Open Thread: Paperwork Heartbreak

Oh, the “irony”. Their once-upon-a-dream Pure Artisanal Unicorn candidate shows up, and the discerning seekers can’t vote for him, because rules, ugh. The NYTimes reports:

As the New York primary approaches, many of Senator Bernie Sanders’s most energetic and enthusiastic supporters are members of the small but influential Working Families Party.

They have donated money, planted signs in their yards, organized rallies and phone banks, and knocked on thousands of doors on behalf of the man who many of them view as a once-in-a-lifetime dream candidate who shares their own left-of-center values.

There is just one hitch: They cannot vote for him on Tuesday…

Mr. Mays and other members of the party cannot vote for Mr. Sanders, who represents Vermont in the Senate, because New York has a closed primary system that lets voters participate only in the primary of the party indicated on their voter registration.

That means only Democrats can vote for Mr. Sanders or his opponent, Hillary Clinton. And only Republicans can cast ballots in the contest here among Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, Gov. John Kasich of Ohio and Donald J. Trump

“It’s disappointing on my part to not be part of history,” Mr. Bettez said, recalling his vote for Barack Obama for president in 2008. “I knew I was part of something that was big and I would tell my grandkids that I voted for Barack Obama. In the same way I wish I could tell my grandkids that I voted for Bernie Sanders in the New York State primary.”…

The existence of a closed primary in New York should not have come as a surprise to any inhabitant who considered themselves politically aware. There’s no reason why a committed Independent voter couldn’t have reregistered as a Democrat to vote for Sanders, and then switched back next cycle. But then, some voters are just very special snowflakes. Some kind of flakes, anyway. And Bernie Sanders is their king, according to the Washington Post:

… Without independents in those other states, Sanders probably would’ve been sunk long ago.

In Michigan, where Sanders won his greatest upset, Clinton beat him by 18 points among self-identified Democrats, according to exit polls. In Oklahoma, one of the few states that Clinton won in 2008’s primary but lost this year, she beat Sanders by nine points with Democrats. In Wisconsin, Sanders won overall by 13 points; he split the Democratic vote with Clinton 50-50.

In each case, independents who felt like pulling a Democratic ballot were able to vote for Sanders. In New York, many of the people who crowded Sanders’s rallies — some lining up for hours, Bernie buttons on their winter coats — admitted that they had not understood that New York’s rules were different.

“Nobody told us that we had to re-register,” said Toni Lantz, 24, who waited three hours to see Sanders speak in Rochester. “I’ve been an independent since I was 18. I didn’t like the choices until now; I consider myself to be more in the middle.”

Some did check the rules but couldn’t bring themselves to become Democrats.
Read more

Yet another Tuesday primary results thread

Be excellent to each other as the primary results come in tonight.

Not even hiding your disdain

The governor of Wyoming wants to expand Medicaid. Governor Mead (R-WY) has wanted to do that for a couple of years. The basic reason is that it is a combination of the right thing to do and it solves a lot of budgetary problems without any hard trade-offs. The Republican Legislature is opposed to Medicaid Expansion.  Instead they want to spend money on a study for Medicaid expansion alternatives.  This study is supposed to be fairly comprehensive:

Senate File 86 …. bill would require the Legislature’s Management Council to direct the design of a program providing medical assistance to people who cannot afford adequate health care.

That program would seek to …“shall seek to provide greater health status improvements than those provided by the Medicaid program,” according to the bill’s text.

The program also would coordinate with other public assistance programs with the aim of providing “incentive (for participants) to improve their earnings and economic status,” and would include a work requirement for those able to work.

SF 86 also stipulates the program shall consider the use of health savings accounts or similar accounts, and seek to “avoid spending monies that Wyoming does not have and … avoid the creation of any uncontrolled entitlement.”

The bill also stipulates Wyoming shall not seek approval from the federal government of any Medicaid expansion until the medical assistance program has been designed and reviewed by the Legislature.

It is a bill that freezes everything in place while a study is conducted.

This study is supposed to be looking at a lot of things.  It requires significant knowledge of the Wyoming legislative history, Wyoming social welfare policies, employment training policies, economic development policies and the Wyoming budgetary process.  This is a big scope of work.

And $20,000 is being provided for the entire study.

$20,000 is not even enough money to pay one graduate student a research stipend for a year.  $20,000 pays for a single policy analyst for a month or two of their time.  $20,000 pays for a single consultant for a month.  $20,000 is nothing.

The only way a “study” could be conducted for that amount of money is to give the money to a “research” group where their interns and junior fellows copy and paste articles into a Word document, a senior writer puts in the appropriate ideological language and hopefully has someone look at subject-verb agreement before sending it out the door.

This is pure disdain for the entire idea of society taking care of the working poor.

Cruzing for coverage

Via TPM:

He said his coverage lapsed because Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas dropped its individual policies and he had not found a new plan by December 31, when those policies ceased.

Not surprisingly, Cruz used the revelation to bash Obamacare.

“I’ll tell you, you know who one of those millions of Americans is who’s lost their health care because of Obamacare? That would be me,” Cruz said, according to Politico. “I don’t have health care right now.”

Let’s point and laugh at him as he is blaming Obama for causing him to be lazy.  He is the epitome of the party of personal responsibility.

BCBS of Texas discontinued its PPO plans, they sent notice to all policy holders that specific plans that were massive money losers were being discontinued at the end of 12/31/15.  BCBS of Texas offered to map its policy holders to different coverage.  There is a federal regulation describing how this mapping can occur.  I am trying to figure out why the Cruz family was not passively mapped to a new policy during the autorenewal process.

But no matter what, the Cruz family is currently uninsured to guarantee their father a cheap laugh line that their insurance coverage changes every year because private insurers change their policy offerings, something that never in the history of mankind happened before 3/23/2010!

Honestly, this is not irrational.  The Cruz family is wealthy enough to self insure for a month or two.  If they are truly screwed with a $2 million dollar single incident claim, they can forget to report a loan from Goldman Sachs.  The odds given their ages are highly against that type of scenario, so if it buys him a point or three in Iowa, the gamble makes sense.

UPDATE 1: Congresscritters and their family used to be covered by federally provided insurance.  One of the provisions of PPACA that was supposed to be a poison pill mandated that Congresscritters get their insurance on Exchange.  That meant Congressional insurance was either going to be Medicare, spousal coverage or a PPACA compliant policy.   When Mrs. Cruz went on a leave of absence at Goldman Sachs, she gave up her employer sponsored family coverage and it seems like the Cruz family declined COBRA continuation.  So the Cruz family went on a Texas exchange PPO policy for 2015.

It’s Barbaric, But Hey, It’s Home

Apparently Aladdin and Princess Jasmine are terrorist masterminds, who knew?


I’m gonna go ahead and bet that factoring in Democrats that we end up with that fabulous TWENTY-SEVEN PERCENT of all American voters will agree to anything thing yet again, yadda yadda America has a dangerous military Genie deficit SO LET’S BOMB AGRABAH AND GET THAT JAFAR DUDE YEEEHAAAAAA.

On the other hand, Iago is pretty suspicious for a parrot…

EDIT: Full PPP poll results in PDF form here. Far scarier than bombing a fictional country is the very real problem that having 46% of your voters wanting a national database of Muslims presents, assholes.

EDIT 2: Yep, 19% of Democrats also want to bomb a fictional Disney sultanate.

If The Phone Don’t Ring…

Hey everyone!

I’ve got a message for you:

Pick up the damn phone.

The backstory:  I heard last night from a valued reader with connections to the Hill reminded me that there is more this crowd can do than point, sigh, and mock the GOP pants-wetters (abetted by an increasing number of feckless Dems) who so fear the widows and orphans from the latest spasm of our long decade of war in the Middle East.*


What to do about the attempt to make fear the ground state of American policy?  What to do about the spreading political meme that the proper exercise of US state power is to bar the door to Syrian refugees? How should we stand with President Obama when he says of the fear mongers “that’s not who we are”?

Pick up the damn telephone.

Call your Congressional representatives in the House and the Senate.

You know the drill:  Speak your mind, politely, respectfully, but firmly to whoever you get on the phone.

My reader emphasized, and my own distant memory of an internship on the Hill concurs, that these calls really matter.  House and Senate staffs keep notes and logs.  There are regular reports of how many calls came in, on what side, and with what passion or urgency.  \

Paradoxically, because of the ubiquity of social media, an actual human voice that has taken the trouble to pick up a phone carries a great deal of weight.  So call.

The numbers:

The Senate.

The House.

If you’re feeling extra virtuous — your governor and state legislature representatives would also be worth a call.

We can water the tree of liberty not with blood, but words.

Pick up the damn phone.

*Yes, I do know that the conflict there — and “Great” Power strategerizing through its misery — extends well before 2003.  But the Syrian Civil War of the last few years is (at least to me) both a conflict with deep roots and a proximate consequence of Bush the Lesser’s attempt to remake the Middle East into an model US client region.

Image: attr. to Rembrandt van Rijn, The Flight Into Egypt 1627


Good news everybody

What an amazing failure — goals are being met, costs are being contained, and the expenditure curve is still looking better today than it did seven years ago.

Can we have more amazing failures like this