Late Night Open Thread: Why Diversity Matters








Five years now

Five years ago, I made a serious miscalculation.

I was a low level bureaucrat trying to get Exchange networks to work for UPMC Health Plan.

I was exhausted that first fall as we were scrambling with interim solutions for several months after the ACA individual market went live.  We then had to go crazy to ramp up HealthyPA, a convoluted Medicaid expansion waiver program in Pennsylvania.

I was in Pittsburgh living an anonymous life.

I thought I would only have a couple dozen health insurance related posts spanning twenty or thirty thousand words in me.

Now I’m in Durham.

I’m now at 1,550 + Mayhew on Insurance posts and several hundred other general purpose posts.  My health policy word count is closer to a million words than half a million words.  There is a mostly written book somewhere in these posts and I will sooner or later need to convince myself that I can write a book on health policy.

 

Then, I could never be quoted nor would anyone want to hear what I wanted to say besides a couple of co-workers as we slammed espresso shots before another analysis run cycle.  Now, I’m part of the usual quotable suspects when major ACA news breaks out.

Writing here at Balloon Juice has been and continues to be an amazing experience.  I get to play with ideas that fascinate me, and John gives me the keys to write to an audience.

One of the big changes since I’ve come to Duke, beyond saying good bye to the persona of Richard Mayhew, is that I’ve changed my writing targets.  When I was Richard Mayhew, I had to write at Balloon Juice.  I could and would poke a few people here and there that something big was coming down the pipe but I was limited.  Now, the audience is sometimes all jackals.  Other days, the intended audience is a few score of geeks and policy professionals who need to know about some esoteric corner case.  I apologize when I take over the blog for those purposes as I feel like I am hijacking your attention to pay the cost of entry into conversations that I want to be in.

As I have been drafting this post over several days, I’ve talked to reporters from local and national general interest press, I talked to a reporter from the trade press, I submitted a pair of long and very technical pieces to Health Affairs, and a revise and resubmit just went back to the editors of a good peer reviewed journal.  If you spend enough time reading Balloon Juice, you could figure out 85% of the article excluding some of the regression based analysis.

I feel guilty about this at times.

Last week, was a good example.  I wrote a Medicare shared savings post that I was aiming at a few dozen academics and several dozen think tankers, journalists and very targeted policy wonks. It is a very specific, nerdy, and incomplete idea.  It was not worth an op-ed as it it too geeky. It was not a Health Affairs blog or a journal perspective piece as the idea was not polished enough for that purpose, so I went Balloon Juice. And that post got three comments.  And I was fine with that as this was not a general purpose post but a very small part of a very different conversation that I participate in.

I’ve moved away from some general purpose health insurance and ACA blogging and at times over the past year, I’ve chased personal shiny objects down rabbit holes.  And you guys put up with that. And for that I am greatly appreciative as I love writing here at Balloon Juice.  I have a scratch pad and a place to get first drafts (seldom second drafts as you see my grammar and spelling) of reactions and thoughts.  I can dig into something that fascinates me on my own time and my own schedule until it makes sense to me.  I hope that this is not pointless intellectual public indecency as this entire creative process is extraordinarily valuable for me.

Balloon Juice is a very different form of writing than writing a journal article.  Under the best case scenario, a fast journal timeline from “umm, that is a cool question” to publication is a year or more.  It is very different writing than a multi-author Health Affairs blog where commas can become fighting marks while the critical point that I want to make might be the lead melody or become subsumed as a backing bass line.  It is a very different writing process than pumping out a New York Times op-ed where I first truly appreciated the value of a wonderful editor.  That process makes me sound a whole lot smarter by the end.  The final 750 words are a tight 750 words instead of a 5 post, 3,000 word series here.  But I was worn out both times I went through that process.  This is a fun place to write  and it allows me to get into awesome conversations of a variety of stripes.

But mainly, I just want to thank all of the jackals, the front-pagers and John for a community where I can nerd out on something that I find fascinating.  I’ll figure out what Year Six looks like, but the first five have been wonderful.

 








The good is oft interred with their bones

Digby is right — this clip (starting at the five minute mark) is the best way to remember McCain at his best. It’s also a reminder that, even if one thinks, as I do, that Trump is just the GOP showing its true colors, there are certain ways in which the GOP didn’t used to be as bad as it is today.








Trumplosion Open Thread: Tick, Tick, Tick…


Of course this is not exactly new “news”, but if true, it would certainly explain this morning’s xtra-spatial tweet-rants…

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office wants to ask President Donald Trump about obstruction of justice, sources close to the White House tell ABC News. According to sources, the president learned within the last day that the special counsel will limit the scope of questioning and would like to ask questions both orally and written for the President to respond to.

According to sources familiar with the President’s reaction Wednesday morning, that was the genesis for his early morning tweet storm…

Negotiations over a potential presidential interview have gone on for months, through several different iterations of the Trump legal team. Current lead attorney, Rudy Giuliani, told ABC News a week ago that his team had submitted a response to Mueller asking to limit the scope of an interview with Trump especially as it relates to obstruction of justice…

The president’s legal team declined to comment when reached by ABC News about specific details on the special counsel’s responses.

The special counsel’s office has not responded to a request for comment from ABC News…

I wouldn’t buy a car or a political campaign from Rick Wilson, but he *is* a longtime professional at this stuff:


Read more








Send Lawyers and Money

If you want to do something to help the kids that ICE and the Trump administration has held hostage for political goals, my sister’s best friend since kindergarten needs support.

We’ve helped Melanie in the past. Let’s help her again as she heads to El Paso

 

DONATION LINK HERE:

 

Support Critical Legal Services on the El Paso, TX/Ciudad Juarez, MX Border through Election Day (11/6/18)

Since July 2015, the Attorney on the Move project has given 100% pro bono legal services to hundreds of immigrant clients around the United States. Most recently, the project was based in Tucson, Arizona—70 miles away from Nogales, Mexico. I worked on both sides of the U.S./Mexico border and represented dozens of asylum seekers in their court proceedings in the Eloy, Florence, Tucson, and Phoenix immigration courts. I have recently published op-eds about family separation in USA Today and The Huffington Post.

And on July 14, 2018, I will be moving to the border to El Paso, Texas through Election Day (11/6/18) to give pro bono help to detained asylum seekers directly affected by the family separation/family detention crisis.

Your gift will support the following work—to be done on a 100% pro bono basis:

  • There are several amazing and scrappy local immigration advocacy groups in El Paso. I’ll be working very closely with the Executive Director of Las Americas (the ED is also currently the only lawyer on staff). We will be sharing responsibilities during my time in El Paso so that the ED has more capacity to focus on longer-term growth.
  • I’ll be creating from scratch, an on-the-ground pro bono program so that more volunteer lawyers from all over the country are able to come and represent more asylum seekers—especially as family detention expands onto nearby Ft. Bliss and legal counsel is urgently needed. This on-the-ground volunteer program will be similar in nature to those at the 3 other family detention centers in the U.S.: Dilley & Karnes City, TX and Berks, PA. The program will involve other volunteer lawyers coming to El Paso to prep asylum seekers for their Credible Fear Interviews (CFIs) and other legal needs.
  • Similarly, I will be creating a system for triaging urgently needed intakes of asylum seekers.
  • I will also be directly representing a number of detained asylum seekers affected by family separation/family detention in greater El Paso.
  • …and more to be determined upon arriving in Texas.

I am grateful to be in community with you all during these wild times. It’d be an honor to receive your support so that these urgent legal services can be provided to asylum seekers in El Paso, Texas.

In solidarity,

Melanie Gleason, Esq.

Founder, Attorney on the Move