ACA Debacle and Reaction Proves Washington Isn’t Working

Kathleen SebeliusAfter watching HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testify before congress today I realized that the whole Affordable Care Act is hurting both Republicans and Democrats, and this is why.

First and foremost, the GOP is so against an “Obamacare” success that they will do anything to attack and derail the plan even though it is already law. They grilled Sebelius today over and over again with mostly anecdotal evidence in an attempt to frighten American’s with myths of “Big Government.” And these scare tactics turn-off the political independents even though it appeals to the blood-thirsty GOP faithful.

Secondly, the Democrats and Obama need to admit what a “debacle” this whole enrollment process and plan cancellation has been. They need to tell what they knew, when they knew, and who knew it. And, especially, Obama, Carney, and Sebelius need to ask for political forgiveness for stating that anyone who wanted to keep their current insurance coverage plan could.

And lastly, watching this hearing today showed me how dysfunctional the Capitol is at the moment. The two sides are far to involved with sniping and playing a win/lose game. The hearing was inconsequential at times because the same issues were covered over and over again by congress members, from both sides of the aisle, in an effort to score points on the record. Hardly anything was accomplished. Also, after watching the news coverage afterwards, on CNN. the supposedly-great-and-impartial Wolf Blitzer was just replaying soundbite after soundbite of emotional exchanges instead of reporting the real meat of the subject.

Just make sure you watch the PBS News Hour tonight for some decent media coverage of the hearing

 

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21 graphs that show America’s health-care prices are ludicrous

 

The End of the Costs Line

21 graphs that show America’s health-care prices are ludicrous.

The huge downside of the health care reform was not all the mythical pieces people complained about, most of which didn’t even exist.  It’s the fact that costs were not addressed as they should have been.  This explanation that went along with the graphs can’t be stressed enough:

In other countries, prices are set centrally and most everyone, no matter their region or insurance arrangement, pays pretty close to the same amount. In the United States, each insurer negotiates its own prices, and different insurers end up paying wildly different amounts.

Costs controls are going to have to be a part of the government’s footprint in American health care at some point.  It’s an eventuality that we will need and the sooner the better.  The system will not be sustained in the long run without it.

GOP & Social Darwinism

An article in the NYT reporting quotes from Mitt Romney from a closed door fundraiser posted on the Mother Jones website that must be read.

Talking about how 47% of the country’s population see themselves as “victims” and expect to be supported by the government. This is both false and sickening.

It seems that the social darwinist ideologies of the early 20th century are alive and well amongst the right wing and GOP.

(You can find a slew of op-eds on this subject in both the NYT and the Post).
Read Here.

The Myth of Voter Fraud & Those Taking Advantage of the Lies

A great article in the NYT on True the Vote, a national group focused on voter fraud, and their actions in many minority voting districts in swing states. It also covers how True the Vote and similar groups have no proof of the massive voter fraud they claim is rampant across the nation. They are just their to prevent and intimidate the minority vote.

Read Here

 

On the Occupy Movement and Lehman Brothers Collapse On Year Later

Another good NYT op-ed by Joe Nocera on the upcoming anniversary (9/17/2011) of the fall of Lehman Bros. and the beginning of the Occupy movement.

Read Here. 

Rich Politicians’ Supposed Impoverished Past A Joke

A good article here from the Post by Richard Cohen on how at the RNC & DNC, politicians and their wives tried to identify with “common people” by reminiscing about their supposed days of poverty. Cohen, though, points out how they all had some advantage with which to escape a life of being poor that most of impoverished people do not have the luxury of possessing.

Read Here.

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Elgible Voter Disputes Expected in Courts Post-Election

A good article in the NYT explaining how the battles over voter elgibility in battleground states may lead to 2000-like legal battles over who won the Presidential election.

The problem here is conservative efforts to hinder the voting power of poor minorities who vote Democrat. These strong-handed measures are no different than poll taxes and literacy tests of the Jim Crowe era.

Read Here.

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Two Months Until The Presidential Election

Democracy is the worst system devised by the wit of man, except for all the others.

This is the famous quote by Winston Churchill and I print it here because the Presidential election is just two months away. Here is a great article by The Post on the current state of the back-and-forth jockeying by the two candidates and what is yet to be. It’s just too terrible that neither represent the real change in the system or in our policies that will not cure rampant injustice on the domestic front or internationally.

Read Here.

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If You are a True Capitalist, Then You Hate Babies

A true capitalist knows how much of a drag babies can be on their businesses.  If the government forces the capitalist to hire a female through equality laws, his business now runs the risk of spending the time training and getting that female experience only to lose her for a few months when she gets pregnant and bears a child.  This hurts his business and his profits.  Until a few years later, of course, when the child hits the ripe old age of five and can start making shoes.  Then it is back to raking in the big bucks for the true capitalist.

An article posted yesterday at The Nation explains this same story from another angle: that of the parents trying (and increasingly failing) to make ends meet after giving birth in the United States because of laws that protect businesses over families.  The biggest issue as indicated by the author is not the lack of leave time, which has been addressed through FMLA, but the lack of pay during that time and businesses heavily cutting that back.

Almost 30 percent of employers offered paid leave for new mothers in 1998; only 16 percent did in 2008.

Realistically, even 30 percent is rather abysmal in the richest country on the planet but nearly half of that is obviously far worse.  The article also describes the story of one woman who experienced complications with her pregnancy and lost her job because of the extended time off.  This makes her a part of an important statistic from the article: “over a quarter of all workers…either quit or are let go of their jobs when they need to take leave.”  It’s a dog-eat-dog world and when one dog has to stop eating for a medical purpose like giving birth, the people at the top who make the money and the policies just don’t care enough to help them out the way they should.

And in the United States the lack of a universal health care system adds another layer to the job loss.  Parents now may have the added worry of having to care for a newborn with either no coverage or increasingly expensive premiums with no income.  Which would help explain one of the reasons the U.S. continues to rank so far behind so many other countries in the infant mortality rate.  We are still nine spots below the hated Castro regime in Cuba and thirty-eight rungs down the ladder from those awful socialists in France.  Those anti-capitalists and their love of children!  How dare they take care of babies in spite of the free market!

But I guess there is good news in the U.S.  There are folks out there who care so very deeply about children they are willing to take absurd legislative positions in the interest of children.  Therefore, I can only assume these same people will support some great social spending programs that will protect the baby and the parents from losing their jobs when a birth occurs.  Right…right?

Or maybe they will just give the baby a pat on the back when it’s born and say, “good luck out there kid.  Hope it doesn’t suck to start your life in poverty.”  Because that’s what Jesus would do.

Scathing Dowd Column on S. Court’s Political Bias

A scathing column by Maureen Dowd on the Supreme Court’s conservative majority’s ideological bias.

Read Here.