Tag Archives: health care

In so many ways . . .

. . . we are really two different countries and the similarities to Civil War era America abound.

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

And there’s this too  – the ten poorest States. I got it from a 2011 story at Glenn Beck’s The Blaze where commenters were not surprised, reasoning that that’s what Obama had done to us in just 20 months. The man worked fast!

  1. Mississippi
  2. Arkansas
  3. Tennessee
  4. West Virginia
  5. Louisiana
  6. Montana
  7. South CArolina
  8. Kentucky
  9. Alabama
  10. North Carolina

How about teen pregnancies? Below the mid point and dominating the list for ‘least teen pregnancies’, all of New England and most of the NorthEast. And what region dominates the list for ‘most teen pregnancies’? Lookee here:

STATES WITH MOST TEEN PREGNANCIES:
New Mexico – 93/1,000
Mississippi – 90/1,000
Texas – 85/1,000
Nevada – 84/1,000
Arkansas – 82/1,000
Arizona – 82/1,000
Delaware – 81/1,000
Louisiana – 80/1,000
Oklahoma – 80/1,000
Georgia – 78/1,000

STATES WITH FEWEST TEEN PREGNANCIES:
Iowa – 51/1,000
Nebraska – 50/1,000
Utah – 48/1,000
Wisconsin – 45/1,000
Maine – 43/1,000
Massachusetts – 42/1,000
North Dakota – 42/1,000
Minnesota – 42/1,000
Vermont – 38/1,000
New Hampshire – 33/1,000

How about high school dropouts by State? A pattern emerges.

bbbbbbbbbbbb

He doens’t look so dead to me.

Aha. Jim Inhofe is 78 years old and has been on Medicare, a truly socialized medical insurance plan, for 13 years. inhofe

Sorry Kathleen, your day must come to an end

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5c/Kathleen_Sebelius_official_portrait.jpgShe really needs to step down. Soon.

Someone must pay the political price; it’s the distasteful way of the world.

So just get it over with.

It’s all about the little guy

http://newsbusters.org/sites/default/files/main_photos/2013/August/Hannity%20Limbaugh%20O%27Reilly.jpg?1377700924http://blogs.kansas.com/weblog/files/kochs7.jpg

Never doubt that these people care deeply about the vast swath of Americans who believe their every word! Never doubt it!

They know America will be destroyed if everyone can afford health care for their kids. Destroyed I tell you!

And, according to them, they’ll save us from health care, a dismal fate, and they are brave. Brave I tell you!

  • Rush Limbaugh – NET WORTH $400 million
  • Sean Hannity – NET WORTH $39 million
  • Rick Scott – NET WORTH $85 million (down from a reported $250 million in 2010 after he spent $75 million of his own money on his 2010 campaign for FL governor and since it’s rumored he’ll spend $100 million of his own money for the 2014 election . . . puzzling numbers but then I was never very good at math.)
  • Koch brothers – NET WORTH more billions that I can count
  • Sarah Palin – NET WORTH $16 million
  • Rupert Murdoch – NET WORTH $13 billion
  • Donald Trump – NET WORTH $150 million
  • Anne Coulter – NET WORTH $9 million
  • Glenn Beck – NET WORTH $150 million
  • Dick Cheney – NET WORTH $12 million
  • Bill O’Reilly – NET WORTH $75 million
  • Newt Gingrich – NET WORTH $7 million (which is a disgrace since he’s earned $100 million since he left government)

 

It’s this way because we want it this way

universalhealthcare_posterFrom Bloombery News, this is something that’s been screamingly obvious, and widely known. It has, however, been barred from any examination of American health care reforms. Because Denial isn’t just a streetcar, it is a national state of mind.

Americans are dying sooner and living with more illnesses than residents of Slovenia and other less prosperous countries . . . the U.S. is getting a poor return on money it spends on health care.

. . . lose more years of life to heart disease, lung cancer, preterm birth complications, diabetes and more . . . than most of 34 other developed countries from 1990 to 2010..

The study comes from the famously socialist Journal of the American Medical Association.

The U.S. failed to keep up with other nations in improvements in health care despite spending most per capita . . . U.S. death rate fell to 27th place in 2010 from 18th place in 1990.

Anything here you didn’t already know about?

Terry Schiavo redux!

Here is today’s outrage – from the Washington Examiner:

lung

According to some of the usual noisemakers on the right, a Cabinet Secretary is the appropriate person to make decisions about who gets organ transplants and who doesn’t.

If the regulation in question were waived, 20 more children (including three at the same hospital) would be added to the regular ‘adult’ lung waiting list, which currently has 1600 people on it. So for this kid to get the lung, a political appointee would have to put her at the front of the list based on – what? Because it would be caring? Thoughtful? Because of a mother’s grief?

The year in review?

In a comment thread below, reader Jim Wheeler - a thoughtful and sassy man with whom I share certain generational allegiances – offers some new bumper stickers for 2012. Roll the presses . . .

“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?

They’ve nominated this guy for the United States Senate

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.”

Solving our nation’s problems: any semblance of rational thought has now left the room

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.)

Just make it stop

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:

  • The Catholic ban on divorce
  • Muslim and Jewish laws about women and children
  • Buddhist and HIndu prohibitions against killing animals
  • Capital punishment
  • Quakers and conscientious objectors pay taxes that finance wars
  • Christian Scientist pay taxes to support medical care they abjure.

This isn’t the first time, is it? I think he ‘threatened’ this before.

Exactly: “The Roberts Court is born”

And this is why I always thought the Chief Justice would find a way to uphold Obamacare.

 Had Obamacare been voided, it would have inevitably led to charges of aggressive judicial activism.  Roberts peered over the abyss and decided he didn’t want to go there.

Roberts’ decision was consistent with his confirmation hearings pledge to respect the co-equal branches of government, push for consensus, and reach narrow rulings designed to build broad coalitions on the Court. He promised to respect precedent. His jurisprudence, he said, would be marked by “modesty and humility” and protection of the precious institutional legitimacy of the Court.

Today, the institutional legitimacy of the Court was buttressed. President Obama wasn’t the only winner at the Supreme Court today. So was the Supreme Court itself.

So this case was the one where he finally decided to adhere to those oft stated principles, which he’s previously ignored. But he has also expressed the hope that he could loosen the partisan divide on the Court, reduce the number of 5-4  votes, and has said he would like more unanimous decisions.

I don’t think Canada will want you, guys. You might try Somalia. Or Yemen.

Reminds me of when one of my brothers proclaimed he was moving to Ireland during Clinton Administration to escape the  awful tax burden here and all teh socialism. But then he found out, you know . . .

Now this – lots and lots of this. Bye-bye.

 

Anything else you want to ask me?

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.)

Think of it this way

If the Supremes overturn the ACA, four justices appointed by Republican presidents will have voted in lock step with Congressional Republicans, not one of whom voted for the bill.

(I’m staying out on my limb – I think Roberts votes for Obamacare. And if he does, so does Kennedy.)

Governor Voldemort has a better idea because he knows all about health care.

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.[21] The Columbia/HCA board of directors pressured Scott to resign as Chairman and CEO following the inquiry.[22]He was paid $9.88 million in a settlement. He also left owning 10 million shares of stock worth over $350 million.[23][24][25] 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.[26]In all, civil law suits cost HCA more than $2 billion to settle, by far the largest fraud settlement in US history.[27]

 

Let the fittest survive . . . and get rich. USA! USA! USA!

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)

Because they’re all out to get us

 

 

 

 

 

UPDATE:
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):

Ah, but did Hitler diddle little boys?

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.

 

Take to the fainting couches! Obama criticized the Court!

(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.)

George Washington did it. John Adams too.

Now that SCOTUS has finished hearing the challenges to Obamacare, we settle down to wait a few months for their opinion. (Elvis save us from the wrath of those who chant f-r-d-e-e-d-o-m-e-! at every loss if  the justices say, yeah, okay.)

The first US Supreme Court, 1790

Meanwhile, this is interesting. From friend Ed this morning:

. . . three laws, passed in 1790, 1792 and 1798 respectively . . . provide for mandates not unlike the one being considered by the Supreme Court this week . . .:

[In] 1790, the first Congress, which was packed with framers, required all ship owners to provide medical insurance for seamen; in 1798, Congress also required seamen to buy hospital insurance for themselves. In 1792, Congress enacted a law mandating that all able-bodied citizens obtain a firearm. This history negates any claim that forcing the purchase of insurance or other products is unprecedented or contrary to any possible intention of the framers.

PolitiFact dug deeper into Elhauge’s claims and found evidence that mandates were approved by Congressmen who had also signed the Constitution; refuting the assertion that the laws passed despite framers’ objections:

There was no roll call for the House and Senate bills requiring health care for seamen. But on the proposal mandating the purchase of a musket, firelock or rifle as part of the larger bill to establish a uniform militia, 10 of the 14 framers whose votes were recorded endorsed the measure.Not only did mandates pass muster with the Framers in Congress, they were signed into law by George Washington and John Adams.

Ezra Klein reads Whatever Works – or – I guessed right

. . . . 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.

Supreme Court days

I plan to listen to as much of the oral arguments this week as I have time for. I’ve listened to a few of these before – at the Circuit Court level too – and they’re surprisingly engaging,  even for a non-lawyer. There is, in this country particularly, majesty to the law. Listening to the petitioners make  their cases and then engage with the justices in the finer points of the law and the Constitution gives one an appreciation of how it is we have, no matter our politics, remained ‘a nation of laws’ for two-plus centuries, a nation that’s chosen to be governed by the law

Today’s argument is whether the Court can even hear the case against the mandate yet, since it’s not been enacted. It’s possible they’ll shut it down for now and will return to it after the law goes into effect. Something about you can’t challenge that which does not yet exist in fact.

If, however, they decide that yes, the case can go forward - which I think they will (why else schedule three days for argument) – the meat of the argument starts tomorrow, when they actually take up the matter of the constitutionality of the law.

I think they’ll uphold it. And I think they’ll do it by better than 5-4. It could even be 7-2, with just Alito and Thomas against. Which, of course, will mean the end of freedom.

 

Ready. Aim. Fire. USA! USA! USA!

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.

The modern Republican Party

FROM the front page of Little Green Footballs at 11:55pm. Here are screen shots of five of the seven stories.

Maybe Margaret and Helen will join in

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.)

Political genius or just luck? Does it matter?

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.

 

The bishops and the 70 million Catholics here – not on the same page, yet again.

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.

Memories . . . Citizens United: the early days

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?)

These are vile people. Vile.

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.

Let—Him—Die.

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.