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 I understand that the voters who installed this regime thought terribly of President Obama and wanted the ACA repealed, and I also understand that many farmers and ranchers and manufacturers detest Environment Protection Agency rules on land use and cleanup, and many more deny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 or Twitter @rigrundfest

Health Care #Politics #Repeal #young people

Insurance, Young People And A Healthier American Future

A new report issued last week by the CDC contained some very good news – young Americans are taking advantage of a provision in the health care reform, signed into law by President Obama.

Before President Obama’s historic health care reform law was passed, young people were generally dropped from their parents plan when they turned 18 or left college. Obtaining coverage through an individual plan could be cost-prohibitive for young adults, especially those with pre-existing conditions, so many went without health insurance altogether.

The Affordable Care Act includes a provision that allows young adults to stay on their parent’s health insurance until their 26th birthday. When that provision went into effect in September of 2010, about 64 percent of 19 to 25 year olds had health insurance. By June of 2011, that number jumped to nearly 73 percent.

This is good news in more ways than one.

Providing medical insurance for young people  encourages a more progressive attitude in regards to looking after one’s own health. Individuals can easily see the importance of maintaining good health – eating right, proper medication, getting exercise,  early diagnosis’ for disease, birth control, as well as having regular check-ups with a doctor.

And although a more health conscious  mentality will be a good improvement for anyone, it also benefits the nation as a whole, for the health of a nation greatly depends on the health and wellbeing of its citizens.

Health Care #Politics #Repeal

Health Care Reform Goes Before The Supreme Court


The announcement is made: beginning next March, the Republicans effort to officially take away your health care, and put your health decisions back into the hands of insurance companies, goes before the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court said Monday it will hear arguments next March over President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul —a case that could shake the political landscape as voters are deciding if Obama deserves another term.

This decision to hear arguments in the spring sets up an election-year showdown over the White House’s main domestic policy achievement. And it allows plenty of time for a decision in late June, just over four months before Election Day.

The justices announced they will hear an extraordinary five-and-a-half hours of arguments from lawyers on the constitutionality of a provision at the heart of the law and three other related questions about the act. The central provision in question is the requirement that individuals buy health insurance starting in 2014 or pay a penalty.

Politics #Texas #Wall Street

Rick Perry Tried To Gain Benefits From Dead Texans

This is as slime-ball low as slime-ball low goes. A story in the Huffington Post details a scheme by Governor Rick Perry of Texas to make money off the dead.

The scheme, according to the report, spoke about an arrangement the Perry administration proposed, where Wall Street investors would bet on how long retired teachers would live. Perry’s administration would act as the middle man, introducing the insurance provider USB to the unsuspecting retired teacher. Wall Street would then bet on that teacher’s longevity, and upon their passing, Perry would take the insurance money and reward the winning investor. The state of Texas would get a percentage for introducing USB insurance, The Wall Street investor and the deceased.

The family of the deceased, predictably, will not get anything from this arrangement

According to the notes, which were authenticated by a meeting participant, the Perry administration wanted to help Wall Street investors gamble on how long retired Texas teachers would live. Perry was promising the state big money in exchange for helping Swiss banking giant UBS set up a business of teacher death speculation.

All they had to do was convince retirees to let UBS buy life insurance policies on them. When the retirees died, those policies would pay out benefits to Wall Street speculators, and the state, supposedly, would get paid for arranging the bets. The families of the deceased former teachers would get nothing.

Calling Perry a slime ball is wrong. My apologies to the real slime-balls of the world. You wouldn’t sink this low.

Health Care #Politics #Rick Scott

Republican Governor Rick Scott Gets Government Healthcare

This is a perfect case of  “Do what I say, not as I do!”, and it furthers exemplifies the hypocrisy of today’s Republican party and the utter joke they have become.

Case in point? Florida’s Republican Governor, Rick Scott: Scott and the rest of the Republicans, both in Congress and in state government, are on a rampage, trying to deny healthcare to regular everyday middle class Americans. Their dirty little secret is, they are happily enrolled in the very same government health care program they want you to give up.

Gov. Rick Scott, a critic of the federal health care overhaul, is paying less than $400 a year for health insurance for himself and his wife.

While Scott is accepting no salary for his job as governor, the multimillionaire and former hospital chain executive chose to enroll in the taxpayer-subsidized health insurance plan offered by the state of Florida.

Scott is among nearly 32,000 people in state government who pay relatively low health insurance premiums. It’s a perk that is available to high-ranking state officials, including those in top management at all state agencies. Nearly all 160 state legislators are also enrolled in the program that costs just $8.34 a month for individual coverage and $30 a month for family coverage.

Brian Burgess, a spokesman for Scott, confirmed the governor and his wife are enrolled in the state health insurance plan, but refused to discuss why Scott signed up. He called the governor’s health care coverage a private matter.

Apparently, government insurance is good for them, but not for you!

Abortion #Tid Bits #United States

A Few Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Abortions

Just a few things you may not have known about the women who have abortions.

  • Almost 1 out of every 3 women in the United States will have an abortion before age 45
  • Most women having an abortion are in their 20’s
  • 6 out of 10 women having an abortion already have children. And they site the need to care for their children as the primary reason not to have another child.
  • 3 out of 4 women who have abortions describe themselves as religiously affiliated
  • Catholics have abortions at about the same rate of other women overall
  • In 2008, more than 4 in 10 abortion patients had income below the federal poverty line
  • White women account for 1 out of 3 abortions, more than any other group

The video below explains

Chuck Schumer #Politics #Republican

Democrats Looking At Other Options Besides Individual Mandate

Mccaskill 220-250

Claire McCaskill (D-MO)

They’re pretty certain the provision will hold up against the onslaught of the Republicans and the Supreme Court, but just in case the unexpected happens, some Congressional Democrats are already making other preparations to replace the individual mandate.

One idea floating around is that of Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO). According to her plan, an open enrollment period will be offered where people can voluntarily buy insurance policy. After that period passes, anyone wishing to purchase insurance will incur a penalty, causing their policy to be considerably higher.

The idea is based on existing requirements, where once a year individuals get to choose their insurance policies that best suit their needs. After that period passes, they face an expensive alternative when the need to get insurance arises.

Derek Thompson of the Washington Posts explained it this way;

Let’s say I tell you at the beginning of flu season that you can buy Nyquil for a $2 discount today, but tomorrow the price will go up to $20 forever. What do you do? You stock up on Nyquil, of course! Note that I haven’t required that you do anything. I’ve just weighted the incentives to make you buy the medicine. It’s not a mandate, just an irresistible deal.

Although this plan sounds like a great idea, even Claire McCaskill have reservations. She explains, “the issue is will the research support that approach as workable to still allow us to cover people with pre-existing conditions.”

The advantage of the individual mandate meant that everyone had a responsibility to insure themselves, thus, bringing more money into the insurance industry eventually reflecting in lower premiums for individuals. It also allow for the coverage of pre-existing conditions because more people will be involved in the program. Mrs. McCaskill’s method raises questions about whether pre-existing conditions and other important aspects of the Health reform will be implemented if individuals choose not to participate.

As Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) expressed his concerns with this idea, saying that altering the mandate will weaken the bill. He said;

“You’d have to look at the specific proposals. The bottom line is that if you change the mandate, one of two things will happen: Many of the good things in the bill will not be there, such as pre-existing conditions, or premiums will go way, way up.”

The individual mandate is under attack by Republicans as unconstitutional, although when the idea was first floated in 1993 for then president George Bush, they were all in support of the idea. Mr. Mark Pauly, the original author of the now controversial idea said questioning the mandate’s constitutionality was never the issue when it was first introduced, saying;

“I don’t remem­ber that being raised at all. The way it was viewed by the Con­gres­sional Bud­get Office in 1994 was, effec­tively, as a tax. You either paid the tax and got insur­ance that way or went and got it another way. So I’ve been sur­prised at that argument.”