Posts Tagged ‘health care reform’

GOOD NEWS, EVERYONE!

March 24, 2010

It’s Waterloo All Right: Ours From the Right: David Frum March 22, 2010 by FrumForum

Conservatives and Republicans today suffered their most crushing legislative defeat since the 1960s.

It’s hard to exaggerate the magnitude of the disaster. Conservatives may cheer themselves that they’ll compensate for today’s expected vote with a big win in the November 2010 elections. But:

(1) It’s a good bet that conservatives are over-optimistic about November – by then the economy will have improved and the immediate goodies in the healthcare bill will be reaching key voting blocs.

(2) So what? Legislative majorities come and go. This healthcare bill is forever. A win in November is very poor compensation for this debacle now.

So far, I think a lot of conservatives will agree with me. Now comes the hard lesson:

A huge part of the blame for today’s disaster attaches to conservatives and Republicans ourselves.

No illusions please: This bill will not be repealed. Even if Republicans scored a 1994 style landslide in November, how many votes could we muster to re-open the “doughnut hole” and charge seniors more for prescription drugs? How many votes to re-allow insurers to rescind policies when they discover a pre-existing condition? How many votes to banish 25 year olds from their parents’ insurance coverage? And even if the votes were there – would President Obama sign such a repeal?

We followed the most radical voices in the party and the movement, and they led us to abject and irreversible defeat.  READ MORE: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/03/22-2 

“WISDOM” FROM THE OTHER SIDE

The Health Care Hindenburg Has Landed by Chris Hedges March 22, 2010 by TruthDig.com

The claims made by the proponents of the bill are the usual deceptive corporate advertising. The bill will not expand coverage to 30 million uninsured, especially since government subsidies will not take effect until 2014. Families who cannot pay the high premiums, deductibles and co-payments, estimated to be between 15 and 18 percent of most family incomes, will have to default, increasing the number of uninsured. Insurance companies can unilaterally raise prices without ceilings or caps and monopolize local markets to shut out competitors. The $1.055 trillion spent over the next decade will add new layers of bureaucratic red tape to what is an unmanageable and ultimately unsustainable system.

The mendacity of the Democratic leadership in the face of this reality is staggering. Howard Dean, who is a doctor, said recently: “This is a vote about one thing: Are you for the insurance companies or are you for the American people?” What is the point in supporting Democrats? How much more craven can they get? READ MORE: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/03/22-1

NO CHANCE IN HELL

The Great Thing About the Health Care Law That Has Passed? It Will Save Republican Lives, Too An Open Letter to Republicans March 22, 2010 by CommonDreams.org by Michael Moore

To My Fellow Citizens, the Republicans:

Thanks to last night’s vote, that child of yours who has had asthma since birth will now be covered after suffering for her first nine years as an American child with a pre-existing condition.

Thanks to last night’s vote, that 23-year-old of yours who will be hit one day by a drunk driver and spend six months recovering in the hospital will now not go bankrupt because you will be able to keep him on your insurance policy.

Thanks to last night’s vote, after your cancer returns for the third time — racking up another $200,000 in costs to keep you alive — your insurance company will have to commit a criminal act if they even think of dropping you from their rolls.

Yes, my Republican friends, even though you have opposed this health care bill, we’ve made sure it is going to cover you, too, in your time of need.  So, when you find yourself suddenly broadsided by a life-threatening illness someday, perhaps you’ll thank those pinko-socialist, Canadian-loving Democrats and independents for what they did Sunday evening. READ MORE: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/03/22-0

CH-CH-CHANGES…

Signed, Sealed, but Not Delivered: Six Big Flaws Need Fixing to Make New Law Meaningful Health Care Reform by Jon Walker Monday, March 22, 2010 by FireDogLake.com

This health care reform bill passed late last night and soon to be signed into law is a seriously flawed piece of legislation, for it fails to achieve the goals of real health care reform. Now that it is essentially the law of the land, the country needs to work diligently at the federal and state levels to correct many of the most egregious problems with the legislation before the reform package fully goes into effect in 2014. The six main areas that need to be fixed are: cost control, enforcement, individual mandate, abortion, competition, and immigration.

1) Lack of Real Cost Control

This bill does not create real cost control and will not bring down premiums for most Americans.

2) Dangerously Weak Enforcement

There are some good new regulations, but regulations are only as good as the strength of the agency tasked to enforce them. This bill is dangerously lacking in this area.

3) Individual Mandate

The individual mandate, which uses the IRS to force people to buy a product from a poorly regulated, private industry, is an affront to the American people. People must be offered the choice of a public alternative, or the individual mandate must be repealed.

4) Abortion

This bill is a massive rollback of a woman’s right to choose. It would take away the abortion coverage of millions of Americans.

5) Lack of Health Insurance Competition

The bill will do almost nothing to address the problem of lack of competition in the health insurance market. Repealing the anti-trust exemption and adding a public option would be two big steps toward solving the problem.

6) Immigration

Under this almost-law, undocumented immigrants would not be allowed to buy insurance on the new exchanges, even if they are willing to pay the full cost of the insurance with their own money.

If the majority party wants to honestly deliver on these promises—not to mention if they want to remain in the majority—then a concerted and immediate effort is required to prove that this week’s legislation is truly the first step toward reform, and not the last.

© 2010 FireDogLake.com

Jon Walker is political writer and blogger for FireDogLake. He is an expert on health care policy and the politics of health care reform.

HEALTHCARE FIXES

“This Is What Change Looks Like”: Congress Passes Health-Care Reform

Once Rep. Bart Stupak announced he would vote for the Senate version of the health-care reform bill that came before the House, Democrats had their votes.

After the Senate version of the health-care reform bill passed, the House voted, 217-209, a package of “fixes” to the Senate bill, which strip out several special deals made with specific senators in order to win their votes — for example, a Medicaid windfall for the state of Nebraska — and add changes to various thresholds for subsidies and taxes. That package will require a vote in the Senate in order to pass into law, but, as a budget reconciliation measure, that vote will require only a simple majority. Still, Republicans are promising mischief in the upper chamber once that body takes up the reconciliation bill, so the fate of those fixes remains a bit dicey.  READ MORE: http://www.alternet.org/news/146117/%22this_is_what_change_looks_like%22%3A_congress_passes_health-care_reform

MY TWO-BITS

Suggestions for Progressives in Congress – both houses:

  • Adopt the Health Care Act fixes promptly.
  • Adopt a new rule that Republicans and other demagogues can use the same argument only three times in debate to limit time-wasting repetition and ideological obstruction.  Repetition is the tool of demagogues.  (Our Latin teacher in high school was a demagogue).  We assume (makes an ass of u and me) that elected representatives are able to remember an argument as part of the record, once given.  Three times is the charm, according to human learning capacity.  Our speech teacher said, “Tell ‘em where you’re going, go there, and then tell ‘em where you’ve been.”  Should be good enough for any argument to be fully expressed understood and assimilated.  Of course, the Republicans et al are stalling and inventing roadblocks, so they love repetition; added to it, their toolbox is very small so they have to say the same thing over and over anyway.  We’ve had enough of that.  Offenders should get a Timeout.
  • Put some hustle in the bustle – too much time is wasted on lies and the fallout from lies. Create a fine system for liars; charge the republicans for each offense – stiff fines, ones that will bring tears to their eyes so they will remember it; Pavlovian behavior modification works; check out the rats that ran to the bell and got some yummy cheese  – all receipts to go to Public Campaign Financing only.
  • Deliver the knockout punch.  The agitated resistance of the Teabag Party and for-hire goons is simple gangster-style intimidation by the hostile rich and their Fox, Republican and other demagogic tools.  The crooks know their selfish cause is on the ropes.  They are willing to fight to the grim death to preserve their ignorance, superstition, greed and terror, but they will be finished if the Progressives hold strong and stay on the offensive.  Old Chinese military proverb: “The time to be on your highest guard is immediately after the battle.”  Brace for counterattack.
  • Support Progressive candidates in every election.  What the People really want – in the significant majority – is to flush the bought-and-paid-for rascals out of our system.  Democracy is not an –ism.  Trying to run the country according to a script won’t work for people who don’t want to be in your lousy little play; people who prefer to deal with reality on a practical common sense basis.
  • Think outside the box.  We cannot long endure as a nation of over-consumers and garbage-makers.  We must find new ways of doing business, which are less invasive and destructive.  Arab philosopher al-Kindi, c.801-66 wrote:  “We should not be ashamed to acknowledge truth from whatever source it come to us.  Even if it is brought to us by former generations and foreign peoples.  For him who seeks the truth there is nothing of higher value than the truth itself.” 

LAST WORDS:

Flattery can get you practically anywhere.  It’s staying there that gets tricky.

CHRISTIAN WARRIORS, SEX and BANKING

November 18, 2009

Catholic Bishops Put Sex Obsession Ahead of Mission to the Sick and the Poor By Adele M. Stan, AlterNet.

First they threatened to take down health-care reform over abortion coverage. Now they’re threatening services to the sick and poor of Washington, D.C., over same-sex marriage.

They lead a church that claims to stand on the side of the sick and the poor, the meek who shall inherit the earth. But in the course of a single week, the bishops of the Roman Catholic Church proclaimed themselves willing to see health-care denied to millions of uninsured Americans, and to yank the social-service rug out from under the feet of tens of thousands of urban poor in the nation’s capital — all to serve the bishops’ obsession with the sex lives and reproductive organs of others.

The church’s week of shame began with the bishops’ role in creating the monster that is the Stupak amendment to the health-care reform bill passed last weekend by the House of Representatives, when the bishops refused to bless a compromise made between pro-choice and anti-abortion Democrats in the language of the bill. (Without the bishops’ blessing, anti-choice Democrats vowed to vote against the bill, so Speaker Nancy Pelosi was strong-armed into allowing Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., to bring an anti-choice amendment to the floor.) Finishing off the week with a brutal bang, the church threatened to sever its social service contracts with the District of Columbia if the city council of Washington, D.C., passes a measure legalizing same-sex marriage — a move that would throw services to 68,000 of the poorest and most vulnerable citizens of the nation’s capital into chaos.  READ MORE:

http://www.alternet.org/sex/143945/catholic_bishops_put_sex_obsession_ahead_of_mission_to_the_sick_and_the_poor

Christian Bootcamp Seeks to Arm Home-Schooled Youths for “Spiritual Warfare” Posted by Eleanor Bader, RH Reality Check

“Life is not a playground,” says Rev. Rusty Lee Thomas in The Kingdom Leadership Institute Manual. “It is a war zone.”

Rev. Rusty Lee Thomas, Assistant Director of Operation Save America, is worried. According to studies by the Barna Research Group, California pollsters specializing in tracking religious and spiritual attitudes, only nine percent of teenaged Christians believe in moral absolutes. What’s more, Barna reports that the vast majority of kids raised Christian will abandon all or part of their faith by the time they finish high school. “Assembly of God leaders estimate between 65 and 70 percent will depart, while the Southern Baptist Council on Family Life estimates roughly 88 percent will leave,” Thomas writes.

To remedy this, Thomas’ Elijah Ministries has started the Kingdom Leadership Institute, a weeklong ideological boot camp for home-schooled Christians between the ages of 14 and 21. His recently released book, The Kingdom Leadership Institute Manual, is a roadmap for their training and a fascinating — if twisted — look at the concerns of far right evangelicals, complete with a game plan for action.

There’s no pussy-footing in Thomas’ screed. For him the battle between God and Satan is at hand, pitting True Believers against Sinners. Common ground? Impossible since there are only two sides, one resulting in heavenly salvation and the other ending with the earth’s destruction.

“Life is not a playground,” he rails. “It is a war zone — a clash of ideas, philosophies, values, and worldviews. It demands leaders who do not shrink back in [sic] the day of battle.” He calls it “spiritual warfare” and repeatedly summons images straight out of the Middle Ages, with gallant Knights protecting grateful maidens, and courtliness trumping gender equity.  READ MORE:

http://www.alternet.org/blogs/rights/143975/christian_bootcamp_seeks_to_arm_home-schooled_youths_for_%22spiritual_warfare%22

Geithner Singled Out in TARP Watchdog Neil Barofsky’s Scathing Report on AIG Bailout by Shahien Nasiripour, The Huffington Post

A brutal report issued Monday by a government watchdog holds Timothy Geithner — then the head of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and now the nation’s Treasury Secretary — responsible for overpayments that put billions of extra tax dollars in the coffers of major Wall Street firms, most notably Goldman Sachs.

The authoritative new narrative describes how, while bailing out insurance giant AIG last fall, a team led by Geithner failed nearly every step of the way.

Instead of bargaining with AIG’s numerous counterparties to resolve its billions of dollars in souring derivatives contracts, Geithner’s team ended up paying top dollar for toxic assets — “an amount far above their market value at the time,” the report notes.

“There is no question that the effect of FRBNY’s decisions — indeed, the very design of the federal assistance to AIG — was that tens of billions of dollars of Government money was funneled inexorably and directly to AIG’s counterparties,” the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program said.

Wall Street firms like Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch and Wachovia got full value for their derivatives contracts with AIG, and taxpayers got the bill. In total, $27.1 billion of public money was transferred to companies that did business with AIG.

Throughout the bailout of AIG, the report says, the New York Fed failed to develop appropriate contingency plans; failed to properly assess the impact of its decisions; and generally engaged in negotiation strategies that were doomed to fail.

Then, after Geithner’s team paid off AIG’s counterparties on Wall Street, it imposed “onerous” terms on the troubled insurer, the report says.  READ MORE:

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/11/17-8

Hightower: Obscenely Rich Bankers Claim to Do God’s Work — They Can Go to Hell By Jim Hightower, AlterNet.

Top executives were initially hurt by the public’s moral outrage. But their sense of entitlement quickly kicked in, and now they claim they’re the good guys.

“Repent,” the preacher cried out, startling those who heard him.

This was no street evangelist ranting at the passing crowd, but the archbishop of Canterbury, head of the Church of England. His sharp admonition was pointed directly at a particular set of sinners, who undoubtedly had never given any thought to the morality of their actions: the barons of global banking.

As in our country, people in Europe are enraged at those hustlers of high finance who wrecked the world’s economies, then flexed their political muscle to get governments to replenish their bankrupt vaults. Infuriatingly, these bailed-out bankers have now returned to business as usual, including grabbing monstrous bonus payments for themselves.

In Europe, such greed is not only being assailed politically, but it is also being cast as a matter of fundamental moral failure. As another of Britain’s leading clergymen put it, “There is a general feeling that the level of bonuses we’ve seen have been obscene.”  READ MORE:

http://www.alternet.org/story/144026/hightower%3A_obscenely_rich_bankers_claim_to_do_god%27s_work_–_they_can_go_to_hell

POLLUTER BORN EVERY MINUTE

September 14, 2009

Coming to America -Triptych

[See also POLLUTER BORN EVERY MINUTE reprise for full post]

TOO DAMNED MANY PEOPLE

WAYS TO REDUCE CARBON FOOTPRINTS:

ACTION: (Measure: Lifetime carbon dioxide saved in Metric Tons. Data from U. S. Environmental Protection Agency’s personal emissions calculator and calculations by OSU statistics professor Paul Murtaugh.  Annual totals based on lifespan of 80 – female expectancy U.S.  Source: Paul Murtaugh).

Recycle newspaper, magazines, glass, plastic, and aluminum cans – 17 tons

Replace old refrigerator with energy-efficient model – 19 tons

Replace 10 incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient ones – 36 tons

Replace single-glazed windows with energy-efficient windows – 21 tons

Reduce miles driven from 231 to 155 per week – 147 tons

Increase car’s fuel economy from 20 miles per gallon to 30 – 148 tons

REDUCE NUMBER OF CHILDREN BY ONE  – 9,441 tons

Under current conditions, each child in the U.S. adds about 9,4441 metric tons of carbon dioxide to the parents’ carbon legacy during his lifetime.  That’s 5.7 times more than the average childless person.

A child born in China has a fifth of the impact of a child born in the U.S.

The carbon legacy and greenhouse gas impact of having a child is almost 20 times more important than other ecologically minded lifestyle choices like driving a fuel-efficient car, recycling or being energy-efficient.

The same conclusions also roughly apply to fresh water consumption. Fresh water has been and will continue to be cause for international conflict. The amount of fresh water on planet earth is finite and we’re running out.

Many children are born to people who are not ready or willing to raise them.

Many parents are less ecologically responsible out of convenience, e.g. using disposable instead of cloth diapers; buying an SUV instead of a compact (“The family is so much safer.”  Not in the long run, Mom; bad choice for the grand children too, if any).

Abstracted: “Not So Carbon Friendly” Jennifer Anderson, Portland Tribune.  Sound Off – Comment: www.portlandtribune.com

TIME IS SHORT

According to the best science, we’ve got ten years left to take this issue on seriously and save our butts.  It may well be less, no one can accurately predict the rate of decay.  It will take most of us to accomplish any earthly salvation, but if we don’t confront and dispose of our garbage, which includes, but is not limited to: religion; overpopulation; short-term economic self-interest; and our ostrich-like tendency to duck and cover in order to avoid seeing our approaching doom, we’re screwed.

We must stop over consumption, kick capitalism into a servant’s status in our democratic life, and curb the excesses of individual and tribal (read also national) self-interest.  Impossible, you say?  That’s my point: good luck and the spin of prayer is about all we seem willing to invest in our own survival.

Homo sapiens, Man the “wise,” we called ourselves; Homo sapiens sapiens, man the “doubly wise” some scientists call us now.  Yeah, right.  First step: pick up the shovel and find a place to pitch in; there’s a lot of work to do quickly, and it must be done well.  No me-first crap, one for all and all for one.  Meet you in the trenches.

A GOOD Place to Start: Center for Biological Diversity

Slaughtered Dolphins - Japan

Japanese fishermen riding a boat loaded with slaughtered dolphins at a blood-covered water cove in Taiji harbor, Japan’s Wakayama prefecture. US environmentalist Ric O’Barry has filmed dolphin hunting at the town of Taiji as an eco-documentary called “The Cove” which has started screening in the US.(AFP/HO/File)

Published on Friday, September 11, 2009 by Agence France Presse

Japanese Town Starts Dolphin Hunt Under global Spotlight by Kyoko Hasegawa.

TAIJI, Japan – To animal rights activists it’s a cruel and bloody slaughter; for Japanese it’s a long tradition: this week fishermen in a picturesque coastal town embarked on their annual dolphin hunt.  Every year, crews in motorboats here have rounded up about 2,000 of the sea mammals, banged metal poles to herd them into a small, rocky cove and killed them with harpoons, sparing a few dozen for sale to marine aquariums.

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/09/11-4