Oh no you dih-uhn’t!


David Frum:

Over time, the public option will grow, setting private insurance on the road to extinction – or at best to a tightly regulated new role as the health equivalent of public utilities.

Conservatives, are you sure you wanna go there?  Really?

Last I checked, electricity in this country was extremely safe and reliable, and available to effectively everyone.  Water in this country was extremely safe and reliable, and available to effectively everyone.  Phone service in this country was extremely reliable, and available to effectively everyone.

People like to complain about their public utilities for the same reason they like to complain about the weather: it’s always there, every day, without relent.  But that’s sort of the point with utilities, isn’t it?

If you want to hear some real howling, ask people how they feel about, say, their cable tv service — something that is run much more like the current health care system.

In short, I really don’t think the GOP wants to start people thinking about what life would be like if their health insurance were as reliable, automatic, and available as their electricity, no matter where they went.


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6 Responses to “Oh no you dih-uhn’t!”

  1. jazzbumpa Says:

    My favorite Utility story goes back to the 70’s in OHIO. I don’t remember which utility it was – Columbia Gas of Ohio, maybe – a home energy provider, at any rate.

    Those were that stagflaton/recesson – earlier energy crisis days, IIRC, and people were fairly serious about reducing their consumption. So the Utility went to the Public Utility Commission of Ohio (which I always called Pyook-O) and asked for a rate increase. People using less cut into their profits. It was a banner moment for the law of supply and demand.

    God damn, I hate cable!


  2. urbino Says:

    Heh. Classic.

    Still, utilities aren’t about supply and demand. They’re about necessity.

  3. jazzbumpa Says:

    Well yeah – you have to have it.

    But there is discretion in how much you use. You can set the thermostat to 62, and wear two sweaters.

    I guess that’s the poor mans bulking up.

    JzB the poor trombonist

  4. urbino Says:

    Right. I’m just saying the electrical utility is a necessity. If it needs a rate hike to continue functioning with lower demand, we don’t just say we’re not willing to pay it and let the forces of supply and demand drive it out of business, like we normally think of with other businesses. It’s a categorically different thing.

    As is health care, is what I’m implying.

    (Note that I’m arguing on the assumption that the utility really does need the rate hike.)

  5. jazzbumpa Says:

    I guess I never believed that they really needed it. They were regulated for-profit companies. My guess they wanted to maintain a certain profit margin, while simultaneously giving big bonuses to the big bosses.

    But, it is only a guess.


  6. urbino Says:

    They were regulated for-profit companies.

    Huh. Interesting. My sense is that that’s a pretty unusual arrangement. What’s your sense, jb?

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