Archive for category Health Care
Via Jon Walker on FDL (emphasis added):
A new study in Health Affairs appears to disprove the commonly cited myth that public insurance programs “cost-shift” onto private insurance.
…In reality, the study found lower Medicare payment rates actually reduce what private insurance companies pay.
…This study reinforces that the real issue at play is market power, not cost shifting. Compared to other countries with single-payer or all-payer systems, providers in the United States have more power to demand higher prices.
Something to think about before attempting to voucher-ize Medicare.
I am about out of energy for this week. But I do have the smoking remains of an irony meter sitting in the corner crying to be heard. And a tiny little mangled… something. Something Confucius might have called Ren. Something I almost forgot about. Read the rest of this entry »
Delving further into Tom Allen’s Dangerous Convictions, Winning Progressive points out four specific examples of how conservatives principles have led to disastrous real world policy consequences:
- The Iraq War
- Health care
- Climate Change
Consider the area of tax policy – conservative principles say “tax cuts pay for themselves” despite significant real world evidence that’s not the case. Read the rest of this entry »
The rich want more tax cuts, they will be very unhappy without them. Where to get the money? Just steal it from the poor, the elderly, widows, orphans, and disabled veterans!
President Obama and Speaker Boehner appear close to striking a deal that includes Social Security benefit cuts, what is known in Beltway-speak as “chained CPI.” For millions of seniors, Social Security pays for crucial medicine, food, and daily necessities. The greatest impact would be on the oldest seniors, which happens to correlate with the poorest. For most of the middle class, Social Security is the last remaining defined-benefit retirement program available.
The average monthly Social Security benefit for a retired worker was about $1,230 at the beginning of 2012. The latest cost of living allowance (COLA) comes to about a dollar a month – that’s without Obama’s cuts!
Obama’s offer would make permanent some of the Bush Tax Cuts for the top 2% that President Obama previously promised to oppose, while raising taxes on middle class workers. The payroll tax holiday would expire, meaning middle class workers will see smaller paychecks in 2013.
Our President is breaking some of his most often repeated promises, and in exchange what are the Republicans giving up? Nothing.
This is an attack on retirees and the middle class, pure and simple. Makes me very glad I never voted for President Obama.
UPDATE: Jane Hamsher: Can We Please Stop Pretending Obama is “Capitulating” on Social Security?
The President has been very forthcoming about the fact that cutting Social Security benefits is something he wants to do. When he said during the debate that he didn’t differ from Mitt Romney on entitlement reform, he meant it. It’s time for people to remove the rose-colored glasses and stop projecting their own feelings on to the man. It’s time to take him at his word.
UPDATE: Boehner dismisses President Obama’s plea for compromise. After Rep. Nancy Pelosi promised to deliver Democratic votes for a Social Security benefit cut, Speaker Boehner was our only hope. And the leader of the Party of NO (or is it Hell NO?) delivered.
Americans Overwhelmingly Oppose Obama Plan to Cut Social Security
David Dayen: Obama’s Latest Fiscal Slope Offer: I’m Missing the Part Where Republicans Give Up Something
More on Chained CPI, the Benefit Cut for Social Security on the Table in Fiscal Slope Discussions
Great post by Time’s Michael Grunwald (the whole thing is worth reading):
It’s really amazing to see political reporters dutifully passing along Republican complaints that President Obama’s opening offer in the fiscal cliff talks is just a recycled version of his old plan, when those same reporters spent the last year dutifully passing along Republican complaints that Obama had no plan. It’s even more amazing to see them pass along Republican outrage that Obama isn’t cutting Medicare enough, in the same matter-of-fact tone they used during the campaign to pass along Republican outrage that Obama was cutting Medicare.
This isn’t just cognitive dissonance. It’s irresponsible reporting. Mainstream media outlets don’t want to look partisan, so they ignore the BS hidden in plain sight, the hypocrisy and dishonesty that defines the modern Republican Party. I’m old enough to remember when Republicans insisted that anyone who said they wanted to cut Medicare was a demagogue, because I’m more than three weeks old.
…The next fight is likely to involve the $200 billion worth of stimulus that Obama included in his recycled fiscal cliff plan that somehow didn’t exist before Election Day. I’ve taken a rather keen interest in the topic of stimulus, so I’ll be interested to see how this is covered. Keynesian stimulus used to be uncontroversial in Washington; every 2008 presidential candidate had a stimulus plan, and Mitt Romney’s was the largest. But in early 2009, when Obama began pushing his $787 billion stimulus plan, the GOP began describing stimulus as an assault on free enterprise—even though House Republicans (including Paul Ryan) voted for a $715 billion stimulus alternative that was virtually indistinguishable from Obama’s socialist version. The current Republican position seems to be that the fiscal cliff’s instant austerity would destroy the economy, which is odd after four years of Republican clamoring for austerity, and that the cliff’s military spending cuts in particular would kill jobs, which is even odder after four years of Republican insistence that government spending can’t create jobs.
…Whatever. I realize that the GOP’s up-is-downism puts news reporters in an awkward position. It would seem tendentious to point out Republican hypocrisy on deficits and Medicare and stimulus every time it comes up, because these days it comes up almost every time a Republican leader opens his mouth. But we’re not supposed to be stenographers. As long as the media let an entire political party invent a new reality every day, it will keep on doing it. Every day.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Nearly 6 million Americans — most of them in the middle class — will face a tax penalty for not carrying medical coverage once President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul law is fully in place, congressional budget analysts said Wednesday.
The new estimate amounts to an inconvenient fact for the administration, a reminder of what critics see as broken promises.
The numbers from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office are significantly higher than a previous projection by the same office in 2010, shortly after the law passed.
… And the budget office analysis found that nearly 80 percent of those who’ll face the penalty would be making up to or less than five times the federal poverty level. Currently that would work out to $55,850 or less for an individual and $115,250 or less for a family of four.
Average penalty: about $1,200 in 2016.
When they get dumped onto the individual private insurance market after their employers decide it’s too expensive to provide health care coverage, a lot more people will end up having to pay the penalty because they cannot afford the insurance (families with their own health insurance plans paid $414 per month on average in 2011). In fact, the penalty would be less than the average annual deductible of $2,935 for individuals and $3,879 for families.
Remember, in 2008 candidate Obama campaigned AGAINST the individual mandate, ridiculing it by saying, “if a mandate was the solution, we can try that to solve homelessness by mandating everybody to buy a house.” And he campaigned FOR the public option, which the ACA does not have (or any other effective cost controls).
Source: Think Progress
Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO), a candidate for U.S. Senate, has become the poster boy for the Republican Party’s position on abortion. Pregnant women who say they were raped are lying, according to Akin. The Romney-Ryan presidential campaign is frantically trying to distance themselves from Akin, but it’s too late.
Akin’s views are typical of the GOP, which just adopted a platform calling for a “human life amendment” to the U.S. Constitution that would criminalize abortions, without any exceptions for rape or incest. The amendment has been a tenet of the Republican Party for 32 years. The party platform also supports state laws that require women to undergo medically unnecessary transvaginal probe ultrasounds.
The Republican Party is also against contraception, which would be made illegal under so-called “personhood” laws.
I honestly don’t know why any woman would vote for any Republican candidate. By the way, men ought to think about the potential consequences of outlawing contraception for women.
In a “What the actual fuck?!” moment yesterday (possibly the leading WTF? moment of the year), Rep. Todd Akin (conservative Republican, of course) said:
“From what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare,” said Akin said of pregnancy caused by rape. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume maybe that didn’t work or something. I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist.”
First off, “a legitimate rape”? As opposed to an illegitimate one? And what the hell kind of distinction is that?
Second, the notion that a woman’s body has some magical way of preventing a rapists sperm from swimming to her ovum is completely nuts.
Third, Akin was simply spouting the anti-choice, women controlling slut shaming party line.
The myth that “real” rapes don’t result in pregnancy is widespread among anti-choicers—and not just the fringe (Akin, for instance, used to be on the board of Missouri Right to Life). You can see a variation of this myth at the anti-choice website Abortion Facts:
To get pregnant and stay pregnant, a woman’s body must produce a very sophisticated mix of hormones. Hormone production is controlled by a part of the brain which is easily influenced by emotions. There’s no greater emotional trauma that can be experienced by a woman than an assault rape. This can radically upset her possibility of ovulation, fertilization, implantation and even nurturing of a pregnancy.
As Marcotte explains:
Akin’s comment should serve as a reminder that despite its sentimentality surrounding the fetus, the anti-choice movement is motivated by misogyny and ignorance about human sexuality. In this case, what underlies the rape-doesn’t-get-you-pregnant myth is the notion that sex is shameful and that slutty women will do anything—even send an innocent man to jail to kill a baby—in order to avoid facing the consequences of their actions.
Kaili Joy Gray at DKos:
Yes, Rep. Todd Akin is the latest Republican to explain how rape just ain’t no thang, but he’s not the first. In fact, he joins a long and proud tradition of the Republican Party explaining why women who are raped are probably lying, are making much ado about nothing, and should learn to enjoy and appreciate the plus side of being raped.
Gray then offers a series of quotes from Republicans such Rick Santorum:
As horrible as the way that that son or daughter and son was created, it still is her child. [...] I believe and I think the right approach is to accept this horribly created — in the sense of rape — but nevertheless a gift in a very broken way, the gift of human life, and accept what God has given to you.As you know, we have to, in lots of different aspects of our life. We have horrible things happen. I can’t think of anything more horrible. But, nevertheless, we have to make the best out of a bad situation.
Akin’s statement is completely nuts, shows no knowledge of biology, and attributes magical powers to ladyparts . Santorum’s statement is equally an expression of the party line. “Oh it’s so awful but there’s a special magical gift – you get to have your rapist’s innocent baby to comfort you.” I find it offensive and dress it up in religious cant all you want, it’s still offensive. It’s about colonizing women’s bodies in the name of an abstract deity who commands suffering and it has nothing to do with the Christianity of the Gospels.
Unfortunately for Willard (“Mitt”) Romney, lies can’t be changed into truth by writing them on a whiteboard. Also, is it a good idea for Republicans to make this election a referendum on their plan to kill Medicare, one of the most popular government programs ever? Maybe that’s why Stephanie Cutter is smiling.
More info: Whiteboard Face Off: ThinkProgress Takes On Romney’s Medicare Madness
UPDATE: Rep. Chaffetz (R-UT) tries to explain why he voted twice for what Republicans now criticize as a $700 billion cut in Medicare.