Category Archives: healthcare

The Dean has Spoken

Pull the plug!

Yes indeed, this bill is now officially terrible. The obvious outcomes are higher insurance costs for all, millions of people forced to buy overpriced crappy insurance from ‘non profit’ fronts of for profit companies, and millions of pissed off middle class folks that will be forced to buy crappy insurance out of their own pocket. I’m fine with paying higher taxes to expand medicaid and/or medicare, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to support an insurance company giveaway.

Congratulations pussies. You’ve gobbled up all the poison pills they fed you.
I heard Mitch McConnell describe the trajectory of public support for ‘Obama’s’ healthcare plan…it peaked in the late summer/early fall and is now tanking. I guess he didn’t notice that the decline also coincided with all the compromises to the conservatives’ crappy ideas?

I nominate Dean for Hero of the Week for standing up to this shit. Please tell me I’m missing something…

Bernin’ up the floor

Maybe relative to the Clinton’s attempt, we can praise this current round of healthcare ‘reform’ as a step in the right direction. I will not be one of those people. What happened today was classic Republican gaming of the system to avoid a vote on the proposal that makes the most sense, allowing people to buy into Medicare if they want to.

Tonight I give you Bernie ‘the mad socialist’ Sanders:

“The day will come, although I recognize it’s not today, when the U.S. Congress will have to vote to stand up to … all those who profit every single year off of human sickness,” Sanders said. “That day will come.”

Some day, Bernie, but for now rest assured that if you don’t support making a profit off of literally everything, especially human suffering, you are not an American but a wild haired Russia loving socialist. This clip is some classic Bernie.

Franken v. Thune

Here is some quality Senatorialization on the part of Al Franken today….  As you watch this, keep in mind that Sen. Thune is being groomed as the Republican Obama of 2012 – the young, handsome senator with no record and no baggage, on whose persona the teabaggers of America can project all their hopes and dreams…

Republican congressmen are worthless.  Smack ’em down!

(H/T TPM)

Joe Lieberman, Hypocrite

I had to put a moratorium on posts about the healthcare reform effort, because after awhile, as noted in the comments, the sheer mountain of hypocrisy begins to crush one’s soul. These asshole senators criticize government-run health insurance on the grounds that it is too expensive, even though every reputable study shows that it dramatically lowers the overall cost of healthcare.  Last week it seemed like the public option got pushed down a flight of stairs in the senate negotiations, only to land on its feet in the form of Medicare buy-in for people aged 55-64.  Not the greatest, but not too shabby either!  It’s basically the middle of the road proposal Ted Kennedy was working on a few years ago.  I’m especially partial to this particular compromise, because I know for a fact it would provide direct relief to my in-laws, who, as members of the 55-64 demographic, are stuck in medical insurance hell purgatory (not to be confused with the poor bankrupted individuals who really are in medical insurance hell).

My father-in-law retired a few years ago from his job at, of all places, an insurance company, because the stress of working for those fiends was affecting his health.   So he took another job in order to keep some health benefits, this time at a health clinic.  He’s a network engineer, and he was tasked with bringing their woeful computer system into the 21st century.  Right after he finished the upgrade, the fuckers cut his health benefits.  Curious timing, that!

Thus began the quest for a 55-year old couple to find private health insurance.  And guess what?  It’s damn near impossible.  All plans were prohibitively expensive.  Finally they got hooked up with AARP, which got them a plan that they could afford, but really only protects against catastrophic illness.  All other costs (doctors visits, etc) are basically paid out of pocket.  And they are still 10 years away from qualifying for Medicare.

So the Medicare buy-in compromise has resonance with me, and I hope they pull it off.  Naturally Lieberman has to come shit on everything.  As Ezra Klein put it:

Lieberman was invited to participate in the process that led to the Medicare buy-in. His opposition would have killed it before liberals invested in the idea. Instead, he skipped the meetings and is forcing liberals to give up yet another compromise. Each time he does that, he increases the chances of the bill’s failure that much more. And if there’s a policy rationale here, it’s not apparent to me, or to others who’ve interviewed him. At this point, Lieberman seems primarily motivated by torturing liberals. That is to say, he seems willing to cause the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in order to settle an old electoral score.

God damn right!  Apparently, this post hit a nerve, because Ezra is now under attack from the various spineless suckling creatures affixed to the underside of Lieberman’s droopy balls for rudely bringing up the subject of needless deaths.  it’s bad form, you see.  Even though, you know, it’s the moral imperative for this whole god awful initiative.

But I’m not posting this to focus on blogger wars.  What kills me is this (h/t Greg Sargent):

If you’re like me and can’t stand to listen to that punk speak for the full two minutes, let me paraphrase for you.  He voices his support for Medicare buy-in.  This was taken from an interview THREE MONTHS AGO.

Fucking.  Swine.  At what point does Lieberman get reviled by polite society?  I’m thinking one last job for Blackwater before they go…  I’m sure there’s an old Yoo memo still kicking around somewhere that ought to cover it.

UPDATE:

Why am I not surprised

Nearly 15 years ago, two Democratic senators — Joe Lieberman and Tom Harkin — decided that the filibuster had become an institutional menace. They called the parliamentary maneuver a “dinosaur” that had become “a symbol of a lot that ails Washington today,” and presented a plan to kill the filibuster once and for all…

Ironically, Lieberman is now a “dinosaur” that has become “a symbol of a lot that ails Washington today”.

Restless Vagina Syndrome

Here’s a great article on the latest USA RULES! Health Care Debacle. Big Pharma is creating a new disease called Restless Vagina Syndrome. The “disease” is actually called female sexual dysfunction (FSD), and the pharmaceutical industry wants to help. Or is this going to be the next thing that men slip into women’s drinks?

And if I may interject what most old women probably think when their old husbands feel the need to artificially inflate their egos, so to speak…take it away Wanda!

Here is a totally opposite use of restless vagina syndrome…don’t slip this in the drinks….

UILA UPDATE:

This post deserves music… (can you guess what’s coming?)

Slouching towards Bethlehem

Here’s Glenn Greenwald on Maddow last night talking about the flagrant insurance company whoredom of senators Evan Bayh and Joseph Lieberman.  Unsurprisingly, the same two who have made the most noise about killing the public option.  For shame!

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

[UPDATE – Here’s additional reading on Bayh’s ties

His wife, Susan Bayh, sits on the board of WellPoint(WLP Quote) in her hometown of Indianapolis. Over the last six years, Susan Bayh has received at least $2 million in compensation from WellPoint alone for serving on its board.

She joined Anthem Insurance (the precursor organization to WellPoint) in 1998, when she was 38 years old and a midlevel attorney working for Eli Lilly (LLY Quote). Her work experience prior to her stint at Lilly was five years as a junior law professor at Butler University in Indianapolis. Her work background at the time she was appointed to the Anthem board would have been surprising, given that she had no insurance experience and was relatively young and inexperienced to serve as a director on a multibillion-dollar board.

… and Lieberman’s lies

When he was seeking reelection in 2006, Joe Lieberman campaigned as a supporter of healthcare reform and expressed his support for “universal healthcare.” When the rubber hit the road, however, Lieberman emerged as a frontline warrior for the healthcare industry in its efforts to block reform. Yesterday, he not only noted his opposition to the very modest public option contained in the legislation that Majority Leader Harry Reid put forward, he also stated that he would cross the aisles to support a Republican filibuster. Should we be surprised? No. Lieberman has long been one of the industry’s favorite players on the hill, accepting more than $1 million in campaign contributions from the insurance industry and more than $600,000 from pharmaceuticals and related healthcare-products companies. But his ties run deeper than that. His wife Hadassah previously worked for two lobbying firms, Hill & Knowlton and APCO, handling matters for their healthcare and pharmaceuticals clients.

– UILA]

Also, building on some sentiments to which I alluded in the last post, here’s Ezra Klein putting the public option with opt-out clause into proper perspective.

In the Senate, this is about to become the “liberal” half of the debate. But it’s not very liberal at all. It is a compromise, and a conservative one at that.

For the real liberals, the public option was already a compromise from single-payer. For the slightly less radical folks, the public option that’s barred from partnering with Medicare to maximize the government’s buying power was a compromise down from a Medicare-like insurance plan. For the folks even less radical than that, the public option that states can “opt out” of is a compromise from the straight public option. Access to the public option will be a political question settled at the state level. It is not a settled matter of national policy.

In many ways, this is a fundamentally conservative approach to a liberal policy experiment. It’s only offered to individuals eligible for the insurance exchanges, which is a small minority of the population. The majority of Americans who rely on employer-based insurance would not be allowed to choose the exchanges. From there, it is only one of many options on the exchange, and only in states that choose to have it. In other words, it has been designed to preserve the status quo and be decided on the state level. Philosophically, these are major compromises liberals have made on this plan. They should get credit for that.

And yet we should expect to see this bill watered down even further before it craps out the end of Congress.  I’m guessing they will ultimately pass this by taking a few last kicks at the usual victims – restricting abortions and immigrant access, that kind of thing.  It’s a caveman mentality.  They can’t be satisfied unless someone gets hit with a club.

William Butler Yeats:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

What’s our option?

The health care negotiations are a truly sad spectacle.  As the kabuki theater in the senate winds down, it’s worth remembering a few things:

  • With only 40 votes, there is no threat of a republican filibuster
  • A bill without a public option is a crappy bill
  • The “public option” is not even a true progressive policy – it is merely a compromise to single-payer
  • Democrats are corporate whores

It’s fascinating to watch the political dysfunction unfold these days.  Democrats propose bills chock full of republican policy ideas (individual insurance mandates, cap and trade, etc) only to get zero republican votes in return.  So why keep trying to pass this garbage?

It’s because they want to.  The mask is coming off.  Corporate whores.

Matt Taibbi has more.

I’m personally of the opinion that our main problem lay with the fact that the Democratic Party as currently constituted is more afraid of losing the financial support of Wall Street and the health insurance industry and the pharmaceutical industry than it is of losing progressive voters. In fact, I think I’ve put that wrong, because it implies that the Democratic Party pushes the agenda of industry insiders out of fear. That is a misread of the situation, I think.

Update

Reid pulls the trigger, sez whiny bitches can opt-out…

Snowe Job

What’s up Down East? Olympia Snowe votes against the Rockefeller and Schumer amendments yet her state overwhelmingly wants a robust public option (63% to 27%) and greatly prefer it to her “trigger” idea whereby the public option only kicks in only if insurance companies don’t lower their rates. Well it may help us understand her disregard for her constituents if we look at campaign contributions from the health insurance industry. I thought she was a republican who voted her conscience and wasn’t a lobbyist’s pawn? You can fool some people sometimes….

Jimmy and Madman you need to apply some pressure. Use the facebook if you have to. This beotch ain’t representin’!

Although I single out Snowe, she is not alone. There are spineless democrats who are caving as well. The progressives need to motivate on this issue. If the lobbyists have their way health insurance care will consist of rollin’ doobies in a van down by the river….

They Surround Us (A Few Snack Crackers)

In case anybody neglected to attend their State Fair this summer, here’s a little taste of the great american freakshow…

George W. famously joked that we are a country of haves and have-mores.  A rare moment of honesty to be sure, but a lie of omission nonetheless: he left out the have-nots and, increasingly, the half-nuts.  The poor dupes in the video above all think Big Guvmint is coming to take their precious crumbs away. Most of these people live on the ass rim of the economic spectrum. Yet when presented with a reform effort that could actually do them some good, they lose their damn minds. To quote the Boss: “end up like a dog that’s been beat too much, til you spend half your life just a-covering up”.  Matt Taibbi calls it the “peasant mentality” (from a post that I have surely linked to before).  At the time he wrote this the corporate masters were trying to cajole these people into opposing executive compensation limits, but opposition to health care reform is the more natural vehicle for their vicious, self-denying ways:

After all, the reason the winger crowd can’t find a way to be coherently angry right now is because this country has no healthy avenues for genuine populist outrage. It never has. The setup always goes the other way: when the excesses of business interests and their political proteges in Washington leave the regular guy broke and screwed, the response is always for the lower and middle classes to split down the middle and find reasons to get pissed off not at their greedy bosses but at each other. That’s why even people like Beck’s audience, who I’d wager are mostly lower-income people, can’t imagine themselves protesting against the Wall Street barons who in actuality are the ones who fucked them over. Beck pointedly compared the AIG protesters to Bolsheviks: “[The Communists] basically said ‘Eat the rich, they did this to you, get ‘em, kill ‘em!’” He then said the AIG and G20 protesters were identical: “It’s a different style, but the sentiments are exactly the same: Find ‘em, get ‘em, kill ‘em!’” Beck has an audience that’s been trained that the rich are not appropriate targets for anger, unless of course they’re Hollywood liberals, or George Soros, or in some other way linked to some acceptable class of villain, to liberals, immigrants, atheists, etc. — Ted Turner, say, married to Jane Fonda.

But actual rich people can’t ever be the target. It’s a classic peasant mentality: going into fits of groveling and bowing whenever the master’s carriage rides by, then fuming against the Turks in Crimea or the Jews in the Pale or whoever after spending fifteen hard hours in the fields. You know you’re a peasant when you worship the very people who are right now, this minute, conning you and taking your shit. Whatever the master does, you’re on board. When you get frisky, he sticks a big cross in the middle of your village, and you spend the rest of your life praying to it with big googly eyes. Or he puts out newspapers full of innuendo about this or that faraway group and you immediately salute and rush off to join the hate squad. A good peasant is loyal, simpleminded, and full of misdirected anger. And that’s what we’ve got now, a lot of misdirected anger searching around for a non-target to mis-punish… can’t be mad at AIG, can’t be mad at Citi or Goldman Sachs. The real villains have to be the anti-AIG protesters! After all, those people earned those bonuses! If ever there was a textbook case of peasant thinking, it’s struggling middle-class Americans burned up in defense of taxpayer-funded bonuses to millionaires. It’s really weird stuff. And bound to get weirder, I imagine, as this crisis gets worse and more complicated.

And because my Daily Links have been hijacked by some paintballing virus, I will go ahead and link to this groovy Q & A with Douglas Rushkoff which I heartily recommend, talking about the historical roots of corporatism.  (I predict Thom Hartmann fans will approve).  The discussion is not about the half-nuts per se, but their participation in the corporate-media-consumofest is implicit.  Read the whole thing, I say!

Indifference

My reaction to the Wednesday night speech was one of frustration and anger. Can’t the public see through Joe Wilson and these republican bullshit artists? They are indifferent on this issue. They are just grasping for any momentum they can find. When did George Bush and the Republican majority in Congress ever fight for universal healthcare? Now suddenly an affordable, universal system is their big priority. And the contrived Republican response after the speech brought me back to Bill Frist’s expert analysis of the Terri Schiavo video. And is ABC News just a front for Boehner and McConnell’s personal paparazzi? Funny how those camera angles work…for a while I thought the Democrats were in the minority. Fuck ’em! I was ready for Obama to display some Superfly Snuka action from the top of the podium. Time to take the tag from Teddy, get in the ring, and go for the takedown.