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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

New York Times Gives Us OCare Details - A Little Late

Category: Health Care
Posted: 01/13/17 18:16

by Dave Mindeman

Great New York Times article on the basic protrections of the ACA. Why didn't the MSM put more of this out there over the last 6 years?

Anyway, here is a summation of what we got and what we may lose:

1) Obamacare insured millions through new insurance markets.

The health law reduced the number of uninsured Americans by an estimated 20 million people from 2010 to 2016. But if we lose it...With many fewer people buying coverage, the insurance markets are likely to become increasingly unstable. Many insurers will stop offering policies, and the remaining customers are likely to be sicker than current Obamacare buyers, a reality that will drive up the cost of insurance for everyone who buys it, and force more people out of the markets.

2) Obamacare insured millions more by expanding Medicaid.

The health law provided federal funds for states to offer Medicaid coverage to anyone earning less than about $16,000 for a single person or $33,000 for a family of four. Not every state chose to expand, but most did. The Republican plan is expected to eliminate federal funding for the expansion. An estimated 12.9 million people would lose Medicaid coverage, according to the Urban Institute's projections. A GOP proposal would push money back to the states to take care of this - so we go back to health care differences, depending on where you live.

3) Obamacare established consumer protections for health insurance

Here's a partial list: One of the law's signature features prevents insurance companies from denying coverage or charging a higher price to someone with a pre-existing health problem. The law included a host of other protections for all health plans: a ban on setting a lifetime limit on how much an insurer has to pay to cover someone; a requirement that insurers offer a minimum package of benefits; a guarantee that preventive health services be covered without a co-payment; a cap on insurance company profits; and limits on how much more insurers can charge older people than younger people. The law also required insurance plans to allow adult children to stay on their parents' policies until age 26.

4) Obamacare required individuals to have health insurance and companies to offer it to their workers.

To ensure that enough healthy people entered insurance markets, the law included mandates to encourage broader coverage. Large employers that failed to offer affordable coverage, or individuals who failed to obtain insurance, could be charged a tax penalty. The (GOP) bill is expected to eliminate the mandates. Some experts think that eliminating the individual mandate, in particular, could destabilize insurance markets by reducing incentives for healthy people to buy coverage. This mandate is important to keep the other costs down - GOP tells us that not enough healthy people are signing up...while that was true at the beginning, this year saw a big turnaround - In Minnesota, MNSure has over 100,000 sign ups for the private market.

5) Obamacare raised taxes related to high incomes, prescription drugs, medical devices and health insurance.

To help pay for the law's coverage expansion, it raised taxes on several players in the health industry and on high-income earners. The G.O.P. package may roll back those tax increases. Some of the (GOP) plans would limit the tax benefits offered to people who get their health insurance through work. That change would increase tax revenues, but would increase the cost of health insurance for many people who get it through work. Personally, I do not think that the Republicans are willing to balance the costs and expenses with their plan - they will simply let the deficit and debt balloon. Are you getting this, Erik Paulsen?

6) Obamacare made major reforms to Medicare payments.

The law cut the annual pay raises Medicare gives hospitals and reduced the fees Medicare pays private insurance companies. It created new incentives for hospitals and doctors to improve quality. It also set up a special office to run experiments in how Medicare pays doctors and hospitals for health care services. Those experiments are now widespread and have begun changing the way medicine is practiced in some places. (GOP)is expected to leave these changes alone,. although there is still talk of tinkering with it (they can't resist, because, you know, Medicare). This part of the ACA has worked well, primarily because hospitals and doctors made up the costs with fewer uninsured patients.

7) Obamacare made many smaller changes that will probably last.

Obamacare had a range of policies meant to improve health and health care, including requirements that drug companies report payments made to physicians, a provision written by the Iowa senator Chuck Grassley, a Republican; a requirement that chain restaurants publish calorie counts on their menus; and a rule that large employers must provide a space for women to express breast milk. It looks like the Republicans may leave these ancillary parts alone.

Despite the rhetoric, Obama's signature health plan has been an improvement. Reducing premiums and out of pocket costs has always been difficult - yes, there have been mixed results, but most analysts think that this transition period may be ending and stability will take over.

Of course, that would mean that we should resist radically changing things right now....and as we are well aware, radical change in health care is the new order of the day.

But, at least the facts are beginning to get out.
comments (1) permalink

"I'm Not On Obamacare, I'm On The ACA!"

Category: Health Care
Posted: 01/13/17 14:33

by Dave Mindeman

There is a Reddit thread that is going viral that I believe is typical of the misinformation that many people have been given about their health care.

This comment thread started when a critic of Obamacare began praising the Senate vote that begins the repeal process. Here are the pertinent excerpts.
(Forgive some of the language...you know, comments)

OCare Opponent: Jesus, where to start? First, we're talking about Obamacare, not the ACA. Secondly, my healthcare is through the ACA, so I'm definitely not the kind of person to look down on others for needing help. I'm just saying that I am glad this is finally happening because Obamacare was a failure from the start. Remember Healthcare.gov? All of this was the brainchild of liberals and they couldn't even get the site run right. We didn't and they couldn't. Again it was a mistake that is finally being fixed.

1st Responder: Wait if you're on Obamacare, why the f--- are you celebrating the outcome of this vote? If the Republicans get what they want, you will lose your insurance.

OCare Opponent: I'm not on Obamacare. My insurance is through the ACA (Affordable Care Act), which was what they had to come up with after Obamacare crashed and burned as bad as it did. So, I'm going to be fine.

2nd Responder: Holy Sh--!

1st Responder: No, seriously, are you f---ing kidding me? THEY'RE THE SAME F---ING THING! Obamacare is just a stupid name for the ACA that the Republicans came up with to make moronic voters like you automatically despise the idea of it just by hearing the name. And it f---ing worked I guess.

2nd Responder: Je--- Chr---! Seriously. All this time and you never once checked for yourself to see what was up with this whole Obamacare controversy? Didn't once bother asking if relying solely on Glen "f---ing" Beck for your political commentary might not be the best use of all the resources you have at your disposal?

The whole thread is on Reddit here.

It is kind of discouraging that we had voters going into this election with that kind of polluted information.

comments (4) permalink

Golden Rule

Category: Donald Trump
Posted: 01/13/17 13:48

by Alan Anderson

The Golden RuleDonald Trump believes in the Golden Rule. He believes that gold and wealth are the ultimate form of success. He also believes that wealthy people are the smartest and should Rule society. His choices thus far indicate this is who he is and how he thinks.

It is time to acknowledge the Trump presidency as a reality. Everyone must figure out how to respond and their reason for response. I believe we should respond with honesty and integrity. Based on foundations of faith and human dignity, I believe we should choose to respond by using the principles of the Golden Rule, an almost universal belief in standards of human interaction.

The Golden Rule or law of reciprocity is the principle of treating others as one would wish to be treated oneself. It is a maxim of altruism seen in many human religions and human cultures.

- One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.

- One should not treat others in ways that one would not like to be treated.

- What you wish upon others, you wish upon yourself

My response to Mr. Trump is based on these principles and are outlined below. This response is based on exactly what Mr. Trump did or would have done according to his own words and actions.

First, we cannot accept the Trump presidency. Mr. Trump alleged that the election was rigged and he would not accept the outcome unless he won. If the election were close, he would contestit and claim it was corrupt. Therefore, Mrs. Clinton and her supporters cannot accept the outcome of the election. That is what Mr. Trump would have done. We must also do so.

Using the Golden Rule principle, I will act as Mr. Trump would have acted, and that is to declare the election corrupt and rigged and not accept the outcome. In fact, Mrs. Clinton won the popularvote by almost 3 million votes, making Mr. Trump the biggest loser in a presidential election in history. The fact that he won the electoral college is also something that should be rejected since Mr. Trump claimed the electoral college was "a disaster for democracy." If he believed this, he should have rejected the electoral college outcome. Since he would not accept the election outcome, I will act as he would act and not do so, either.

It should be noted that Mr. Trump's loss in the popular vote was massive. Not only did he lose bya huge margin, he actually failed to win a majority of votes in most states. For example, in Wisconsin, where he "won" the state electors, he in fact, did not receive a majority of votes cast. More people voted for other candidates, Mrs. Clinton and the third party candidates, than for Mr. Trump. The totals in Wisconsin were: Donald Trump 1,409,467, Hillary Clinton 1,382,210, Or a difference of 27,257. The third party candidates received approximately 155,000 votes. So, approximately 128,000 more voters did not vote for Mr. Trump....and swayed the election away from Mrs. Clinton.

It should also be noted that Wisconsin instituted its first voter ID laws, which kept many traditionally Democratic voters either away from the polls or made it more difficult for them to vote. Certainly the voter ID laws could have explained the lower Democratic turnout in Wisconsin and cost Mrs. Clinton the state.

This situation occurred in most other closely contested states, such as Michigan and Pennsylvania. So, it can categorically be stated that Mr. Trump failed to win a majority of votersin the national election, and in most state elections. His win in the electoral college was a fluke.

Second, we should work to show the election was not legitimate. Mr. Trump worked for years toinvalidate the election of Barack Obama by falsely claiming he was not born in the US. Despite birth certificates and evidence of Obama's birth, Trump insisted that his eligibility for office was not legal or legitimate. So, he worked to have Obama thrown out of office for years after the election was finalized. Applying the Golden Rule, we should similarly work to declare Trump's election to be illegitimate. The fact that he lost the popular vote and was aided by corrupt interventions by the Soviet Union and the head of the FBI are grounds for declaring his election illegitimate. No one should accept the Trump presidency.

Third, we should organize resistance rallies all across the country. That is what Republicans did to Barack Obama. Tea Party Republicans organized all kinds of resistance tactics to object to Obama policies and worked tirelessly to stop him from implementing any of his agenda. Therefore, public resistance to any of Mr. Trump's policies should be conducted by citizens. It iswhat the Golden Rule says we can and should do. That is how Trump supporters "wish to be treated."

Fourth, we should encourage Democratic members of Congress to do as Mitch McConnell did toMr. Obama: declare him a one term president and do everything possible to obstruct any of his legislative or political agendas. Congress voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act more than 60 times. We should encourage members of Congress to vote against any Trump agenda. In addition, Mr. McConnell refused to hold hearing on a Supreme Court nominee. Democratic Senators should also apply the Golden Rule and do the same...obviously this is what Republicansand McConnell believe are appropriate actions. We need a nominee from a majority of the American people. Mr. Trump does not represent that majority.

Fifth, we should remind Mr. Trump that he is the worst presidential candidate ever. He repeatedly said that President Obama was the worst president ever. He suggested that Russian President Putin was a better leader than Obama and supported Putin/Assad agendas in Syria that killed hundreds of thousands of civilians. So comparing Mr. Trump to Adolf Hitler and other tyrants is simply implementing the Golden Rule. Do unto others.

Sixth, we should remind the public that Donald Trump is a miserable, despicable human being. He insulted many people during the campaign (and before) suggesting that some women didn't look presidential, that Romney was a "loser", and that Senator McCain wasn't a war hero becausehe "was captured." So reminding people that Trump was a draft dodger, refusing to serve in the Vietnam War, that he likes to "grope women by their private parts", that he thought it was smart not to pay federal income tax, and that the Pope was "disgraceful," indicates that he would like to be insulted and criticized, himself. His critique of the Pope shows he has no respect for individuals in honored leadership roles, so he, himself, should not be spared insults just because he is president. His insults of Mr. Obama demonstrate how much respect he has for a president.

Seventh, his comments about Mrs. Clinton's health, making her unfit and unable to serve as president, remind us that it is OK to tell people that he, too, is sick and unfit for the job. Many individuals, including Mr. Romney, Governor Pawlenty, and former Secretary of State Powell declared him to be unfit for the presidency because of his temperament and judgment. Tony Schwartz , his coauthor on the Art of the Deal, as have many others have called Mr. Trump a sociopath, indicating that he has a psychological disorder. Many of Trump's comments and actions clearly demonstrate he manifests all the traits of a sociopath (see The Sociopath Next Door), so his actions elevating his ego, his inability to accept any loss, and his apparent delusional behavior related to most occurrences of actual fact, surely reinforce this labeling and show that he is indeed, a sick man.

Eighth, he continued to claim that Mrs. Clinton's use of emails was criminal and she should be locked up in prison as a result. He claimed she was a crook, calling her Crooked Hillary. So calling Mr. Trump a crook, citing his apparent fraudulent actions with Trump University where he settled with claimants for $25 million dollars (even though he said he would never settle because such settlement was tantamount to admitting guilt), conducted his illegal charity in New York where they admitted to making disallowed payments where they paid fines for such actions.and ironically, actually deleting emails in some legal cases where he was directed by the judiciary to not do so, is fully justified. So Crooked Donald is a fair charge to make.

And ninth, he criticized Mr. Clinton for having out of marriage affairs and not adhering to morals and values of being faithful to one's spouse. So, Trump's numerous affairs, including the highly public affair with Marla Maples and the subsequent birth of their daughter, Tiffany, out of wedlock, should allow others to call Trump an adulterer and unfaithful husband. In addition, his three marriages indicate that he does not honor the sanctity of marriage and believes you can be married as many times as you wish.

Put all this information together and you have loser Donald, illegitimate Donald, crooked Donald, insulting, despicable Donald, delusional Donald, sociopath Donald, adulterer Donald, and obstructionist Donald. Hopefully he won't start a nuclear war. But certainly he is poised to become the worst president ever to hold the office in the modern era. So, the Golden Rule is an important standard for all people. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. And we shall.
comments (1) permalink
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