Given the fact that probably three Supreme Court justices will retire in the next presidential term, we should think about who the elected leader of the country will nominate to fill the jobs. Right now there is a small tip toward conservative thinking on the SCOTUS, but if Romney is elected the right wing could end up in complete control.
Here’s something to think about:
This, in itself, is one of the best reasons not to vote for Mittens. It would be important to preserve a court that upholds civil rights, women’s rights, diversity in college admissions and support of health care legislation. Should we lose these, the United States goes back to where it was in the first half of the last century and years of development and reform will get flushed down the drain.
It’s up to us to preserve years of important reform.
- Judge Napolitano: Next Supreme Court Challenge to ObamaCare Could Result in ‘Different Outcome’ (foxnewsinsider.com)
- Carter Slams U.S. Supreme Court for its Endorsement of Corruption (dissidentvoice.org)
- This Far-Right Supreme Court Is Reason Enough to Vote Obama (truthdig.com)
- Why are candidates silent on Supreme Court? (cnn.com)
- Big Supreme Court Term Starts Today (abcnews.go.com)
- As The Supreme Court Returns, More Historic Decisions? (ibtimes.com)
- What else is at stake in the election? The Supreme Court (leanforward.msnbc.com)
- Poll: Swing Voters Find Obama Would Pick Better Judges then Romney (legaltimes.typepad.com)
I watched’ “60 Minutes” last night and heard Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney reveal his new plan for the millions of Americans who don’t have any health care coverage: Go to the emergency room.
“Well, we do provide care for people who don’t have insurance. If someone has a heart attack, they don’t sit in their apartment and die. We pick them up in an ambulance, and take them to the hospital, and give them care. And different states have different ways of providing for that care.”
– The 2012 Mittster
As just about anyone will tell you, this is a publicly more expensive program and must less effective than insured quality care on an ongoing basis.
This is the same man who implemented the universal health care law in Massachusetts (what we tend to call Romneycare) while he was the governor. He also reiterated the need for universal coverage back in 2010 during an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
“Look, it doesn’t make a lot of sense for us to have millions and millions of people who have no health insurance and yet who can go to the emergency room and get entirely free care for which they have no responsibility, particularly if they are people who have sufficient means to pay their own way.”
– The 2010 Mittster
Does this guy ever stick to his opinions? Are any of his thoughts really his own?
I doubt it.
- Romney and Health Care (thepage.time.com)
- Mitt Romney Says the Emergency Room Is a Fine Health Insurance Plan for the Poors (slog.thestranger.com)
- Mitt Romney, On 60 Minutes, Cites Emergency Room As Health Care Option For Uninsured (afgelocal704.com)
- Romney was against emergency room care before he was for it – Washington Post (blog) (washingtonpost.com)
- Romney and Health Care – TIME (thepage.time.com)
- Romney Solidifies Major Shift On Health Care (VIDEO) (tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com)
- Mitt Romney: Don’t Have Health Care? Call Ambulance and Hope for the Best (alternet.org)
- Let Them Eat Emergency Rooms: Mitt Romney Says ERs Will Provide Care for the Uninsured [Say What] (gawker.com)
- Just go to the ER, redux (allbleedingstops.blogspot.com)
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.
– 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.
- No matter SCOTUS ruling, health care cost going up (illinois.statehousenewsonline.com)
- Supreme Court decision on polarizing health care law looms (cnn.com)
- Obamacare in the Balance: Will the Court Ruling Really Matter? (dailyfinance.com)
- The Real Face Of Obamacare: Suddenly-Unemployed Young People (thecollegeconservative.com)
- If Obamacare Is Ruled Unconstitutional (andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com)
- GOP plan for ‘Obamacare’: Nothing (politico.com)
- Attorney General Bondi confident Supreme Court will strike down ‘Obamacare’ (tampabay.com)
- ObamaCare Will Define John Roberts’ Supreme Court (newser.com)
- How the Obamacare Verdict Could Crush Drugmakers (fool.com)
- Obamacare Supreme Court decision roadmap (themainewire.com)
Conservatives don’t like left-wing Government-run solutions; Liberals don’t like right-wing Government-run solutions…
But, oddly enough, both have had a share in creating Government-run health care plans.
For a long time, the debate between left and right was about how to design the welfare state, not about whether to have one. Conservatives wanted to scale it down and deliver services through the private sector, rather than government, but they accepted the idea that society had some obligation to provide certain services and supports.
The consensus was already eroding by the 1990s, when Newt Gingrich famously called for letting Medicare “wither on the vine.” But the consensus still had power as recently as the last decade, when the Bush Administration created Medicare Part D. That program gave seniors prescription drug coverage, as liberals had long advocated, but it offered less generous benefits than liberals wanted and channeled coverage through private insurers rather than government. (It also didn’t pay for itself, but that has frustrated liberals as much as, if not more than, it has conservatives.)
It’s hard to imagine today’s Republicans endorsing anything like Part D.
Cohn describes the position of Michael Leavitt, the former Utah governor and former Secretary of Health and Human Services under President George W. Bush, who has been put in charge of Romney’s transition team.
The editorial page of the conservative Washington Examiner called Leavitt’s place in the Romney heirarchy a “red flag.”
Read the article and find out WHY.
- The Partisan Divide in America (underpaidgenius.com)
- Conservatives ♥ Big Government Too (reason.com)
- Liberals vs. Progressives: What’s the Difference? (readersupportednews.org)
- Romney: Man of Pastel (ConservativeActionAlerts.com)
- Conservatives Wonder Why Romney Picked Obamacare-Loving Mike Leavitt To Lead Transition Team (tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com)
- Romney Appointment Evinces Healthcare Intentions (markamerica.com)
- Romney Isn’t Signing Up for Medicare (blogs.wsj.com)
- Medicare (socialsecurityhome.com)
- Medicare fight is not over yet (politico.com)
- What Liberals Miss on Medicare Reform (theatlantic.com)
Sean, of course, is trying to make everyone think that Obama has done nothing on his 2008 campaign promise to help with increasing costs of student loans. The smug smile on his face shows that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
For instance, on March 30, 2010, President Obama signed the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, which saved $68 billion by removing banks from the student loan processing business and freed up more to be given that could be spent on helping students pay for college.
Also, he saw to it that the law stated:
“New borrowers who assume loans after July 1, 2014, will be able to cap their student loan repayments at 10 percent of their discretionary income and, if they keep up with their payments over time, will have the balance forgiven after 20 years.”
Borrowers are allowed to consolidate some of their payments and save a half of a percentage point interest. (Republicans are now trying to double the interest rate in student loans.)
President Obama has done a great deal to remove the big bank corruption from the student loan program and has made the program more about actually helping students get an affordable education, not adding to corporate bottom line.
What has Obama done for students who have loans? More that Sean Hannity’s lying heart will ever be able to admit.
—-> Thanks to Politicus USA
- Sean Hannity Gives Cornel West And Tavis Smiley A Hard Time Over Their Poverty Initiative (mediaite.com)
- Rich Guy Sean Hannity Thinks Poor People Should Survive on Beans [The War on Welfare] (inquisitr.com)
- Hannity embarrasses himself again (respectinpolitics.org)
- House keeps lid on student loans (timesleader.com)
- Watch: President Obama on student loan interest rates (mnn.com)
- Obama Will Veto Student Loan Bill (lezgetreal.com)
- House Passes Student Loan Bill (myfoxphoenix.com)
- Obama Pushes Low-Rate Student Loans (npr.org)
A quote from the Mashed Potato Bulletin… and one I can’t help but agree with:
I tell the students in my class at the City College of New York that “five” is the most powerful number in the nation. For as we have seen, five votes on the Supreme Court can pick a president—voters notwithstanding—and five votes could redefine our understanding of Congress’ power under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution—precedents notwithstanding.
What can we do when the Court defies the Constitution they are supposed to preserve by interpretation?
Well, if the proposed new amendment to the Health care Plan which has raised such an issue with both the Tea Party and the Catholic Bishops (both of which are groups who claim rights over your health) goes through that’s just what you’ll have.
The amendment is sponsored by Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) and it is the death panel Sarah Palin preached about during the healthcare reform debate, and the ultimate loss of freedom (life) at the hands of Republicans. It is also how theocracy begins. The measure allows insurers or employers to claim moral or religious objection to covering
“HIV/AIDS screenings, Type 2 Diabetes treatments, cancer tests or anything else they deem inappropriate or the result of an ‘unhealthy‘ or ‘immoral‘ lifestyle. Similarly, a health plan could refuse to cover mental health care on the grounds that the plan believes that psychiatric problems should be treated with prayer.”
The measure serves two purposes. It allows religious extremists to control healthcare decisions for all Americans, and undermines the new health law.
I’ve learned two things from this:
1. Because of my “immoral” lifestyle I have type 2 diabetes and doctors are going to give up the thousands of dollars they make from me and my insurance companies by banning treatment.
2. Newt, Mitt and Rick won’t get their needed mental health care, but can get together and pray their crazy ideas away.
I’m curious which totally healthy religious folks will be on the Death Panel. Certainly they are planning for an Atheist representative.
Oh, well… what did you expect?
- Santorum: Romney and Obama Both Created ‘Death Panels’ (crooksandliars.com)
- Limbaugh appears to agree with caller that health care reform is a “kinder, gentler Auschwitz” (americablog.com)
- Santorum Longs For Good Old Days Of ‘Shadow Abortions’ When Women Obtained Back-Alley Procedures (thinkprogress.org)
- Republicans Want to Put Your Boss Between You and Your Doctor (alternet.org)
- GOP Sen. Roy Blunt to introduce bill allowing employers to deny coverage for any health service (dailykos.com)
- Paul Krugman: “Death Panels” and taxes will fix the debt crisis…” (sensibleviews.wordpress.com)
- Democratic Women Slam GOP’s Radical Contraception Amendment, Claim It ‘Opens Door To Discrimination’ (thinkprogress.org)
- Create Your Own “Death Panel” (forbes.com)
Wisconsin (unfortunately the state my son and his fiancee live in) will turn down $37 million from the federal government that had been awarded to help implement health care exchanges under President Barack Obama’s health care reform law, Gov. Scott Walker said Wednesday.
This is regarded as a purely political decision by a Governor who is currently facing a major recall petition (over one million signatures) to remove him from office.
The American Cancer Society is among many organizations commenting on the situation:
“A robust, consumer-friendly health exchange designed specifically for Wisconsin would greatly expand access to care to those who need it most, while preserving what already works. It’s unfortunate the (Walker) administration is deciding to ignore this reality.”
One would hope that Wisconsin could get this turkey out of office as soon as possible and elect someone who has the concerns of the citizens ahead of party.
…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?
- Vouchers for Medicare-a different point of view (quinnscommentary.com)
- Misleading Medicare Mantra (economistsview.typepad.com)
- Support home health bill (bendbulletin.com)
- Man Robs Bank for $1 So He Could Get Healthcare in Prison-Is This What Happened in California Where The Sick are Being Released From Jail Now? (ducknetweb.blogspot.com)
- Actually Sen. Lieberman, We Should Be Expanding Medicare (fdlaction.firedoglake.com)
- Pulling It Together: Medicare, Medicaid, and The Multiplier Effect – Kaiser Family Foundation (policyabcs.wordpress.com)
- Man Robbed Bank for $1, Hoping to Be Sent to Prison, So as to Obtain Health Care (9news.com)
… 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.
A quote from the column:
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.
- Health care law reaches federal appeals court in Virginia ()
- Health-care law gets friendly reception from appeals-court panel (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Health care judges all Dem nominees (politico.com)
- “Preview of the Romney Healthcare Speech Today” and related posts (triablogue.blogspot.com)
- Supreme Court Officially Rejects Expedited Health Care Review (news.firedoglake.com)
- Breaking: Supreme Court rejects fast-track appeal on ObamaCare; Update: Cuccinelli says “Disappointing, not surprising” (hotair.com)
- Romney Hides Behind Federalism (andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com)
I picked this up over at BuzzFlash:
Let Congress Test Out Paul Ryan‘s Medicare Plan on Themselves and Their Families: That Would Kill It Right Quick
by MARK KARLIN, EDITOR FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Doesn’t budget control begin at home?
And if Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan is so terrific, why don’t Ryan and other Congressional supporters of his budget immediately pass a bill that will replace their health care benefits with the Ryan plan?
In fact, why not run a test program with the Koch brothers, members of their Americans for Prosperity and elderly Tea Party supporters? All of them should volunteer to immediately go on the Ryan Medicare, drastically limited “voucher program” – which would leave a high percentage of seniors unable to afford medical insurance – as sort of a test model of Ryan’s plans for privatizing and shrinking Medicare.
Then we can see the actual results of a plan that would raise health care costs by adding the profits of corporations and administrative costs to Medicare, while drastically reducing benefits due to the small amount of money allocated to vouchers for each senior – and the for-profit insurance industry profit motivation to deny as much care as possible.
If Ryan is the “visionary” much of the corporate media makes him out to be, let Americans see his “vision” actualized by a trial implementation of his proposed program.
Let Ryan be the first volunteer, after he cuts his pay, pension and other Congressional benefits.
So what do you think? Any chance Ryan and his buddies will take Mark Karlin up on this one?
- Paul Ryan Misrepresents the “Mandate” in His Medicare Voucher Plan, Again (my.firedoglake.com)
- Paul Ryan admits there’s an “individual mandate” in his budget plan (crooksandliars.com)
- Why Democrats focus on Medicare, not Medicaid (msnbc.msn.com)
- Paul Ryan’s “Serious” Plan to Destroy Medicare (slog.thestranger.com)
- “Paul Ryan Isn’t Exactly Miss Popularity Any Longer Inside The House GOP Caucus” and related posts (downwithtyranny.blogspot.com)
- Selling Medicare Reform (aleksandreia.wordpress.com)
- Polls Show Dangers For GOP In Pushing Ryan’s Medicare Privatization Plan (tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com)
This from MoveOn.org:
1) Republicans not only want to reduce women’s access to abortion care, they’re actually trying to redefine rape. After a major backlash, they promised to stop. But they haven’t.
2) A state legislator in Georgia wants to change the legal term for victims of rape, stalking, and domestic violence to “accuser.” But victims of other less gendered crimes, like burglary, would remain “victims.”
3) In South Dakota, Republicans proposed a bill that could make it legal to murder a doctor who provides abortion care. (Yep, for real.)
5) In Congress, Republicans have proposed a bill that would let hospitals allow a woman to die rather than perform an abortion necessary to save her life.
6) Maryland Republicans ended all county money for a low-income kids’ preschool program. Why? No need, they said. Women should really be home with the kids, not out working.
7) And at the federal level, Republicans want to cut that same program, Head Start, by $1 billion. That means over 200,000 kids could lose their spots in preschool.
8 ) Two-thirds of the elderly poor are women, and Republicans are taking aim at them too. A spending bill would cut funding for employment services, meals, and housing for senior citizens.
9) Congress voted yesterday on a Republican amendment to cut all federal funding from Planned Parenthood health centers, one of the most trusted providers of basic health care and family planning in our country.
10) And if that wasn’t enough, Republicans are pushing to eliminate all funds for the only federal family planning program. (For humans. But Republican Dan Burton has a bill to provide contraception for wild horses. You can’t make this stuff up).
Doesn’t that make your day?… and you women who voted Republican: How do you feel about it now?
- Top 10 Republican Attacks on Women (feministphilosophers.wordpress.com)
- The House has voted to bar Planned Parenthood. Don’t let them get away with it. (underthelobsterscope.wordpress.com)
- How Stupid Do Republicans Think Women Are? (lezgetreal.com)
- House Republicans: Contraception OK for horses, not women (dailykos.com)
Of course, this way Lance can say he doesn’t support public-funded health care while collecting it himself and making sure his family gets it, too.
A “free state health plan for retirees”… well, not quite free. Some poor taxpayers are covering it as he tries to remove theirs!
- Reform Opponent Gets Free Public Health Care (politicalwire.com)
- Another House Republican confused on government-run healthcare (dailykos.com)
- Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ) is Blue America’s newest Health Care Repeal Hypocrite (crooksandliars.com)
- Republican Health Care Hypocrites (curmilus.wordpress.com)
So who are they listening to?
– and –
And what are they saving in real dollars?
– and –
…at least they are listening to the President…
– and –
Kevin Siers in the Charlotte Observer:
… and we get the benefits. Don’t we?
The Republicans are working hard to take our Health Care away…
– and –
…they start by taking back the little things…
– and –
… then they go after EVERYTHING else…
– and –
Mark Streeter in the Savannah Morning News:
… and declare a Republican-Style Victory (as if it’s really all over!)
Breaking down by party lines the Republicans got Repeal voted through 245 to 189, and it now heads to the Senate where Harry Reid has stated he will block it’s being raised. Although Republicans are expected to find any kind of trick possible to get it brought up in the Senate, it is doubtful that it will happen.
Republicans rejected a procedural maneuver by the Democratic minority to make repeal ineffective unless a majority of the House and Senate withdraw from the federal health benefits program within 30 days after passage by each chamber.
- Cantor to Reid: If you’re so confident ObamaCare repeal will fail in Senate … (hotair.com)
- “House to Vote on GOP-led Healthcare Repeal” and related posts (hispanicbusiness.com)
- Voters don’t accept the GOP’s false choice about health reform repeal (dailykos.com)
That is not what is happening here. We are back to alternating speeches with each side asserting the same points as the previous speakers on their side. There is no listening to each side (indeed, there are not enough House members in the hall at any given time to really make a difference… this is part of the reason that television cameras are placed by the House authorities to not show either the emptiness of the desks or the viewers in the balcony.
And this is going to go on for five hours…the true function seems to be to present their “advertising” points to the folks at home over C-Span. These are campaign speeches of the worst order aimed at the 2012 elections.
However, I can’t help but watch these Bozos as they say the same things as many different ways as possible. If only they would really talk about the things WE need in a country that is truly suffering.
- Health-care repeal debate will test nation’s ‘civility’ (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Health Care and the New Civility (themoderatevoice.com)
- E. J. Dionne: Can the new civility survive? (commercialappeal.com)
- House to Debate Health Care Law Repeal (realclearpolitics.com)
- Lawmakers strive for new tone to debate old differences – Los Angeles Times (news.google.com)
- UPDATE 1-US House tones down healthcare debate after shooting (reuters.com)
- Kucinich Kicks off Health Care Debate with Renewed Call for Single-Payer (dandelionsalad.wordpress.com)
As I sit here I wonder why they need 7 hours of this… alternating 1 minute speeches making the same points over and over but not explaining what is really in the law. The Republicans keep bringing up a complaint that there is no “Tort Reform” anywhere in the law and that when they put a new law in (after repealing the one we have) they will certainly include “tort reform”.
I’ve been listening to this for years, but had no real knowledge of what was meant by tort reform. When I started researching on the web, several legal sites led me to a law blog run by Justinian C. Lane, Esq., where this article from 2004 was considered definitive.
It’s long and goes into depth, but before we accede to the Republicans’ need for “tort reform” we should know what we’re getting into. I reproduce it here in it’s entirety:
What Is Tort Reform – And Why Is It Bad For The Public?Justinian on March 1, 2004 — 2 Comments
There’s an interesting dichotomy regarding the public’s perception of lawsuits in America. On one hand, we love the little guys, Erin Brockovich, and the myriad crusaders for justice in John Grisham’s novels. We hate “big tobacco”, and cheer multibillion dollar settlements in the tobacco litigation. Americans, as a general rule, are distrustful of big corporations. The accounting scandals on Wall Street have left the public with the perception that the bigger the company, the deeper the corruption – remember Enron, Tyco, and Worldcom?
We’re enraged when we hear about companies that put the bottom line ahead of the safety of their customers. Yet, despite our predilection to root for the underdog, many Americans support tort reform.
What is a tort, and what is a tort reform? The classic legal textbook about Torts is called Prosser and Keeton on Torts. In that book, one definition offered of a tort is a “civil crime”; an act that is illegal, but is not criminal. Perhaps the most common type of a tort is an auto accident. Medical malpractice suits are also torts. Tort reform is the effort to “reform” lawsuits so as to prevent “runaway verdicts” that range into the millions of dollars.
Often, tort reform, or “tort deform” as its detractors call it, revolves around setting limits of awards for “noneconomic damages”. Noneconomic damages include things like pain & suffering, mental anguish, and in general, anything you don’t have a fixed bill for. To better illustrate, let’s say you’re in a car wreck and your car receives $5,000.00 in damage, and you need $5,000.00 in medical treatment. You would have $10,000.00 in economic damages. If you were to receive another $7,000.00 for pain & suffering that $7,000.00 would be noneconomic damages.
When you hear about multimillion dollar jury verdicts, they usually involve a form of noneconomic damages that are called either punitive or exemplary damages. Let’s take a look at what punitive/exemplary (P&E) damages are, and are not.
First, punitive damages are not intended to compensate or reward the individual who was wronged. The Merriam-Webster definition of punitive is “inflicting or aiming at punishment”, and the definition of exemplary, in this context anyway, is “to serve as a warning. That means that P&E damages are to punish a party who did something that the jury wants to make sure never happens again, such as knowingly selling a dangerous product, or hiring a bus driver that failed his drug test. Over time, it has been found that the most effective way to deter a company from engaging in unethical or illegal behavior is to punish them financially for their misdeeds. Juries do this by awarding punitive damages, and those awards could be considered a fine. Of course, rather than the state collecting a fine, the punitive damages go to the plaintiff of the lawsuit. From time to time, juries are outraged by a defendant’s behavior and award punitive damages that are far in excess of any suffering the plaintiff endured. These verdicts are what are reported to the public, and these verdicts create the perception of greedy plaintiffs and money-grubbing trial lawyers. However, what is rarely reported are the circumstances that caused a jury to award the large verdict.
Let’s take a burn case for an example. What if a company was making $1.3 million dollars a day selling a product that they admittedly knew routinely caused second and third degree burns to their customers? What if during the ten years they offered this product, over 700 people had been badly burned – some permanently disfigured – by this product? What if this product was sold as something harmless, even common, but this product would cause third-degree burns to the skin within two seconds of contact if it were accidentally dropped? Finally, what if that company called those 700+ burn victims “statistically trivial” and refused to fix the product, even though doing so would cost next to nothing?
What would a fair award be for the callous indifference of a multibillion dollar corporation that made $1,300,000.00 per day – $474,500,000.00 per year – by selling a product that burned over 700 men, women, and even infants?
This isn’t a fictitious case. This is the famed “McDonalds coffee case”, and in that case, six men and six women found that an appropriate punishment for McDonalds was to “fine” them the profit from just two days of nationwide coffee sales.
McDonalds sold their coffee at 180-190 degrees, a temperature that they admitted no human could drink, as it would cause third-degree burns within 2-7 seconds of contact with skin. Over 700 people had been burned within the ten years prior to the McDonald’s coffee case, yet McDonalds wouldn’t lower the temperature of their coffee.
Stella Liebeck was the woman who was burned. She was a 79 year old grandmother who received third-degree burns to her legs, thighs, and genitals when the cup accidentally spilled in her lap. The 190-degree coffee immediately soaked into her jogging pants, and she was unable to do anything to prevent her burns. She had to go through painful debridements (scrubbing with wire brushes), skin grafts, and her treatment lasted two years. Of course, at the end of the treatment, she was left with permanent scars. She offered to settle with McDonalds for the amount of her medical bills, and they refused. After that, she hired an attorney, and the rest became a media circus.
One fact that wasn’t reported very heavily was that the judge reduced the $2,700,000 award to $480,000.00 and Stella settled for an undisclosed figure less than that amount instead of going through a lengthy appeals process. This demonstrates the safety valve inherent in the systems of many states: A judge can often reduce a verdict he or she finds excessive.
Perhaps the most important fact of the case is that the day after the verdict, McDonalds lowered the temperature of their coffee to 158 degrees, a temperature that takes about a minute to cause severe burns; the justice system worked, and it worked because of a large jury verdict.
But America now ridicules a grandmother who received third-degree burns to her genitals: Ever receive a piece of e-mail called “The Stella Awards”? The “Stella Awards” are supposed jury verdicts that purportedly showcase how “broken” the justice system is. None of those verdicts are real; some are laughable. But every laugh at the “Stella Awards” is a laugh at a permanently disfigured grandmother. More importantly, every recipient of the “Stella Awards” is someone receiving misinformation that may influence them to support tort reform.
The real point of tort reform isn’t to prevent multimillion-dollar jury verdicts; most of those awards are reversed or overturned, and even if they weren’t, a $1 million dollar verdict isn’t much deterrent to a company that makes ten billion dollars a year. So what is the point of tort reform? It’s to keep the misdeeds of corporate America out of the public eye. After all, if a plaintiff’s “best day in court” is arbitrarily set at $250,000.00, there’s no incentive to go through a lengthy and expensive trial if the plaintiff is offered $250,000.00 by a company that sells a defective product. Such a settlement would almost certainly be confidential, and the company could continue selling their defective product and killing or maiming consumers without anyone knowing of the dangers of the product. Confidential settlements kept the problems with Firestone tires a secret for years before the recent lawsuits. To put a finer point on it, confidential settlements killed Firestone consumers; it wasn’t until public litigation began that Firestone recalled tires that they had for years known were defective.
The real effect of tort reform will be to ensure that corporations can keep their dirty laundry private, and to place the financial well-being of a corporation above the physical well-being of their consumers. It’s a sad commentary on our society’s values that corporations will pay more money for defrauding investors out of money than for knowingly selling products that kill their consumers.
- Tort Reform Means You Pay For Others’ Errors (my.firedoglake.com)
- Gibson Vance: Constitutional Conservatives and the 7th Amendment (huffingtonpost.com)
- Doctors in Congress (thehealthcareblog.com)
- Fix it – Health care (nowpublic.com)
I started today listening to a panel of extreme right wingers and Libertarians point out everything wrong with the Health Care Bill (and Medicare, and Medicaid, and even a smattering of Social Security.) Then I watched a Democratic hearing on Health Care with citizens who have gained advantage from the Bill.
Let me say that at no time was there a mix of Democrats and Republicans actually debating real issues on modifying the existing law to solve the righties problems, but keeping the legislation intact to solve the lefties problems. The only mix is through people like me, who watch C-Span (and can all afternoon because I am retired and am in one or more of the Health Constituencies they are discussing: Senior citizen, pre-existing condition, limited income. ) Right now I have to deal with no fewer than 4 doctors on a regular basis and have pharmaceutical needs including 10 different pills and 4 injections a day. So, you see, I am interested.
Republicans are going to try to pass a law in the House which has no chance in the Senate… and even if it did, it would be vetoed by the President. They do not have enough votes to override a veto. So they will waste two days of our time where they will not be establishing job-creation programs, nor will they improve the health laws where it is possible without destroying the program.
I’ve been signing petitions (my Congresswoman, Shelley Moore Capito, will campaign and vote for repeal so she doesn’t represent me in any sense of the word. I have written her before, too, receiving lovely form letters, written by her staff, decorated with her picture, and signed with a rubber stamp. Once again I will look forward to supporting whoever challenges this useless woman in 2012.
- HEALTH CARE:Repealing Progress (ynative77.wordpress.com)
- Fix it – Health care (nowpublic.com)
- GOP advancing health care repeal without its friends (washingtonmonthly.com)
- Bill Frist: Health Care Is ‘Law Of The Land,’ GOP Should Drop Repeal And Build On It (huffingtonpost.com)
- House kicks off debate over health-care repeal – Washington Post (news.google.com)
- Democrats Make a Case for the Health Care Law (thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Health care lobby mum on repeal (politico.com)
An exerpt from TPM:
- A Democratic Legislator Has Been Shot. Therefore Republicans Should Change the Name of Their Health Care Repeal Bill. (reason.com)
- Rep. Chellie Pingree: For Gabby’s Sake, Republicans Should Change the Name of Their Health Care Repeal Bill (huffingtonpost.com)
- Rep. Pingree Calls for Name Change on “Repeal of the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act” (news.firedoglake.com)
- Oh Lord help this sincerely stupid woman! (thedaleygator.wordpress.com)
- Time for a civilized debate about ways to reduce gun violence (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Repeal vote postponed, but will Giffords shooting change debate? (dailykos.com)
I’m on a borrowed machine this morning and it’s going really slow… I can’t wait until my computer comes back from the repair shop (Monday, I hope. Wednesday at the latest)… but this gives me a few minutes to post.
The snow is falling lightly outside. I don’t know how much we’re going to get, but it won’t be any where near the amount my daughter Cassandra and her family are getting in Connecticut. They’re having a pretty bad winter up there… West Virginia seems to be getting away with a mild slap on the butt.
Monday the Republicans in the House won’t be in session, but Tuesday they are coming back strong with their Health Care Repeal plan. They seem to be ignoring completely what this will add to the deficit, or the millions of Americans who will automatically lose health insurance if it becomes law. Since the bill was passed the number of people who work for small businesses who have received health care through their employers has increased over 50% (due to the discounts these employers get because of the Health Care Bill), yet these insurees could immediately lose their insurance if a repeal is passed.
What are Crybaby Boehner and his idiots thinking? Is making a political act to show that they are anti-Democrat and pro-TeaParty really this important to them? If it is, then their policy is truly America be damned.
It’s time to start a massive letter writing Campaign to our Representatives making sure they realize what the facts are here. I know I’m going to start going after my Rep, Shelly Moore Capito (R – WV) who tends to vote for most things not in our best interests. I am ready to campaign heavily on getting her out of office in 2012 if she doesn’t change her ways.
I’ve got to give this computer back to my wife now, so I hope you all have a nice day.
- House to take test vote on health care repeal – USA Today (news.google.com)
- Question of the Day: Do You Agree or Disagree with the Republican Plan to Repeal Health Care Law? (abcnews.go.com)
- Sebelius, Democrats in full-throated defense of health care law (boston.com)
- Repeal effort defines GOP House debut (msnbc.msn.com)
- Democrats mount health plan defense (boston.com)
- Analysis: Health care repeal will cost $230 billion (cnn.com)
- Blue Dogs won’t help GOP with health care repeal (washingtonmonthly.com)
Yesterday I had the lowest number of visitors (and by that I mean serious visitors, not quick check-ins pushed by Alphainventions, Blogitti, Blogiche or Blogsurfer) to Under The LobsterScope that I have had in the last couple of years. The number of SPAM postings that I have to look at and make a decision over has increased markedly as well. I’ll admit that yesterday I was gone most of the day getting my new old car in Silver Spring, but it is usually the evening that gives me my biggest amount of real participation.
I am now midway through my 64th year and rapidly heading to 65… tired, retired and mired in medication for diabetes, ADD, Depression and a new set of indications which they are testing for. I have the Radio Show to prepare for each week and the housework I’m now committed to as my wife is the full-time employed person. And I’m so low on physical energy that working myself up over the incessant trash dumped everywhere by the extreme right wing is becoming exercise I no longer wish to partake in. Plus, with the advances from Sustainable Shepherdstown working locally, the idea of creating a life that would mean survival if the Conservatives finally destroy our economy and and social structure now takes up a major portion of time and will only grow in the future.
I am quite depressed about the current election season, as I think, no matter what we reveal as the honest truth, America is getting ready to pull off a suicide vote this year and just the thought of John Boehner undermining health care as Speaker of the House and Rand Paul eliminating public schools for our growing population of poor children and Mitch McConnell gleefully putting party ahead of country for the next four years until he is up for election again (not that I think Kentucky will ever wise up) makes me shiver. Politics has become a lost cause, and since this blog is about 75% politics, it is not effective enough to maintain.
I’ll be deciding what to do in the next day or so (my wife and I are celebrating 32 years of marriage this weekend and I’d rather think of her than saving the country today and tomorrow) and will probably come out on Monday with a final statement on what will happen with UTL. Meanwhile, let me know what you think… if you are out there.
- Rand Paul to Jack Conway in Caustic Kentucky Senate Debate: ‘Be a Man’ (politicsdaily.com)
- Depressing morning… (underthelobsterscope.wordpress.com)
- John Boehner: The timebomb who could be Speaker (capitolhillblue.com)
Good Morning. I’m organizing my records of medications and other appointments before having my first appointment this morning with Dr. Khan, a Neurologist, over in Hagerstown. This was another one of the doctors set up by my GP, Dr. Kugler, to try to get to the bottom of my momentary lapses of spoken language control (which has gone on for several years and, although I’ve brought it up with Kugler visit after visit, the increase in occurrences has finally made him think this is something to look into.)
Friday I go to Washington County Hospital for a T.E.E. test after I do the morning radio show with John Case. Elly is driving me over, since I have to take a sedative and won’t be able to drive after it. After the test I have some days off from medical stuff, then I have, in October, blood tests and doctors’ appointments and a CAT scan. Then maybe they’ll find out what’s wrong and we can do something about it.
Onward and upward!