Term Limits for Boston Pols

Bright, ambitious and innovative Boston City Councilor John Tobin joined us today. In a far-ranging discussion, we touched on Twinkies, Mayor Menino, term limits, and free wireless.

John is Mike’s District (6) Councilor. He has an impressive agenda for the city.

He is not shy or dissembling. At the end, we asked whether he’d run for mayor. It was a definite yes. He said he was ready, particularly if Menino did not run again in two years.

He covered his thought on the benefits of term limits for Council and Mayor. He has already introduced this in Council. If this does not come up for discussion and vote, he’ll bring it back in January.

If listeners want to skip to particular thoughts, here’s a rough, imperfect outline of when we talked about what:

-3 minutes in: Tobin comes on, we quickly hit up WiFi and other issues.
-17 minutes in: It’s time to chat about Term Limits and why it could benefit the city of Boston in ways we’d all expect, as well as not expect.
-25 minutes in: It’s time to talk about pressing issues in Boston, especially how it can be a better city for its kids.
-47 minutes in: How what happens in Boston can be a blueprint for progress in other cities and towns across the state.
-52 minutes in: Mayor John Tobin? Tobin finishes off his conversation by talking about whether he’d run for the executive office, or not.

Posts of the Week

Mike thinks the most significant blog post this week was a short and sarcastic gem by Charley on Blue Mass Group. As we have lamented here and on our individual blogs, the legislature has sat on the clear solutions to our budget shortfalls. Now that we face cutbacks in essential services as a result, Charley enumerates what the lawmakers haven’t done. Let’s get with the program, folks.

Ryan’s Blog ‘o the Week is on mandating health care. Ryan and Mike must be channeling the same thoughts, because both link to different Charley on the MTA posts. While Charley would prefer a single-payer health care system, he correctly notes that for a health system to work, care must be mandated – the only question that exists is who is mandated to pay for it (consumers, employers or the government).

Health care is and must be a social good. It simply doesn’t function if folks are free to opt out. This isn’t some technical issue; it’s as fundamental as balls and strikes in baseball….

One of the main problems with our health care is that very freedom of opting out — or of insurers to boot you out. If you’re free to opt in or out, you buy insurance if you’re a bad risk and you stay free and easy if you’re a good risk. That means insurance is more expensive for people who have it; and they end up subsidizing the people who were uninsured to happen to end up in the hospital. It’s called adverse selection.

So for the system to work at all, you’ve got to get everyone in the system. Someone’s got to be mandated to buy coverage. You can do one or more of these three things:

Mandate employers to insure their workers. (Including the self-employed!)
Mandate individuals to buy insurance.
Mandate the government to insure everyone: Just sign ’em up!

Of course, Charley prefers the latter, but for the new Massachusetts system to work, people can’t be allowed to opt out. That will only mean more of the same, where healthy people are quite willing to opt out, leaving the rest to pay the burden (both from more expensive rates and from covering the uninsured who end up needing emergency care). As always, Charley proves he has a great grasp of the health care issue. Hopefully, Beacon Hill politicians are listening.

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1 Comment »

  1. Term Limits…Just the Facts : Left Ahead Said,

    December 5, 2007 @ 12:03 pm

    […] Term Limits for Boston Pols […]

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