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March 01, 2010



people like the "goals" of the bill not the components of how to get it done.
Everyone likes the idea of lower costs, everyone likes the idea of no denial for pre-existing conditions.
Its the how that they object to.
With Obamacare we go from 17% of the economy to about 18.4% of the economy if there is no Doc Fix. Of course with the Doc Fix we'll be at about 20% with Obamacare.

Jim Ryan

Tom, if some of the three provisions A, B, and C are conservative and some are leftist, while all three attract about half the middle muddle, you'd get the 51-49 results and the result for the overall bill of 64-36. Only a few conservatives and leftists would support it because they reject the stinky carrot cake, and the middle muddle, vaguely sensing an incoherent stinker, wouldn't support it in great numbers either.


It's like the Monty Python sketch, "How to Do It" about world piece, curing cancer, et al


For the measures to win 51-49, the overall loss can be as bad as 73.5 to 26.5.

For the overall to lose 64-36, each measure could win 57 to 43. Or, two could win 51-49 while the third goes 70-30.


Any 2000+ page bill is a paradise for lawyers IMO. No one can figure out how page 225 interacts with page 1355. It's like doctors who prescribe a whole lot of different drugs to a patient. The doctor may know what each drug does, but when 15 or twenty drugs interact, the result may be completely different.
The government claims they are requiring readable credit card statements. The voters should demand the same thing on bills/laws,IMO.


Given your stipulations it is not possible. Essentially the "A,B,C only" and "none" would have make the 64% not favorable. There just wouldn't be enough people to divide out amongst the two or more positions to make them favorable.

In order to have 64% not favorable for the bill you will have to have a 55% unfavorable for each of the components.

Things will work out different if you include a "poison pill" demographic where, for example, people can't support the bill if C is part it even if they approve the other provisions. In that type of scenario you can get the numbers you want:

For A,B, oppose C: 12
For A,C, oppose B: 12
For B,C, oppose A: 12
For A,B, poison C: 6
For A,C, poison B: 6
For B,C, poison A: 6
For A, oppose B,C: 15
For B, oppose A,C: 15
For C, oppose A,B: 15
oppose all items: 1


Favor A: 51%
Favor B: 51%
Favor C: 51%

Oppose Bill: 64%

Tom Maguire

I sense that Mike O is miles ahead of me here.

I noodled out a simple scheme as follows:

17% support A, B and C, as well as the whole bill. Call them "Enthusiasts".
19% support B and C, as well as the bill. Call them "Lukewarms".

That makes up 34% backing the bill.

Another 34% back provision A only; combined with the Enthusiasts, that gets A to 51%

15% back only B; combined with Enthusiasts and Lukewarms, that is also 51%.

Finally, 15% back only C, with a similar result.

There ought to be a way to generalize this, which I infer Mike O has done.


I'm not going to Tom's house for carrot cake. That's for sure.


Based on Tom's comment I see where I went wrong, I left out the support A,B,C people.




matt, you took the words right out of my mouth. Carp or pike with carrots..not salmon.

Tom Maguire

OK, I see a wrinkle - my Lukewarms are killing me.

Go with 28 true believers (Cue Bob Dylan) who back A, B and C. Then 24 can back just A, 24 just B, and 24 just C.

52% back each provision but only 28% back the bill.

That does not seem like a crazy description of the actual process - clearly, a core of committed Dems want something (anything!) and they are trying to drag along a coalition of the strangely unwilling.

Tom Maguire
Carp or pike with carrots..not salmon.

I use salmon but it tastes like carp. Almost.


Jeez. I hadn't looked at a BMI in a while. In order for me to be considered "normal" I'd have to be weight I haven't been since my Sophomore year of college. I'll admit that I'd like to lose about 20 lbs, but, that still puts me in the "overweight" category. Seems like an index made up by featherweight vegans.

Danube of Thought

Hard to believe you guys are actually fiddling around with these numbers like this.

How about factoring in the margin of error (with a 95% confidence interval) for each response? Then we'd really know something...


This "people like the provisions" meme really irritates me. It's like asking people if they would like free airfare to New Zealand. Most people would like the idea. But then you tell them that they need to stay at a hotel that costs $1000 a night and most would say thanks but no thanks.

Asking about the "provisions" separately without the baggage of the whole bill is misleading and false.

Would you like a public option to "compete" with the private insurance company sounds more attractive than "do you want a public option that will put at risk and erode your present coverage".


OK the following looks like an answer:

Support all: 21%
Support any two provisions: 15%
Support only one provision: 60%
Support no provisions: 4%

Cecil Turner

Okay, here's the general case for 51% approval on each proposal (abc favor all, ab favor only a and b, etc. . . . n favors none):



combining the individual support equations:

subtract out equation one:

Should be obvious worst case for the entire bill is to set ab bc ac and n to zero. Hence 2abc=53 or those who like it all are 26.5%. Remainder (73.5%) are those who like only one part, evenly divided 24.5 for each proposal. (Just like Mike O says above.)

Danube of Thought

Carville says Pelosi doesn't have the votes.


Mike and Cecil, when we get the test, will you guys please sit on either side of me and let me peek at your answer sheet? Thanks.

When we get to the analogy part of the test which I always ace, I'll return the favor.

You guys are my real favorites..Did I forget to tell you tht?

Cecil Turner

It's like asking people if they would like free airfare to New Zealand. Most people would like the idea.

It's worse than that, because they don't ask about cost for each proposal. For example, the polls ask if preexisting conditions should be covered, without mentioning the cost increase. The first time we see the cost is in the entire bill, and the response is a resounding "whoa." And even that's misleading, since the increase in demand, government money, and lack of individual incentive to bargain will all tend to drive up costs in the long term.

Controlling cost will allow more people to be covered. Covering people and then worrying about cost is a sure road to rationing and eventual bankruptcy. (And that's exactly what this bill does.)


"I was told no math would be involved"


Controlling cost will allow more people to be covered. Covering people and then worrying about cost is a sure road to rationing and eventual bankruptcy. (And that's exactly what this bill does.)

This is the gooberment that we're talking about. They can only "fix" one problem they've created at a time. Pointing out that their policies will create more problems down the road will only cause blank stares. They figure they'll deal with those problems when they come. It's job security, as long as you don't tank the company.


Sorry to comment and run as I did--doing this on the crackberry.

TM is right that the lukewarms and the haters (term of pride for me) do not figure into the optimal solutions.

I inferred that the point was to maximize support for each provision while failing the bill overall.

So, must assume that all supporters support all provisions. All detractors must support one provision.

Ran numbers based on what TM proposed.

Last extreme would be 51-49 squeaker loss with 66-34 support for each provision.


Heh. Other extreme even worse.

Minimize support for each provision based on 51-49 win:

Each measure fails 66.33 to 33.67 but bill passes.

16.33 AB
16.33 AC
16.33 BC

Remainder are all haters.


I don't trust these guys.

Carville says they don't have the votes but I don't believe him. He has nothing to gain at all by being honest about this to the American public. But he does have utility if he can cause people to take their eye off the ball and let their guard down.

I am cautiously optimistic that they don't have the votes, but I want also to be prepared for the contingency that they are lulling us into complacency, and will stage very quick procedural votes with little advance notice, and we'll be caught unawares somewhat like during that last round of these votes. My concern is what do we do to mobilize instantly massive feet on the ground opposition should these B@#$tards be playing this dirty game with our Republic?

All I can think of is try to get Sarah to schedule an immediate book-signing at Murkowsky's Office spaces on the Capitol on the day of the vote in order to draw folks to DC for massive protests.
Anybody have any better ideas?

I do not trust anything out of the mouths of these guys. Not 1 word.


Sorry. Transcription error from paper calc.

Should be:

16.67 AB
16.67 AC
16.67 BC

With no support for any provision by detractors.

Cecil Turner

Last extreme would be 51-49 squeaker loss with 66-34 support for each provision.

To run that through the equations above, simply run it backwards (i.e., insert 49 for abc in the final equation giving 98 for the right hand side, add 100 for 198, divide by three for the individual support equations giving 66 each . . . just like Mike said . . . you can also divide that 198 up any way you like, 70 and two 64's, etc., as long as none go below the abc minimum.)


lies, damned lies, and statistics!

tea anyone

"Geez. I hadn't looked at a BMI in a while. In order for me to be considered "normal"

The problem with BMI alone is that it is just a mathematical equation between your height and weight and it does not take into account that muscles weigh more than fat. Therefore a BMI can show a very muscular person as overweight. This occurs frequently with athletes.
And I am certain that is your problem also--

JM Hanes


Years ago, Time Magazine (IIRC) did a revealing poll on the top ten most controversial political issues, from which they concluded that if a candidate took a clear position on all ten issues, he could not get elected. It didn't matter what positions he took, or what combination of postitions he took, he would alienate a majority of the voters. Apparently our politicians were not among the folks who missed that survey.


Hence the Texas Two Step from the Best Little Whorehouse..jmh..

Jack is Back!

Enough with the syllogisms, here is an excellent analysis by Keith Hennessey (apologies if this has been previously posted in the threads). LUN.

Both Reid and Pelosi have their work cut out. IIRC, Clinton used reconciliation for a bill of similar architecture and process - Welfare Reform in 1999. So, there is precedent for the Demonuts to fall back on.

As a betting man, I am going to take the points on the road - no bill.

Danube of Thought

Here's a nugget from an NRO article concerning a point on which I have been harping:

"Wage and price controls made the third-party-payer system possible, but a different policy set it in stone: a change in the tax law allowing employers to deduct the cost of health benefits from their taxes. After the IRS ruled that employers did not have to pay taxes on health benefits for their workers, the proportion of the population getting health insurance through their employers went from 9 percent in 1940 to 63 percent of the population in 1953."

Danube of Thought

The article is here.

Rick Ballard


I agree wrt the current House and Senate bills but if he comes back with a smaller bill which includes tort reform and creation of pre-existing condition pools while dropping anything that could be called "public option" it might pass. He could probably hook the Maine twits with just the pre-existing condition pools.

JM Hanes


There's some discussion of Hennesey etc. going on in the Turnabout thread (seems oddly appropriate). There is precedent for reconciliation, but not, I believe, for invoking the Byrd Rule in the context of comprehensive legislation, which is where I think the controversy lies.

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