“Guns don’t kill people, they make it easier to kill a lot more people.”
“I can’t fathom that I live in a society that considers gun ownership to be a right, but health care to be a privilege.”
Got any more?
“Guns don’t kill people, they make it easier to kill a lot more people.”
“I can’t fathom that I live in a society that considers gun ownership to be a right, but health care to be a privilege.”
Got any more?
He is expected – or had been expected – to win the Senate race in Missouri over incumbent Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill.
So, Congressman, would you allow abortion in the case of rape?
“…First of all, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something. You know I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.”
At a fundraiser in Israel, Mitt Romney marveled at how little Israel spends on health care relative to the United States. He was jealous and wished we could find a way to contain our costs like they have. He probably likes the quality of their health care too – Israel ranks #18 in life expectancy; we’re #50.
Israel has had completely socialized health care since they became a nation 65 years ago.
“When our health care costs are completely out of control. Do you realize what health care spending is as a percentage of the GDP in Israel? 8 percent. You spend 8 percent of GDP on health care. And you’re a pretty healthy nation,” Romney told donors at a fundraiser at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, speaking of a health care system that is compulsory for Israelis and funded by the government. “We spend 18 percent of our GDP on health care. 10 percentage points more. That gap, that 10 percent cost, let me compare that with the size of our military. Our military budget is 4 percent. Our gap with Israel is 10 points of GDP. We have to find ways, not just to provide health care to more people, but to find ways to finally manage our health care costs.“
But, but, but f-r-e-e-d-o-m ! (Or maybe you could just look around you Mitt.)
What is it with these Republican men? They’re at it again in Congress because apparently contraception is still the enemy of freedom.
A Letter to the Editor in my paper a few weeks ago provided a nice list of religious beliefs and rules that are ignored, indeed violated, by civil law:
It’s been an unbloggy week, but I think I managed to say this on Monday:
(I’m staying out on my limb – I think Roberts votes for Obamacare. And if he does, so does Kennedy.)
Yup. That’s what I said. Gotta go. CNN’s calling.
(Whoops. My bad. Kennedy dissented.)
My Gov don’t like him none of that Muslim-Keynan Obamacare stuff. He’s no fan of Medicare/Medicaid either (even though his criminal abuse of both made him and his co-conspirators millions). Nevertheless, we the people chose him to run things here in Florida, trusting, I assume, that he’d gotten ethically born-again.
He knows – made it clear on Day One – that Obamacare is not for Florida and so has refused to institute any of the legally mandated reforms. He has a better idea. States, he says:
. . . can do a better job . . . we should have 50 laboratories to see which is the best approach.
Yeah, that’ll work.
Here’s a little summary of his earlier career as head of Columbia/HCA (that’s Health Corporation of America):
On March 19, 1997, investigators from the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Health and Human Services served search warrants at Columbia/HCA facilities in El Paso and on dozens of doctors with suspected ties to the company. The Columbia/HCA board of directors pressured Scott to resign as Chairman and CEO following the inquiry.He was paid $9.88 million in a settlement. He also left owning 10 million shares of stock worth over $350 million. In 1999, Columbia/HCA changed its name back to HCA, Inc.
I always like that getting rewarded with $10million dollars for screwing up your company part. It’s the new American way you know. Also, job creators.
In the settlements, Columbia/HCA pled guilty and agreed to a $600+ million fine in the largest fraud settlement in US history. They admitted systematically overcharging the government . . . They also admitted fraudulently billing Medicare and other health programs by inflating the seriousness of diagnoses and to giving doctors partnerships in company hospitals as a kickback for the doctors referring patients to HCA. They filed false cost reports, fraudulently billing Medicare . . . In addition, they gave doctors “loans” never intending to be repaid, free rent, free office furniture, and free drugs from hospital pharmacies.
That ‘overcharging the government’ part? That’s us, that’s taxpayer money he stole.
In late 2002, HCA agreed to pay the U.S. government $631 million, plus interest, and pay $17.5 million to state Medicaid agencies, in addition to $250 million paid up to that point to resolve outstanding Medicare expense claims.In all, civil law suits cost HCA more than $2 billion to settle, by far the largest fraud settlement in US history.
An interesting graph from a column in the venerable Journal of the America Medical Association (JAMA) : it details who is covered by Medicaid, the program Paul Ryan described as “a hammock that lulls able-bodied people to lives of dependency and complacency”.
The largest group covered by Medicaid by far is children. The second biggest group, adults, contains large numbers of pregnant women. Medicaid covers about 40% of births in the United States. The third largest group includes people who are blind or disabled. That leaves what are known as dual eligibles. Those are elderly people who are so poor that they receive both Medicaid and Medicare benefits.
If I’m reading this chart correctly, while children constitute the largest constituency, the blind/disabled receive the most dollars.
(link is from a Paul Krugman column)
In the comments, David links to this (the defense part). I’m looking to tie dollars to that and to health care. It’s out there. Spending on defense, by country (the top ten by US$billions):
From a recent homily by Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria (unfortunate name that):
[some governments] “tried to force Christians to huddle and hide only within the confines of their churches . . . Hitler and Stalin, at their better moments, would just barely tolerate some churches remaining open, but would not tolerate any competition with the state in education, social services and health care . . . In clear violation of our First Amendment rights, Barack Obama – with his radical, pro-abortion and extreme secularist agenda – now seems intent on following a similar path.”
So . . . comprehensive health care / ethic cleansing and genocide . . . not very different actually.
(Apologies to someone – I grabbed this Daily Kos link from a blogfriend and have now lost track. So whoever put this up before me, thanks. Nice catch.)
Sen Mitch McConnell now:
“The president crossed a dangerous line this week,” read McConnell’s prepared remarks. “And anyone who cares about liberty needs to call him out on it. The independence of the court must be defended.” [...]
So, some ‘reporters’ decided to visit the way back machine to see just where this ‘line’ not to be crossed falls.
Candidate Ronald Reagan then:
… campaigning in Birmingham, Ala., Thursday, Reagan blasted the court’s most recent abortion ruling as “an abuse of power as bad as the transgression of Watergate and the bribery on Capitol Hill.” …
Reagan administration then:
Attorney General William French Smith accused the federal courts of “constitutionally dubious and unwise intrusions upon the legislative domain,” and vowed to oppose such “subjective judicial policymaking.” [...]
President George W. Bush then:
For the judiciary, resisting this temptation is particularly important, because it’s the only branch that is unelected and whose officers serve for life. Unfortunately, some judges give in to temptation and make law instead of interpreting. Such judicial lawlessness is a threat to our democracy—and it needs to stop.
And oh yeah, the good Senator had few words back then too (about the Schiavo case):
MCCONNELL: I don’t know. These are findings of fact that presumably the court, had it looked at it de novo from the beginning, which is what we granted the federal courts the authority to do, could have taken into account
[Between the lines - the Court overstepped 'what we granted the federal courts the authority to do'?].
(there’s more at the link from lesser lights.)
. . . . earlier today, I posted this:
I’ve just begun listening to today’s oral arguments in the Supreme Court – up first is the US Solicitor General. And he is just terrible. He is so so terrible. I haven’t heard a single legal argument from him yet, it’s all defensive. He’s halting and gets a bit off track. Yikes.
Shortly afterward, I posted this:
As they say “Now I’m no lawyer”, but it just sounded like Breyer in his questioning was actually providing some of the reasoned argument one would expect from the SG.
And now I am looking at Ezra Klein’s Twitterfeed (he writes the Wonk Blog at The Washington Post) and look what he is saying.
How many ways can we cripple our own future . . . and how easily are we manipulated into cooperating in our own destruction, believing it to be salvation instead? Ahh . . .
A recent column by Ruth Marcus takes a look at that phenomenon with the antipathy towards the health care mandate, now headed to the Supreme Court.
Even I am surprised by the extent of the negative poll numbers. What doesn’t surprise me is that they are the result of misinformation. When the details of the health care law are polled, they do well. And when the financial benefits to taxpayers are explained . . . . well, the opposition should dissolve, but it doesn’t because the entrenched meme of government overreach has taken deep root.
The Obama administration’s brief defending the constitutionality of the health-care law come early on. “As a class,” the brief advises on Page 7, “the uninsured consumed $116 billion of health-care services in 2008.”
On the next page, the brief drives the point home: “In 2008, people without insurance did not pay for 63 percent of their health-care costs.”
And that $116 billion is of course paid for by those who do have insurance – in higher premiums and in taxes.
An individual mandate was essential to make the plan work. Without that larger pool of premium-payers, there is no feasible way to require insurance companies to cover all applicants and charge the same amount, regardless of their heath status.
. . . “People don’t understand how the mandate works at all and they don’t understand why it’s there,” Kaiser’s polling director, Mollyann Brodie, told me.
Brodie suspects that it’s too late to change minds. “This law as a whole has really become a symbolic issue to people and they really aren’t open to information,” she said.
The Court may very well uphold the mandate. And we should shudder at the consequences to us if the other provisions of the bill are left in place, and the funding mechanisms stripped out.
But Congress and its corporate overlords won’t give up. The flames must continue to be fed, the people must be kept agitated. The rational path must not be taken.
Fire. Aim. Ready. As usual.
LET ME I ADD: An earlier Post story (can’t locate link) reported that employer-sponsored health insurance premiums have risen faster than incomes in every state in the union – while consistenly delivering skimpier benefits. We can certainly look forward to more of this is the mandate is struck down.
FROM the front page of Little Green Footballs at 11:55pm. Here are screen shots of five of the seven stories.
Kay has a post up today on yet another legislative proposal from the American Taliban that is moving through the Virginia legislature - it would require women to undergo an ultrasound probe before an abortion. That is, “a trans-vaginal procedure, in which a probe is inserted into the vagina, and then moved around until an ultrasound image is produced”.
(The second-to-last-Republican-President-in-waiting tried it in his State last spring. I’m thinkin’ that’s why he did so well in the recent primaries and why he’s now running up a whopping 30% approval rating at home.)
It could pass. From Kay’s post:
[A different lawmaker suggested that women who consent to sex also consent to vaginal probing.]
Well then, let’s have us a consent form – consent doesn’t count without a form, makes it all nice and legal. To whom exactly do they consent I wonder? A petitioner? Must the petitioner be the one who is hoping to penetrate? Can a parent stand in to petition? Or to consent? This part is a little confusing.
(Of course, no signee, no sexee . . .that’s the one weapon we know works.)
I’m really getting tired of this shit. Women may need to go back to the streets and remind our vice police wanna-be’s of a few things. I know Margaret and Helen* would help!
(* Margaret and Helen, they of the nearly 5 million blog hits. America does love its old ladies.)
In a comment thread below, I suggested to TitForTat that Obama intentionally picked a fight over the birth control co-pay, hoping that once the 1st Amendment stuff was settled, the GOP would take up the cry against birth control itself.
And dear Elvis, they seem to be doing it. Can a party be this stupid?
Not satisfied with President Obama’s new religious accommodation, Republicans will move forward with legislation by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) that permits any employer to deny birth control coverage in their health insurance plans, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said Sunday.
“If we end up having to try to overcome the President’s opposition by legislation, of course I’d be happy to support it, and intend to support it,” McConnell said. “We’ll be voting on that in the Senate and you can anticipate that that would happen as soon as possible.”
I’m really speechless.
From the Public Religion Research Institute, a poll shows majority support – even among Catholics – for the contraception inclusion in Obamacare. I’ve heard many liberals today, especially Catholic liberals, express discomfort about the requirement for religious organizations to offer their employees health care that includes the no co-pay provision for contraception that everyone else gets.
But they appear to not be among the majority of Catholics who strongly support the contraception inclusion. (Of course the vile Bill Donahue of “The Catholic League“ is getting so red in the face one must worry about the man’s health, probably nothing, though, that a few guest rants on FOX News can’t cure.)
White evangelicals are the only group opposing with a majority.
Was reminded of this bit of history at Hullabaloo today. (It’s from here.) Remember Alan Grayson, the one-term gajillionaire firebrand rabble-rouser Democratic FL Congressman? The one who regularly took to the floor of the House to chew up and spit out the special interests? The one who caused thousands of lobbyists to develop gastro intestinal disease? Yeah, that one. (video below)
He was one of the first victims of an unrestricted opening of the spigots of corporate money in a congressional race. According to a Politico article late in the campaign in 2010, almost 20% of all of the independent expenditures in House races in the entire country were deployed against Alan. His district was flooded with an unrelenting radio and television smear campaign by the corporations who didn’t appreciate his hard work on behalf of consumers and workers. The average person in Orlando saw 70 negative ads against Grayson– $2 million of which was paid for by the Koch Brothers, $2 million by the health insurance industry and another million from the NRCC. The cash that flowed into the district from the Chamber of Commerce and Rove’s band of cutthroats was a direct response to Alan’s reform efforts on the House Financial Services Committee and because he was the most effective national Democratic spokesperson in Congress. The DCCC, of course, offered him no help whatsoever in defending his seat. [Dems didn't want to fool with the banksters either - who would have financed their campaigns?)
Am I the only one choking on the word ‘Republican’ these days? Eisenhower was a Republican. Nixon and Reagan were Republicans. Gerry Ford was a Republican. George H.W. Bush was a Republican. Not one of them – not one (ummm, maybe Nixon) - would have stood for the truly degenerate behavior of the audiences at the two recent debates. In the first one, when Brian Williams asked Perry if he had any hesitations signing death orders for 234 people, the audience erupted with gleeful applause as soon as Williams said 234. I posted the video here and said that it broke my heart.
Duane at The Erstwhile Conservative (a fine writer by the way) tells us today:
Patti Davis, the daughter of conservatism’s number one icon, said she remembered the first time her father, governor of California, had to order a state execution:
“He and a minister went into a room, got down on their knees and prayed.”
He also points to this from Reagan’s tombstone:
. . . there is purpose and worth to each and every life
(I think Reagan’s politics hurt this country. Deeply wounded us. But I’ve read his letters and know that he was also a man of personal grace and humility.)
Last night I recoiled in shame and horror when the debate audience topped the earlier cheering for executions. Here’s more from Duane on that subject:
Paul’s answer, which essentially was that such an unfortunate fellow [very ill with no insurance] should rely on volunteers and churches for his care, was drowned out by shouts of “Let him die!” from the Republican debate-watching crowd.
I’m reminded of former congressman Alan Grayson’s presentation on the House floor in 2009:
“If you get sick in America, the Republican health care plan is this: Die quickly.”
Yeah, I remember that too.
We need to have our national health care conversation, but it’s become lost in the F-r-e-e-d-o-m agenda and contemplations of what the Founding Fathers would think. We have become very stupid people.
There are – or should be – only two goals:
Everything else is just noise.
From Medical Transcription, via Andrew Sullivan. The best part:
The U.S. spends roughly $400 billion on paperwork and other administrative costs per year. This is enough to completely fund health care reform in 2011.
Read on if you dare . . .
POSTED BY ORHAN
According to the NY Daily News, Wisconsin is set to become the fourth state to defund Planned Parenthood, joining Indiana, Kansas and North Carolina.
Gov. Scott Walker is expected to sign off on a budget that will eliminate federal and state funding to nine of the state’s 25 Planned Parenthood centers by the end of the month.
The state’s new budget includes a $1 million cut to Planned Parenthood. All the Republicans and one independent voted in favor of the plan while all the Democrats opposed it.
Republican state Sen. Glenn Grothman argued that the new budget doesn’t cut enough funding from Planned Parenthood: “There’s a very ugly side to this organization, and I regret that they’re going to take such a tiny cut in this budget”.
The nine clinics that will be affected by the budget cuts provide low-cost health care to approximately 12,000 uninsured women.
Teri Huyck, president of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin, said she is disappointed that political ideology will take precedence over health care.
“It is greatly disturbing to me that some politicians’ personal beliefs are trumping our shared responsibility to make sure women and men have access to preventive reproductive health care, which is not only essential for their own lives, but also a cost-saver for all Wisconsin taxpayers,” said Huyck.
POSTED BY ORHAN
Economist Dean Baker points out that Republicans are a tad miffed that their vote for Representative Ryan’s plan to end Medicare is being used against them. Various groups around the country are using the vote in attack ads against incumbents, and they lost an upstate New York congressional seat that they held for 50 years. Says Baker:
Medicare is a hugely popular program. Polls consistently show that the program has enormous public support among all political and demographic groups. Not only do Democrats and independents overwhelmingly support the Medicare program, even Republicans overwhelmingly approve of Medicare. Even Tea Party Republicans overwhelming approve of Medicare.
The Republicans can try to deny that their plan actually ends Medicare and hope that voters will be sufficiently confused that they won’t hold the vote against them. They have already been staking out this ground, claiming that they just want to “change” Medicare. Instead of saying that they would give beneficiaries a voucher to use to buy a health insurance policy, which would allow people to understand their proposal, they are instead saying that it is a system of “premium support,” which is a term that no one understands.
This may help with a few pundits, but if the Republicans can’t keep their political opponents from pointing out that their plan actually does replace Medicare’s insurance with a voucher system, this silly charade will not buy them much. People know the difference between being handed a check for $8,000 and being told to go buy insurance and the current Medicare system, which covers most of the cost of most care.
The problem is that those pesky Democrats are actually talking about what the Republicans did. For instance, New Hampshire Representative Charlie Bass tried to keep television stations from running ads that said that he voted to end Medicare, but ran up against that other pesky little problem, the first amendment. In any case, Republicans are going to do their best to convince the public that they didn’t really do what they did: vote to end Medicare.
Baker offers the GOP a simple solution: reverse the vote. Since Republicans control the House, they could hold a vote tomorrow and repeal the budget plan. And they could probably convince Harry Reid to permit a vote that would allow Senate Republicans to do the same. As Baker says, “This is the sort of advice for which they would pay political consultants millions. But the Republicans can get it here for free. If they were smart, they would take it.”