Space porn: These images are (quite literally) out of this world
In one tidy post today, Ezra Klein explains why the GOP proposal to allow health insurance companies to operate across state lines is a terrible idea, and why South Dakota senator Tim Johnson was the only Democrat to vote against the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act of 2009.
Well, actually, Klein doesn’t mention Johnson by name. But he does explain why Citibank’s credit card business is headquartered in South Dakota, which is the primary reason Johnson carries the industry’s water. In 1978, the Supreme Court ruled that banks could charge interest rates as high as they wanted to any customer in the country, governed only by the laws of the state in which they were headquartered. New York had relatively tough usury laws, so in 1980 Citibank went shopping for a new headquarters.
According to the recollection of South Dakota’s governor, Bill Janklow, after the bank convinced him a change in the laws would bring jobs to the state, Citibank drafted a law revoking usury limits and the legislature passed it in within 24 hours. Citibank promptly relocated its credit card business. The move set off a chain reaction, as other states strove to duplicate South Dakota’s success by promptly getting rid of their own usury laws.
The same kind of chain reaction, argues Klein, would take place if Congress allowed health insurers to sell across state lines. Insurers would cluster in states with minimal regulation and with predictable results, according to an analysis conducted by the Congressional Budget Office in 2005.
The legislation “would reduce the price of individual health insurance coverage for people expected to have relatively low health care costs, while increasing the price of coverage for those expected to have relatively high health care costs,” CBO said. “Therefore, CBO expects that there would be an increase in the number of relatively healthy individuals, and a decrease in the number of individuals expected to have relatively high cost, who buy individual coverage.”
That is to say, the legislation would not change the number of insured Americans or save much money, but it would make insurance more expensive for the sick and cheaper for the healthy, and lead to more healthy people with insurance and fewer sick people with insurance. It’s a great proposal if you don’t ever plan to be sick, and if you don’t mind finding out that your insurer doesn’t cover your illness. And it’s the Republican plan for health-care reform.
(Note: While researching this post after reading Klein, I discovered that LaRae Meadows, an OpenSalon blogger, published almost exactly the same enlightening information back in September. Nice work!)
NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins
On December 28, 2013, Expedition 38 crew member Mike Hopkins participating in the second of two space walks to replace a degraded pump module on the International Space Station. (NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio is reflected in his helmet!)
The Soyuz TMA-10M
The Soyuz TMA-10M headed towards the International Space Station with crew members from Expedition 37 onboard.
40 years ago the Apollo 8 mission flew up to the moon, orbited it ten times and then returned to Earth. This picture was taken from that flight and shows the Earth as it seemingly rises in similar fashion to a sunrise.
Sunrise from Expedition 36
NASA Flight Engineer Karen L. Nyberg of Expedition 36 took this photo of the sun rising -- a sight they saw nearly 16 times per day due to the speed of the International Space Station's orbit around the earth.
A pair of NanoRacks CubeSats -- nanosattelite spacecrafts carrying experiments -- were launched by Expedition 38.
On March 21, 2010, the House voted to approve a healthcare bill intended to overhaul the system and guarantee Americans access to health insurance. The vote was 219 to 213. Problem solved? Hardly.