Tag Archives: health insurance

Obama: does he get it?

From Balloon Juice:

The Stakes

by John Cole

It is probably worth pointing out that wishful thinking aside, if Coakley loses tomorrow, thirty million or more Americans will remain one slip on the ice and broken shoulder away from bankruptcy, with the alternatives being seeking more expensive and less thorough emergency room care with no follow-up rehab and costs passed on to all of us, or no treatment and debilitating injuries and pain in perpetuity.

You and I might think that is a big deal, but if you read enough left-wing blogs, it really is no big deal. If the bill fails, we can take Taibbi’s advice and just try again in 6-8 years. I mean really, the republicans aren’t much different from the Democrats, I’ve been told. Besides, won’t you feel better knowing that you didn’t sell out to immoral insurance agencies like Feingold and Sanders and the rest of the corporate whores?

No one said having firm principles was without pain, you know.
….

A Sullivan classic

by DougJ

I know Andrew Sullivan is a controversial subject here, but I love it when he dials the gloom up to 11:

I can see no alternative scenario but a huge – staggeringly huge – victory for the FNC/RNC machine tomorrow. They crafted a strategy of total oppositionism to anything Obama proposed a year ago. Remember they gave him zero votes on even the stimulus in his first weeks. They saw health insurance reform as Obama’s Waterloo, and, thanks in part to the dithering Democrats, they beat him on that hill. They have successfully channeled all the rage at the massive debt and recession the president inherited on Obama after just one year. If they can do that already, against the massive evidence against them, they have the power to wield populism to destroy any attempt by government to address any actual problems.

This is a nihilist moment, built from a nihilist strategy in order to regain power … to do nothing but wage war against enemies at home and abroad.

What comes next will be a real test for Obama. I suspect serious health insurance reform is over for yet another generation.

[….]

And so one suspects that this is a profound moment in the now accelerating decline of this country. And one of the major parties is ecstatic about it.

I guess I can’t be so pessimistic, given the demographic trends that favor Democrats. I do think, though, that without non-white voters, we’d probably be a military dictatorship by now.

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Insurers Spending $700K a Day to Kill Healthcare Reform

and how easily they manipulate the ignorant sheep/teabaggers into making idiots of themselves.
healthdoll
[lifted from Dkos; by mcjoan]

Wow, that could be providing a helluva lot of healthcare.

Washington, D.C. – A campaign finance watchdog’s analysis of insurance and HMO political contributions and lobbying expenses found the industries spent $126,430,438 over the first half of 2009 and $585,725,712 over the past two and a half years to influence public policy and elected officials. The group, Public Campaign Action Fund, found that in the first part of 2009, the industries were spending money at nearly a $700,000 a day clip to influence the political process and that the monthly pace of political spending this year has increased by nearly $400,000 over the average spent per month in the previous two years.

In addition to PAC contributions to our “public servants,” that’s funding 875 registered lobbyists for the insurance industry, and 920 for the HMOs. Which really is hardly a drop in the bucket for the industry, when you take into consideration their CEO compensation, which ranges from $3 million to $24 million.

Nice to know what our premiums are paying for, huh? We could cut out the middleman here. We could start giving all the money we’re spending on premiums directly to our representative and Senators. Maybe then they’d listen to us, the people who hired them, when it comes to vote.

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Who’s behind the healthcare protests? Follow the money.

moneyA couple more entries into the field:
link

Conservatives for Patients’ Rights is led by health care entrepreneur Rick Scott, the co-founder of Solantic urgent care walk-in centers, which he’s spread across Florida and is looking to expand…Scott left his job as CEO of the Columbia/HCA hospitals during a federal Medicare fraud probe in 1997 that led to a historic $1.7 billion settlement.

Earlier this year, Conservatives for Patients Rights (CPR), an anti-health care reform group led by the disgraced former CEO of Columbia/HCA Healthcare Rick Scott, began running a commercial attacking the British health care system. The TV ad runs through “tragic stories” of British citizens who it portrays as being against government-run health care such as the National Health Service (NHS).Now, the Daily Mail is reporting that two of the women featured in the commercial say they were “duped” into appearing in CPR’s ad campaign:

Furious Kate Spall and Katie Brickell claim that their views on the NHS have been misrepresented by a free market campaign group opposed to Mr Obama’s reforms in a bid to discredit the UK system. […]

Ms Spall and Ms Brickell both agreed to appear in a documentary on healthcare reform. But neither knew that the footage would be used as part of a TV advertising campaign carried on US networks.

The Daily Mail article goes on to note that both Spall and Brickell actually support government-run health care and were advocating for reforms within the NHS, not for its abolition.
–ThinkProgress

FreedomWorks, which has been advocating against the overhaul but has not launched TV ads, is chaired by Dick Armey, the former Republican majority leader of the House of Representatives from Texas.

But also noteworthy are the group’s other backers and board members. They include billionaire flat-tax proponent and former GOP presidential candidate Steve Forbes; Richard J. Stephenson, who founded Cancer Treatment Centers of America, which offers alternative as well as standard therapies, sometimes not covered by insurance; and Frank M. Sands, Sr., chief executive officer of an investment management firm whose offerings include a Healthcare Leaders portfolio.

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Whole Foods and John Mackey can suck it

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, wrote a guest editorial for the Wall Street Journal opposing health care reform. If you can believe it, the title is:
The Whole Foods Alternative to ObamaCare
Basic features of this “plan:”

• Remove the legal obstacles that slow the creation of high-deductible health insurance plans and health savings accounts (HSAs).

In the event that you’re not paying attention, what Mackey wants is for employers to pay less, and employees to pay more, into the health care system. Seriously.

• Repeal government mandates regarding what insurance companies must cover.

Those of you who were foolishly hoping that MackeyCare would at least prohibit insurance companies from declining care for pre-existing conditions are a bit disappointed now, aren’t you? So not only does Mackey want employers to pay less and employees to pay more, he wants the insurance companies to be able to provide less.

• Enact tort reform to end the ruinous lawsuits that force doctors to pay insurance costs of hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.

except….doctors don’t pay hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.
malpractice

but you already knew Mackey was a liar, if you look at the some of the crap he’s selling at Whole Foods.

Mackey short: I’m not rich enough, gimme some more tax breaks, buy foods from me at inflated prices, and everybody should just donate to charity. Those people who’ve lost their insurance from being fired, or had their insurance cancelled because of a pre existing condition, or just plain can’t afford $5,000 a year per person, can suck it.

Well, John Mackey can suck it.

Whole Foods was a pioneer in organic food retail. Good for them. But what got you here, won’t get you there.
Now there are lots of organic options. And many of them much more socially conscious than Whole Foods. Let me direct you to this compilation of Whole Foods many regressive policies.
Mackey himself has a very dubious history of sock-puppetry on the internet, acting in unethical fashion to manipulate the stock market.

Whole Foods and their CEO/founder are just another greedy, regressive company that just happened to sell a trendy product. The operate under the usual monopoly tenets: High prices, low wages, and low standards. Mackey doesn’t mention that he’s telling his managers to cut back full-time workers to 70%, so he doesn’t have to pay benefits for the other 30%.

And now he’s trying to deprive the country of a much needed healthcare reform.

Not with my money.

Farmers’ markets, Safeway, Krogers, Trader Joes, there are lots of alternatives.

Boycott!!

p.s. Lanny Davis, you can suck it, too.

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Fact-checking the lies about the healthcare bill

factsby two independent organizations that are widely respected for objective fact-checking on topics of political controversy are FactCheck.org, a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, and Politifact, a Pulitzer-prize winning project of the St. Petersburg Times.

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UPDATED: Republicans degenerating into fascist tactics: instigating disruptions at townhalls

angrymobThis is brown shirt stuff, people. It worked in 1994, and they’re going at it again.
ThinkProgress

This morning, Politico reported that Democratic members of Congress are increasingly being harassed by “angry, sign-carrying mobs and disruptive behavior” at local town halls. For example, in one incident, right-wing protesters surrounded Rep. Tim Bishop (D-NY) and forced police officers to have to escort him to his car for safety.

This growing phenomenon is often marked by violence and absurdity. Recently, right-wing demonstrators hung Rep. Frank Kratovil (D-MD) in effigy outside of his office. Missing from the reporting of these stories is the fact that much of these protests are coordinated by public relations firms and lobbyists who have a stake in opposing President Obama’s reforms.

The lobbyist-run groups Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks, which orchestrated the anti-Obama tea parties earlier this year, are now pursuing an aggressive strategy to create an image of mass public opposition to health care and clean energy reform. A leaked memo from Bob MacGuffie, a volunteer with the FreedomWorks website Tea Party Patriots, details how members should be infiltrating town halls and harassing Democratic members of Congress:teabag1 – Artificially Inflate Your Numbers: “Spread out in the hall and try to be in the front half. The objective is to put the Rep on the defensive with your questions and follow-up. The Rep should be made to feel that a majority, and if not, a significant portion of at least the audience, opposes the socialist agenda of Washington.”

– Be Disruptive Early And Often: “You need to rock-the-boat early in the Rep’s presentation, Watch for an opportunity to yell out and challenge the Rep’s statements early.”

– Try To “Rattle Him,” Not Have An Intelligent Debate: “The goal is to rattle him, get him off his prepared script and agenda. If he says something outrageous, stand up and shout out and sit right back down. Look for these opportunities before he even takes questions.”

The memo above also resembles the talking points being distributed by FreedomWorks for pushing an anti-health reform assault all summer. Patients United, a front group maintained by Americans for Prosperity, is currently busing people all over the country for more protests against Democratic members. Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), chairman of the NRCC, has endorsed the strategy, telling the Politico the days of civil town halls are now “over.”

Meanwhile, AHIP, the trade group and lobbying juggernaut representing the health insurance industry is sending staffers to monitor town halls and other right-wing front groups are stepping up their ad campaign to smear reform efforts. The strategy for defeating reform — recently outlined by an influential lobbyist to the Hill newspaper as “delay” then “kill” — is becoming apparent. By delaying a vote until after the August recess, lobbyists are now seizing upon recess town halls as opportunities to ambush lawmakers and fool them into believing there is wide opposition to reform.

On 4 November 1921 the Nazi party held a large public meeting in the Munich Hofbräuhaus. After Hitler had spoken for some time the meeting erupted into a melee in which a small company of SA distinguished itself by thrashing the opposition. The Nazis called this event “Saalschlacht” (meeting hall battle) and it assumed legendary proportions in SA lore with the passage of time. Thereafter, the group was officially known as the Sturmabteilung.[7]

link

UPDATE: ThinkProgress documents the use of these tactics across the country. Disgusting, unethical, dishonest, even unconstitutional…in the tradition of Karl Rove.
Digby points out how the GOP used this stuff in 1994 to defeat healthcare reform:

This is predictable. After all, they are following the 1994 playbook and they did the same thing then. This is from the PBS timeline of the Clinton health care debate:

July 22, 1994 – Trying to win back the kind of political support that brought them to the White House, the administration plans a bus trek across America to generate their own grassroots message to Congress for reform. A kickoff rally in Portland, Oregon, is marred by anti-Clinton protesters. When the first buses reach the highway they find a broken-down bus wreathed in red tape symbolizing government bureaucracy and hitched to a tow truck labeled, “This is Clinton Health Care.”

The anti-bus trek protests are the crowning success of the No Name Coalition and especially of the conservative political interest group Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE). By the time the ill-fated bus caravan takes to the highways, CSE operatives, working closely — and secretly — with Newt Gingrich’s Capitol Hill office and with Republican senators, have mapped out plans to derail the Reform Riders wherever they go.

July 23, 1994 – Following several days of anti-Hillary rhetoric on local talk shows, Hillary Clinton — at a bus rally in Seattle — is confronted by hundreds of angry men shouting that the Clintons are going to destroy their way of life, ban guns, extend abortion rights, protect gays, and socialize medicine. When she finishes speaking and tries to leave the rally, her limousine is surrounded by protesters. Each of the four caravan routes becomes an expedition into enemy territory — with better-armed, better-prepared, better-mobilized anti-Clinton protesters at each stop along the way. Local reform groups and caravan organizers are forced to cancel scheduled stops because of implicit threats of violence.

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Harvard economist gets it wrong on healthcare

One of Feldstein's other great ideas

One of Feldstein's other great ideas

Martin Feldstein, who tried to get Americans to give up their social security, and failed as a board member of AIG during the great fiasco, is now bringing his incompetence into the battle over healthcare reform. Feldman hasn’t a clue, unfortunately. Even more unfortunately, the Washington Post printed his op/ed:

Obama has said that he would favor a British-style “single payer” system in which the government owns the hospitals and the doctors are salaried but that he recognizes that such a shift would be too disruptive to the health-care industry.

Problem is, in the British system, the government owns the hospitals and pays the providers. This is socialized medicine, and is NOT Obama’s model. He has said he favors a system similar to Canada’s, which is NOT socialized medicine. Rather, in this model the government’s involvement is as an insurer. And efforts in Congress are only to include a government OPTION alongside other private insurance options.
Feldman’s efforts to protect his pals in the insurance company (and at Eli Lilly pharmaceuticals) are misguided at best, and possibly dishonest. I’m not thinking this guy is trying to help us.
h/t Ezra Klein

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