Tag Archives: public option

Can we get a refund?

That’s it, I’m done. I’ve used this product for almost 2 years now and have found it to be lacking each and every time I’ve counted on it. When I saw the advertisements for it I thought to myself “Well, that sounds pretty good, I think I’ll try it” then whipped out my credit card and paid for it. I know I know, I should have remembered the old adage “If it’s too good to be true…blah-blah-blah” but it was just so damn appealing! I couldn’t help it and neither, it seems, could 69 million other people!

So what product did we all buy into that has turned out to be a dud?

Barack Obama!

Now listen, I’m not saying John McCain would have been any better. In fact the more I see of him and his confused,mentally incompetent and extremely angry running mate the more sure I am of that simple fact. But that doesn’t mean Barack Obama is the God-send he was supposed to be. To be honest, one thing that would have been a nice change if McCain and Palin had won would that we could actually see something getting done instead of a President selling his own ideas, his party’s idea’s and his and his party leaders nuts to the lowest bidder. Say what you want about George Bush (and I have), but he sure as hell got stuff done… just not the stuff any rational person wanted done. But now, instead of being stuck with a President that rolls over anyone in his way, we have a President who rolls over for anyone in his way.

Don’t like his health care, it’s ok he’ll drop the most important part of it.

Don’t like his stimulus plan? No problem, he’ll give you the tax breaks you want, ask for less money than he needs and he’ll let you call it all “Obama’s Radical Socialist Agenda” while you secretly take the funds from him anyway because you know that your state couldn’t survive without those funds.

Don’t believe in science or climate change? Well that’s ok, he does believe in it but to make you happy he’ll end all hopes of anything ‘Green’ coming from this liberal white  house.

Over and over, again and again, this president hasn’t proved he wants bipartisanship legislation , he’s proved he want Conservative Republican only legislation! With a 60 vote majority in the Congress, overwhelming public support on his side, some of the largest ‘political capitol’ for an incoming president in a generation  and he’s done nothing more than give up on every promise he ever made. Next on the auction block are the Bush Tax cuts, that will kill this country if we  reauthorize them for every level of income and   repeal of Don’t ask, Don’t tell.

$5 trillion is what extending those tax cuts to include the richest 1% of this country will cost. For 10 years that segment saw an average of $100,000 in tax relief while the average American family  saw $500. No jobs were created, the deficit exploded, we borrowed money from every crazy uncle we could find in the family… but hey, let’s do it again because this President can’t seem to say no to the Republican party as well as he can say no to his own party.

Military leaders say DADT is antiquated and they want it changed, the majority of American say they want it changed, when polled, an overwhelming majority of currently enlisted service men and women say they’re ok with it changing so of course when one Republican balks at the idea because of his own bigoted agenda, Barack Obama caves in and shelves repealing one of the most ridiculous laws to ever come out of Congress.

Nukes! Nukes and the non- proliferation of them is something we can agree on right? We can all, Republican and Democrat agree that if we could have an agreement with Russia over nuclear weapons, well  that would be a good thing. I mean, seriously who wants the Russians to have a run on nuclear weapons like they have promised, if we can prevent it?

Enter “No Comprise” Republicans and “Give them what they want” Obama! and before long we’ll be hearing “Treaty? What Treaty?”

But, Vladimir Putin did call anyone who wouldn’t ratify this START treaty “dumb” and what kind of bipartisan president would Obama be if he allowed a foreign leader to say that about his favorite party?

Yesterday, after meeting with the incoming Republican leadership President Obama said

“The president acknowledged he needed to do better,” Gibbs said.



Umm.. better at what?


Obama told the lawmakers that he needed to do more to reduce the partisan tone in Washington, press secretary Robert Gibbs said later. The president said he plans to hold additional talks in Washington and at Camp David with lawmakers of both parties.


Yes, well.. of course. He needs to do better at reducing the partisan tone. Rep. Joe Barton on the other hand, well he can say

“Speaker Boehner is our Dwight Eisenhower in the battle against the Obama Administration. Majority Leader Cantor is our Omar Bradley. I want to be George Patton – put anything in my scope and I will shoot it.”

Implying of course, as the The Washington Post‘s Al Kamen says

If the Obama administration was hoping to see hints of bipartisanship from the Hill, it might want to skip over the House Energy and Commerce Committee




Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell sent a letter to Harry Reid this morning letting him know that 100% of the Senate Republicans have decided to block any and all Democrat legislation until they get what they want.

Yes, yes I see where Obama needs to do more to end all this silly partisan stuff.

I want a refund damn it! I’m tired of fighting for a President who will not fight for himself and who will actually throw me under the bus if it gets him a vocal promise of support, even when he knows that when it comes down to it, that vocal promise doesn’t mean shit. I’m tired of watching the policies my party believes in being shelved or butchered beyond recognition  before there is even a chance to see where the other, minority side will compromise on. We were promised a fighter and we gave him a 60 vote majority to help him! We were standing there behind him,telling him what we wanted, what we expected… WE were the people we have been waiting for, but you Mr. President are not the President we have been waiting for!

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Dear John…

JohnD from  www.armedrobbery.blogspot.com/ left this comment on my blog the other day..

Interesting post, EKG. It’s nice to see the left has found a new target for its vitriol now that George W. Bush is out of the picture.

“Mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a God, but never without belief in a devil.”

-Eric Hoffer, THE TRUE BELIEVER (1951)

I’m sure Palin-bashing is a pleasant distraction from President Obama’s serial failures. At the very least, hatred for her has provided the faithful with a rallying point.

I ignored his glossing over of President Obama being a target of vitriol himself and  asked him to enumerate Obama’s ‘serial failures’.  His reply was

Failure to get his health care bill and Waxman/Markey passed, even with total Democratic control of Congress; extraordinarily high unemployment rates; a rapidly rising deficit (over and above what was “inherited”); failure to close Guantanamo; take your pick. You can throw in failure to secure the Olympics for Chicago and declining poll numbers too.

as I started to answer him, I realized that these questions and answers deserve more space than the comments section of another blog-post. So I decided to answer them here….

First off, John.. I don’t know you. I don’t know if you are an extreme right winger, I don’t know if you are unbend-able in your opinions, I don’t know if you tow the party line no matter where it takes you. I know you are a friend of Mike’s, but I don’t know if you are as obstinately against looking at things from another perspective as he is or not. Because of this… uncertainty, I am answering with the assumption that you can see a different way of viewing things if shown, or explained.. I’m assuming that you are moderate and not hard-extreme like Mike.

No one likes to be blamed and no one likes their party to be blamed… but no one likes the other party to actually be at fault and share none of the blame and instead pile it all on one side. Of course I am going to place blame with the GOP on many issues, what I will wait to see from your reply to this is if you can see why I would blame them.. maybe not that you agree that they are to blame for alot of it, but maybe..hopefully.. you will admit that they do share, alot, in what is going on today. This is not a ‘well he did it first’ kind of blame. I believe I am laying out a valid argument. I hope to get more than “well you did it first” or the condescending  “LOL” and  “eyerolls” from you in your reply.

Now, on with the blog.

I agree with you John, it is Obama’s failure that Health reform has stagnated. He took it on faith that when Grassley, Snowe and other (R) said they were willing to work on a bi-partisan  solution,they meant it. The rest of us were hearing Grassley call it a ‘death panel’ and how people should fear Obama’s health reform and how he’d never vote for it when he was home on the weekends, but the ‘bubble’ Obama lives in, the same that all Presidents live in, prevented him from hearing that “weekend, rally the base” talk.

I don’t think it was until Lieberman’s extreme, blatant and almost joyful bragging of this ‘partisan ‘obstruction’ that Obama finally wised up. When Lieberman, who just a few years ago ran on his “medcare for 55” policy and was saying everywhere he could that this was the only solution he would support…immediately turned against it because, as he  said,  ‘well since liberals like my plan, I’m against it now’,  I think the President started seeing what he was up against, and what he was up against was illogical and unreasonable opposition. Do you atleast agree that Lieberman’s flip on his own idea and the reason he gave, prove this illogical and unreasonable position?

Even if you don’t think it was illogical or unreasonable, how can you fault President Obama for not getting things done in that kind of atmosphere? We aren’t talking about anything rational that can be explained or even expected. Republicans  and that includes Lieberman(I), were turning on their own plans, things they had campaigned on, the second after President Obama said “Hey, you know what.. your way does sound better so let’s include it”

Rising deficit

On Jan. 7, 2009, two weeks before Obama took office, the CBO reported the deficit was projected to be $1.2 trillion


At least  you gave blame to Bush for the 1.2 trillion of it..

The CBO – which provides the official estimates of the budgetary impact of legislation and events such as wars and recessions – cites the housing market collapse and the financial market turmoil as the main culprits for the shortfall. The federal government has tried to combat the crisis by so far committing $7.2 trillion in investments and loans primarily to financial institutions.

The current recession “will probably be the longest and the deepest since World War II,” the CBO said. The economic deterioration since September, which was the last time CBO made deficit projections, is the biggest contributor to a sharp decline in tax revenue projections. The CBO expects tax revenue in 2009 to fall by $166 billion, or 6.6%, from the previous year’s collection.

That revenue decline, in turn, is the biggest reason for the worsening outlook over the next decade, said Diane Lim Rogers, chief economist at the Concord Coalition, a deficit watchdog group. “The revenue effect is huge.”

and Obama does own his own share.. But we know that he does not ‘own’ the entire  problem. Why is it then that he is saddled with it? Where was this outcry of ‘budget deficits’ going back 3 years and more? How is this President Obama’s doing? He added to what was there yes, but what was the alternative when he stepped into the Oval on day one? You and I along with McCain and so so many others, know that had he won, McCain would have had to do the same exact things Obama did and would have had the same exact deficit today.. This really isn’t an Obama issue.. we all know this but since it’s going on under his watch-he gets the blame..Ok fine, but then we do have to put blame on the person who did create it.  No, this isn’t a “he did it so I can to” this is a ‘I really had nothing to do with all of it, so stop blaming it all on me argument and that is based in reality, not GOP partisan amnesia and fantasy.

When Obama stepped into office he had to deal with 2 unpaid wars, unpaid tax cuts, a wall street collapse, a housing market collapse, an infrastructure that had been neglected for 10 years. The Bush budget deficit projections never included the war price, when Obama put it into his, like it should have been done in the 1st place.. it didn’t help his numbers at all, but atleast it was honest. Unlike those who are supposed to give us ‘fair and balanced’ news..

During the April 3 edition of Fox News’ America’s Newsroom, on-screen text repeatedly falsely claimed that President Obama’s $3.6 trillion fiscal year 2010 budget is “4x bigger than Bush’s costliest plan.” However, President Bush submitted a $3.1 trillion budget for FY 2009. For FY 2008, Bush submitted a $2.9 trillion budget.

**Link to screen shot**

But Obama deserves the blame for all this hiding, collapse and the unpaid bills that all came due just a few short days before he came into office? Which turned out to be more than anyone.. anyone ever expected as more came to light in the coming days after his inauguration? If you truly feel this blames lays on President Obama’s lap, can you explain how you came to that decision?

High unemployment

Yes.. there is.. but you can’t look at 700,000 jobs lost per month when he got there to 11,000 in December 2009 and call that a failure.. and you can’t look at the numbers we were at, are still at now and expect it to change the next day.. or even the next year, not if you’re also not going to allow a larger stimulus bill/recovery act. So Obama was wrong on his optimism those 1st days that the unemployment numbers wouldn’t rise past a certain level, fine. But is he to blame that the numbers rose to that level or just to blame for not realizing just how bad things were a split second after he got there?

Is it the loss of jobs you blame him for or the bad prediction on jobs lost?

Like it, love it, hate it… when no one else is spending any money… the government has to. For the Government to also stop spending money is a catastrophe on a scale that we’ve never seen before. When no one, banks, businesses,people on the street are spending anything.. the government has to. It has to beg,borrow and yes, steal to spend money in order to get people spending money spending again. McCain,Romney,Huckabee.. Reagan.. all would have had no choice, given the exact same circumstance,  but to do the same. Or they would have watched while the country crumbled into oblivion the way Nero did. The ones like Mike, who argue that no, the government shouldn’t have spent a penny, can’t prove that their way would have been the right way or that we’d be any better off. They can’t prove it because there isn’t a time machine to take us back. So to me this argument is one of pure partisan fantasy. It cannot be proven and yet the GOP swears their way was the correct way. What’s worse is, they make 1/2 the country believe in this unprovable feary-tale. This is where the ‘faith’ and almost ‘religious like’ belief comes into play and it is the cornerstone of a lot of the GOP’s argument..

You can’t prove God doesn’t exist therefore he must be real.

They can’t prove no stimulus or Tarp would have worked better, therefore it must be true.

I call bullshit on both accounts… You want me to believe we shouldn’t have spent the money on the banks and on the recovery act, then prove it to me. Prove to me that not spending it would have worked better, that we would be in a better place, telling me  you are right only because you say so doesn’t work, I am not a believer in your religion I need more proof than that.

By the way, John.. Most of the “YOU” I use are not directed at YOU.. it is a general term used when speaking. I  hope you understand that.

Continuing on..

Failure to secure the Olympics?

Are you kidding? 1/2 the country didn’t want the Olympics

Forty-three percent (43%) of Americans say it’s a bad idea for President Obama to go overseas at this time to help Chicago make its final presentation to the International Olympic Committee

John Boehner blasted the President for trying to get them

“Listen I think it’s a great idea to promote Chicago but he’s the president of the United States, not the mayor of Chicago,” Boehner said. “And the problems we have here at home affect all Americans and that’s where his attention ought to be.”

and every night they were rewarded with their opinions by the likes of the GOP and Fox news telling them how bad it would crush us, how much money it would take, how horrible it would be. How dangerous Chicago is

Yes, Fox news is a factor when they have the massive viewer ratings they have, add them into Rush’s 20 million people a week rating and all of them chiming in on the evil that is the Olympics and why would we get it over a country literally begging to have to it because they want it?

But ok, Obama didn’t get the Olympics… that’s a failure on his part. But is that really something to hold against him? out of everything… is that an issue that truly pisses you off and just sticks in your craw?

Gitmo.

I’ve thought about this. Was Obama the naive one to think he could wave his ‘magic negro’ wand and close Gitmo? Or were we the naive ones to think he could wave his ‘magic negro’ wand and close Gitmo? I think it was both. I think a lot of us listened to his speeches and felt the inspiration and hope in that new era he talked about bringing. I think those of us who didn’t roll our eyes and didn’t decide that election night to do everything we possibly could to make his life hell and oppose everything.. everything he tried, actually believed this was the guy to change Rome back into the days of it’s purity,prosperity,glory and power. We (wrongly) assumed that Washington was also sick on the status quo, that Washington wanted to move on to a better place. That the country didn’t care if it was a Republican or Democrat, man or woman, black or white in office, we just wanted hope and change and not more of the same thing we had had for so long. We were all naive.

President Obama owns the failure to close Gitmo, but he doesn’t have sole ownership. Jesus, trust me I know it’s like a broken record to say the GOP also owns this since they stood in the way and did everything in the power to make sure 1/2 the country was against closing Gitmo and bringing the detainees here..but it is the truth. Through fear mongering and out right lies, GOP congressmen,governors,speakers,pundits went out to their communities , viewers, listeners and said “No way! Not in my yard, these guys are dangerous,these guys can’t be held in our prisons, these guys are super-powers that can only be controlled in Cuba” and we both know, hell we all know this is factually untrue. We are holding terrorists right now on our soil, we are holding terrorist right now in our prisons, we have been holding them for years. We are holding people who are worse! We, as Americans, have some of the most dangerous criminals in the world in our prisons right now. We have brain-eaters,baby-rapers,kidnappers,tortures,sex-slave traffickers ,abusers,bombers,pyromaniacs,serial killers, mass murders.. and we have extremely smart and devious   criminals like Madoff, Abramoff and hunderds of others. But somehow we’re ill equip to incarcerate men who have probably never had running water until they got to our prision camp?

That’s the most bogus of all feary-tales ever told. This idea that America is too weak, too incompetent and unable to imprison anyone is incredulous. If this is your belief, that we are just unable to rise to meet this ‘danger’ can you explain your reasoning to me, explain it without “Because they should be in a military tribunal”

All of this leads to a drop in polls.  You’ve seen the link to the numbers of Fox and just Rush, that doesn’t include Beck and all the other conservative radio. When  they are all, from top to bottom on the same line in the play book, all condemning,ridiculing, mocking, lying,inflating.. all giving out the worst of the wosrt bias,slanted partsian spin.. add that in with an entire section of Congress that doesn’t just stand in the way, but also makes up feary-tales and they believe it, polls are going to decline. How could they not?

And what about that anyway. Isn’t it normal for Presidential numbers to come back down to a reasonable level?

The other day I was reading the comments on a reputable news sources story about this Baradar capture, 75% of them were things like “Well, now that we can’t waterboard the guy the CIA will never get anything out him, Thanks Obama for ruining this country once again!” If the only tool in the CIA arsenal is waterboarding… then we really are fucked. Because it’s the opinion that begs the conclusion that the CIA has always and only water-boarded prisoners to get information and it was just the 2-3 years that they were legally allowed to that the were able to function at full capacity in the light of day. The point I’m making is, somehow people  think that CIA  doesn’t know how to get information from anyone without waterboarding them? Is this not the most insane thing you’ve ever seen? Why is this?Where did they get the idea that this was the only tool the CIA had? If  you can truthfully answer that, they you should be able to understand most, if not all of what it is I’m trying to show you.

Who is to blame for this? Not Obama.. but it is what he must fight against. The problem is you cannot argue with someone with that mindset. Their belief is again, religous like.. and cannot be changed,altered or enlightened.

Finally, I saved the best for last… “even with the democrats in control of congress”.. This is the most used response that I  see for pretty much everything. This idea that just because the Democrats had a filibuster  proof margine and didn’t use and some how it’s their fault is ridiculous . Listen, I’m going to tell you a secret that could get my liberal-card revoked ( 🙂 )  unlike the GOP, there are different levels of (D). We don’t all think with one brain, we don’t all follow the leader like a flock of birds, that is what makes us ‘liberal’ or the favorite slam of the GOP, ‘radical’ . We think for ourselves and decide accordingly and not according to party/leader doctrine. We are just not that  ‘religious-like’ in our faith and the following of party ‘dogma’. There are Democrats who don’t believe in abortion, there are some like me who believe in the death penalty and guns rights. To condem anyone.. any party  for not just towing the party-line is asinine  and to blindly follow the party-line used to be a bad thing.. but today, with the entire GOP saying “You can’t even get your party to all vote the same way and use that fillibuster proof majority” is so exquisitely  sad, but still not as sad  wanting and forcing any one party to act that way. I just can’t believe anyone, anywhere would want and encourage people to just blindly vote all (D) or all (R) depending on their party and then ridcule and condem anyone when they didn’t.

Besides any of that, this isn’t a one party system, the other side is supposed to help govern also!

This excuse…“Hey, you guys control congress.. it’s not our fault” and those using it are right though, the problem is the next thing they say to their audience,readers,constituents… and the next thing is invariably

“The Democrats need to listen to the country and work bi-partisanly”

In one hand there is a dare to use the majority, in the other.. a crying to all who will listen that if we don’t do something…have rallies, write letters, send in campaign money.. the Democrats will use their majority. It’s insane! They are literally damned  for not using it by the GOP and some of their own and damned  if the think about using it.

So John, what would you have them do? Which ‘evil’ do the Democrats pick?  Do they follow in the last administrations path and issue Executive Orders, recess appointements, signing statements and push through everything the President says to push through no matter the consequence and just hope that the GOP won’t cry about it too much? Do they forget their own values and beliefs and just vote (D) all the way down the ballot like the GOP does and is encouraging, or really, daring them to do? What is your solution to this? When one party refuses to even come to the table don’t they force the other party to act as a single mind? Force the other party to do it all on their own, with their own philosophies?

Maybe the GOP is comfortable using a single-mind, but this is not and has never been the “Democratic” (party or poltical system.) way..

The GOP has blanketed the world with this falsehood that they want bi-partsanship on every issue, and yet just last week when invited to a health care summit, an ‘exachange of ideas’.. quite a few high ranking GOP’ers said they might be willing to come to the table…. just come to the table now, not vote a certain way or concede a certain point,  but they might show up to the President’s bipartisan effort for health reform meeting but only if the  Democrats dropped their health reform idea and adopted the GOP version. Eric Cantor flat out said that the “only way to bipartisan cooperation is if the Democrats fully embrace the GOP plan!” What? How is that bipartisan? How is that anything other than a great big “Screw you, It’s my way or no way and that’s the only bipartisan I agree with.. do it yourself if you don’t like it! Just remember I will blame you for doing it yourself if you do”

You cannot, as the losing party give that kind of demand.. that kind of close-fist demand.. and then claim you are the bipartisan party, yet they do, and no one calls them on it.  So I ask you once again, is this really an OBama failure and where is any ire at the party that is actually holding bipartsianship hostage?

To me President Obama failures are..

He has moved away from a public option. He promised me a public option and I believed him. He has let the message on this and so many other issues get away from him. He had the advantage and he expected to find ‘Statesmen’  and ‘Adults’ in congress who wouldn’t bastardize everything they could to score a political point and while he’s finally decided to come out swingng and get the truth out.. he’s wasted vaulable time and his ‘capitol’ in the interim.

I see it as a failure that he is still giving contracts to the likes of Blackwater and doing it even though we know they are the evil of all evil. Why do we need to privately fund any war with a bunch of mercenaries? Why do we need them for private security? Why can’t we use the money and build up our military and pay our troops more? Atleast they have rules,laws and codes they must follow. Blackwater and the likes do things with our money and in our names that I do not think the majoirty of us want done in our name. I do not agree at all with their continued government funding. Bring the military back to do the jobs in our name with the honor and integrity that they will bring with them.

I see President  Obama’s lack of authority with Wall Street as another failure. He needs to force those CEO’s to either get their sweet-ass to the proverbial ‘come to Jesus’ meeting.. or risk immediate stripping of the ‘handout, even if that means selling off part of the company to get back the money given to them. I don’t know who these people think they are, but when the President of the United States tells you to come to a meeting.. your sorry ‘hand-out-taking’ ass better get there before the ink is dry on the invitations. I don’t care if it was ‘foggy’ or not, take the damn train.

I don’t care about GOP crying that “OBama hates capitalism .. Obama is an enemy to buisness” because it’s  a load of crap, what we had leading up to this meltdown was not capitalism .. it was rape pure and simple. It’s time Obama starts acting like the President he is and do something about these guys.

And finally.. He has failed at installing a new way of doing it, he has failed at starting a new era of bi-partsianship.  He hasn’t failed for the lack of trying, he’s failed for the lack of realism. He believed he could change the climate of hate that is the US congress. Not a single congressman from either house or either party can say or do anything without checking a poll 1st. They are not there to govern like Obama is, they are there for the power and the paycheck. It is President Obama’s failure to not see this that irks me the most. It is his failure to not see that, no matter which way he goes the entire Right side will be against him as proven time and time again, even by adopting their own policies.. they will go against him. They will and have cut off their noses to spite their face.

President Obama is already lambasted as a socialist even when he’s cut taxes and wasn’t the one to create the largest ‘socialist program’ in a generation or more. Well,  if they are going to call him one anyway, then why not use that and go more radical on his ideas. We just proved a lot of the country is pro-radical change, even our supreme court is. So it is a failure on Obama’s part not to use the gift he’s been given by the Right. He will be slaughtered and lied about by them no matter what he does.. so he might as well do as he wants.

John, thank you for your comments.. I hope I have addressed them in a way that maybe didn’t change your mind.. but atleast gave you a different point of view and a way to look at it

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Medicaid to Ian: Drop Dead!

I adore ekg.  For years she has been my liberal foil, challenging my assumptions and sharpening my arguments.  But lately, she has just seemed …off.  Like virtually every liberal worth his or her bureaucracy, she is wildly in favor of a “public option” in the current health care bill.  The more “publicky,” the better. Medicare for all is the dream, and VA care for all is the fantasy.  Yeah, I don’t get that one either.  But unfortunately, it’s a point that seems so evident to the liberal mind that any opposition seems either evil or crazy.

 

Or racist of course.  We can’t forget that one!

 

So her arguments in support of “health reform” have been of the self evident variety.  Hardly worth the title of “reasoned discussion” at all.  In discussing the case of Ian Pearl, she pulls out the familiar trope of the evil insurance company denying coverage for the wronged, ill, Christ figure.  Her blog on Ian’s plight is one part righteous anger and two parts accusatory anger.

 

But I do take her seriously and try to address her disagreements with my position:

 

Ekg, I don’t want to make you sad, so let me address your points one at a time.

 

Now, you are saying I don’t know what I am talking about because:

 

“1st.. Ian wouldn’t die from the ‘public option’… he would die from having to live in an assisted living home…”

 

So in order to live, Ian needs 24 hour home health care that is currently provided by his health insurance.  Now Ian is about to get the boot, the boot to Medicaid, which does not provide the sort of home health care that Ian needs, according to his parents to stay alive.  So once Ian is on Medicaid, his life will be nasty, brutish, and short.  Now assisted living is how Medicaid handles Muscular Dystrophy patients in Ian’s advanced condition.  So if Ian had never been covered under a private insurance plan, he would have been dead a while ago, correct?

 

But you say Medicaid is not a public option.  But the public option is government healthcare.  Do you think he would have a better deal under another government plan?

 

Which leads us to your second point…

 

”2nd medicaid isn’t the ‘public option’ .. that is what the poorest of the poor get. which no matter how bad(and it’s not), is still better than what millions have now..
The public option is low cost private insurance and it’s only low cost to the payer because the gov’t can purchase larger ‘blocks’ and get a better deal than a single person.”

 

If you’re correct, I’ve been following this issue for several months and have never heard that the public option is really private insurance.  In fact, I’m pretty sure you’re wrong on that, so I will call bullshit until you can show me.  What I think you are getting it confused with are the private plans that will be sold through the exchange.  Those will have standardized basic benefits, prices, and will be subsidized for lower income people.  That is not the” public option.”  The public option is a government plan, not really insurance, with benefits and prices designed by the government.  Now the public option might be administered by a private company, in the same way that Tricare is administered by private insurance companies in different Tricare regions of the country, but it’s not a private insurance plan.  If there is a public option and it is administered by private health insurance companies, which seems likely, the insurance companies still win!

 

So one if us is really, really wrong on our understanding of what the public option is.  As long as we have been going over this issue, that’s pretty damn funny.  I don’t care who ya are…

 

Now I couldn’t help but notice this: 

 

“…healthcare companies pass the buck and raise the price while you cheer them on.. whether it’s because they are exempted under anti-trust laws or any other law doesn’t matter..”

 

I have not been exactly “cheering on” the health insurance companies while they raise prices.  Seeing as I’ve been in the middle of open enrollment at work, I find any cheers quite muted.  I’m trying to recall the last time I cheered price increases by health insurance companies in general and my health insurance in particular… let’s see, there was that time… no…how about… oh no… 

 

I guess no.  No cheers from me.

 

As far as anti trust laws go in general, I find them foolish, since monopolies generally require either control of a particular resource or some sort of government grant that gives a legal monopoly to a company.  Baseball has an anti trust exemption since we don’t want multiple baseball leagues bouncing around the country.  We would rather the current owners suck up all the profits.  For health insurance companies, If Senator Leahy or the President wants to pull that trigger, I say, let ‘em.  Just about everything else in the bill is designed to increase health care costs, so what’s one more? 

 

But the issue isn’t anti trust, it’s ERISA.  The federal law governing health plans gives a specific exemption from common contract law.  Under normal (and by this I mean both common and various state laws, although they may differ in specifics) contract law, a contract entered in good faith, even if there are flaws in the actual contract, such as doting the i or crossing the t , is still a valid contract.  Not so for health plans under ERISA.  The insurance company can retroactively cancel the contract of any member for any sort of contractual error.  They certainly have an incentive to dump high cost (i.e. really sick) patients if they can legally get away with it, and thanks to federal law, they can!

 

I guess lobbying really does pay.

 

Inevitably, when these hard luck rescission cases become big news, like Ian Pearl’s case or others that have become a cause celebre  for big government types such as the cases of Robin Beaton and Otto Raddatz’s, the reason they lost their health care was because of rescission; because the law allows them to.  Big government liberals easily forget the real villains in those cases:  ERISA.

 

Health Insurance II:  This time it’s personal.

 

“the quote you used was the PC/CYA reply to being asked why the VP would call someone like Ian or Chuck a fucking “dog”… which is something else you know, but chose to ignore because it doesn’t further your cause..

seriously.. how can you continue to protect an industry that would treat your wife the same way if she was diagnosed with MS tomorrow is simply beyond me..she would just be their new ‘dog’ to rid themselves of..”

 

 

Although I find myself offended at the term “dog” being used for either my wife or Chuck ( Ian I don’t know.  Sorry Ian, I’m sure you’re a nice guy and all…), the context seems to refer to the accounts, rather than the individuals.  But lets assume the worse.  The health insurance execs are meanies, they hate Ian, Chuck, and my wife and think they are dogs, and of course, hope they all die before too much money is spent on the sickly, when it could be much better spent on fabulous executive bonuses.   THIS is one of the key differences between people who trust the free market (as opposed to individual companies or executives) and people who trust the good naturedness of big government (stand by, teachable moment here): 

 

I don’t care that companies may hate me, are greedy, or that they are looking out for their own self interest.  Of course they are!  They are in business to make a goddamn buck!  Not to wipe the tears from our eyes and give us a shoulder to cry on. 

 

But it’s an observation that predates Adam Smith’s invisible hand:  Businesses and individuals in business are conducting commerce for their own ends.  However the result of that is that everyone’s interests are satisfied.  You want a widget, and a greedy company wants to make money by selling widgets.  Money and Widgets are exchanged, and voila!  Everyone gets what they want!  Contracts?  Same thing.  There is a centuries old body of law governing, “lets make a deal” between people.  As a general rule, it works pretty well.  It would probably work pretty well with health insurance too if our government allowed it. 

 

But if your thinking on private enterprise and business is totally dependent on companies being filled with nice guys and gals who think providing profits to their shareholders is less important than holding your hand and skipping through the meadow on a spring day, then you are pretty much going to hate capitalism and the free market.

 

And of course, let’s really get personal:

 

“.. you are as much of an accomplice in this as the ones who do it knowingly.. you have a president who will work with you.. but instead the GOP shat in his hand and walk over to tongue-kiss the insurance companies because they have the money to rile up the rank and inbred and to fund their re-election bid…”

 

 

 

Wow!  Me!  Personally responsible for Ian Pearl’s unfortunate condition, or responsible for the Republicans in Congress sitting on their hands and not embracing the President’s wack-a-nut health plan?  Either way, it’s a lot of responsibility to rest on my shoulders.  In any case, it was the President who spent the summer playing “wash the molars” with the health insurance companies, not the Republicans.  All the poor health insurance companies wanted was forced, mandatory requirement that everyone in the country get health insurance, a windfall worth billions to them.  That’s why they kept their mouths shut all summer and generically praised “health reform.”  Particularly after it looked like the Public Option was off the table. 

 

But a funny thing happened on the way to negotiations; the individual mandate and the fines to enforce it got weakened.  Weakened enough that suddenly the other higher costs enclosed in the health plan suddenly seem to outweigh the lesser amount of new customers the health insurance companies were expected to have the federal government  herd their way.  It is about self interest after all.  That’s what makes the world go round.  As fun as it would be to blame the Republicans for all this, or any of this for that matter, it’s strictly an inter-party squabble.  It’s Democrats versus the President.  Republicans?  They’re just out in the bleachers, yelling, “You lie” occasionally.

 

 

As for Ian, I don’t have a solution for him.  In that way, I’m no different than ekg.  I would have supported eliminating the part of ERISA that allows these situations to happen in the first place.  He would have either not lost his insurance, or if he had, his parents would have been able to sue the company in court.  That’s not an option available to him under current law.  But even if the Congress were to magically take an interest in that, I doubt it would be done in time to help Ian. 

 

Other than that, I only have Ian’s parent’s word that care under Medicaid is a “death sentence.”  I don’t know if that is their take on their son’s situation or a doctor’s opinion, but in any case, I hope they are wrong.  He’s getting the liberal dream:  government healthcare.  No greedy health insurance companies involved.   It’s government healthcare for Ian soon, and government healthcare for all of us eventually if the President has his way.  But If both Medicaid and Medicare, would have Ian die, why should this be shoved down my throat?  It’s funny that the biggest supporters of government healthcare suddenly are frightened by the thought of someone actually getting it.


My reply to lil mike

ekg here…what you’re about to read is  what lil Mike and I do, this is where we are in our comfort zone and where we excel. It’s long, it’s tedious, but the final result is an all out information explosive.. We have done this kind of exchange for years on muchedumbre.com. When we started ‘blogging’, we forgot that which made us great… the quote/reply debate, because it’s hard to get into that sort of debate in a ‘blog-comment’ section..

well, not anymore…

Here is my rebuttal to Lil Mike’s

Public Option? -> Only Option

Feel free to join in the debate in the comment sections.

..

” But one thing is clear, if it’s going to be reform in any way that Obama and the far left of the Democratic Party care about, it’s got to have the “Public Option.”  Right now the administration is having it both ways.  On the one hand it’s saying that it has no intention of driving private insurers out of business, but on the other hand, reassuring Congressional Democrats that the President is still committed to having a public option as part of his vision of health care reform.

Why the Public Option?  The formal answer was included in Obama’s letter to Senators Kennedy and Baucus:

“I strongly believe that Americans should have the choice of a public health insurance option operating alongside private plans. This will give them a better range of choices, make the health care market more competitive, and keep insurance companies honest.”

Competition?  There are approximately 1300 health insurance providers in the US.  Really, will 1301 really make the difference and suddenly lead to “a better range of choices, make the health care market more competitive, and keep insurance companies honest?”  That’s all it would take, just one more provider?  The idea is so ridiculous that you would have to be a White House journalist to buy it.”

Ok, will one more provider really make a difference? Absofuckinglutley!  Yes, 1300 companies offering the same shitty product would actually have to offer a better option if a bigger and better player came on to the scene. Your debate isn’t whether the Government can offer a product that will make the other companies provide a better choice, your argument is… Should the Government offer that product at all.. So let’s not play games with throwing in all this other stuff..

“What makes the public option the crown jewel of any health care reform plan?  It’s the camel’s nose under the tent for single payer government healthcare.  No, this isn’t just Republican scare-mongering.  I can hardly imagine any other conclusion for the insistence on a government healthcare plan.  And it’s easy to see how it would happen.  The logic is this:  One of the keys of health care reform is an individual mandate, but you can’t very well have one if people cannot afford to buy health insurance, so you have to provide an option for people too poor to pay.  Enter the public option.  An analysis of several public option scenarios shows that premiums could be 30 to 40 percent less than comparable private plans.  That of course hinges on the government paying reimbursement rates comparable to Medicare, which are 70-80 percent of what private insurers pay.”

I read your Lewin Group PDF analysis it was interesting.. until I Googled them and found out that..

Lewin Group is) part of Ingenix, which is owned by United Healthcare Group, the insurance behemoth that has been buying up insurance companies left and right, expanding its reach into just about every segment of the health-insurance market. Its flagship, UnitedHealthcare, helps make it the largest health insurer in the country. It’s a safe bet that United is not too keen on a public plan that might shrink its business.

Now I don’t find them credible in this discussion..Sorry about that but seriously, you wouldn’t allow me to use Rahm’s notes as actual unbiased data would you?But let’s address this ‘fear-mongering’ warpath scream of “Single Payer Healthcare-Oh My”..  Why is it that every time a Democrat tries to do anything you Pub’s start screaming ‘Government take-over!” “Government Control” “States Right!” and“Give me Liberty” , when after 8 years of massive Government abuse, Lenin-ish intrustion, insane Government spending,  and obscene Government entitlements there was nothing but the sound-bite of “If you’re not with the President, you are with the terrorists” to anyone who raised a fart of a question?

But now, Oh My God! We’re killing health care…!! We’re taxing people too much..!! Businesses will crumble..!!

really?

Did you know that Bush’s medicare proposal was…

…aimed to inject market forces into Medicare by encouraging beneficiaries to enroll in government-subsidized private health plans that would compete directly with the traditional government-run, fee-for-service program. The drug benefit would be the chief inducement for seniors to make the switch to private plans.

Maybe I missed it, but were there Fox News sponsored Tea-parties for that?

Something else I just found out (by the way, this is why Mike and I do this so well… during our hunt for facts we often find other facts that come in handy in other debates) “The Patriot Act and Department of Homeland Security was the brainchild of one William Jefferson Clinton.” Sure the website is a little nutty and over the top in it’s ‘doomsday’ opinions, and in all seriousness I shouldn’t link it because you will use it against me, but what the hell.. it pretty much spells out everything I’m saying about what the Pubs were happy to do with a Pub leader and shit themselves when it’s a Democrat doing the same thing. Best of all, it does it with the same chicken-little hyperbole you guys are using now..

In short, Bush’s encouragement to beneficiaries to enroll out of their private plans and into the government plan didn’t bring about “Single-Payer Storm troopers” and neither will President Obama’s. But if… if it did, once again you can thank Bush for that ummm…camel nose under the tent… since he started the ball rolling… 😉

Of course I loathe the ‘It’s Bush’s fault” argument.. It was fun for a few years there, but now it’s just old,crusty and only garners a slight roll of the eyes… The problem is, there are just so many fucking things that are his fault and you Pubs are just now finding that out because Obama is following in his footsteps on alot of them. So as loathsome as it is to say.. it’s still applicable.

Moving on…


“So one of the ways the Obama plan controls costs is just by paying the doctors and hospitals less.  I’m sure that will make a great incentive for people to go into the medical field.  And who wouldn’t want to be taxed to subsidize their competitor?”

President Obama will pay doctors less and therefore who would ever go into the med field.. An addendum to this argument is the.. “we will become a 3rd world health care system because there will be no incentives (money) for research”… OK 1st, we already are below many 3rd world countries when it comes to our health care and as for the rest? Well,  I can think of one disease that if it wasn’t for the French, not only would we still be calling it GRID, who knows when someone would have been able to isolate the AIDS retrovirus. Hell, it was a German who discovered that HPV was the leading cause in cervical cancer…

As for being paid less? When did we lose that ‘country doctor’ mentality of people becoming a doctor to help people? Was it around the same time insurance companies first started popping up? I’d really love to see a study on the correlation of the emergence of insurance companies and their control and doctors treating people less because it’s what they dream of doing and more to try and become a million by the time they are 30.

In short, I don’t know what President Obama’s plans on the pay scale for doctors and hospitals is. I know that right now we spend more money on administration costs than just about anything else. Medicare proves that you only need to spend 2% on admin costs and still function admirably.. $230 billion a year is spent in California alone on administration costs, Obama’s plan cost less than 1/2 that for the entire country.. so why those  massive saving would not trickle down throughout the system is beyond me.  To me, it would seem that if $25 from every $100 doctor visit that went to insurance administration now, was cut to $2, the doctor would be seeing a hell of alot better of a return.

“First, the same analysis shows that depending on the premium rate for the public option, 119 million people could lose their private health insurance…If the public plan has lower premiums, what do they care what rate their doctor gets paid at?  Others would find themselves dumped.  Why would companies want the expense of maintaining their own health insurance coverage when a public plan can offer lower premiums?”


I addressed this somewhat above when I brought Bush’s plan to get people off the private rolls and onto the public ones  to your attention already, but that’s not my argument against it, a bad plan is a bad plan no matter who the President is, something the Republican  religion doesn’t like to admit..My argument is this… I believe you are wrong.. those insurance companies will be forced to compete with the new plan.. they will have to offer something else, whether it be a lower premium or more coverage or an annual trip to Bermuda..whatever.. I mean do you seriously think they’ll just keel over and die? Hell no, they’ll find something that their competitor doesn’t have and offer it..

Back in the 90’s I was fired for being pregnant, lost my insurance(not that I had prenatal anyway), and was forced to go on Medicaid. HMO’s were exploding at that time and you were forced to pick either an HMO or straight medicaid. There was many HMO’s to chose from  and they all pretty much offered the same plans as each other and medicaid but since there was competition, the HMO’s decided to offer other incentives to get people to enroll in their plan. It was piddly shit like  children vitamins each month with this one, free contacts with that one, free vitamins,contacts and bubble gum with the other..(ok, not really on the bubble gum.. but you get the point).. the catch was you had to use their doctors,their hospitals and their pharmacies. Or you could stick with medicaid and go with pretty much whoever you wanted. I liked my doctor and she took medicaid so I chose that path. So when you tell me that a government sponsored plan will not only force people out of their private plan but will force private plans to close up shop and move away.. I laugh! These companies want to succeed today just as much as they want to succeed tomorrow and they will find a way to entice employers to keep paying them.. Whether that be free vitamins or a free trip to Bora-Bora for the employer who signs up the most employees onto their plan.Most, if not all, will adapt and  survive… and those that don’t? Well, you don’t mind when they fall in a full capitalistic society do you?

So why is a Public plan the only option? Because without it there is no change.. With it there is a crack in the monopoly-like hold insurance companies have on this country and it’s leaders. They have never had to worry about regulation and competition before and now they are throwing out all the buzz words that make  conservative hard.. “Socialism”..”Government sponsored”..”Government entitlement”… and to that I say Pshaw! Look what the debate has already done for health care… before a person was actually denied  treatment for her cancer because her insurance company said an outbreak of pimples in her past constituted a ‘pre-existing conditions’.Pimples!  But now all of a sudden insurance companies are screaming that sure,  they can get rid of the pre-existing conditions clause. The debate alone is forcing other companies to offer more benefits at a lower cost to women in some states.. The debate alone is changing health care for the better.. If the debate is cleaning up health care and the conglomerate-do-as-they-please  hold on health care that the insurance companies have.. then I am encouraged as to what an actual Public Plan will be able to do.

So, the cost factor? One state already pays 1 and 1/2 times more for just the administrative costs than the public plan for an entire country.

The reduction of doctor’s fee and hospital costs? The savings from the decrease in administration costs should increase what the medical providers see.

The loss of research and cutting edge medicine? You walk into the  Pasteur Institute and tell them they’re a 2nd tier institute.

Socialism? Please.. George Socialist Bush!

The loss of a free market? No, more like the opening of a closed market and forcing it to become competitive to survive..

Yes… Public Option? is the only Option

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Public Option? -> Only Option

It’s difficult to figure out amidst all of the swirling mess that makes up “health care reform” just what exactly is getting reformed.  President Obama learned the lesson of the Hillarycare debacle and has been pretty cagey on specifics, even when he is expecting to sign a bill on it by the end of the summer.  Of course, Hillarycare was a full blown plan that could be analyzed and picked apart.  Obama is not interested in having the same result so the few real details that have been leaked have been rather limited.  Of course, with this Congress, who needs details?  They’re more than willing to vote for a bill unread and fresh off the presses.  After all, as Congressperson Malibu Stacy might say, “Thinking too much gives you wrinkles.” 

 

But one thing is clear, if it’s going to be reform in any way that Obama and the far left of the Democratic Party care about, it’s got to have the “Public Option.”  Right now the administration is having it both ways.  On the one hand it’s saying that it has no intention of driving private insurers out of business, but on the other hand, reassuring Congressional Democrats that the President is still committed to having a public option as part of his vision of health care reform. 

 

Why the Public Option?  The formal answer was included in Obama’s letter to Senators Kennedy and Baucus:

 

“I strongly believe that Americans should have the choice of a public health insurance option operating alongside private plans. This will give them a better range of choices, make the health care market more competitive, and keep insurance companies honest.”

 

 

Competition?  There are approximately 1300 health insurance providers in the US.  Really, will 1301 really make the difference and suddenly lead to “a better range of choices, make the health care market more competitive, and keep insurance companies honest?”  That’s all it would take, just one more provider?  The idea is so ridiculous that you would have to be a White House journalist to buy it.

 

What makes the public option the crown jewel of any health care reform plan?  It’s the camel’s nose under the tent for single payer government healthcare.  No, this isn’t just Republican scare-mongering.  I can hardly imagine any other conclusion for the insistence on a government healthcare plan.  And it’s easy to see how it would happen.  The logic is this:  One of the keys of health care reform is an individual mandate, but you can’t very well have one if people cannot afford to buy health insurance, so you have to provide an option for people too poor to pay.  Enter the public option.  An analysis of several public option scenarios shows that premiums could be 30 to 40 percent less than comparable private plans.  That of course hinges on the government paying reimbursement rates comparable to Medicare, which are 70-80 percent of what private insurers pay. 

 

So one of the ways the Obama plan controls costs is just by paying the doctors and hospitals less.  I’m sure that will make a great incentive for people to go into the medical field.  And who wouldn’t want to be taxed to subsidize their competitor?

 

But that’s not the fiscal time bomb.  First, the same analysis shows that depending on the premium rate for the public option, 119 million people could lose their private health insurance.  Some of course, would voluntarily flee.  If the public plan has lower premiums, what do they care what rate their doctor gets paid at?  Others would find themselves dumped.  Why would companies want the expense of maintaining their own health insurance coverage when a public plan can offer lower premiums?  Private plans of course have to have doctors and facilities join their networks voluntarily. Not an issue for the government.

 

Another issue is that the Obama administration, in order to help finance their reform schemes, wants to make it more difficult for employers and employees to pay for health care benefits.  One plan is to tax the employee health care benefits by capping the employee health care exclusion.  That excludes company health care benefits from an employee’s taxable income.  Another actually violates one of Obama’s campaign promises, not to tax health care benefits.  Obama criticized John McCain’s plan to tax employer health care benefits during the campaign, but at least McCain was going to transfer the tax benefit to individuals to enable them to purchase health insurance with a tax credit.  Obama is just keeping the money for the federal trough. 

 

Driving Private health insurance out of the market has happened before.  TennCare was supposed to be Tennessee’s version of “the public option.”  The goal was to reduce health care costs by covering a larger group of lower income people than were normally covered by Medicaid guidelines.  Many features of TennCare mirrored some of the Obama health reform proposals.  The few remaining insurance companies have dumped their most expensive members onto the public plan, and the cost has far exceeded projections.  Closed hospitals, doctors fleeing the state, uncontrolled spiraling cost… that’s our future.

 

It’s fairly easy to see how this will play out if we get the public option.  First it will cover a few of the lower middle class, and then the taxes on both employers and employees will push some companies that are in marginal fiscal health (a rather large number since we are in a recession) to drop their plans.  Eventually, it will make no sense to provide a health insurance benefit when it no longer provides any tax benefit to the company or to the employee.  As the companies in Tennessee discovered, it was easier and less hassle to pay the extra penalty tax for not providing health insurance to it’s employees.  Eventually, a health insurance benefit will be as uncommon for the average American worker as a defined benefit pension plan now is.  The government will end up with the healthcare costs of most of the American workforce.

 

At that point, the rationing will begin, but that’s another story.

 

What I can’t figure out, is why the government would want to take up an open ended financial liability that it does not currently have, to provide a service that is currently being provided by the free market, and in doing so destroy large segments of the economy that is now providing that service?  Anyone?   Bueller?  If there is a better reason than just runaway statism that wants to make dependent charges of its citizens, I would love to hear it.

 

Now does President Obama know what he’s doing, or does he sincerely not see how his plans would destroy the private insurance market?  He gave a little clue during his June press conference on health care.  When asked by ABC’s Jake Tapper how he could guarantee that cheaper public plans wouldn’t drive out employer funded private care.

 

“When I say if you have your plan and you like it,…or you have a doctor and you like your doctor, that you don’t have to change plans, what I’m saying is the government is not going to make you change plans under health reform…”

 

 

That’s a change from earlier comments on the same issue:

 

“If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.”

 

 

OK now I guess you can lose your health plan.  Period.

 

At that point, I wouldn’t have been surprised if President Obama had turned to the camera and winked.

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