Before Obamacare The Health Care System Worked?

good oral health is important

One of the old tropes used by the GOP and their complaint corporate media drones is that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will ‘destroy’ a health care system that we were told wasn’t that bad. Opponents to the ACA want us to forget why the ACA was proposed and passed in 2010. Even with the ACA taking full effect there are still examples where the health care system needs further reform for the poor due to lack of funding, red tape, and yes even high costs. Bob’s story shows why this particular conservative argument against the ACA is full of crap.

Watching someone without dental insurance trying to get emergency care is exactly what it was like for all people without health care insurance before the ACA

Continue reading “Before Obamacare The Health Care System Worked?”

HR 3 passes – raises taxes, still no jobs, thanks GOP

When the Republicans won back the House of Representatives, they did it by campaigning about JOBS JOBS JOBS, yet just as I knew they would they instead decided to start by attacking women. One way was by passing HR 3 (aka No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act) on Tuesday. This bill not only prevents federal money being spent on abortions it also goes much further and redefines what is your money and what is the government’s money.

The House of Representatives just passed H.R. 3, the controversial abortion-funding law that pro-choice critics and the White House has said will make it harder for woman to pay for abortion coverage with their own money.

The passage was expected, considering 227 members signed on as co-sponsors of the legislation. The final vote was 251-175. Sixteen Democrats and 235 Republicans voted aye. The full rollcall vote is here.

GOP-Led House Approves Abortion Coverage-Limiting Bill

Not only does the bill ban federal funds to pay for abortions, and redefines rape to remove that from reasons to use federal funds for an abortion, it also changes what is meant by “Your money”:

In order to make their “no taxpayer funding for abortion” scheme work, Republicans use H.R. 3 to disallow tax deductions for your health care expenses if your private insurance plan covers abortion. Not if you actually get an abortion. And not if a member of your family does. All it takes for you to see your taxes hiked is if the private insurance plan you selected and paid for with your own money permits coverage of abortion at all. For anyone. Even if you never get one and never plan to. If you bought a plan that agrees to cover abortion if someone else totally unrelated to you needs one, then you lose eligibility for any tax deductions for the cost of your insurance, and your tax bill shoots up. Republicans take your cash, because you agreed to buy a plan that might someday pay for someone else’s abortion.

HR 3 is GOP’s ultimate betrayal of ‘Tea Party values’

That’s right. The cheap labor conservatives will raise your taxes to make sure no one gets an abortion – even if you pay for it yourself.

As David Waldman continues:

Yes, it’s the government’s prerogative to favor or disfavor certain activities using the tax code. But of course, just last month, the Supreme Court’s conservative wing went out of its way to preserve state tax breaks for donations made to funds that underwrite religious school tuition in Arizona by holding that tax credits aren’t “government spending.” And yet now, here are Congressional “conservatives” insisting that they are. And that since money is fungible, that means every dollar you have might be in your wallet only by virtue of a tax credit. Which means the government can keep every dollar you have on a string, telling you you can’t spend it on things they don’t like, or else they’ll raise your taxes for making them mad.

AND the GOP went ape shit over something called a “Medicine cabinet tax” after the Affordable Health Care for America Act passed.

As my friends and I say IOKIYAR!

It’s OK If You’re a Republican.

Democrats reach for the anal lube again on health care reform

It would make a great episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Health care reform is currently being debated in the Senate and before yesterday it looked like something might be passed that was decent. The public option was pulled but a compromise was reached to lower Medicare age to 55. Now it seems the Democratic majority can’t do that either.

Basically due to the work of a few Senators we might have a bill that has a mandate – you must buy insurance – without any public option to encourage private plans to do better than they do now.

What we might get is Medicare Part D for health care.

We were told then it wasn’t what was needed but it will help seniors. It didn’t allow negotiation on med prices, didn’t allow importation of meds, has a trigger that never has been pulled, and gave a big bag of money to private insurance to provide crappy coverage. I mean when the generic medications at Walmart are cheaper than copays through Medicare Part D for same medication something is wrong.

There have been attempts to “fix” and none of them have even come close to passing.

So forgive me if I call the point of this blog post on Daily Kos is BS and will probably still be BS when the details come out.

I would rather have the best bill which would help all 40 million without insurance then settle for one where the insurance companies win and maybe it helps 150,000 people.

How hard is that to understand?

Democrats have long recent history of bending over and I know they will on this issue and we will never hear about Health care reform again if this bad bill is signed into law.

It’s that simple

Why progressives and every one should be fighting for the real Public Option

Last weekend, progressives got in an uproar over what appeared to be an attempt by the Obama administration to chuck the Public Option from the current health care reform plans. What I finally figured out is that Obama and the White House cut deals with the health care lobbies (hospitals, insurance, drug makers, and doctors) which caused them to change their idea of what “Public Option” was meant to be. It went from a separate, Medicare like, plan to one that would have subsidies given to private plan providers and no chance at negotiation on pricing. It would be just like the corporate welfare given to the pharmacy industry under the Medicare Part D plan passed during the Bush administration.

Over the weekend, President Obama referred to the public option as a “sliver” of health care reform, and Sebelius said the public option wasn’t essential reform’s success. Though the White House’s core position hasn’t changed, the intensity with which it supports the public option has varied over the last several weeks, and this weekend’s remarks were the first indication that the administration doesn’t even regard the public option as particularly crucial.

White House Strongly Denies It’s Given Up On The Public Option 

What I found out and why I liked the plan in the first place, was during the campaign, Senator Obama promised a separate public insurance plan that people could sign up for.

Specifically, the Obama plan will: (1) establish a new public insurance program, available to Americans who neither qualify for Medicaid or SCHIP nor have access to insurance through their employers, as well as to small businesses that want to offer insurance to their employees; (2) create a National Health Insurance Exchange to help Americans and businesses that want to purchase private health insurance directly; (3) require all employers to contribute towards health coverage for their employees or towards the cost of the public plan ; (4) mandate all children have health care coverage; (5) expand eligibility for the Medicaid and SCHIP programs; and (6) allow flexibility for state health reform plans.

(1) OBAMA’S PLAN TO COVER THE UNINSURED. Obama will make available a new national health plan which will give individuals the choice to buy affordable health coverage that is similar to the plan available to federal employees. The new public plan will be open to individuals without access to group coverage through their workplace or current public programs. It will also be available to people who are self-employed and small businesses that want to offer insurance to their employees.

Barack Obama’s Plan for a Healthy America

Basically the public option was a separate plan – similar to Medicare – where the Feds would make the rules and pay the bills. The only difference was that since it wasn’t Medicare one would need to pay a premium based on income.

Now today it seems the public option has been merged into the Insurance Exchange as one of many choices. The difference seems to be that it would be through a private insurance provider with the government paying them to provide the plan and you paying a premium based on income.

If that sounds familiar it is because it is the same model used when the pharmacy plan known as Medicare Part D was during the Bush administration. Insurance plans were given money to provide the plan, members paid for their drugs and a monthly premium. The other features included deductibles, a doughnut hole (where members had to pay 100% of the cost of their meds), and Medicare not being allowed to negotiate drug prices.

It seems like others see the same thing. Jane Hamsher at Firedoglake wrote:

The PhRMA deal on July 8 says that there won’t be any drug price controls, and the next day, Blue Dogs Heath Shuler and Debbie Halvorson author a letter demanding — no drug price controls

The American Hospitals Association deal was signed on July 8. The hospitals want higher medicare reimbursement rates for rural providers. On July 15, the Blue Dogs threaten to block health care reform — if it doesn’t increase reimbursement rates to rural providers.

And suddenly, the hospitals are spending $12 million running positive ads about health care reform with PhRMA and the AMA.

Mike Allen said earlier this week that “this weekend’s comments by White House officials simply acknowledged the long-obvious reality that the idea of a government-run insurance plan was partly a bargaining chip.”

The White House never cared about getting Republican votes — it cared about keeping the Republicans from peeling off the dollars of stakeholders like PhRMA. Giving in to “Republican” demands was cover for writing shitty things into the bill that would keep the stakeholders happy. They didn’t need Republican votes, they never did, and they never truly cared. As long as the money stayed out of their campaign coffers, it was all good. 

The Baucus Caucus: PhRMA, Insurance, Hospitals and Rahm

So basically the reason why President Obama and the White House were shocked about the back lash is because Progressives, including myself, are expecting the original plan – a public plan that is a new and separate plan similar to Medicare. We don’t want an industry sell out that ends up lining the pockets of CEOs and screwing over members like the doughnut hole in Medicare Part D.

Organized disruptions of constituent town halls are un-American

Congress is in recess until September. At these times many go back to their districts and have town hall meetings with constituents to find out their views on issues the Congress member has been dealing with. It is one way to take the temperature of the electorate. During this recess and with health care reform on the table, conservative groups have been organizing so-called “grassroots” protests at the town hall meetings. They and their major insurance plan backers want to make it look like the “public” is opposed to reform and if the Congress person doesn’t agree then they shout them down and disrupt the meeting. These thug tactics by conservatives are un-American and give a false perception of major opposition to reform.

Here is an example:

David Neiwert at Crooks and Liars wrote:

No one has a problem with right-wingers marching in protest of the health-care plans. That’s certainly their right. And no one minds that they choose to participate in these forums. But town halls were never designed to be vehicles for protest. They have always been about enabling real democratic discourse in a civil setting.

When someone’s entire purpose in coming out to a town-hall forum is to chant and shout and protest and disrupt, they aren’t just expressing their opinions — they are actively shutting down democracy.

And that, folks, is a classically fascist thing to do.

Are Republicans and their thugs killing off the Town Hall as a democratic forum? 

But before you say “well liberals have done it before….”, Paul Krugman had this to say:

Some commentators have tried to play down the mob aspect of these scenes, likening the campaign against health reform to the campaign against Social Security privatization back in 2005. But there’s no comparison. I’ve gone through many news reports from 2005, and while anti-privatization activists were sometimes raucous and rude, I can’t find any examples of congressmen shouted down, congressmen hanged in effigy, congressmen surrounded and followed by taunting crowds.

And I can’t find any counterpart to the death threats at least one congressman has received.

The Town Hall Mob

The fact is that polls show majority support for Obama’s ideas on health care reform (starts with question 37) and the people who show up and disrupt the town hall meetings are the same people who can’t stand a Democrat is President, who has been encouraged by conservative groups and pundit douchebags, and many who are horrified that an African-American is President.

Rush Limbaugh got it wrong when he claimed the President and Democrats were using Nazi tactics in the reform debate, it seems the conservatives are doing the Nazi tactics. Back in the 1920’s Brownshirts would invade and disrupt meetings of other political parties in Germany. Even the Nazis learned that thuggery wouldn’t win them the election so they ended up reducing the influence of the Brownshirts and stopping the meeting disruptions.

When are conservatives going to learn the same lesson?