Partisanship, policy and adverse selection

Samual Trachtman’s fascinating paper** on the feedback loop between political polarization and ACA premiums just got released by the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law (JHPPL).

The headline finding is fascinating on multiple levels:

Insurers have increased marketplace premiums at higher rates in areas with more Republican voters. In the preferred model specification, a 10-percentage-point difference in Republican vote share is associated with a 3.2-percentage-point increase in average premium growth for a standard plan.

The mechanism is fairly simple. At any given level of health, Republicans are less likely to sign up for insurance:

Recent scholarship indicates that the uptake decisions that individuals make with respect to the ACA are driven in part by their political partisanship. Using individual-level survey data from Kaiser Health Tracking polls, Lerman, Sadin, and Trachtman (2017) estimate that, ceteris paribus, Republicans are 6 percentage points more likely to forgo coverage than Democrats, 12 percentage points less likely to use the ACA marketplaces, and 7 percentage points more likely than Democrats to purchase plans off marketplace

In heavily Republican leaning areas, this means the average enrollee has higher expected costs than the average enrollee in a heavily Democratic leaning area. Higher expected costs, all else being equal, leads to higher premiums. The partisan take-up effect is fascinating. Paul Shafer and I ## had found conflicting partisanship signals when we looked at changes in enrollment in the 2017 open enrollment period before and after Trump’s inauguration.

This has interesting dynamics on the subsidized versus unsubsidized experience split (this is the manuscript I need to revise and resubmit by the end of the week). All else being equal, a more morbid/expensive risk pool is good for affordability for subsidized individuals who can buy a plan that is priced below the benchmark. All else being equal, a more morbid/expensive risk pool is horrendous for non-subsidized individuals as they pay the entire premium. The partisan feedback loop creates a differential experience wedge conditional on subsidy eligiblity.

** Samuel Trachtman; Polarization, Participation, and Premiums: How Political Behavior Helps Explain Where the ACA Works, and Where It Doesn’t. J Health Polit Policy Law 7785787. doi:

## David Anderson, Paul Shafer; The Trump Effect: Postinauguration Changes in Marketplace Enrollment. J Health Polit Policy Law 7611623. doi:

On the Road and In Your Backyard

Good Morning All,

I hope this post finds you well.  I’m finally getting finished with some post-trip duties and will have some more time to post some neat content this week and next.

Later today, keep a look out for my “trailside/emergency canning” post. It’s a simple thing that can help preserve food or keep waterproof important things in a pinch.

Later in the week, I will share some chile roasting, cleaning, and freezing as well as some jalapeno canning. Mushroom posts TBD.

Have a wonderful day, and enjoy the pictures!

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Monday Morning Open Thread: Stay Wary

Rescue angel and beloved commentor Satby:

Since people have been hearing about my foster adventures with these three I thought I would share a picture for a respite / open thread. The little black and white one is the feral kitten, you can see he prefers to keep a sharp eye on me.

The marks on the floor are water stains aggravated by constant upending of water bowls. Carpet goes when they do!


Late Night Open Thread: Not What They Were Expecting

The one attendee, actually, was A DEMOCRAT, per the Iowa Starting Line:

It was early Saturday morning, and Jessica Birch didn’t feel like getting out of bed. Hungover and tired, the 21-year-old University of Northern Iowa student could easily have turned off her alarm.

But the night before, she saw a Facebook event for Congressman Steve King’s town hall forum in Grundy County come across her feed, and she felt a civic duty to attend. So, Birch forced herself out of bed and headed 17 miles down the road to the Grundy Center Community Center.

She arrived to peculiar scene: out of the over 12,000 people that live in Grundy County, Birch was the only one to show up to King’s forum.

“It was just odd, because I don’t know what the record was for the world’s smallest town hall is, but one person I think has to be it,” Birch told Starting Line in an interview this morning.

A photo of the near-empty room by a Reuters photographer quickly went viral Saturday afternoon, showing only two people in a room of mostly-empty chairs. However, as Birch explained, the other woman on the left in the photo was an intern for King. Birch, who lives in Dike, Iowa, was the only constituent of King’s not required to attend to show up.

“I was the only person who was not paid to be there,” she said…

King’s trained his constituents out of expecting town halls — or, presumably, any other normal constituent services. Murphy the Trickster God willing, perhaps they will reward him by failing to show up at the polls, if they can’t bring themselves to vote for a not-Republican.

The 1619 Project

The New York Times magazine this week is completely The 1619 Project,

The 1619 Project is a major initiative from The New York Times observing the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are.

It’s long and will take some time to read and digest. But it’s something we need to do. We have never, as a country, come to terms with slavery and how interwoven it is in our history. There have been moments when we almost woke up – the Civil War and then, 100 years later, the Civil Rights Movement – but we have quickly buried what understanding we had gained. We’ve got to do better this time.

And yes, it’s possible that the New York Times can do a brilliant job on this and still screw up on its political reporting.

A copy of the entire magazine here, outside the paywall. The Pulitzer Center also has study materials and curricula for teachers.

Open thread!

This Is How You Do It, Media- Bravo, HuffPo

Over the weekend, a group of degenerate scumbag, gun-humping, right-wing, Trump loving douchebags attempted to start riots in Portland. This is largely unremarkable because this happens all the fucking time in Portland, but it was notable in several regards. First, there was no violence, because the police cordoned off the group of manbaby Proud Boys and 3 Percenter dipshits. Second, a true American hero was born:

The “you’re cool” to the dog made it for me.

At any rate, the usual suspects tried to gin up antifa violence, including Quillette’s Axis Sally wannabe, Andy Ngo, but largely failed to make their case. On the other hand, this report from the HuffPo is pitch perfect:

A few hundred fascists once again invaded Portland for a much-anticipated rally Saturday, but this time were mostly deprived of the violent spectacle they crave, as a much larger group of anti-fascists made them know they weren’t welcome in this city.

The fascists belonged to far-right groups including the Proud Boys, Patriot Prayer and the Three Percenters. And whereas at previous Portland rallies these groups have often confronted and attacked anti-fascist protesters, this time they were barely given the chance to do so. Upon arriving at Tom McCall Waterfront Park around Saturday, they were kept separated from their foes by concrete barriers and a phalanx of police.

The fascists ambled about, singing the national anthem and chanting “USA” for a mere 30 minutes before deciding it was time to leave. An accommodating Portland Police Bureau — which has been criticized for siding with, and sometimes maintaining friendly relationships with, such far-right extremists — then escorted them to the Hawthorne Bridge, which was closed off to the rest of the city’s residents, for a happy march across the Willamette River.

It was a striking scene: the same group of out-of-town fascists that have terrorized people here for years, given free rein over a city bridge, on their way back from an unpermitted rally in a public park, after weeks of threatening to harm and kill local anti-fascists.

But the police department’s decision nevertheless may have prevented bloodshed, as it largely stopped fascists from crossing paths with their enemies. (“We did not show preferential treatment, but rather facilitated a de-escalation of potential conflict,” Police Chief Danielle Outlaw later argued.)

No mincing of words, no playing both sides, no attempts to equate antifa with these thugs, etc. Just a great job telling the truth about what happened. Notice this caption to a photograph:

Picture of proud boys being protected by police in portland

Excellent work, Christopher Mathais (@letsgomathias) and Andy Campbell (@AndyBCampbell

Election 2020 Open Thread: Pete Buttigieg Has A *Lot* of Good Proposals

Whether or not those ideas take him to the Oval Office in 2020, all indications are that Buttigieg will be a positive influence in the Democratic party, and in our national politics, for a long time to come. He’s certainly the best-placed top-tier ‘Heartland’ candidate at the moment, which — given that the front-runners are universally ‘coastal elitists’ — gives him a strong point of leverage…

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Open Thread: And If I Were A Foot Taller, My BMI Would Be Admirable!

We’re doomed. Financially as well, because the Repubs don’t want a President, they want a god-emperor. And the top applicant for that position turned out to be — surprise! — insane. Per the Washington Post:

Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, and White House trade director Peter Navarro between them appeared on all five Sunday morning shows to defend the president’s economic record and argue that his trade offensive against China isn’t harming American producers or consumers.

Their push came days after bond market investors sent a powerful signal that they see a potential downturn looming, and economists from Wall Street and beyond further whittled growth forecasts for a record-length economic expansion that appears to be slowing.

“I don’t see a recession at all,” Kudlow said on “Fox News Sunday.” On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” he urged Americans, “Let’s not be afraid of optimism.”

“Consumers are working at higher wages,” Kudlow said. “They are spending at a rapid pace. They’re actually saving also while they’re spending. That’s an ideal situation. So I think actually the second half, the economy’s going to be very good in 2019.”

On ABC News’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” Navarro maintained that a recession could be staved off if the Federal Reserve stops raising interest rates and banks in Europe and in China make similar moves…

Actual economists insist that neither of these mooks are capable of predicting a bathroom run after an all-night boozer, but the important part of their job is telling the Oval Office Occupant that his every passing delusional outburst is a work of unparalleled brilliance.

In the Kitchen with John- Horseradish Sauerkraut Prep

I picked up some fine cabbages, including some pretty red little things, and since I have done a couple runs of sauerkraut and feel my fermentation game is pretty solid, I decided to experiment a little bit. Earlier in the week, I took a daytrip with my traveling partner Breyana to Zanesville, Ohio, to the Ohio Stoneware factory outlet. While there, I picked up some weights that were missing from the crocks I inherited, as well as some nice lids, and I got them at a steal because I took “imperfect” ones which were only half price. So, I had all the items I needed, and I got to making some sauerkraut.

A couple quick notes- as always, I am not telling you this is the right way to do it, the best way to do it, the fastest way to do it, etc. I am just showing you how I did it. Part of the fun for me is just experimenting and playing around and seeing what happens. Second, as always, before you do anything make sure your knives are sharp and your work space and counters are clean so you can have room to work.

First up, clean and prep all your ingredients. I cleaned up four heads of cabbage, four mini heads of red cabbage, a red onion, and I cleaned and prepped some horseradish root:

knives, a pot of cabbage, a bowl of shredded horseradish, and a red onion

Second, you need to weigh out your cabbage and measure your salt. This is crucial- too much salt and you will kill the fermentation. I always use three tablespoons of salt per 5 lbs of cabbage, and I had about 16 pounds of cabbage and horse radish so I used 9 tablespoons of salt and put it in a container. As you can see, I have my crock in a clean sink ready to go:

canning salt, paper with measurements, dutch crock in a farmer sink

At this point, it’s just time to start shredding. Again, I like to do it by hand, as my knife skills are good enough that I can get a pretty consistent cut with a little intentional variation for texture. If you prefer super fine cabbage, or just don’t want to do it by hand, you could use a food processor. I don’t even have one anymore after mine broke, and I have to say I don’t miss it. By the time you pull it out of storage, re-clean it, assemble it, use it, clean it again, and put it away, it’s just easier to do everything with a knife. But ymmv and you may not feel comfortable with knives or a mandoline.

sliced cabbage on a cutting board next to a knife

I then throw the cabbage in the crock, and each layer I add a little of the measured salt and some of the horseradish:

shredded cabbage in a crock with salt being poured in

Once you get a good bit in, it’s time to tamp it down and start working the cabbage and horseradish. I inherited my dad’s tamper (which was his grandmothers), and I like to tamp it all down, and then reach down with my hand, pull from the bottom, and circulate it it, macerating it and working it:

cabbage in a crock with a wooden tamper

macerating cabbage in a crock by hand

You just keep doing this until you run out of cabbage. As you can see, it will look like you are going to run out of room, but you won’t- as you work it, it shrinks in size:

full crock of cabbage and horseradish

As you are doing this, you should notice the salt doing its magic and pulling the moisture out of the cabbage. Just keep tamping and manually circulating the cabbage for a while until you have enough brine to cover the cabbage:

cabbage macerated until it is covered with brine

As you can see, the cabbage has released enough water that a natural brine has been created. I’ve read about people adding water, but I have never needed to- I use really fresh cabbage from local farms, and they are plenty juicy that I have never needed to this. At this point, it is time to do one final round of tamping, and then to cover it with cheesecloth:

cheesecloth covering brined cabbage

I measure out the cheesecloth, and then I use a butter knife to push it down the sides so that the entire surface is covered. It is also very important that you take a clean, damp rag, and clean out the crock above the water line. You can research it on your own, but this a lactic acid fermentation, so you don’t want any crap or residue above the anaerobic environment you are creating to become a bacterial mess. Finally, place your weights on top of the cheesecloth, and make sure the cabbage is covered with the brine completely. You should have at least an inch of water:

stone weights on top of cheesecloth covered with brine

As you can see, you have now completely covered the cabbage, created the necessary anaerobic environment for the fermentation process to take place. You then simply place a lid on the crock and store it for however long you want it to ferment. The fermentation time can vary- I like to do about two weeks. I’ve found that a 14-15 day ferment leaves you with a crisp kraut which you can then cold pack and put a couple in the fridge to use or give away, with plenty left over to process in the canner. Others like to go longer. It’s really up to you.

Additionally, some people check every couple of days and skim any scum off the top. I don’t. I just make sure it is clean and properly done, and then basically it is fire and forget. I put the crock with the lid in a cool shaded area, put a reminder on my phone, and in two weeks I will check it. I basically act like I do when I am smoking something- “looking ain’t cooking.” If I like what I see, I will can it then. If I think it needs another day or two or even a week, so be it.

As always, YMMV.

Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Summer Harvest

What would we do for entertainment / information on a Sunday morning, if not for the ever-reliable Ozark Hillbilly?

Nothing much, just a few summer harvest pics.

At top: Early Harvest: This was probably our first good morning’s pickings. L to R, French Gold and French Emerite beans from Renee’s Garden, Bumblebee and Yellow Pear from Baker Creek and cherry from the local MFA, A Wood’s Famous Brimmer and an Amana Orange tomatoes from Baker Creek, and some Dar and Miniature White Cucumbers also from Baker Creek.

The beans are always good producers, the FG especially so, and mighty tasty too. I have put up app 35 pints, plus we have some frozen and have given away maybe a dozen gallon bags stuffed full. All from 1 of each seed packets. The miniature Whites were by far the most productive of the 2 cukes and both were very sweet tasting even if they got excessively large.

Tomatoes of many colors: L to R in the basket, Bumblebee, cherry, Green Zebra, Amish Paste peaking through, Amana Orange. In front: Woods Famous Brimmer and Pink Brandywine. All from Baker Creek except for the Cherry.

The Bumblebee are some of my most reliable producers, more savory than sweet, very crack resistant and wilt tolerant. I will still be picking a few of them long after all the others are gone. For the 2nd year in a row my Green Zebras had problems with blossom end rot and the plants succumbed to the wilt early on.

The Amish Paste are always good producers with plenty of large, meaty, paste tomatoes perfect for salsa and sauce. Amana Oranges… sigh… BC is no longer carrying them and this might be the last year I grow the most beautiful tomato on the planet. I am going to try and save some seeds but cross pollination is unavoidable. The Woods Brimmers, What can I say? Wow. Talk about productive, 3 plants, maybe a hundred maters so far and they are no where near done yet. These are medium to large beefsteak types with lots of good meaty flavor.

Eggplants: L to R: Diamond, Rosita, Mitoyo, and Rosa Bianca. I’ve been doing battle with the flea beetles and barely keeping up. the plants are stressed and I would say is the reason for lack of productiveness among my eggplants. With this harvest I made a killer Eggplant Parmesan that I am still feasting on a week later. I have more of each coming and with the next bunch I think I’ll just fry them like Mama did.

Sliced: This is a Mushroom Basket tomato from Baker Creek. Very beautiful and the flavor was good but the plant did not fare well at all, wilt and blossom end rot.

I fell behind with the wilt this year and was never able to catch up. Surprisingly, I have not picked a single horn worm and have had no HW damage. I don’t think that has ever happened to me before.

Day Glow Lily, just because it’s a nice pic.

I think we got the very last daylily bloom of the season yesterday — if I remember my planting chart correctly, an Apricot Sparkles. (You can’t tell from the photos, but the flowers actually do ‘sparkle’ in sunlight, as though they’ve been dusted with the finest glitter.)

We’re getting a steady trickle of ripe tomatoes here, augmented now by occasional purchases from our favorite local farmstand. Most important for my future plans, with only 20 plants instead of 30+, I’ve been making progress on tearing up and redoing the various long-neglected raised planters and flower beds… Murphy the Trickster God willing, there will be something to look forward to next spring besides the endless cleanup! Already put in a bulb order for this fall, mostly for the little early ‘naturalizers’ — crocus, chionodoxa, muscari — to see how they do, tucked in among the existing daffodils and ‘naturalized’ in the semi-shaded side yard.

What’s going on in your garden(s), this week?

Floriduh! Woman: Concealed Carry Edition

I don’t think this is allowed even with a valid Florida Concealed Weapons License!

Take it away WNDU!

PUNTA GORDA, Fla. (AP) – Officials say a Florida woman who pulled a small alligator from her yoga pants during a traffic stop and illegally possessed numerous other wild animals has been sentenced to probation after pleading guilty to four charges.

Florida prosecutors say a Charlotte County sheriff’s deputy stopped a pickup truck in May after it ran a stop sign. The driver, 22-year-old driver Michael Clemons, told the deputy he and his 25-year-old passenger, Ariel Machan-Le Quire, were collecting frogs and snakes under an overpass. He gave the deputy permission to search bags in the truck.

When the deputy found 41 3-stripe turtles in a “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle” backpack, he asked if Machan-Le Quire had anything else. She pulled the 1-foot gator from her pants.

Officials say the Clemons case is pending.

I hope she was at least using a holster!

Open thread!

I’ve Been A Terrible Blog Host

I have been busy in meat space doing people things. Here is a video of Seth’s kittens to make up for my absence:

Also, this has been a great summer for birds. I went to the fern today to take a picture of you all, and the third bird harvest had already been completed and they were gone! Grand total of 11 birbs hatched on the front porch this summer. Not bad.

Orville and Wilbur Update

Apparently the cat bleg for Orville and Wilbur was successful. Here are the details from Robin:

HUGE thanks to you and the Balloon Juice community, Adam! My daughter and I just dropped Orv and Willy off with Jenny and her daughter-in-law. We met up in St. Louis and the boys are Topeka bound!

Reid, you did it!

You guys housed my cats!!!

They’re Kansas kitties now.

Seriously, thank you so much.

I cannot thank you enough!


I’m not sure if the adopter is a commenter or a lurker, but hopefully they’ll sound of in the comments and let us know how things are going.

Here are the pictures Robin sent across.

Open thread!

Open Thread: Moscow Mitch / Massacre Mitch

(Mike Luckovich via

Adam K. Raymond, in NYMag“How ‘Moscow Mitch’ Is Helping Democrats”:

Wednesday marks two weeks since the KDP began selling its line of Moscow Mitch merch, headlined by a red T-shirt with the slogan “Just say nyet to Moscow Mitch.” In that time, the party, which is also selling beer koozies, shot glasses, and Cossack-style hats, has brought in $500,000 on 13,526 unique sales. Each of those is a donation to the KDP, and more than 90 percent have come from people like Weedon who have never before given to the state party.

“We knew he was underwater, but this really gave us an indication of how angry the people are,” said Nicole Erwin, communications director for the KDP. She added that the Moscow Mitch items are the largest merch campaign the party has ever done. “It blows everything else out of the water,” she said.

Erwin traced the idea for the Moscow Mitch merch back to Robert Mueller’s congressional testimony last month. The former special counsel warned of the Russian government’s continued “efforts to interfere in our election,” and McConnell, who had infamously stopped the Obama administration from making a bipartisan condemnation of Russian election interference in 2016, responded by blocking two pieces of election-security legislation in the Senate…

“We felt like the KDP was in a really unique position to hold the Senate majority leader accountable,” Erwin said. “We’ve really seen the sales take off, and we feel like it’s largely because we have this warning that we need to do something to ramp up election security. And even though bipartisan election security has been proposed, Mitch McConnell refuses to take a stand.”…

(Jeff Danziger via

Disinformation Watch: The Open Skies Treaty

Some weird stuff has popped up in my Twitter feed this week. Fortunately, I follow experts who are trying to figure it out.

Steffan Watkins is a Canadian who follows ships and planes via the internet. If you like that sort of thing, I recommend you follow him. He is also very sensitive to disinformation and occasionally given to lectures about it. He is very knowledgeable about the Open Skies Treaty.

The Open Skies Treaty (text, fact sheet) allows the nations that have signed it to fly observation planes over other signatories’ territory. It’s an arms control treaty in that it allows nations to follow up on suspicions or just keep an eye on each other. It says nothing about numbers of weapons. The simple fact that nations are open to each other in this way builds trust, which is needed to negotiate on more difficult subjects.

Every arms control treaty has an information side to it: inspections may be requested, or numbers and types of weapons are reported to the other parties regularly. When the US government abrogates a treaty, we lose a window into what the other side is doing. Of course, they get to see the equivalent of what we’re doing.

The Open Skies Treaty, like all well-made treaties, has very specific provisions for what kinds of aircraft, cameras, and routes may be flown. Arrangements must be made to schedule the flights. For flights over the United States, the airplane must be inspected by Americans, an American is on board, and the photos are shared after the flight. Other nations have the same rights for flights over their territory.

Russia does several flights a year over the US, and we reciprocate with flights over Russia. Watkins follows those flights and others that interest him. Last year and this, he told me when the Russian plane was in my area. I think I saw it last year, but this year it didn’t come close enough to Santa Fe.

This week, Michael Carpenter tweeted that the Russians were up to nefarious activities, FLYING OVER CHICAGO AND TAKING PICTURES! This is precisely the kind of thing Watkins likes to debunk, and he did, with places and times for the Open Skies flight. What is surprising is that Carpenter was in charge of the Open Skies program under President Barack Obama and is associated with the Penn-Biden Center. When he was questioned by Watkins and others knowledgeable about the program, he insulted them and cited an old New York Times article containing Republican propaganda. Republicans don’t like this treaty, along with all other arms control treaties. Watkins debunked that article here.

Tom Moore also got into the act. He is a former professional staff member on the Senate Foreign Relations committee. He didn’t believe what Carpenter was tweeting either.

Here’s Carpenter retweeting his first tweet that got the reaction.

And Moore’s reply

There’s more in the thread with others chiming in.

And this morning,

That’s RT, the Russian propaganda network, gloating that Americans are overreacting to an agreed flight. Watkins also identified Russian bots that were pushing Carpenter’s claims.

It’s not clear to me why Carpenter would do this. It’s the kind of thing that can be exploited by Russian propaganda all too easily, and they are going with it. They are both happy to spread Carpenter’s misinformation and to sneer at American overreaction.

So if you run into someone claiming that the Russians are sending spy flights in, now you know how to debunk that. And please do. The disinformation is only going to get worse in the leadup to the election.

Top photo: Defense One

Cross-posted to Nuclear Diner