Featured #Healthcare

The Madness Will Last Beyond March

This is what happens when you’ve hitched your political wagon to a semi-trailer that has “Government Sucks” written on the side in patriotic colors. And when the driver of that semi has no political skill, cogent philosophy or enough sense to know that he’s being led by the nose by unrelenting, uncompromising, unapologetic conservative ideologues while his wingman looks like the deer in the headlights. Then you are heading for a monumental crash.

And the GOP did. Big time.

The Seven Year Obamacare Itch could not be scratched with a made-in-China plastic backscratcher or any of the GOP’s well-manicured fingernails. It was stunning and messy and terrible for the country, except for the fact that millions will keep their health insurance. And it’s only the beginning.

This was supposed to be the easy first step towards a better, Republican-led future but it exposed the House of Representatives as a hotbed of contradictions and competing constituencies. You know, the way the framers envisioned government when they created it. They even built in the idea that democratic ideas need to take time, to marinate in the bowl of public consumption, to gain a consensus, to be debated by the populace over the course of months to make sure that the terrible parts are squeezed out. None of that happened with the health care bill. President Know-Nothing thought this would be quick, and since he has no attention span to speak of, he approved of the GOP’s leadership idea that the bill needed to be introduced one week and voted on in the next.

Oopsy.

But the worst was the spectacle of Trump and Ryan throwing publicly approved healthcare provisions overboard with no thought about how a final bill with no protections for those with preexisting conditions, or guaranteed maternity care or no-cost preventive care would play in, well, Peoria and the areas where Trump won the election. There simply was no health or care in the bill. No wonder only 17% of respondents in the latest poll approved of it.

The other issue with the health care bill, though, is more far-reaching. The money saved in this bill was supposed to fund the giant tax-cut-for-the-wealthy that the GOP was going to tackle next. Now there’s no cash in the till, which means that there will need to be more spending cuts. The ultra-conservatives didn’t like government spending for health care, so they sure as heck aren’t going to vote for a tax cut or a trillion dollar infrastructure bill that might explode the deficit and fund Planned Parenthood. The ultras have the power now and they are immune to Trump’s lame threats and simpering appeals for American greatness.

And, of course, there’s the issue of the Republicans actually funding and running a United States that has an Affordable Care Act. If they were smart, they would regroup and find an alternative that would shore up the insurance markets or make sure that elderly people don’t have to pay more for less care or to make insurance portable so that no American would have to worry about losing their insurance simply because they lost their job or move to take care of a family member. You remember family? The Republicans are supposed to be the family party.

Doing any of this would require Democratic acquiescence, which is doable. The question is whether the GOP will actually ask.

Of course, this won’t happen because the president has already said that the healthcare will “explode” and the insurance markets will tank because…he will make sure that this happens. Then he thinks he’s going to blame the Democrats. The GOP owns health care now, and if the law fails it will be because of their actions.

Do keep in mind that it’s still only March. But the madness will last far longer.

Healthcare

To Hell With the Health of the State

I really do try to see the intellectual arguments behind the politicians that utter them and I really do try to keep my judgements closely aligned to the agree/disagree axis, as opposed to the anger/unreasonably mean axis that seems to be in vogue these day.

But on both health care and the environment, I just can’t help but think that the Republican Party is using its treasured Second Amendment rights to shoot itself in multiple locations on its body politic. I understand that the voters who installed this regime thought terribly of President Obama and wanted the ACA repealed, and I also understand that many farmers and ranchers and manufacturers detest Environment Protection Agency rules on land use and cleanup, and many more deny the science behind the changing climate, but did these voters truly want what’s ambling down the lane? Do they really want to lose health insurance coverage and to make the air and water dirtier? Because that’s what’s going to happen.

It’s no secret that the Trump administration wants to take us back to some mythical past where the country was greater than it is now, but that invariably means that we’ll go back to a time when air and water pollution was at its height, lead paint sickened children, DDT killed eagles, sludge in rivers forced any kind of wildlife to flee or die and people died because they did not have adequate health insurance or access to medicine. Is this what people voted for?

On health care, the GOP is so bent on repealing the ACA quickly that they’ve created a program that will strip away insurance from millions of people, cut taxes for the wealthy, and only the wealthy, cut back on assurances that certain medical procedures – especially those that relate to women and the elderly – would continue, and increase the budget deficit. Their plan will also make insurance cost more for those unable to qualify for Medicaid and to cut money for Medicaid recipients to the point where they won’t be able to get the full coverage they would under present rules. And all of this is being done because the GOP believes that insurance companies, who will still have to cover people with pre-existing conditions, will magically cut their premiums in the name of competition.

I certainly appreciate that premiums have risen under the ACA, but at least people still retain their insurance and most are shielded from the cost because they qualify for subsidies. Rather than fixing the problems so people can retain coverage, the GOP plan ensures that many insured citizens will lose their plans. And all in the name of ideology.

As for the environment, EPA Chief Scott Pruitt’s statement last week that he doesn’t believe that human activity has anything to do with any climate change is beyond ignorant, and is a danger to life on this planet. His position, then, is that we should be able to freely pollute the air and water because, really, who are we hurting? Has someone ever shown him the pictures from the 1960s and 70s that show the haze and pollution over both urban and rural areas? It’s astounding.

Fortunately, I live in New Jersey, where the air is clean, the water is crystal clear and fresh, the traffic is minimal and there are, thankfully, no toxic waste sites. None. Because if I lived in a state that had a great deal of pollution or an abundance of carbon monoxide-spewing cars or terrible traffic or long-ago-but-obvious-today violations of industrial laws because let’s say chemical and manufacturing companies illegally dumped ungodly amounts of toxins in the water or in leaky rusting drums and left them beside some chain link fenced in area near a stinky, foul river and then claimed that they didn’t have to clean it up or vented smelly fumes without cleaning the smokestacks near the, well, let’s call it a Turnpike for want of a better word, then I would be outraged that the new head of the governmental agency responsible for ensuring that the country is as clean as can be recently denied that humans have anything to do with why the climate is changing.

So when I take my giant SUV out to drive along this great flat earth of ours, I can do so with a clear conscience and the freedom to pollute at will because not only is carbon monoxide not responsible for climate change, it’s also non-polluting. Because if it polluted the air, then it would be a contributing factor in the climate. But it doesn’t. So it doesn’t. Scott Pruitt told me so. So shut up.

The Republican agenda is danger to the country. A government that purposefully ignores the health of its citizens and actively works to undermine it deserves to be opposed at every turn.

For more, go to www.facebook.com/WhereDemocracyLives or Twitter @rigrundfest

Featured #Health Care

Republicans’ Radical Plan to End Medicaid

The shiny object that has our attention is the latest nonsense spewing from Trump’s mouth at any given time. And while the media is focus on Trump and the Republican’s talk about repealing Obamacare, a move that will take healthcare away from 32 million Americans, and while the media is captivated by Trump’s dictator-style treatment of them, the bigger story is the Republican’s radical plan to end Medicaid.

This radical plan has nothing to do with the ACA and everything to do with conservatives’ long-standing ideological goal to cap and cut federal Medicaid spending. Medicaid has been a pillar of our health-care system for 52 years and now insures nearly 1 in 5 Americans. A per-capita cap (sending a fixed amount to the states for each beneficiary) or a block grant (sending a fixed amount to the states for their entire program) would be an unprecedented abandonment of federal responsibility by giving states substantially less federal funding than they would get under Medicaid today, with the cuts growing larger each year. That would pass the buck to the states, our health-care safety net and all Americans — and deny care to the most vulnerable among us.

Featured #Health

White House Cannot Guarantee that Everyone Will Keep Their Healthcare

They say Obamacare is bad, but it appears this “bad” law is covering more people than the proposed bill coming from the Trump administration. The White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee, cannot or will not guarantee healthcare coverage to every American covered by Obamacare.

Sanders repeatedly dodged the question on ABC’s “This Week,” saying Trump had promised to repeal Obamacare and replace it “with something that’s better.”

Host George Stephanopoulos pressed Sanders on why, if Trump was so intent on replacing the law with something better, the White House couldn’t guarantee that everyone currently with insurance wouldn’t lose it. Sanders said it was “a goal” to make sure people didn’t lose coverage, but she stopped short of saying people would be able to keep their current insurance, or would even be offered similar plans.

Healthcare

39 Years Later, Escaped Prisoner Turns Himself in for Healthcare

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Having to choose between health and freedom, he chose health. Like, what’s the point of being free, if you’re dead!

Get healthcare folks, it’s kinda important.

Ronnie Dickinson of Frankfort, Kentucky, turned himself in to authorities with an incredible story, sheriff’s officials said Tuesday: His name isn’t Ronnie Dickinson, he’s been a fugitive for nearly 39 years and he wants to go back to prison for the health care.

Clarence David Moore, 66, called the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office on Monday and said he wanted to turn himself in, the sheriff’s office said. When deputies arrived, they found Moore — who’d been living in Frankfort as Ronnie Dickerson for the last six years — partially paralyzed and unable to walk because of a recent stroke. He was arrested and taken by ambulance to a hospital for examination before he was taken to the Franklin County Regional Jail.

Sheriff Pat Melton told NBC station WLEX of Lexington on Tuesday that Moore said he’d escaped from the Henderson County, North Carolina, Prison Unit in the mid-1970s and has been on the lam for almost four decades.

But as he got sicker, he couldn’t get medical coverage to pay for the complications of his stroke and other health problems, because he doesn’t have a valid Social Security number under his alias.

“You can’t make this up,” Melton said.

North Carolina prison records show that Moore, in fact, escaped at least three times from state prisons — the first time in 1971, as he was serving an eight-year sentence for larceny. He was caught within hours, but he escaped again the next year and remained loose until 1975 before he was captured.

Finally, on Aug. 6, 1976, he vanished again — this time, seemingly, for good.

ObamaCare #Politics #Texas

In Red Red Texas, Almost 1 Million People Already Signed up for Obamacare

Ted CruzAP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

Republicans love to hate the man, but they love his Obamacare!

Federal officials announced Wednesday that 969,461 people in Texas have signed so far up for insurance coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

In the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington area, 277,015 consumers selected or were automatically enrolled in a 2015 plan, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

The sign-up deadline for this year’s coverage is Feb. 15.

Nearly 7.5 million consumers selected a plan or were automatically re-enrolled through the HealthCare.gov platform as of Jan. 30, 2015.

Wednesday’s Weekly Enrollment Snapshot for the first time also includes people who selected a plan or were automatically re-enrolled within select Metropolitan Statistical Areas. This localized data provides another level of detail to better understand total plan selections within local communities ahead of the Feb. 15 deadline.

As of Jan. 30:

– 256,982 consumers in the Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX local area selected or were automatically enrolled in a plan – 89,821 consumers in the San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX local area selected or were automatically enrolled in a plan – 85,116 consumers in the Austin-Round Rock, TX local area selected or were automatically enrolled in a plan – 40,791 consumers in the El Paso, TX local area selected or were automatically enrolled in a plan – 26,17 consumers in the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX local area selected or were automatically enrolled in a plan