ACA Upheld by Supreme Court; NPR Obfuscates on The Takeaway
June 29, 2012

The Supreme Court did uphold the ACA yesterday, with Chief Justice Roberts voting with the ‘liberals’ to uphold the law on the grounds of tax law rather than on the commerce clause. The consensus of the talking heads is that he did this in order to preserve the appearance of the Court’s integrity, apparently not realizing that all three people who believe the Court actually has any integrity left are locked up in an asylum somewhere in northern Maine.

I still hold that the Republican branch of the court is corrupt and that they have not the best interests of the people. Their interests are political, almost solely political, aimed at increasing the power of the right wing, the so-called conservatives who are rapidly morphing into authoritarians modeling fascism.

Immediately following the ruling the congressional Republicans announced that they would do everything they could to repeal the law, starting with a vote in the House July 11 to repeal, a vote that will undoubtedly succeed, and will do nothing other than set the stage for their assault of lies and deceit for the next four months. They have nothing to offer Americans that would contain the howling rise in health care costs or that would give everyone a fair shot at getting good healthcare. The Republican prescription is to let the insurance companies continue their vile predation on the people. That fellow from Florida, former Representative Alan Grayson, said it best: The Republican health care plan – Don’t get sick, and if you do get sick, die quickly.

That’s pretty much the sort of thinking that Romney uses in his plan for the country. Cut taxes on the wealthy, raise taxes on the middle class and the working poor, cut social and medical programs and benefits, and spend trillions more on the already bloated military. Oh, yeah, and one more thing – pick a fight with Russia, because they’re, you know, the real enemy. There’s no room in the Republican mind for providing for the common good of all the people – just the rich people. So their plan for the first glimmer of a program that moves toward universal health care, which every other advanced society on the planet has in place, is to kill the program – and any number of people who might otherwise live useful, productive lives.

One might expect a serious and useful discussion of this matter on National Public Radio, and perhaps somewhere on NPR such discussion occurs. But not on their morning flagship show.

NPR’s inept morning show, the Takeaway, performed its usual useless stunt of bringing in a liberal supporter and a conservative opponent of the law, letting hostess Celeste Headlee breathlessly bounce them against each other, thus guaranteeing we would hear spin and opinion rather than dispassionate, informed discussion of the facts of the law and the situation. Fortunately her co-host, John Hockenberry, was off today so we didn’t get both barrels of thoughtless, breathless nonsensical broadcasting. I do wish NPR would dump that show and provide some useful news and discussion in its place. The show is a waste of air time and bandwidth, fit for adolescent mindsets at best. With a little bit of effort, just the tiniest bit, the producers could tip the show into a bad parody of shows that parody news shows. The Takeaway is just another reason why the country has tipped into a civil war. It’s only a matter of time until the shouting and name-calling are replaced with bullets, at which point the complete inadequacy of health care in this country will be fully apparent.

Of course the Republicans, mindless and vicious in their pursuit of power and their worship of wealth, would welcome the sort of violence some of their members propose. The Republicans figure they can count on the blithering insanity of Wayne LaPierre’s NRA to provide them with the manpower and the weaponry to fight an actual shooting war, while the Democrats will spend their time blithering nuances and policy distinctions while they’re being lined up in sports arenas to be shot.

Perhaps Headlee and Hockenberry might provide bullet by bullet commentary. Or perhaps they might commentate on cage fights featuring liberals versus conservatives. That’s more their style, seasoned with reading tweets and emails which they pretend are actual useful news.

One can only hope that NPR decides to take them away. Perhaps with a nice severance package that includes health care.

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Mitt Romney: Hypocrite Then Or Hypocrite Now?
September 29, 2007

Okay, that’s not an intelligent question, since hypocrisy is Romney’s fundamental operating mode.

But just to refresh people’s memory as The Mitten parades around Iowa and New Hampshire boasting about his role in the Massachusetts health care plan, let’s not forget that he vetoed a key element of the plan, a fee on employers who refused to offer health care.

Not that the plan amounts to much more than a giveaway of citizen’s money to the insurance companies, whose main role in health care is to deny as many claims as possible in order to protect their profits and make it possible for them to buy as many politicians as possible.

Massachusetts Health Reform: Pathetic, Sick, Ugly
September 17, 2007

From the Globe’s op-ed page today, a column by Dr. Steffie Woolhandler and Dr.David U. Himmelstein about the dumbass Mass healthcare bill, brought to us by Mitt Romney, with the aid of a legislature that can only be called corrupt or stupid or bought and paid for by the insurance industry.

Pertinent paragraphs:

And 244,000 of Massachusetts uninsured get zero assistance – just a stiff fine if they don’t buy coverage. A couple in their late 50s faces a minimum premium of $8,638 annually, for a policy with no drug coverage at all and a $2,000 deductible per person before insurance even kicks in. Such skimpy yet costly coverage is, in many cases, worse than no coverage at all. Illness will still bring crippling medical bills –  but the$8,638 annual premium will empty their bank accounts even before the bills start arriving. Little wonder that barely 2 percent of those required to buy such coverage have thus far signed up.

While the middle class sinks, the health reform law has buoyed our state’s wealthiest health institutions. Hospitals like Massachusetts General are reporting record profits and enjoying rate increases tucked into the reform package. Blue Cross and other insurers that lobbied hard for the law stand to gain billions from the reform, which shrinks their contribution to the state’s free care pool and will force hundreds of thousands to purchase their defective products. Meanwhile, new rules for the free care pool will drastically cut funding for the hundreds of thousands who remain uninsured, and for the safety-net hospitals and clinics that care for them.

Read the whole piece here.

Apparently Hilary Clinton is calling for everybody to get insurance when she’s President. And the Mitten is bitching at her that she’s for socialized medicine.

Two stupids in a pod. Romney’s a Republican. He wants everyone to get sick or go broke paying insurance.

Hilary’s a Democrat. I don’t know what in hell she’s thinking, but if her plan includes the insurance companies, she should quit the race.

But all the pols, except Kucinich if I recall correctly, want you to give your money to insurance companies and don’t want to provide reasonable health care for everyone.

We can’t have a reasonable health care system in this country until we get the insurance terrorists… companies… out of the mix. They don’t give a damn about your health, never did, never will. They want your money, money for nothing, so they can drive around in BMW and Mercedes cars.

But as long as they’re allowed to continue buying politicians, you are screwed. Get seriously sick and your life is destroyed. You lose your health, your money, your house, your car, your dignity, all so insurance company executives and managers and salesmen can run around in fancy cars to expensive restaurants, using expense accounts that you paid for.

They’re thieves and they’ll kill you for your money. Literally kill you.

Massachusetts Health Insurers Out Of Control, Again Raise Rates, Consider Limiting Access To Care
September 13, 2007

In a Globe story today, the front page lead, by Jeffrey Krasner, Massachusetts health insurance terrorists say they’re going to raise rates by about ten percent. Again.

They raise the rates every year.

And what are the bigwigs thinking about this:

“I see no end in sight to these increases,” said Stuart Altman, professor of national health policy and Management at Brandeis University in Waltham. “The only thing that’s going to stop this is a meltdown of our healthcare system.”

Altman said fundamental changes in the nation’s healthcare system – such as capping payments or limiting access to care – are needed to slow the spending escalation. But barring a crisis, he said, such as a drastic rise in the number of uninsured, significant reform measures are unlikely.

Read the code. ‘Limiting access to care.’ That means let’s throw the poor people out into the street to take the pressure off the system. ‘Capping payments’? That means pay less to doctors and hospitals to make sure they won’t take care of poor and economically disadvantaged people.

As for the crisis that Altman is waiting for? Dude, it’s already here. There’s forty-seven million people out there now who haven’t got and can’t afford health care. More join them everyday as prices of private insurance rise and rise and rise, and employers cut back and back and back on providing insurance plans.

Why do these stories always use sources who seem to live in a bubble totally divorced from the real world in which real people live?

Of course Massachusetts touts its new insurance tyranny law that forces people to buy health insurance, but does nothing to provide health care. Good plan, guys. Let’s slap middle-aged people on fixed incomes with a $600 a month cost for insurance so they can spend their retirements deciding whether to pay the fuel bill or pay the insurance bill, when they’re not spending their time fighting the insurance company to get them to pay out the benefits.

We won’t have good health care in this country until we get the insurance companies out of the way. And get rid of the politicians who support them.

Until then the United States will continue to have the most backward healthcare system in the developed world. Call it an anti-healthcare system.

And how about we start asking our newspapers to find sources that live and work in the real world instead of in ivory towers that sound a lot like they’re supported by the insurance industry.

End insurance terror. Create real health care. For everybody.

Laura Gets Surgery. You Paid For It. Think She’ll Pay For Your Operation?
September 9, 2007

Isn’t it wonderful that Laura Bush was able to get an operation to cure a painful pinched nerve in her neck? America truly is a land of equality and opportunity.

Or…

Laura Bush, rich and powerful, had surgery for pinched nerves. American taxpayers, forty-seven million of whom can’t afford medical care, paid for Mrs. Bush’s surgery.

Meanwhile, her husband, the President of the United States, has vowed to veto a bill extending health care to millions of American children.

Mr. and Mrs. Bush are Republicans.

Healthcare Reform In Massachusetts A Sick Joke. Insurance Companies, Pols, Bureaucrats, and Governor Deval Patrick Screw The Sick. Again.
August 30, 2007

Here’s some nice logic from the State of Massachusetts as it whores for the insurance companies.

The Deval Patrick administration wants to cut the Free Care Pool that catches sick people who fall through the cracks.

Why? Because the existence of the FCP, which is an effective safety net, is ‘incompatible’ with the state’s now-mandatory health insurance boondoggle.

That’s right. Unaffordable health insurance is better than providing health care to sick people.

Got to make sure those health insurance executives keep getting their outrageous salaries, no matter how many people have to get sick and die or lose their homes and life savings. Can’t do anything to keep the politicians from getting their whore money from the insurance companies. Gotta screw the poor folk and the working poor because it’s what we do and we don’t want to actually think realistically about the problem, and besides we got our health care, so screw those other people.

Next year the penalty for not having health insurance will run more than $1,000, per year. And even if you pay the fine, you still don’t have insurance. And that fine is larger than the fines for pretty much every criminal act in the lawbooks.

When are we going to put an end to health insurance terror and provide real health care in this country?

Read the full column in the Globe, by Benjamin Day.

Economics Professor Proposes Another Stupid Conservative Republican Health Plan
August 28, 2007

In the Globe today, a Boston University economics professor named Laurence J. Kotlikoff offers his solution to health care in America.

It reeks of conservative idiocy. Here’s the proposal, quoted at length:

My solution is called the Medical Security System. It would eliminate Medicare, Medicaid, and (by dropping the tax breaks) employer-based healthcare. The government would give everyone a voucher each year for a basic health plan. The size of the voucher would be based on one’s health status. Those in worse health would get bigger vouchers, leaving insurers no incentive to cherry-pick. Furthermore, insurers would not be permitted to refuse a voucher or otherwise deny coverage.

The government would set the total voucher budget as a fixed share of gross domestic product and determine what a basic plan must cover. We would choose our own health plans. If we cost the insurer more than the voucher, he would lose money. If we cost him less, he would make money. Insurers would compete for our business and could tailor provisions, like co-pays and incentives to stop smoking, to limit excessive use of the healthcare system and encourage healthy behavior.

Nothing would be nationalized. Virtually all of the cost would be covered by redirecting existing government healthcare expenditures as well as tax breaks. Doctors, hospitals, and insurers would continue to market their services on a competitive basis.

This is not a French, British, or Canadian solution. It’s an American, market-based solution that Republicans should love. It’s also a progressive solution that Democrats should love.

What is it with these guys and their overweening desire to protect the insurance companies?

A voucher? To the insurance company? Why? If you’re going to hand out money, give it to the doctors and the hospitals when they provide actual health care to someone.  Why hand it to a useless middleman who will take a twenty or thirty percent cut to pay outrageous salaries, and then crap all over the sick patient?

Why? Because that’s the Conservative and the Republican way.

And who’s going to determine the size of these vouchers? Who’s going to determine the health status of an individual? Some government or insurance bureaucrat?

And doctors and hospitals do not market their services on a competitive basis. Ever see an ad with a list of prices the doctors are charging? Or how about a hospital ad pushing this week’s specials in heart surgery? As for insurers, hell, they’re thieves from the get go.

You bet it’s not a French, British, or Canadian solution. Those countries have healthcare that actually works to take care of the patient instead of insurance bigwigs.

And market-based solutions? Oh spare me the failed mantra. There’s forty-seven million people out there in America with access to the ‘market’. Guess what? They can’t afford it. They’ve got a choice, alright. Go broke paying for health insurance designed to deny them health care, or go broke paying medical bills. Some frigging market, Professor.

You want proper healthcare? Then go to single payer.

Free the doctors to deliver healthcare instead of filling out a wasteful myriad of insurance forms.

Free the people from the dread of illness that can take away their life savings, their home, their dignity, their freedom.

Free the business community from an increasingly unbearable burden of insurance costs that damages their ability to compete in the ‘market’ you conservative clowns value so highly.

You get sick, you go to the doctor. The doctor takes care of you and bills the government. The government pays him. Charge an affordable co-pay if necessary. Raise some taxes to pay for it. Quit wasting billions on a bloated, useless, ineffective military and on senseless wars. Tax the rich instead of giving them a free ride on the backs of the working people.

We don’t need insurance companies with their fancy buildings and overpaid CEOs and executives, and their office drones making healthcare decisions that doctors should be making.

Go back to your little ivory tower, Kotlikoff. And if you ever manage to pull your head out of your butt and get out and see how real people live and struggle and how their lives are screwed over by harebrained ideologies like yours, maybe then you can come up with something that works in the real world for real people.

Democrats Need A New Language
August 28, 2007

You know how the Dems are always saying stuff like “We’re going to fight for the working people”?

What they should be saying:

“We’re going to get the rich tax shirkers off the backs of the working people.”

“We’re going to bust the anti-unionists and give the working people back their right to organize.”

“We’re going to get the wealthy insurance companies out of the business of denying healthcare to working people.”

And then they had damn well better do it.

Romney Flack Flacks Massachusetts Health Care Plan. Real OrwellSpeak Spoken Here.
August 27, 2007

In the Letters section of the Editorial page of the Globe today, Timothy Murphy, identified as the state secretary of health and human services in the Romney governorship, does George Orwell proud.

…the Globe dismisses the individual choices and free-market principles at the heart of the …healthcare law. Under the plan…state citizens are empowered to enter the private market and obtain their own health insurance. Personal responsibility is the defining principle.

Wow, Murph, did you forget that the Romney law forces people to buy insurance? Did you also forget to notice that the citizens could have gotten private health insurance any time we wanted? Except for the simple fact that most of us can’t afford a decent policy. And the most sensible of us don’t want health insurance – we want decent health care.

Forcing people to pay money for private insurance isn’t empowerment. It’s tyranny. But you Republicans are good at Orwellizing things.

And let’s not forget that the plans offered carry high deductibles. Citizens can easily spend several thousand dollars on premiums and get not one penny of support from the private insurance company until said citizen has spent another couple of thousand out of pocket. Gee, I feel so empowered to have Republican politicians sticking their hands in my pocket to pay the insurance companies that keep the pols in office. And let’s not forget the Democrats who went along with this travesty.

Here’s some more bullcrap from the Murph:

While some have painted these [reforms] as government intrusions into the market, they are actually government’s way of facilitating individual empowerment.

Who wrote this nonsense? Had to be some clown from Romney’s staff. Either that or the Murph is as big a fantasist as Romney.

And there’s this:

In a big government-run plan, those with lower-incomes would be forced to enroll in a government-designed one-size-fits-all insurance program.

Yeah. Listen, Murph, I hate to break it to you, but the Romney plan is a big government run program, but it’s a typical Republican half-assed program that feeds money to private companies instead of putting the money into programs that would actually deal with the problem.

And as for one size fits all, sick is sick. When you’re sick you want health care. Period. Size doesn’t matter. You don’t want to be wading through an insurance bureaucracy designed to deny you the coverage you paid for.

And this final arrogant little bit:

What we have done in Massachusetts is unleash the power of competition, not by putting government in the healthcare business, but by empowering individuals.

Or, in English:

What we have done is forced our failed ideological principles on the citizens of the state and forced them to waste money paying corporations for a service the corporations will fight against providing.

And back in the middle of the letter, Murph notes:

Romney as governor redirected nearly $1.3 billion spent reimbursing hospitals for providing free care to instead help individuals purchase health insurance that meets their needs.

Uh huh. You ripped away from hospitals over a billion dollars used to provide care to people who can’t afford healthcare, and you handed it to insurance companies who will pocket a healthy percentage of it in order to provide less service and less care to people who need it most.

Good show, Murph. Another pathetic Republican mind pulls the wool over anybody stupid enough to listen to him.

Giuliani: Leave My Family Alone!
August 17, 2007

There’s a piece in the Globe’s Campaign Notebook column today describing Mr. G’s run-in with a woman who questioned him about the fact that some of his family members don’t support his candidacy.

“I love my family very, very much and will do anything for them. There are complexities in every family in America,” Rudy Giuliani replied. “The best thing I can say is kind of leave my family alone, just like I’ll leave your family alone.”

There we are! Republican values nicely summed.

Republicans abandon American families to the vagaries of pirate ‘markets’. That’s their core philosophy. Don’t expect any help with healthcare or education or infrastructure or anything – unless you’re rich, in which case we’ll give you more wealth.

As for healthcare, go to the emergency room.

Education? Well, what’s wrong with crumbling classrooms and forty year old textbooks?

Infrastructure? Well, we’re rebuilding Iraq, aren’t we?

Republican values. Oh, yes. Incompetence. Ignorance. Arrogance. Heartlessness. Profits. And oh my, let’s not forget the one thing they’re best at – covering up their domestic disasters by slaughtering thousands of foreigners in bogus wars.

Rah rah rah.