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Have you considered what it means to you if Romney and Ryan get ahold of Medicare?

 

After hearing Romney on Meet The Press say that he wants to keep some of Obamacare, what he and Ryan want to do with Medicare, according to the Ryan budget, is a whole different matter.

It’s what it will cost you that you ought to think about.

I don’t know what age level you fall into, but knowing I’m being stripped of the money tobuy two years worth of groceries really pisses me off.

 

What you remember from a convention makes a big difference.

 

Among all the very effective speakers at last night’s Democratic Convention – the most important being Michelle Obama who brought down the house – the one I remember the most was Stacy Lihn.

Stacy Lihn

Lihn is mother to little Zoe Lihn, a child born with a congenital heart defect, who already has needed three open-heart surgeries which would, in all likelihood, push her close to, or past, her insurance company’s lifetime coverage limit. Lihn told the crowd that President Obama‘s health care reform law “is saving my daughter’s life,” and made it clear that if Mitt Romney is elected, and makes good on his promise to repeal Obamacare, the consequences for Zoe would be disastrous.

“Governor Romney says people like me were most excited about President Obama the day we voted for him. But that’s not true. Not even close. For me, there was the day the Affordable Care Act passed, and I no longer had to worry about getting Zoe the care she needed. There was a day the letter arrived from the insurance company saying our daughter’s lifetime cap had been lifted. There was the day the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare… And like so many moms with sick kids, I shed tears.”

Lihn went on to outline what Zoe’s future would be after the election of a Romney/Ryan ticket:

“If Mitt Romney becomes president, and Obamacare is repealed, there’s a good chance she’ll hit her lifetime cap. There’s no way we could afford to pay for all of the care she needs to survive. When you have a sick child, it’s always in the back of your mind and sometimes, in the front of your mind. On top of that, worrying that people would let an insurance company take away her health care just because of politics? One in one 100 children are born with a congenital heart defect. President Obama is fighting for them. He’s fighting for families like mine, and we need to fight for him.”

The audience’s response to Lihn and her family, who appeared next to her on the podium, was highly emotional and supportive. Certainly, this was a speech that everyone would remember when they think of Obamacare… I know I will.

Conventions are a lot like commercials for political positions and and, like commercials, help the voter determine which brand to buy. The big difference between Republicans and Democrats on this issue is that people will remember the major positions: The Republicans will dismantle Obamacare and cut Medicare and Medicaid using the money to afford tax cuts for the rich. The Democrats made it clear that if Republicans are elected a little girl will die.

How the Republicans deal with the actual results of their campaign goals can easily affect voters. There is no way they can make their cuts sound beneficial to sick children.

 

Want to know what Medicare will cost you when you retire under the Romney Plan?

 

There is a great danger in electing Mitt Romney and letting him and Paul Ryan get their hands on Medicare. According to a report from Harvard economist David Cutler, an Obamacare architect, and the Center for American Progress the cost of health care at retirement will be obscenely expensive.

If Romney and Ryan are allowed to turn Medicare into a voucher system for Americans under 55 when they qualify for Medicare, 48-year-olds would have to pay $124,600 more for Medicare, 39-year-olds would have to pay $216,600 more during retirement, and 29-year-olds would have to pay $331,200 more in total. That’s because the vouchers would not keep up with rising health care costs. For those 29-year-olds, the extra costs would consume 62% of their lifetime Social Security benefits. And that’s as long as the Republicans don’t destroy Social Security altogether.

It’s up to you and who you vote for to preserve and continue to improve Medicare as Obama has done so far. It’s your choice… don’t forget it when you approach the voting booth.

 

Healthcare Question: WHO GETS HELP AND WHO DOESN’T?

My friend Ted Czukor sent me this essay and I am pleased to pass it on to you:

WHO GETS HELP AND WHO DOESN’T?
By Ted Czukor

info@tedsyoga.com

I’d like to take a poll of all readers over the age of 30. How many of you think that life is going to unfold the way you had envisioned? It certainly hasn’t been like that for me! I’m 65 now, and on the one hand I’ve had some wonderful experiences that I never could have predicted, while on the other hand some experiences have been the sheerest crap; but very seldom in my life has my planning brought about the exact result to which I had looked forward.

One of the more disturbing surprises I’ve had recently is that finally getting Medicare health insurance is not necessarily a guarantee of receiving proper medical attention—because healthcare providers are sometimes slow to order medical tests. I say “sometimes” because it’s a very mixed bag. Sometimes our doctor may send us immediately to the lab for something that he feels is necessary, but other times we may have to come back to his office for multiple appointments over several months with the same persistent complaint before he will decide that the quickly-written prescription isn’t doing anything, and we really do need to have a tube stuck down our throat or a picture taken of our brain or joints to see what the hell is actually going on.

It’s hard to predict when our doctors will jump on a test immediately or delay one for several months—but it seems clear from the national discussion on TV that some tests are being delayed due to concerns about cost. Our healthcare system is losing money, and some patients are guilty of what the insurance industry calls “over-utilization of services”—which makes it damned hard on those of us who legitimately need the testing.

On the Today Show on Wednesday morning, August 28th 2012, Dr. Nancy Snyderman actually suggested that any medical test will come up with something treatable, so therefore people in their 90’s should hold off on such tests so that younger people with longer-expected life spans can benefit from the treatments instead!  We like and respect Dr. Nancy, and we never expected her to take such a cold-blooded stance on the subject. It sounds logical and fiscally responsible on the surface, but how low on the age scale should we set the cutoff point? Age 80? 70? What about people over the age of 60? Shouldn’t other factors besides age be considered in such a decision?

Such a stance is easy to support, so long as the older people in question are generic groups whom you have never met. But when that older person is suddenly a personal friend or a member of your own family—or when, God forbid, it’s actually you—then you will probably take a second look and decide that in this case, at least, an exception should be made!

Another unexpected and recent surprise has been that we have to do our own diagnosing. More accurately, we have to research our symptoms on the Internet and take our questions about possible causes to our doctor, to get him to look into them and determine whether we are barking up the wrong tree—or not. Only our doctors and their labs can diagnose for certain, but we have to tell them what to look for! This is doubtless due to the overwhelming number of patients they see every day, with the result that even the most conscientious physician can only pay full attention to the patient who is right in front of him. As soon as that patient has left and a new one has come in, the first one better receive proper follow-up from the doctor’s staff, because the doctor himself will have forgotten about him until their next scheduled appointment.

In the last three years my wife and I have been successfully treated for degenerated hips and shoulders, melanoma and allergic reactions to various medications—but in every case we were the ones who had to self-diagnose the condition and then go to the proper specialist to have it verified! Until we did that, we were simply given prescriptions for pain or infection in an attempt to mask symptoms.  It was never suggested that surgery might be needed, or that a medication should be discontinued because it might be messing us up.  Suggestions of that nature had to be put forward by us.

I have two reasons for writing this essay and sharing it with others. For those in the medical profession, I want you to know that educated patients understand your dilemmas concerning healthcare costs and the limited time you are allowed to spend with each of us—but we insist that attention be paid to us as individuals, rather than as generic members of a certain age group. For my contemporaries who are experiencing the same frustrations that I am, I want to encourage you to Keep Doing Your Searches on WebMD, and Keep Asking Questions. Don’t take a doctor’s “I don’t know” for an answer. Get your facts lined up, and insist on getting tested for anything that alarms you and that your doctor isn’t completely sure doesn’t need a test.

For those of you who aren’t wealthy and are under 65 without health insurance, I empathize.  I went without insurance for two years before finally making it to Medicare age. The best advice I can give is to do whatever you feel is necessary to maintain your functionality, until you can finally get coverage to see doctors again. The trick is to just stay alive. But remember that getting the insurance won’t be enough. You will have to be an active advocate for your own health and for the health of your spouse and parents.

Another set of facts necessary before listening to Republicans at their convention, thanks to Robert Reich…

 

Robert Reich is quite easy to understand and deserves a good listen:

 

Out Of All The Reasons African-Americans Don’t Trust Mitt Romney, Here’s The Very Best One…

 

This is from MoveOn.org:

Forget for a second that he just gave a speech for the NAACP and vowed to repeal Obamacare. And then insinuated to his rich, white friends later that the NAACP audience just “wants free stuff.”

Forget, momentarily, that he once tried to relate to a group of black teens by asking them, “Who let the dogs out?”

Forget all that for just a moment, and focus on this:

So now that you know, what’s your best reason not to trust the Mittster?

 

Today continues the House Republicans’ waste of time…

Well, we need jobs legislation, and we need tax resolution, and we need many more necessary things from the House of Reps… but for the last couple of days, leading to a vote today, they have been wasting time and effort.

Today’s vote will be the 33rd vote to undermine the Affordable Care Act, either through repeal or blocking funding for various provisions, since Republicans took control of the House in 2010. It won’t matter. The repeal, if passed,  is sure to be defeated in the Democratic-led Senate. And even if it made it through the Senate, the President has pledged to veto such a measure once it reaches his desk.

Yesterday I watched the arguments in the House on C-Span and spent most of the time sorting out the truth in claims by both sides. And I heard Obama speak in Iowa saying:

“I will work with anybody to improve the health care law where we can, but this law is here to stay. And it will help the vast majority of Americans feel greater security. If you’ve got health insurance, it’s going to be more secure because insurance companies can’t jerk you around because of fine print. If you don’t have health insurance, we’ll help you get it.”

No matter how much they want to eliminate Romneycare … excuse me, Obamacare … the Republicans have no plan to replace it and will eliminate health care for millions of people, especially young people and seniors and the poor.

One would think that the best thing they could do would be to create a new plan which could replace Obamacare immediately, not remove coverage from the population, and save the millions of dollars they claim they want to do. Then, once voted in, it would replace the existing law without stranding anyone.

But they are not going to do that.

I’ll watch their vote today, but I know by their sheer numbers that Republicans will pass their repeal. Then, once they send it to the Senate, maybe they can get around to the things they really should be doing. Do you think they will?

Tax Benefits for the Middle Class with Obamacare

No matter what the Republicans in Congress say as they pass Eric Cantor‘s legislative move to repeal Obamacare (don’t worry, the Senate will send it to the crapper), it should be clear that the health care program benefits the Middle class. Especially with tax cuts.

Take a look:

Save this to argue with your Republican friends (as if they’ll listen!)

How many Americans actually watch (or listen to) the News?

For instance, with all that has been said in relationship to the Supreme Court’s decision on Obamacare, wouldn’t it be really disappointing to know that almost half of all Americans were in the dark about the decision?

Or maybe it would be frightening. These are people that vote.

A new Pew Research poll finds that 45% of Americans either didn’t know what the Supreme Court had decided with regards to President Obama’s health care law (30%) or thought that the Supreme Court had overturned the law (15%).

My guess is that the same number of Americans know exactly who Kim Kardashian is dating.

Clarifying the Affordable Care Act’s Requirement to Buy Coverage…

The following chart from the Henry J. Kaiser Foundation makes clear who has to buy health coverage under Obamacare and how much it will cost. I feel it is better to know how this really works than to hear Republicans as they cry that the world will come to an end.

The Requirement to Buy Coverage Under the Affordable Care Act

Along with changes to the health insurance system that guarantee access to coverage to everyone regardless of pre-existing health conditions, the Affordable Care Act includes a requirement that many people be insured or pay a penalty. This simple flowchart illustrates how that requirement (sometimes known as an “individual mandate“) works.

My wife posted this on Facebook…

If you wonder what an important piece of legislation Obamacare is and want to know the kinds of things it corrects, then read this short letter about her late father that she posted on Facebook:

To my wonderful friends and family. When I was growing up, we were deeply affected by the “pre-existing clause” in health insurance. We grew up with a father who suffered quietly with leukemia for 18 years and could not leave his job… his anti-semitism infested job. He could not leave it because he would lose his health insurance since his leukemia was a pre-exisitng condition.

I realize that the republicans could vote this out before 2014 when it goes into effect but for today, June 29, 2012 I am happy to say “Daddy, you were not alone!”

Love Ellen X0X0

Decision is in… for the most part Obama has triumphed.

From the Financial Times:

US Supreme Court upholds bulk of ‘ObamaCare’

The US Supreme Court has left Barack Obama’s healthcare law broadly intact but ruled that an element of the law was not valid, handing the president a political victory.


In decision written by Chief Justice John Roberts, the majority of justices ruled that the individual mandate that compelled every American to buy insurance was not valid under the commerce clause of the Constitution. But they also ruled that the financial penalty outlined in the law against people who did not buy insurance was allowed. In effect, it means that the high court agreed with critics who said the mandate as written was unconstitutional, but that the implementation of the law will proceed much as it would have if the law had been completely upheld.


The mandate can now be enforced as a tax.

So the Mandate is unconstitutional, but it still may be applied with a different definition. This, of course, means Congress has to create the tax and the forthcoming conflict will be in this area.

Today is the day the Supreme Court weighs in on Obamacare…

The news media is waiting with baited breath for the decision of the SCOTUS which is due today on the President’s health care plan. So many questions are waiting to be answered:

1. Will the Court’s decision be primarily political?

2. Who will suffer the most if it is overturned?:

- Young people under 26 years old who are able to be on their parents’ health care plan, who could lose that  advantage unless the insurance company itself allows it.

- Protection for sick patients who can lose their coverage due to a mistake in paperwork.

- People in southern states who have the least amount of state-mandated protection on their health insurance as opposed to more progressive states.

- Women will not be able to get free birth control (this is Planned Parenthood‘s major worry.)

- The risk of coverage will increase immensely for insurance companies who will not be as supportive of the users and more supportive of themselves.

3. Will the Court separate the Mandate (the requirement that everyone have insurance) from the rest of the law?

So we await the decision which will be written by Justice Roberts and see if they use it as the standard  anti-Democrat response the court has made since putting George W. Bush into office.

 

Hey, Mitt: A majority of Americans want to keep the Health care Law!

New Bloomberg poll results show a plurality of Americans, 43 percent, say they want to retain the 2010 law with only small modifications, while 15 percent say the measure should be left alone, a Bloomberg National Poll shows. That’s 58 % for keepers! Only 33% say it should be repealed.

Next week the Supreme Court is expected to rule “on the constitutionality of the law, the centerpiece of which is the mandate that most Americans buy insurance or pay a fine.”

Do you suppose the Court pays attention to people, or to Republican campaign rhetoric?

If Romney ever told the truth we could all go back to bed…

From Bob Cesca in The Daily Banter:

A couple of months ago in Arizona, Mitt Romney attacked the president on this topic with a whopper lie: “He said he’d cut the deficit in half. He’s doubled it. He’s doubled it.”

Mitt Romney actually said that. Well, no, the president didn’t cut the deficit in half. And he hasn’t doubled it. Obviously. Romney lied again. Actually, the president is on course to erasing the entire deficit by 2017, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The 2017 budget deficit, which will reflect President Obama’s final spending requests (a similar dynamic to Bush’s last deficit of 2009), could end up being zero.

Conversely, the Tax Policy Center reported that the Romney tax plan would explode the deficit by nearly $3 trillion over ten years. And that doesn’t even take into consideration the reversal of the president’s deficit cutting policies like the Affordable Care Act, or another recession, or whatever Romney decides to do in Iran.

Romney is either incapable of telling the truth, or he has no intelligence to evaluate the numbers showing how things really are. Or… he is under the thumb of the not-running Republican managers and Super Pacs that are spending millions to show Obama in a false light.

It’s up to all of us to make sure the REAL TRUTH gets out and that Karl Rove,  Ricketts, The Koch Brothers and all their rich buddies are dipped in wax and burned like candles.

Do not, PLEASE, do not just ignore them and let it rest. Even if you are upset with SOME things Obama has done, who do you think is more likely to change over the next four years? Republicans?

Not a chance.

Romney Added to his Lies last week:

 • Romney said Obama’s record includes “the first trillion deficit in history.”

That’s a blatant lie — the day Obama was inaugurated, there was a $1.3 trillion deficit Bush had left for him to clean up.

In New Hampshire, Romney saidObama is “focused on taking away from those who have the least.”

That’s blatantly untrue in an ironic sort of way. Romney’s tax plan calls for higher taxes on those at the lowest end of the income scale. He also intends to cut food stamps, Medicaid, and educational spending, which benefit those who have the least.

Romney summarized his message to young people: “It’s so critical, in my view, for you to consider what’s in the best interest of not just yourself, but of America, over the coming century, and it is to stop the excessive overspending.”

Annual domestic spending is already on track to become the smallest share of the economy since Dwight Eisenhower’s administration.

Romney said once “Obamacare” is implemented, “government at all levels” will “consume” 50% of the American economy.

David Corn explained this week that this is Romney’s arguably “biggest fib,” which falls “somewhere between ‘ridiculous’ and ‘stupid.’”

• “The Obama administration has decided that it has the power to mandate what Catholic charities, schools, and hospitals must cover in their insurance plans…. Here we are, just getting started with Obamacare, and the federal government is already dictating to religious groups on matters of doctrine and conscience.”

In Massachusetts’ governor for one term, Romney took the same position Obama has adopted. He somehow forgot to mention this.

Thanks to Steve Benen over at the Rachel Maddow Show who puts out Romney’s lie list every week. Mitt seems to think we don’t pay attention.

 

Yesterday Romneycare was 6 Years Old in Massachusetts…

… and by all accounts it has been a success.

Massachusetts is a model for getting everybody insured,”
said Romney when the law was passed under his Governorship.

In fact, Romney also claimed at the time that his plan would be a good model for the Nation.

The fact that President Obama agreed with him and promoted what has become known as “Obamacare” –  a national duplicate of “Romneycare” – seems to be meaningless to the Republicans, to Mitt, to the Conservative side of the Supreme Court.

Why can’t we all have the successful plan that Massachusetts has? And why does Romney now say that he would repeal the law as soon as possible if elected?

Why do they play politics with our health?

 


Obama Campaign changes the focus on “Obamacare” – It’s a POSITIVE label

According to Reuters:

President Barack Obama’s campaign has embraced the term “Obamacare,” seeking to turn the negative name Republicans assigned to his healthcare reform effort into a positive branding tool just as the Supreme Court studies the law’s constitutionality.

“Happy birthday, Obamacare,” Jim Messina, the president’s campaign manager, wrote in an email to supporters last week to note the anniversary of the reform becoming law.

“If you’re tired of the other side throwing around that word like it’s an insult, then join me in sending a message that we’re proud of it,” he wrote.

While it may be a little late in getting around to this strategy, there’s a good chance it can work To help promote it, the Obama campaign  is reaching out with promoti0nal products:

T-shirts that say “I like Obamacare” are available on the campaign’s website for $35.

Buttons with the same message go for $5.

I expect to be seeing these around soon… perhaps on me.

Today the Supreme Court gets back to the Health Care Bill’s Constitutionality…

C-Span 3 has them scheduled to be on the air at 1:00 PM… I don’t know if that’s live or a replay, but it will cover the next stage of their discussions.Today is the second day of hearings (tomorrow is the third and last), with the justices moving from the technicalities of the first day to exploring the legal issues at the heart of whether the law is constitutional or not.

Most of the commentators I’ve heard in the last two days think the 22 Republican challengers (3 state governors, the rest Republican Attorneys General) will not get the law declared unconstitutional. If that is the case, any move to change or eliminate it goes back to Congress.

From 1992 to the near present, it was the Republicans who were pushing mor the Individual Mandate that everyone be required to have Health Insurance. It was only when Obama pushed it in his ACA bill that they came put against it. This is why it seems political more than nationally useful.

Anyway, I’ll be listening to the Court… so more later.

And what are the main complaints the Repiglicants have concerning the Affordable Care Act

In an article called “More good news about the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare): CBO says it will save money“, Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub (a great blog, btw) brings one of the most important results of “Obamacare” to plain view: The Congressional Budget Office shows it will save money:

Remember, without the Affordable Care Act, the U.S. was experiencing health care cost inflation of about 15%annually.

You might not know it if you read conservative blogs, watch Fox News, or listen to the Republican candidates for president — all of whom seem to have their fact panties on wrong — but the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects the bill will reduce federal spending, still, even after accounting for recent changes in law and changes in the economy that will increase costs of the bill’s provisions.

Yeah, Obamacare saves money.

The new law will  not eliminate the problem of people not having insurance coverage to guarantee access to health care, a sad result of Republican efforts to cut the bill’s effectiveness.  But it’s a great first step to making America better, healthier, and economically more sound.

I guess you haven’t heard about the savings of the ACA from the garbage the Repiglicants are spreading in their goal to have the Supreme Court tear it down.

Now, certainly, the ACA could have been better… it could have been a single payer program which would have wiped the greed of insurance companies off the dish, leaving us with security for all.

Perhaps this could happen in a second Obama term. If he doesn’t make it in… if the Dems don’t retake the House and hold onto the Senate, we’ll probably never know.

If you’re an aging diabetic like me, with an increasing dependance on Medicare and, possibly, Medicaid, you will have a certain view of the efforts to kill ACA. If you are not, or are not related to someone who is, consider yourself very lucky (and probably in the minority.)

If you can’t afford the Health Care system and there is no Medicare For All…

…then a creative solution may be your only choice. Take James Verone of Gastonia, North Carolina:

The best comment I saw about James Verone’s situation (and that of millions of others) was on Mickey Mills’ blog, The Prodigal Scribe:

“The story behind this story is the one that really grabs me. We can put a man on the moon. We are the richest country on the planet. We arguably have the best colleges and universities putting out the brightest and the best.

“And we can’t figure out how to get health care for the needy. Between the greedy insurance underwriters, lawyers and drug companies, we have created a medical behemoth that is strictly for the haves — the have nots be damned.”

My question is when are we going to finally get the Health Insurance companies out of our pockets and realize that medical care for all is a right and not a commodity for profit?

Want Single-Payer health Care? Move to Libby, Montana… but hold your breath

Max Baucus, U.S. Senator from Montana.

Max Baucus helped keep the rest of us from a Single-Payer system - my idea of a Democrat with Republican motives.

This article, reproduced here in full, is from Firedoglake. Read it and see why I don’t like Max Baucus:

How Libby, Montana, Got Medicare for All

By Kay Tillow

http://my.firedoglake.com

In 2009 when the Washington beltway was tied up with the health care reform tussle, Montana Democratic Senator Max Baucus, chairman of the all powerful Senate Finance Committee, said everything was on the table–except for single payer. When doctors, nurses and others rose in his hearing to insist that single payer be included in the debate, Baucus had them arrested. As more stood up, Baucus could be heard on his open microphone saying, “We need more police.”

Yet when Senator Baucus needed a solution to a catastrophic health disaster in Libby, Montana, and surrounding Lincoln County, he turned to the nation’s single payer healthcare system, Medicare, to solve the problem.

Baucus’ problem was caused by a vermiculite mine that had spread deadly airborne asbestos killing hundreds and sickening thousands in Libby and northwest Montana. The W. R. Grace Company that owned the mine denied its connection to the massive levels of mesothelioma and asbestosis and dodged responsibility for this environmental and health disaster. When all law
suits and legal avenues failed, Baucus turned to our country’s single payer plan, Medicare.

The single payer plan that Baucus kept off the table is now very much on the table in Libby. Unknown to most of the public, Baucus inserted a section into the health reform bill that covers the suffering people of Libby, Montana, not just the former miners but the whole community—all covered by Medicare.

They don’t have to be 65 years old or more.
They don’t have to wait until 2014 for the state exchanges.
No ten year roll out—it’s immediate.
They don’t have to purchase a plan—this is not a buy-in to Medicare—it’s
free.
They don’t have to be disabled for two years before they apply.
They don’t have to go without care for three years until Medicaid expands.
They don’t have to meet income tests.
They don’t have to apply for a subsidy.
They don’t have to pay a fine for failure to buy insurance.
They don’t have to hope that the market will make a plan affordable.
They don’t have to hide their pre-existing conditions.
They don’t have to find a job that provides coverage.

Baucus inserted a clause in the Affordable Care Act to make special arrangements for them in Medicare, and he didn’t wait for any
Congressional Budget Office scoring to do it.

Less than two months after the passage of the health reform bill on March 23, 2010, Nancy Berryhill of the Social Security Administration in Denver joined personally in
setting up an office in Libby to sign up these newly eligible people.  “This is a new thing,” Berryhill told the Missoulian. “No other group like this has ever been selected to receive Medicare.” Berryhill issued a nationwide alert to inform anyone who had lived or stayed in Lincoln County of their eligibility. She opened a storefront in Libby at the old downtown city hall where she signed up 60 people on the first day. She plastered the towns of Whitefish and Eureka with pamphlets explaining the program and added three new staffers to the office in Kalispell.

Berryhill said she did not know how much the care would cost. That kind of analysis was beyond her directive to sign the people up. There have been no reports of competition from the private for-profit Medicare Advantage plans. The sick are not profitable.

No one should begrudge the people of Lincoln County. The mine wastes were used as soil additives, home insulation, and even spread on the running tracks at local schools. Miners brought the carcinogens home on their clothes. The W. R. Grace Company dumped much of the clean up costs onto the federal government. A June 17, 2009, order by the Environmental
Protection Agency, the first of its kind, declared Lincoln County a public health disaster. The Libby Medicare provision in the health reform law is based on the area covered by that EPA order.

Baucus gave his reasons to the New York Times for its only story on this unique benefit: “The People of Libby have been poisoned and have been dying for a decade. New residents continue to get sick all the time.  Public health tragedies like this could happen in any town in America. We need this type of mechanism to help people when they need it most.”

Health tragedies are happening in every town. Over 51 million have no insurance. Over 45,000 uninsured people die needlessly each year.  Employers are cutting coverage and dropping plans. States in economic crisis are slashing both Medicaid and their employees’ plans. Nothing in last year’s reform law will mitigate the skyrocketing costs. Most insurance is threadbare and doesn’t cover. More than 50% of us now go without necessary care. As Baucus said of Medicare, “We need this mechanism to help people when they need it most.” We all need it now.

Bill Clinton recently stated that the U. S. could give coverage to all for one trillion dollars a year less than we now pay if we adopted the system of any other advanced nation. (Unfortunately, he did not say this when it would have mattered most during the 1993 and 2009 health care reform debates.)

Other industrialized countries have found that to cover everyone for less they must remove the profit-making insurance companies. Congressman John Conyers has reintroduced HR 676, the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act, which does exactly that. There are 60 cosponsors. It would cover all medically necessary care for everyone including dental and drugs by cutting out the 30% waste and profits caused by the private insurers.

So as the Ryan Republicans try to destroy Medicare and far too many Democrats use the deficit excuse to suggest cuts in its benefits, let us counter with the Libby prescription to clean up the whole mess. Only a single payer, improved Medicare for All, can save and protect Medicare, rein in the costs, and give us universal coverage.

Medicare will celebrate its 46th birthday on July 30, 2011, and all are invited to join in the festivities. Medicare was passed in 1965 and implemented within less than a year. When we pass HR 676, this single payer bill, we can all be enrolled in the twinkling of an eye.

So write and call your Reps and Senators and the President and tell them to get insurance companies out of healthcare and get us all on Medicare. We’ll save money (government AND the people), we’ll have a healthier nation, and we’ll join the rest of the civilized world in the 21st Century.

Quote for the Morning – Tim Pawlenty learns his lesson…

From Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire:

Tim Pawlenty said he made a mistake dodging the chance during their debate to once again tie Mitt Romney to “Obamneycar” – but he corrected it on Fox last night:

“I think in response to that direct question I should have been much more clear during the debate… I don’t think we can have a nominee that was involved in the development and construction of Obamacare and then continues to defend it and that was the question, I should have answered it directly and instead I stayed focused on Obama…I should have been more clear, I should have made the point that (Romney) was involved in developing it, he really laid the groundwork…

I don’t think you can prosecute the political case against President Obama if you are a co-conspirator in one of the main charges against the president, on the political level.”

He then used his Obomneycare phrase again… and apparently he’s is letting this stuff out on Twitter – perhaps he should remember what Twitter did to Anthony Weiner.

If you are tired of hearing Republicans tear down the Affordable Care Act…

… then this video from the Kaiser Family Foundation will give you an overview of what is actually covered, what it costs and how it keeps more people safe than not having it:

Those candidates who “debated” last night should sit down and watch this all the way through.

The Courts may shut down the Affordable Care Act leaving us healthcare deprived…

E. J. Dionne has a great column this morning: Will the Courts Wreck Health Care?

A quote from the column:

Ken Cuccinelli

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli made a revealing argument against the mandate. He kept referring to health insurance as a “private product.”

    There’s the rub. Health care is anything but a “private product.” The system is replete with cross-subsidies from hospitals, taxpayers and the already insured. There is no law requiring a car dealer to give you a new Lexus if you just walk onto the lot that compares to the statute requiring hospitals to treat you if you show up. We consider health care a largely public good, but we don’t pay for it that way. That’s foolish.

Read the whole column HERE.

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