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The general awareness is that the real battleground on Obama Care will be the national elections in 2012.* Regarding the comments on the results of the mid-term elections in California run here last month, an article in THE ECONOMIST described in more detail just how much things have changed there.What's surprising in in this case, however, is that a system that's broken seems to somehow be managing to fix itself.COMMENT ON ARTICLE BACK_TO_TOP * SCIENCE NOTES: The science blogosphere reports that a species of trematodes -- the parasitic flatworms generally known as "flukes" -- has been discovered in a California snail that features a hivelike specialization of forms.Even within the painful constraints of the system, the legislators have been doing a lousy job.Thanks to gerrymandering, the state was split into Democrat and Republican factions that are typically at each others' throats.* As reported by BBC WORLD Online, a group of Dutch and German researchers have discovered that when tobacco plants are attacked by hornworm caterpillar larvae, the plants call for help.
Politics is by nature ugly and chaotic; but in the end people just have to make it work.The gerrymandering meant that electoral fights were only really in the primary elections, between members of the same party, with the result that contenders competed with each other to see which could be more extreme.What made matters even more painful is that, thanks to a voter initiative back in the 1930s, it took a two-thirds majority to pass a budget.Many of California's problems stem from its dysfunctional politics, the result of schemes for "direct democracy" gone nuts, discussed to an extent here a year ago.Brown had been present at the creation of this nightmare, having been forced in 1978 to implement over his objections the infamous "Proposition 13" -- a creation of an anti-tax, hobble-government movement that cut property taxes and dictated that new taxes could only be pushed through by a two-thirds majority in the legislature.
Along with the mandate, health insurers were told they couldn't deny coverage to clients with pre-existing conditions or raise premiums on sicker clients.