Olympics and pools

As if landing the Olympics wasn’t trouble enough already, now it could come with the requirement of passing newly expanded police powers:

Countries could be barred from hosting the Olympics, starting with the 2018 games, if they don’t have laws that empower police to raid and investigate those suspected of helping athletes use performance-enhancing drugs.

Of course, that’s pretty much par for the course when it comes to the Olympics.

Meanwhile, as if the health reform bill wasn’t trouble enough already, an op-ed in today’s New York Times by the former head of Texas’ health insurance exchange spells out why such “pooling” plans, one of the few pieces of the Obama reform plan that hasn’t been gutted by the Senate, are likely to be worthless:

Private insurance companies, which could offer small-business policies both inside and outside the exchange, cherry-picked relentlessly, signing up all the small businesses with generally healthy employees and offloading the bad risks — companies with older or sicker employees — onto the exchange. For the insurance companies, this made business sense. But as a result, our exchange was overwhelmed with people who had high health care costs, and too few healthy people to share the risk. The premiums we offered rose significantly. Insurance on the exchange was no longer a bargain, and employers began backing away…

It would be smarter for Congress to revisit the idea of creating a public plan that could provide an attractive choice for consumers and real competition for private insurers, to give them the incentive to offer good coverage at affordable prices.

It’s a point I’ve alluded to before, but it’s nice to hear it from the horse’s mouth.