The delays clearly postpone the already bad results getting far worse..

          5. baffling

            “It is curious the parts you quoted, which were just a few simple logical monetary reasons Obamacare will fail.”

            that is incorrect. these were basically predictions by mish on what was going to occur in the future-his reasons for why obamacare will fail in 2014. they did not happen. he states with authority his views as “facts” and then builds up arguments on those facts. not interested in sources of information which are biased like this. sorry to disappoint you.

            then you build upon the arguments in his post by complaining about a lack of “transparency” in the data. when you figure out a way to count the people who “had insurance through their spouse, but suddenly they found their SS check was reduced for Medicare.” then let the government know your methodology. you blame the administration on a lack of transparency. not true. it is a lack of data-are you willing to pay to have that data acquired-not a lack of transparency?

          6. David A

            Baffling, most of what reasonable want to know about Obama care is at their fingertips, and they should want to know.
            How many of the sign-ups are Medicare? How many are forced, (automatically enrolled) into Medicare if they were on SS disability retirement. The first is easy, and they must know. Part of the second they know as well, as they know how many did not ask to be enrolled.

            How many enrolled because their prior plans were terminated??? We have estimates of several million, yet in order to gage the productivity of the disaster that is Obamacare, we should know this.

            How many have actually paid for their insurance??? Gee Baffling, no reasonable business would want to know this.

            How many forms were incorrectly (some fraudulent) filled out??? Gee Baffling, no reasonable business would want to know this. (sarc)

            Are the insurance companies realizing profits on this yet??? good question, Do you know?

            What is happening to the patient doctor ratio in Medicare, and Medicaid? It is plummeting, and to properly evaluate your govt insurance plan, you should want to know all of the above.

            What will the already bad impact on ever increasing part time jobs be when the employ mandate kicks in? Well Baffling, before any sane person passes a 12000 page law in a rush that nobody reads, perhaps they should have market tested it in some liberal state or better yet region or city, and see what happened with full implementation.

          7. baffling

            “We have estimates of several million, yet in order to gage the productivity of the disaster that is Obamacare, we should know this.”

            nothing like waiting for the evidence before deciding a policy is a disaster. no bias in your view whatsoever!

            data has been collated to answer many of the important aspects of the program. since this data does not fit your desired outcome, you will continue to look for the conspiracy of transparency to argue against the program-this will be an endless cycle. as i have said many times in the past, the conservative side had many, many, many years to propose and adopt legislation to address the nations health care problems. they chose to take not action. you are now dealing with the consequences of that decision to do nothing. quit crying foul. next time, instead of sitting on your hands, be a constructive solution to the problem and not a monday morning quarterback.

            you want data-i’ll give you a data point. my health insurance is the same as the past three years, and has only increased at the rate of inflation per year. i was not forced to drop my insurance, and my employer did not even consider paying the penalty-they wanted to keep talented people not drive them away. obamacare was not a significant factor on my health insurance at all. there is a data point, create your spreadsheet and start collecting.

          8. David A

            If you have the data, go ahead and answer my questions. Your bias precludes you from looking at any estimate which I, or any conservative source produces. Bottom line, the administration knows many of the answers, but will not publish.

            There is lots of evidence of real problems, but for you apparently a data point of one is sufficient. Are you now on Obamcare?
            Has your deductible changed? Good thing it is not Medicare…

  27. baffling

    “Your bias precludes you from looking at any estimate which I, or any conservative source produces.”
    why should i take any ESTIMATE you or any other conservative produces seriously?

    “Bottom line, the administration knows many of the answers, but will not publish.”
    conspiracy theorists of the world, unite! are you wearing your tin foil hat as you type?

    get on the phone, internet…and conduct some surveys to get answers to your questions. why not do some work yourself, instead of sitting back and complaining the other side is not working hard enough for you!

    i bet you are also somebody who rants against the census survey and other statistical tools conducted by the government.

    1. David A

      Baffling says… “why should i take any ESTIMATE you or any other conservative produces seriously?

      Thank you for admitting your total incapacity to educate yourself. Enjoy your little Ivory Tower. ( note, I am not referring to “academics” as it is not possible that you have in classic education)

  28. baffling

    if you could produce a serious estimate, i would be happy to consider it. but my experience has been conservatives would never produce an estimate of anything that conflicts with their world view. as we know, the facts have a liberal bias and should not even be considered by a conservative pundit.

    as an exercise in your free thinking, is it possible to have an increase in detrimental greenhouse gases, which increase the heat retaining capacity of the earth, at a period in time when global temperatures are not rising? is there a possible situation where this observation could occur? would it contradict the concerns of man made global climate change?

    1. David A

      According to the best physics of over 40 climate models by your heroes, none of them predicted a flat period of this duration. (So according to your hockey team, no. BTW, CO2 is not a detrimental GHG.

  29. Rick Stryker


    The facts have a liberal bias? That’s straight from Krugman again. I wonder if any of you guys would have any thoughts in your heads if Krugman wasn’t around.

    Of course it’s possible. But what’s your point on the climate thought experiment?

  30. David A

    Rick, of course it is possible, in the real world. However if you make CO2 the control nob that beats all other factors, as the climate scientist have done, then it is not possible, as all the computer models, based on their best understanding of the physics, failed to predict this long of a pause in global T.
    Also, by the way, ENSO conditions (La Nina / El Nino); have been primarily La Nada, neutral during this period. Zero models with essentially neutral ENSO can produce the pause. All the models run way to warm. This suggests that something is wrong with a universal factor in the models, the likely culprit is the climate sensitivity to CO2.

    The physics say the direct affect of a doubling of CO2 should produce about one degree C of warming. The mean of the IPCC feedbacks is over three degrees, after they were forced to lower this. The debate is not with primarily the direct affects. It is with the feedbacks, (climate sensitivity to one C)2 doubling) which range, by peer reviewed skeptical scientist, from a bit negative to 1.5 positive, to over 4 in the CAGW proponent community. (This is where the debate is) So far all the observations support the skeptics. The IPCC admits their understanding of water vapor as a feedback is not strong. Clouds and WV, as a feedback it appears the skeptics have this correct. Like Joni Mitchel said, The warmists “really don’t know clouds at all.”


    1. Rick Stryker


      Yes, holding everything else constant, a doubling of C02 is worth about 1C of warming. All the action in the models results from positive feedback that’s built in.

      The three big uncertainties in climate modeling are water vapor, the clouds, and plants. Of those, clouds are somewhat scandalous, as no climate model can model the microphysics of clouds but must resort to parameterizations of some sort. But small changes in clouds can have very big changes in feedback. I think we have very little evidence as to how plants will react in the climate system over 100 years. Water vapor is a better situation but still uncertain.

      1. David A

        I agree with most of your comment. (Baffling does not even know we answered his question.)

        Rick, says, ” I think we have very little evidence as to how plants will react in the climate system over 100 years.”
        I must disagree here. I think we have overwhelming evidence that the CO2 will not only be beneficial for plant life, and will also have a cooling affect. I base this on the clear greening of the globe as observed from space, as well as thousands of peer reviewed experiments in hundreds of studies showing the benefits of CO2. We already have 50 years of this change manifesting.
        In short, the benefits are 100% certain, the catastrophic harm is 95% highly speculative and not manifesting. I highly recommend the web site CO2 science for a review of this, as well as a long gander at the NIPCC reports.

        All the best.

        I am curious how Baffled will explain the pause, given that none of the climate models predicted it, Perhaps his view of the physics is superior to the government funded science community.

        1. Rick Stryker


          Sorry I wrote a bit imprecisely. On plants, I didn’t mean to imply that there is very little evidence. I had in mind the climate models and meant that I don’t think anyone knows how to actually model plants in a climate model in any compelling way. It’s just too complicated because you have many effects going on simultaneously. And yet plants are very important and could exert a significant negative feedback. Admittedly, though, I’m not very familiar with the evidence on plants. I’ll look at the website you recommended.

          In the case of clouds, we at least know something about the underlying physics. However, it’s not computationally possible to model the physics at the current resolution of climate models and so the modelers have to resort to parameterizations. And even if we had the computational power, I’d still think it a dubious exercise given how complex the interactions are. Differences in cloud modeling seem to account for most of the variation in IPCC climate models.

          My view on all this, which I imagine is similar to yours, is that when you really look at the climate models objectively, it’s hard to think that they have much predictive power at all. At the same time, there is plenty of evidence already that there is no real problem with an increase in CO2 at the levels that people are worried about.

          Baffling of course has no idea what we are talking about and can’t answer his own question.

  31. baffling

    rick and david,
    there exists a scenario where increases in greenhouse gases could be accompanied by flat temperatures over a period of time, and this observation would not contradict concerns about man made influences on climate change. does your mind have the freedom to consider this scenario?

    1. David A

      Asked and answered, did you read? If you read did you comprehend? It is a fair question because often you ignore the points made, please restate them, so I know you at least understand. Then critique them.

      Rick, Baffled brought this up because of a long conversation I had with someone named Nick. Why he brought it up out of the blue here I have no idea. It was the ACA thread.

      1. baffling

        david, you really did not answer the question asked.

        la nine/el nino is probably not a culprit-it is more of a redistribution of existing energy in the world rather than a sink/source.

        greenhouse gases have been steadily increasing over the past century, with a fair correlation to rising temperatures. when that correlation breaks down over the past 10 years, does that prove greenhouse gases were not a major contributor to the correlation the previous hundred years? you need to ask yourself why the correlation worked over a period of time, and then broke with correlation. what factors could have contributed to this behavior? if you are biased against man made climate change, you won’t even consider this question. but it needs an answer.

        at the end of the day, you are dealing with a thermodynamics problem with two major factors affecting the current temperature of the sphere-heat source and thermal conductivity. with that in mind, over the past thousand years have their been any fluctuations in global climate? if so, what was their probable source?

        you have been focusing on the thermal conductivity side of the climate change problem-arguing man cannot affect that physical property of the sphere we call earth. implicit in all of your arguments is the stability of the energy source. how certain are you of this assumption in your logic?

        just like those that support man made global climate change, you need to be able to explain the breakdown in correlation over the past 10 years in a way that justifies the exclusion of greenhouse gases in the equation. you have not done that. all you say is that since the climate models missed the flattening, they must be thrown away. if the model is revised and captures this flattening, is that enough to convince you they may be on to something?

      2. Rick Stryker


        Yes, it sometimes comes up out of the blue. I often comment on it when Menzie brings it up. In fact, a while back, I made the point that climate models aren’t even scientific since they don’t satisfy the requirement of the scientific method to make non-trivial predictions that are subsequently verified by observation or experiment. Menzie threw me into the penalty box for that one.


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