Friday, February 26, 2010
Heaven forbid that they would reign in the out-of-control insurance industry. Regulate them under the Fair Trade laws? Perish the thought. The insurance industry is exempt from that law, by the way. Why?
Oh, but the R's have a grand idea. Let people buy their insurance across state lines. Whoopee! As Paul Krugman states in his op-ed piece in the New York Times, that will just make it harder for those with serious medical problems to get insurance. To fully understand the folly of this measure please click on the link below:
With proper regulation of the insurance industry the R's plan to buy coverage across state lines has some merit, but will not reduce premiums by much since the big insurance companies now control most of the policies. (Too big to fail - does that ring a bell? Does Anthem Blue Cross ring a bell?) The key word is 'regulation' and the R's are adamantly opposed to that.
The other pet project of the R.s is tort reform. As one Democrat Senator pointed out, the cost of medical malpractice suits is 1/5 of 1%. So how much do you think it will save? The Senator from Texas proudly proclaimed that tort reform had reduced insurance rates by 4% in his state (this figure is from my sometimes faulty memory so don't hold me to it). No matter what figure he used, the Kaiser Foundation did a study that showed it had not reduced rates at all after three years of being in place. This comes down to 'who do you believe' and 'where is the proof'.
Since the Republicans are not adverse to outright lying with a straight face, I have to take much of their statistics at face value. For example, Lamar Alexander said in his opening statement that the bill would increase premiums for policyholders. The reality is that the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) said it will reduce premiums. How can Lamar make such a bald face statement in the face of those stubborn things, facts? Well, what the CBO actually said is that premiums would rise for a small segment of policy holders because they would buy better coverage, but for the same coverage the premiums would be less.
Another lie repeated by the R side was that the bill included $500 million taken out of Medicare. The amount is not only wrong, but the money saved will be in the form of reform of the Medicare Advantage Plan ( This has been a bonanza for the insurance companies) and cutting out waste and fraud. No elder will see his coverage change, except that it will lower cost of premiums and co-pays and provide better preventative measures such as free cancer screening.
But, all that aside, the Republican plan is a sham anyhow, because their real goal is to KILL the BILL. The mantra repeated by one Republican after another was "Start over." or "take it one step at a time". Of course, we all know what this means. It means 'stall it while we demagogue it some more so the public will believe our lies about a government take over, etc. and oppose it. They have been doing a masterful job of that so far. I will have to give them that.
If I hear one more Republican make the claim (as did Mr.'tanner than thou') that we have the best health care system in the world I will barf. It's true for him, but not for the 30,000 uninsured in our country.
I wrote what the bill WILL do on the previous post so I will not go over that again. As one of my responders noted, it will eventually close the do-nut hole. If you don't know what is in it, please refer back to that post to understand the President's position and the bill as it stands now.
Random facts brought out in the debate: Now it costs every citizen $1,000 for everyone who uses the Emergency Room without insurance . (Another reason to have everyone insured.) Mr. Tanner than thou, Boehner claimed the bill would pay for abortions. Nancy Pelosi set him straight on that. It DOESN'T. Boehner is either a consummate liar or an idiot; or both.
A personal observation on the participants. My two senators, the two Johns, gave a shameful performance. John McCain looked so angry that I wondered if he had a dagger hidden in his suit. Obama reminded him that the campaign was over. That's the only time McCain smiled and it was an embarrassed one. (He's such a sore loser.) John Kyle is a lawyer and very smooth at making his proclamations sound like they are the truth. But he is a liar repeating Lamar Alexander's lie of rising premiums. Thad Cochran was logical and made good points for the R side, but every one of his suggestions were already in the bill. Mitch McConnell whined that the Democrats got more time than the Republicans. (Poor baby) The President pointed out that it was because he was the President and he is the one who took more time. It was, after all, his summit.
After the seven hour summit was over Mitch McConnell and David 'I'm tanner than thou' Boehner proudly proclaimed that they would not support the bill. Is anyone surprised by that?
It is obvious that the bill will not receive one 'aye' vote from the Republican side of the aisle no matter what is in it. I wish the Democrats would put the Public Option back in the bill and pass it as quick as possible under the rule of Reconciliation. Let the Republicans rant that they were excluded and that 'Reconciliation' was a back room deal. (Their claim that it is unconstitutional, et. al, is ridiculous. Reconciliation has been used 21 times by Democrats and Republicans; including the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 1% of the population.). Then let them explain why not one person on their side of the aisle voted for it.
My final comment on the long day is that our president did a fantastic job of keeping those who wanted to use this format for political posturing from going off on a rant of their talking points. He masterfully brought them back to the subject. He knew his facts and didn't need a teleprompter or cliff notes to reel them off. He was, as usual, articulate and knowledgeable.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
That's my house in the middle behind the street sign.
It's crunch time on health care reform and this is where we are now. As the current bill stands the following are the important features.
- No company can ever deny you health insurance or drop your coverage for a pre-existing condition or if you get really sick.
- If you get cancer or other serious illness, there is no cap on the amount of needed care that your insurance will cover.
- No threat of losing your life savings to pay for care. Insurance companies can’t stop paying your claims and leave you with a lot of medical bills.Recommended preventive care will be covered without deductibles – checkups, colonoscopies, mammograms – no matter if you buy your own policy or get coverage through your job. Preventing illness before it becomes serious is the best way to save money!
- Programs to increase the number of primary care doctors, with incentives for them to practice in rural areas, so you get quality care no matter where you live.
It's a far cry from what it should be, but it's better than the current chaotic mess that we have.
Today several groups have organized a real march and a virtual march on Washington telling our representatives to enact real health care reform NOW. You can join the virtual march by clicking on the link. The goal is a million signatures by the end of the day.
Tomorrow is the televised face off between the Republicans and the president. It starts at 10 am Eastern Standard time. Please put it on your calendar. It will be an historic event. You can see it on C-Span starting at 10 am Eastern Standard Time.
Robert Reich has written an excellent article on why the Democrats should pass health care reform with the 51 vote majority they have. The Republicans have made it very clear that they will do everything in their power to scuttle this legislation. Here is the link:
Excerpts from an Op-ed piece by Roger Cohen of the New York Times:
When it comes to health, we’re all in this together. Pooling the risk among everybody is the most efficient way to forge a healthier society. That’s what other developed societies do. And they don’t have 30 million plus uninsured.
Now, as I understand it, the Tea Party movement is angry about waste, bail-outs for the rich and spiraling debt. They detest big government. But if waste and debt are really what’s bothering them, how about the waste in the more than 1,800 daily health-care related personal bankruptcies, the 25 to 30 percent of some corporate insurers’ costs going on administration (versus 6 percent for Medicare), the sky-rocketing health premiums that are undermining U.S. corporations (and so taking jobs), the endless paperwork of private reimbursement procedures, and the needless deaths?
Americans don’t want a European nanny state — fine! But, as a lawyer friend, Manuel Wally, put it to me, “When it comes to health it makes sense to involve government, which is accountable to the people, rather than corporations, which are accountable to shareholders.”
All the fear-mongering talk of “nationalizing” 17 percent of the economy is nonsense. Government, through Medicare and Medicaid, is already administering almost half of American health care and doing so with less waste than the private sector. Per capita Medicare costs for common benefits grew 4.9 percent between 1998 and 2008, against 7.1 percent for private insurers. Why not offer Medicare as a choice — a choice — to everyone? Aren’t Republicans about choice?
The public option, not dead, would amount to recognition of shared interest in each other’s health and of the need to use America’s energies and resources better. It would involve 300 million people linking arms.
Monday, February 15, 2010
I tried poking things in the little slot to no avail. In desperation I called a friend who came with his tool kit to help me reach my goal. He didn't have any better luck than I did and decided the only way to get me in the room was to saw the doorknob off. My nerves matched the grating noises of the hacksaw as he mightily sawed away. Finally, 'Mission accomplished'. The door was open. I thanked him and he left me to my ablution.
I wiggled, I jiggled, I poked and prodded the blasted thing and it didn't move. Since I was in a room only good for two things, and eating wasn't one of them, I knew I had to get help. So I pressed my trusty medical alert button. The voice from the alert box asked if I was alright. I told her I was fine, but I needed help extricating myself from the bathroom. This is undoubtedly one of the strangest emergencies she ever had to deal with. I asked her to call a neighbor to come over. When the neighbor arrived the 'voice' was still there waiting to see if the problem was resolved.
I asked my neighbor to go get one of the few men in our complex to bring his tools to extricate me. My neighbor is a nice generous lady, but she is the kind of person who knows best. So she and the voice called the fire department. And that is the start of my embarrassing experience.
The program will be televised starting at 10 am Eastern Standard Time on C-Span and, perhaps, other channels. I would guess the CNN and, perhaps, MSNBC will air it. Click on the link to read the article.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
But wait; if Republican Representative Paul Ryan has his way they will be. Tea Baggers take note. Especially you idiots who carried signs reading "Don't Touch My Medicare" Read on.
Paul Krugman states:
To read more on the Republicans proposals, please click on the link to read the NYT editorial in this morning's paper.
For those who never saw any of the Burma Shave signs, here is a quick lesson in our history of the 1930's and '40's. Before there were interstates, when everyone drove the old 2 lane roads, Burma Shave signs would be posted all over the countryside in farmers' fields.
DON'T STICK YOUR ELBOW
OUT SO FAR
IT MAY GO HOME
IN ANOTHER CAR.BURMA SHAVE
TRAINS DON'T WANDER
ALL OVER THE MAP
'CAUSE NOBODY SITS
IN THE ENGINEER'S LAPBurma Shave
SHE KISSED THE HAIRBRUSH
SHE THOUGHT IT WAS
HER HUSBAND JAKEBurma Shave
DON'T LOSE YOUR HEAD
TO GAIN A MINUTE
YOU NEED YOUR HEAD
YOUR BRAINS ARE IN ITBurma Shave
DROVE TOO LONG
WHAT HAPPENED NEXT
IS NOT AMUSING
GOOD MORNING, NURSE
TO HER RECKLESS DEAR
LET'S HAVE LESS BULL
AND A LITTLE MORE STEERBurma Shave
SPEED WAS HIGH
WEATHER WAS NOT
TIRES WERE THIN
X MARKS THE SPOT
THE MIDNIGHT RIDE
OF PAUL FOR BEER
LED TO A WARMER
AROUND THE CURVE
WASN'T IT?Burma Shave
NO MATTER THE PRICE
NO MATTER HOW NEW
THE BEST SAFETY DEVICE
IN THE CAR IS YOU
A GUY WHO DRIVES
A CAR WIDE OPEN
IS NOT THINKIN'
HE'S JUST HOPIN'Burma Shave
LOOK EACH WAY
A HARP SOUNDS NICE
BUT IT'S HARD TO PLAY
BOTH HANDS ON THE WHEEL
EYES ON THE ROAD
THAT'S THE SKILLFUL
DRIVER'S CODEBurma Shave
THE ONE WHO DRIVES
WHEN HE'S BEEN DRINKING
DEPENDS ON YOU
TO DO HIS THINKINGBurma Shave
CAR IN DITCH
DRIVER IN TREE
THE MOON WAS FULL
AND SO WAS HE.Burma Shave
PASSING SCHOOL ZONE
TAKE IT SLOW
LET OUR LITTLE
Do these bring back any old memories?
If not, you're merely a child.
If they do - then you're old as dirt...
Monday, February 8, 2010
I have since looked at his blog and I think you will find it worth checking out. Barry of the blog Frost Bottom Farm (aka: Frost Bottom Days) writes from Cape Cod, Masachusetts and his profile shows that he is interested in animals, farming and the great outdoors. Check out the link to his blog.
I have copied and pasted the rules from Barry's blog.
1. I must thank the person who gave me the award and list their blog and link it
2. I must list 10 honest things about myself
3. I must put a copy of Honest Scrap logo on my blog
4. I must select at least 7 or 8 other worthy blogers and list their links
5. I must notify the blogers of the award and hopefully they will follow the above three requirements also.
10 Honest Things about me.
Saturday, February 6, 2010
Sculptures are always amazing, but when the artist uses a medium that won't last I am awed by the care they give to an impermanent work of art.
Many of you have probably seen ice sculptures at banquets or weddings, but they are usually something simple like a Swan. Thank goodness for the camera that enables these works of art to be shared and preserved for future viewing.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
So until you can come up with a workable system for health care reform will you Republicans please just shut up and get out of the way.