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Category Archives: Health Care

Under GOTP Budget 44 Million People would be Uninsured?

In spite of what Paul Ryan claims, his GOTP budget plan would leave up to 44 million additional low-income people uninsured as the Federal Government would be forced to cut states’ Medicaid funding by about one-third over the next 10 years.

You read that correctly, 44 million additional – as in 44 million new, or 44 million more. That’s the ugly face – or one of the ugly faces – of today’s GOTP. Ryan is willing to throw the poor, the needy, even grandma under the bus while continuing to insist we must continue to not only give tax breaks to the wealthiest among us, but give them even bigger tax breaks.

Both the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Urban Institute claim, Medicaid’s role as the nation’s safety net health care program would be “significantly compromised” under the GOP budget, “with no obvious alternative to take its place.”

But Ryan and his GOTP colleagues don’t care. Reality is they have absolutely nothing to take its place. Why? Because they simply don’t care. The GOTP has had its designs on killing Medicaid since its inception, and cutting it has nothing to do with saving money, and everything to do with undermining it with the eventual hope of toppling it entirely.

The budget passed by House Republicans last month – on a strict party-line vote –  called for sweeping health care changes, potentially even more significant than President Barack Obama’s insurance overhaul. And it’s biggest dream baby for the GOTP? The part where it would convert Medicare into a voucher-like system for future retirees. But Medicaid would also be transformed.

The GOTP – with Ryan leading – want first, to kill medicare; second, to give you a voucher (money); and third, have you go give that voucher to some insurance company. Sounds sort of OK, but what’s the catch? How many seniors do you know who don’t have some kind of pre-existing medical condition that would keep them from obtaining health insurance? Grandma would be thrown under the bus if Ryan and the GOTP have its way. Medicare destroyed = Grandma with no health coverage. It’s very simple mathematics.

If this bill had passed, and if the Senate had been controlled by the GOTP, and if the Congress could have over-ridden the President’s veto, then the federal-state partnership (Medicaid) which now covers more than 60 million low-income families and seniors, including most nursing home residents, as well as disabled people of any age would have been converted from an open-ended program in which the federal government pays about 60 percent of the cost of services, into a block grant that would give each state a fixed sum of money. Not a continuous influx of money mind you, but a block grant to take care existing costs, but no more. Future seniors? Under the GOTP/Ryan plan you’re out of luck, aka under the bus.

Ryan’s wonderful little budget would also have done away with the right to Medicaid benefits under federal law, and it would have repealed a coverage expansion to low-income adults included in Obama’s health care law.

As the current law stands, it’s estimated Medicaid will be covering 76 million people in 2021, the end of the ten-year estimating window used in federal budgeting. Of those, some 17 million would gain coverage under President Obama’s expansion.

The study also estimated that 36 million to 44 million people would lose coverage from the combined impact of the block grant and the GOTP’s repealing of the new health care law. Researchers said they gave a range to account for different approaches states might take to reduce their Medicaid rolls. Under the worst case scenario, Medicaid enrollment would plunge by nearly 60 percent from current projected levels.

And of course because the GOTP caters  only to the richest among us the hospitals, community health centers and other health care providers serving low-income people would be disproportionately affected. In 2021 hospitals would face Medicaid funding cuts of $84 billion.

Did you get that number? $84 billion would be taken away from hose who need health care the most, the poor and the elderly.

Is this the America conservatives cry out for? Is this the America they call for taking us back to? Is this the America they want to leave to their posterity? One can only think yes it is. This is what and where the current GOTP wants us to go to. They assume no one in their families will ever be poor, or will ever be born with a disability, or will ever be elderly. It’s “fixing” a problem for today only, leaving it to be “fixed” again at a later date so they can garner political flowers today.

 

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72% support raising taxes on the rich?

So, the Republican Tea Party (GOTP) members of Congress keep preaching they must cut, slash, and cut spending deeper, or the country will find itself in dire straights, with dogs and cats living together … blah, blah, blah … problem is most Americans don’t see it that way …

The way they do see it – according to a Washington Post/ABC poll – is the way the President sees it, lowering the debt by first raising taxes on the rich.

Funniest thing about the poll was that the numbers of people surveyed who claimed to support cuts to Medicare and Medicaid — 21 percent and 30 percent, respectively — is close to the same percentage of people who regularly rot their brains on non-stop viewing of FOX PAC.

But, back to the intelligent people; seventy-eight percent of the A+ crowd opposed cuts to Medicare, while 69 percent opposed Medicaid cuts.

And which plan, between the President’s, and Paul – aka Eddie the Munster – Ryan’s was the most popular? Well, that would be the President’s, the plan where the government offsets the debt by raising taxes on Americans who make $250,000 or more annually; in fact, of those surveyed, 72 percent said they support tax increases on people with incomes of more than $250,000, including 54 percent who strongly support them. Twenty-seven percent are opposed, including 17 percent strongly, gee once again, that would be the ditto heads and FOX & Friend groupies.

Truth is Americans, all Americans, are going to have to suck it up and expect some cuts coupled with some tax increases; but increases need to start with those who can most afford it – that’s the top 2% – and cuts need to come from the one sector which can best absorb it – the sacred cow of defense spending. Another good way to help raise revenue would be to take away subsidies to corporate America – aka the oil companies – and change free trade agreements to fair trade agreements.

 

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Limbaugh Is Wrong Again?

During one of his radio shows late last month, the “leader” of the GOTP, Rush Limbaugh claimed the President was going to start cutting Medicare, start the “death panels”, and the rationing of health care, and this was why seniors in USA Today had been recently granted a waiver.

“Because it’s drastic. It’s rationing. And it wasn’t supposed to happen till 2013. But now, you know, it’s happening before the election. That’s not the way it was supposed to happen. It’s been elevated some — or sped up. So here comes a waiver for the seniors,” Limbaugh claimed.

He then went on to praise the Paul Ryan plan, stating, “There’s not one rules change under Paul Ryan.” And how under the President’s plan changes were drastic and immediate, “But under Obama, it’s immediate. And not to be repetitive and redundant, but to be repetitive and redundant, it was just yesterday that Obama granted another waiver to senior citizens to keep them away from his IPAB board, who could have denied them coverage for — just because they wanted to.”

Wow, really Rush? For someone who claims to be 99.9% accurate you sure get a lot a stuff not just wrong, but really wrong; but of course when you’re making stuff up it’s hard to keep truth and reality from lies and fables isn’t it Rush?

First off, the “waivers” you’re making such a big deal about had nothing to do with the new Health Care Law, and everything to do with existing Medicare Advantage.

In fact those “waivers” were made to help those seniors – millions of them enrolled in popular private insurance plans offered through Medicare – by awarding quality bonuses to hundreds of Medicare Advantage plans rated merely average. The $6.7 billion infusion could head off service cuts to the more than half the roughly 11 million Medicare Advantage enrollees are in plans rated average.

Not rationing at all Rushdie, but actually awarding quality bonuses. Let’s see, that means one of two things, first, you just don’t know what you’re talking about, or second, you’re a liar. Well, there’s a third option, which actually suits you best, that you don’t know what you’re talking about, and you’re a liar.

But, wait for it folks because Rush wasn’t through spinning his tale of woe and death panels in his effort to continually scare his ever aging audience, “Now, folks, you are going to be hearing — IPAB, I-P-A-B, Independent Payment Advisory Board — you’re going to be hearing a lot more about IPAB in the days and weeks ahead,” Rusty said. “And I want to tell you today, what IPAB is. IPAB is the death panels. That’s all you need to know, don’t doubt me. IPAB is where the rationing will take place.”

And he continued his bloviating, “These are the death panels. These are the people that are gonna decide who gets coverage and how much coverage will be paid for. Ergo the rationing. Congressional approval? There will be none. Whatever this board decides case by case happens by presidential fiat.

“They’re there. It’s one. There is one death panel. It is IPAB. The Independent Payment Advisory Board. Current Medicare recipients, individual cases, decided on by these 15 people. Two things. Will there be coverage or not? And if so, how much will they be paid.”

Once again Rusty, YOU”RE WRONG! The IPAB Is actually prohibited from rationing, and according to the New England Journal of Medicine the Affordable Care Act “Establishes Specific Target Growth Rates For Medicare And Charges The IPAB With Ensuring That Medicare Expenditures Stay Within These Limits.”

In its 26 May 2010 edition, NEJM states, “Provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (now being referred to as the Affordable Care Act, or ACA) create an Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) to meet the need to oversee health care system costs. The legislation establishes specific target growth rates for Medicare and charges the IPAB with ensuring that Medicare expenditures stay within these limits. The IPAB must also make recommendations to Congress as to how to control health care costs more generally.

“The board is charged with developing specific detailed proposals to reduce per capita Medicare spending in years when spending is expected to exceed target levels, beginning with 2015. The DHHS must implement these proposals unless Congress adopts equally effective alternatives. The board is also charged with submitting to Congress annual detailed reports on health care costs, access, quality, and utilization. Finally, the IPAB must submit to Congress recommendations regarding ways of slowing the growth in private national health care expenditures.”

Gee, who to believe? Rusty Limbaugh, who dropped out of college after the first semester, unable to pass even ball room dancing, or the New England Journal of Medicine?

But hold on there’s additional expert commentary – far from what Rush ever gives. The Kaiser Family Foundation while attempting to explain the current health care reform has said, that the IPAB cannot “Ration Care, Increase Taxes, Change Medicare Benefits Or Eligibility, Increase Beneficiary Premiums And Cost-Sharing Requirement, Or Reduce Low Income Subsidies Under Part D.” From KFF’s “Explaining Health Reform: Medicare and the New Independent Payment Advisory Board”.

That sound like it can’t do what the fellow from Missouri is claiming. Once again who to believe? The guy who abused illegally obtained prescription drugs to the point he destroyed his own hearing, or the Kaiser Family Foundation?

Kaiser goes on the clarify that “… the Board is prohibited from submitting proposals that would ration care, increase taxes, change Medicare benefits or eligibility, increase beneficiary premiums and cost-sharing requirements, or reduce low-income subsidies under Part D. Prior to 2019, the Board is also prohibited from recommending changes in payments to providers and suppliers that are scheduled to receive a reduction in their payment updates in excess of a reduction due to productivity adjustments, as specified in the health reform law. The law establishes specific rules and deadlines for Congressional consideration of the Board’s recommendations, and specific timelines and procedures for Congressional action on alternative proposals to achieve equivalent savings.”

This is the part Limbaugh listeners never get. Rush tells you every day, “Don’t worry about looking stuff up, or checking into things, that’s what I’m here for”. But he isn’t telling the truth, he isn’t right 99.9% of the time, he’s frequently never right, or even close to right. As said earlier, Rush either doesn’t know what he’s talking about or he’s lying. Odds are it’s the latter.

 

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GOTP presidential hopefuls hammer health care, have nothing new to offer? Nope not one new idea, just more of the same old tripe they’re always scooping out …

And so, it’s 20 some odd months until Election Day 2012 and a very small group of potentially high-profile Grand Old Tea Party (or the group formerly known as Republican) candidates show up like the early spring honey bee hoping to impress the equally small hundred or so conservative activists Saturday in Des Moines, Iowa that most Americans (that would be GOTP, Independent and the very small smattering of Democratic voters) agree with their particularly odd variation of “values”, and opposition to all and everything President Obama represents, but mostly his socialistic health care overhaul; and that all of this could somehow magically help the GOTP make historic gains in 2012.

One of the most incredible long shots in political history, except for possibly with this year’s gathering of right-wing odd balls and fruit cakes is Michigan Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, who not surprisingly is a huge a tea party favorite, and who – also not surprisingly – got the noisiest reception when she told the “huge” hundred plus crowd gathered that voters are ready to overturn the federal health care law and oust President Barack Obama during next year’s election.

“The ultimate arrogance, in my opinion, is Obama-care,” Bachman said. “That’s why I am so absolutely confident in 2012. Americans have made the decision that we’re going to take our country back.”

Ah yes, the perennial GOTP favorite line, “we’re going to take our country back.” But to where do you want to take it, and for whom Congresswoman? Are we going back to 2008? Back to those happy carefree days of Bush/Cheney when habeas corpus was suspended on a whim if your name had Mohamed in it, or before our military was free from Gays and Lesbos? Or back to the pre-Camelot days before all those pesky Black people dared to eat at the same lunch counter?

Of course the Newt was there, and the deep south’s Haley Barbour and even former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain spoke to add a splash color to the Midwest white bread event as the token conservative African-American, since Justice Clarence Thomas was unable to attend due not being sure how to bill the gathering and still at least try to appear impartial on the bench.

But why Iowa you ask? Is it because it’s a field of dreams, and hopefully Newt, Barbour and company will all walk into the corn and finally fade away? Or is it simply because event organizer, Iowa Congressman Steve King, believes that his home state, the state where the nation’s first presidential caucus will take place, is the proper venue to help conservatives shape the debate as members of the GOTP begin looking for a candidate to run against Obama.

“We need to take this nation to the next level of its destiny,” King told the crowd. “You can shape that destiny.”

Of course with Bachman, Newt and Barbour that “next level of its destiny” can only mean backwards or farther off the cliff of economic collapse started during the last administration.

While Iowa is the traditional launch pad for the presidential nominating season, when one sees the sharply conservative rhetoric from Saturday’s little rally, allegedly reflecting an Iowa GOTP that’s drifted not just to the right, but to the far right, coupled with some polling data from last year showing more than 60 percent of GOTP caucus-goers there are identifying themselves as not only Christians but evangelicals, you have the makings of a gold old fashioned revival meeting, the type where Mormons – such as Mitt Romney – need not apply; of course it’s also then going to be an evangelical crowd that’s going to have a hard time getting its arms around a two time adulterer, or a deep south nominee, which leaves the nomination wide open for Huckleberry, Bachman and Palin. How wonderful.

Interestingly enough Newt insisted that most Americans agree with his conservative values, with the Newtster actually saying the 2012 election would provide a chance to end the “domination of the left and move this country back to the center-right.”

That would be the center right where family values stands for cheating on not just one but two spouses, marrying each mistress in turn and then claiming you couldn’t control your hormones because of your deep seated love of country?

Haley said the GOTP can win next year if their candidates stay focused on key issues — health care and balancing the federal budget — without getting distracted by arguments about personality. Of course by balancing the budget he means zeroing out any progressive programs, while continuing to cut taxes to the top 2% of the nation’s population and allowing defense spending to maintain its unabashed feeding frenzy.

“What is important to us is to have a new president,” Barbour said. “This election needs to be about policy.”

That’s right. It’s all about the policy of taking our country back to a time when uppity folks like foreign born blacks knew their place, isn’t that right Governor? It’s about an America where homos and lesbians weren’t allowed in polite society, and it’s about the America where the term foreign policy meant telling our allies to shut up, sit down and do what we told them to do.

During the “event”, the speakers all focused on criticizing President Obama and the Democratic Party, and the Newter even took the time to say how he “helped balance a budget for four straight years” while House speaker. That of course was due more largely to the efforts to his fellow philanderer President Clinton, than for anything he himself managed to do, between his own affairs while impeaching the President for his infidelity.

But of course, Newty also took the opportunity to attack – yet again – President Obama’s handling of the air strikes in Libya. He ridiculed Obama for consulting the Arab League and the United Nations, but not Congress, before getting involved. The Newt said he wouldn’t have approved the air strikes, even though he pushed for air strikes and a no-fly zone just a week or two before the President implemented that very policy, but said Newt, “once you get involved, you put on the pressure and you win quickly.” As compared to becoming bogged down in not one but two wars with absolutely any exit policy, clear cut goals or objectives.

Cain, who decided to be the one speaker not talking about the federal health care law, said the conservative movement is gaining strength and will help the GOTP “take back the government”.

He does understand that the GOTP’s version of “taking back” the government would mean he’d be serving them the pizza, and driving Miss Daisy around town, doesn’t he? Taking the country back doesn’t mean equality for Blacks, Hispanics, Gays or Lesbians. It’s taking the country back to the happier times of Herbert Hoover before Labor Unions and desegregated class rooms.

Seeming to be oblivious to all of this, and believing the fact that since he’s a wealthy black man meant he shared in the GOTP dream, he said the U.S. has “an entitlement spending crisis” that must be reformed in order to solve the nation’s financial woes. Being the GOTP code for throwing the poor and the elderly out on the street where they belong. Cutting social security benefits to the disabled, cutting WIC and women’s pre-natal and health care, slashing college loan programs to the poor and zeroing public broadcasting, and arts programs.

“We don’t like the radical socialist agenda that is being shoved down our throats,” he said.

And what he wanted to say is we don’t like the idea that the poor can have free health care, and have their standard of living increased, and that we have a minimum wage and child labor laws and the like, and that he could’ve made much higher profits if only he could’ve paid lower salaries or could’ve had five and six your olds slaving away in his pizza kitchens.

Meanwhile, Bach on the farm, the Congresswoman from Michigan steered things back onto the effort to repeal the health care reform law and said that American’s bad feelings for the law had created a strong tide of support for the GOTP positioning itself for next year’s election.

“It’s never gone below a majority of Americans who want to see Obama-care repealed,” Bachmann said. “This is, I believe, the greatest power grab that I have ever seen.”

Really, “it’s never gone below a majority of Americans who want to see Obama-care repealed”? While that might be true of any Rasmussen poll, in the world outside of the FOC PAC bubble the clear majority doesn’t want it repealed, and is happy with the law. And are you really serious when you claim this is the greatest power grab you’ve ever seen Congresswoman? So, one can only assume you either haven’t paid any attention to the whole political coup thing in Wisconsin? Or, you wholeheartedly agree with it?

Bachman exhorted the hundred or so listeners that the stakes in next year’s election are enormous, and that “what we are going to determine together, here in Iowa, is quite frankly whether we will pass the American Dream on to the next generation.”

Of course that’s the American dream of white, Anglo-Saxon, Christian evangelicals. Not the one that includes people of color – except to clean the house, repair the roof, pick the vegetables and maybe collect your garbage. It’s also not the American Dream of any of those darned Muslims and their Mohamed; it’s not the American Dream of religious freedom, unless you strictly uphold to the idea that America is a Christian nation; of course it’s a Christian nation that is largely denying the Christ, and his teachings regarding caring for the poor and the sick among us, and of brotherly love etc. It’s the Evangelical Christian American Dream of the Old Testament where Gays are stoned to death, and only white people get to be President. It’s the American Dream of preemptive warfare and unending tax cuts and never having to pay the bill for the Wild West diplomacy.

 

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Health Care Law Repeal Taken Up in the House?

As the Boehner and his lackey, Cantor, already know it isn’t going to happen. Even if the House passes a bill to repeal the Health Care law, the Senate isn’t going too, and even if that happens, the President is going to veto it.

One thing’s for certain, this is a huge waste of time, and money. It’s all a show, and the GOP members of Congress all know it’s a show, and the talking heads at FOX PAC all know it’s a show. The only people who don’t seem to know it’s a show are their supporters/viewers. The Tea Party folks, and Limbaugh listening, Beck watching, mindless conservative rabble. The people who all complain about the government until their trailer court gets hit by a tornado, or is flooded out by a hurricane. The ones who declare you can have their guns when you pry them out of their cold dead fingers. And Rush, Hannity et. al., will sing their praises and claim the Dems are the party of No, and their listeners will nod vigorously, while forgetting blissfully how the GOP – 99% of the time as a block – voted against everything in the past two years.

The GOP members of Congress, in the mean time, will all thump their chests and say, “We put up a valiant fight to repeal the evil Obamacare, but those nasty Democrats wouldn’t allow us to, all they wanted to do was obstruct, obstruct, obstruct!”

Gee, I wonder who those mean old nasty Democrats might have learned that tactic from?

And here’s another thought, there’s nothing more important right now for the GOP Congress to tackle?

Like, oh I don’t know?

Passing a budget?

After all, it was one of those things the GOP was all upset about until it came into power. Now suddenly it’s, “Budget, smudget we’ll get around to it after we do all this really important stuff”.

And, what about passing the Defense Authorization Bill?

Gee, maybe the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan would like to know there’s money to support them?

I don’t know, maybe?

 

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Court Strikes at Health Law?

Darned activist judges legislating from the bench … with his ties to the conservative group “Campaign Solutions” which ran campaigns for Boehner, the GOP Attorney General of VA and other GOP candidates, all of whom campaigned on repealing the health care law, the Judge should have recused himself from the case …

One more case of blatant GOP hypocrisy; they yell and scream about judges legislating from the bench, unless of course they rule in their favor.

(http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703727804576017552229615230.html)

 
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Posted by on December 14, 2010 in Courts, Health Care, Politics

 

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The Best Little (Health Insurance) Cat House in Washington

While 45,000 Americans die each year because they cannot afford health insurance, members of the United States Senate continue to prostitute themselves to the John’s of health insurance companies.

Just who are the “top” ten best little health insurance whores in Washington?

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA)

How much to get lucky with Chucky? $1,320,000

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)

Orrin will get you roarin for a mere $1,300,000

Sen. Richard Burr (R-SC)

Take Dick any which way you can for $1,200,000

Sen. John Ensign (R-NV)

Someone with Johnny’s sexually charged history can’t go for less than $1,100,000

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME)

Susan will toot your horn for $760,000

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE)

“Bend” Nelson for $750,000

Sen, Judd Gregg (R-NH)

Judd will “do it” any way you want for $695,000

Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS)

Roberts will “Pat” you up, down, and any other way for $690,000

Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY)

For a fun time with Mike? $580,000.

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.)


A roll in the political hay with Joe will cost you $573,000

No surprise of course that eight of the top ten are Republicans, but Nelson should be ashamed and Lieberman should just go away, as should Senate Majority Leader(?) Reid if he can’t get the Democratically controlled Senate to do the right thing. But, if 45,000 Americans would die without health coverage, no doubt those opposed to helping them would declare, “if they’re going to die, they had better do it and decrease the surplus population”.


 
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Posted by on December 17, 2009 in Health Care, Politics

 

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