“Markets” in everything

The deal with doctors could come at a steep price: a $250 billion
fix to a 12-year-old provision in federal law intended to limit the
growth of Medicare reimbursements. The American Medical Association
and other doctors’ groups have sought to change or repeal the
provision, and they are likely to try to extract that as their price
for boarding the Obama train, people tracking the negotiations said.

Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest private-sector employer, agreed recently
to support requiring all big companies to insure their workers. In
exchange, Wal-Mart said it wanted a guarantee that the bill would not
“create barriers to hiring entry-level employees” – in effect, code
words to insist that lawmakers abandon the idea of requiring employers
to pay part of the cost for workers covered by Medicaid, the government
insurance plan for the poor.

“It’s kind of a give-and-take, quid pro quo kind of environment,” said Tom Daschle, President Obama‘s
first choice for health secretary, who remains in touch with the White
House on health care issues. “I think that the stakeholders wouldn’t do
this if they didn’t think there was something in it for them.”

…Over the past year, Mr. Baucus, Democrat of Montana, has
strong-armed industry groups, warning them not to publicly criticize
the process if they want to stay in negotiations.

Mr. Baucus, in
turn, has said little about his talks with industry players. On
Tuesday, he said only that he was “heartened” by how many groups were
supporting the health care overhaul.

That's the NYT reporting, not The Weekly Standard.  Here is much more

How should I feel if Obama, or maybe Congress, threatened to re-zone my neighborhood — unfavorably — unless I support an active Afghanistan plan on my blog?  (Should it matter if I've incorporated the blog as a business?  As an association?  Even if there is no corporate right to freedom of speech, should there be "forced speech"?)  Should it help much if the intimidation against freedom of speech is for a benevolent end?  If Republican Presidents had done something similar?

Might it be correct to call this "evil"?  I have seen "evil" defined as "morally bad or wrong." 

Of course these deals are not unrelated to why health care reform — if we get it — won't in fact solve most of the major problems the sector faces.


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