Saturday, February 21, 2009

Utahns [heart] TRAX/FrontRunner

Sometimes, it seems that forcing something on people that you know they will like really is a good idea.
A survey by the University of Utah's Center for Public Policy & Administration finds overwhelming public support for continued investment in rail transit projects. Among 1,002 residents polled statewide, 79 percent said continued funding for rail projects either is very important or somewhat important.

Among the 546 interviewed within the Utah Transit Authority's service area, that support spurted to 81 percent, said Jennifer Robinson, associate director for the U.'s center.
That is a huge level of support. And it reminds me of the astounded repeated mantra of a local news reporter on election night a few years back, who kept saying that Utah taxpayers had voted to increase their taxes for light rail. Clearly, he had either voted against it, or disbelieved the polling, or both.

People who live in the southern suburbs love the fact that they can take light rail to work, or a Jazz game, or to the U, to the SLC Temple, the Nutcraker, etc. People who live in the northern suburbs are starting to enjoy FrontRunner, and soon people from Provo to Draper will love it too. Out of towners will love taking TRAX from the airport to their hotel downtown.

Now I could dwell on the latest follies of the Utah Senate with their designated moron D. Chris Buttars, or the much-too-soon death of Utah Jazz owner/genius businessman Larry H. Miller, but on this sunny Saturday, I would rather focus on positive things.

Monday, February 16, 2009

next up, health care for all?

Now that the stimulus package was passed with Sens. Al Franken or Ted Kennedy being able to vote (that's right, thanks to court rulings there is virtually no way Coleman wins his election contest) is on to the next big challenge: affordable, quality health care for every American.

OK well, actually there is still a budget to pass...which is why the what's in or out of the stimulus package didn't give me much heartburn. And that doesn't need 60 votes, just 51.

And as messy and "bad process" as it is, the budget can be a vehicle to pass pieces of health care reform. Already, sCHIP was expanded and health care records have money to be digitized to reduce errors and save costs. Money can go towards giving every American company state, and individual the ability to buy into the federal employees' plan at a sliding scale. Or giving Medicare the ability to negotiate prescription drug prices like the VA does. Or fixing Medicare part D in other ways to get rid of the 50 gillion different plans that make no sense and eliminate the so-called donut hole of coverage.

And then we can rehash the Edwards-Clinton-Obama debate of how you get everyone covered: mandate or affordability first. Shockingly, Utahns agree with Clinton, but maybe because Romney supported it in Massachusetts (before he ran for president).

As you know from paying your bills, private insurance sucks. It fights you at at every turn to not have to pay whatever it is you need, it screws up when it bills, it sends you fake bills. I could go on and on, but every one has insurance horror stories because the system is disfunctional with reverse preverse incentives. The current system is crippling our competitiveness with other countries who do over universal coverage. Just ask GM.