December 17th, 2009

dara

Probably my only post on the health care bill

So the health-care bill is receiving saturation bombing coverage, so I'm still mostly not talking about it. But there is one thing I want to point out because despite all the talk, even in the mounting criticism from the left, it's not being discussed. I want to talk about the impact of the new regulatory system on state insurance regulations.

Christ, dull much?, I hear you cry. Bear with me. Because lost in the clusterfuckery of the anti-trust law exemption still being in place (meaning collusion is totally okay), Federal subsidies, essentially no new cost-control methodologies, mandatory buy-in with active penalty, and all the other issues - seriously, this thing really is the giant money funnel to insurers I expected it would be - there's this new plan where insurers in any state can offer coverage in any other state without new licensing. That's considered one of the "good parts," and under the right (competitive) circumstances, it could be good. Competition tends to be good. Sadly, anti-trust law doesn't apply, so, well, so much for that "competition" part, but let's set that aside.

The cross-state structure they're setting up here should seem familiar to anyone who is aware of the lending situation over the last several years. I've talked about this before, but for those who don't remember, the Supreme Court ruled several years ago that credit issuers operated under the laws of their state of incorporation, not their state of operation, or of the borrower's location. This effectively nullified all state regulation of credit terms beyond that of the lowest common denominator state, which is generally South Dakota. This is why you see so many credit card shell companies set up in South Dakota, why state usury laws in other states no longer mean anything, why you see credit card issuers hiking rates to 30% or even 70%, and various other abusive practices of the worst sort.

If what I'm seeing and reading is correct - and it might not be, this whole thing keeps changing - this same structure is being set up for health insurance. The insurers no doubt want it that way; it's worked quite well for the credit card companies, after all.

The likely fallout should be obvious - some state (hello, Mississippi) will happily drop nearly all state-level regulation over health insurance to get the incorporation money pickup. You will then see the standard race to the bottom. Everybody else's laws? Fuck 'em. No longer applicable.

This will reduce health insurance regulation control down to whatever there might be written at the Federal level. The insurance companies are all for that, because, as we all should know by now, the Federal government is in a state of regulatory capture. Again: predictable results.

If I'm reading all this right, I'm pretty sure this is the big landmine lurking under the bill. State regulations vary a lot, of course, with some being pretty tight and others being completely lax and entirely useless; under what I understand to be the new system, for state-level regulation, that'll become the norm.

And nobody's talking about that very much. I wish they were.

(As a secondary note, it bothers me that the fact that Mr. Obama set his health care reform goals the same way Mr. Cheney set his energy policy - through a series of secret meetings with the very industry which will benefit most directly - is not a bigger deal. It gets mentioned occasionally, but dismissed. Ah, well.)
molly-computer-all-lit-up

twitterbombed

% whois twitter.com
[...]

Record expires on 21-Jan-2018.
Record created on 24-May-2009.
Database last updated on 18-Dec-2009 01:36:19 EST.

Domain servers in listed order:

NS3.P26.DYNECT.NET
NS2.P26.DYNECT.NET
NS1.P26.DYNECT.NET
NS4.P26.DYNECT.NET

% host twitter.com NS1.P26.DYNECT.NET
Using domain server:
Name: NS1.P26.DYNECT.NET
Address: 208.78.70.26#53
Aliases:

twitter.com has address 66.147.242.88
twitter.com mail is handled by 10 aspmx.l.google.com.
twitter.com mail is handled by 20 alt1.aspmx.l.google.com.

% host twitter.com
twitter.com has address 74.217.128.160
twitter.com mail is handled by 20 alt1.aspmx.l.google.com.
twitter.com mail is handled by 10 aspmx.l.google.com.


The traceroutes, of course, lead off to entirely different directions. The best part is that the server they, um, borrowed couldn't begin to handle the twitter load, so they've kind of DDOSed themselves.

eta: Courtesy whoever this is, a screenshot resaved locally here.

eta2: See also Fandom Lounge.

eta3: They really didn't plan this well; they didn't even manage to set up all the servers they wanted to use.

eta4: Well, that didn't take long. Back up. But:

% whois twitter.com
[...]

Record expires on 21-Jan-2018.
Record created on 24-May-2009.
Database last updated on 18-Dec-2009 02:23:20 EST.

Domain servers in listed order:

NS3.P26.DYNECT.NET
NS2.P26.DYNECT.NET
NS1.P26.DYNECT.NET
NS4.P26.DYNECT.NET

Seriously? Are you shitting me? The hax were so lame that this is all it took? Oh man, somebody is so fired.

eta5: Over on metafilter, people are speculating about mass password grabs, and I don't want to diss that possibility, but I don't think they appreciate how quickly (and spectacularly!) the lamehax servers fell over, and how at least one of them didn't even get set up right (see eta3).