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August 16, 2009

Econ Linkage

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

* Guy Sorman introduces Rama Cont, who argues that traditional economics fails to grasp the complexity and dynamic nature of financial markets. Interesting passage:

While the mainstream view [of recent troubles] explains the crisis by a lack of regulation, Cont believes that misguided regulations, often applied by not-too-smart regulators, were also a major factor ... The regulation seemed clverly designed, Cont says, but proved useless in a real-life situation.

* Robert Samuelson offers a reader's guide to the recession.

* Whole Foods CEO John Mackey offers an alternative to Obamacare.

* Obamacare and illegal immigrantion is turning into a minor issue. One angle I haven't seen much discussed where this topic is concerned is a favorite of mine. Let's say that, under the new system, illegal immigrants wind up covered. Won't we in effect be saying to all residents of Mexico, "Hey, if you can make it over the border, not only will we not chase you down and deport you, we'll give you a public education and free health insurance. Come one, come all!"

* Meet Madoff's mistress.

* Nassim ("Black Swan") Taleb and Nouriel ("Dr. Doom") Roubini, interviewed on CNBC:



posted by Michael at August 16, 2009


Obamacare and illegal immigration

You've hit on a key point, but you've greatly underestimated its scope.

If any person who is present in the U.S., regardless of status, can claim medical care, then the U.S. becomes the E.R. of the whole world. And its AIDS clinic, TB sanitarium, ICU, cancer clinic, mental hospital, dialysis center, rehab facility, and nursing home.

Here's a case where U.S. law already presents a problem. A Haitian immigrant attempted a murder, then attempted suicide by drinking acid, damaging his esophagus so that he must receive food and water intravenously. He's served 10 years, and is now up for deportation. However, deportation to Haiti would be a de facto death sentence, as Haiti imprisons all returned deportees and its prisons have no medical services to speak of. He claimed this would violate the international Convention Against Torture which the U.S. has enacted as statute. The U.S. Circuit Court ruled en banc that Haiti's lack of medical services was not intentional torture in the meaning of the statute, and upheld the deportation.

This case denied the foreigner's claim, but I can imagine other cases where the petitioner is a far more sympathetic figure - a non-criminal, whose medical problem is not self-inflicted. Would the U.S. have the guts to deport in such a case?

If Obamacare passes in anything like its present form, with no safeguards against exploitation by illegals or other non-resident aliens, then I expect to see "medical tourism" becoming a big "industry".

Posted by: Rich Rostrom on August 16, 2009 3:33 PM

Obama Foodorama

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on August 16, 2009 6:03 PM

Rich Rostrum: "If any person who is present in the U.S., regardless of status, can claim medical care, then the U.S. becomes the E.R. of the whole world."

Isn't that what a bill like this is intended to do?

Posted by: Brian on August 16, 2009 8:37 PM

Here's where I agree with some of my right-leaning friends. Full access to US health care should be limited to those legally in the country, and the full benefits only to US citizens. And immigration laws should be changed so that a baby born in the US has the same citizenship status as its parents, so that if its parents aren't citizens, neither is the baby.

Of course, we can't exactly turn away someone arriving at the emergency room, but it should be a patch 'em up and send them home kind of thing in that case.

I don't expect other countries to offer me full access to their medical systems, and I don't think the US should offer its visitors full access either.

Posted by: JV on August 17, 2009 2:13 PM

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