Blog Archives

The Supreme Court is one of the best reasons to re-elect Obama:

 

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.

 

What Wall Street Reform Means For You…

Thanks to Rachel Maddow for pointing this one out:

Obama wants a “straight answer” from health insurers…

clipped from www.reuters.com
President Barack Obama attacked the country’s biggest health insurers on Saturday for failing to give him a “straight answer” on why they were “arbitrarily and massively” hiking their premiums.

Obama’s renewed criticism of insurers comes as he tries to rally support among Americans and lawmakers within his own Democratic Party for a final push to pass a bill reforming the troubled $2.5 trillion healthcare industry.

The president and his health secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, met the chief executives of four of the largest U.S. health insurance companies — Aetna Inc, Cigna Corp, UnitedHealth Group Inc and WellPoint Inc — at the White House this week.
“They couldn’t give me a straight answer as to why they keep arbitrarily and massively raising premiums — by as much as 60 percent in states like Illinois,” Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address.
“If we do not act, they will continue to do this.”
blog it
There’s more HERE.

Cartoon(s) of the Week

Looks like we have a theme running here.

Joel Pett in USA Today:

What is the Republican Main Concern?

– and –

Chan Lowe in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel:

What is the Republican Main Concern?

– and –

Jimmy Margulies, North Jersey Media Group:

What is the Republican Main Concern?

-and-

Daryl Cagle, MSNBC.com:

What is the Republican Main Concern?

It certainly isn’t getting Health Care Reform for America!

Health Care Reform Can’t Wait—Outside Washington

This is a clip from a MUCH longer and very important column by Bill Boyarsky that I found on Truthdig.com.

Bill Boyarsky is a lecturer in journalism at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and is vice president of the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission. He was city editor of the Los Angeles Times when he retired in 2001.

If you click on the Truthdig link it will bring you to the whole article.

clipped from www.truthdig.com

Those telling President Barack Obama to ditch health reform and concentrate on employment are wrong. What’s missing in such advice is a basic understanding of the grim intersection of a failing health system and rising joblessness, especially in blue-collar America.

Obama and Congress members

As the recession forces people out of work or into low-paid, no-benefit jobs, the connection is clear. No work equals no health insurance, increasing the chance of death for Americans in poor health.

This should be dominating policy and political debate. When the human toll of the Great Recession is added up and analyzed by future scholars, the long and lasting impact on working people will be a powerful part of their narrative. But it is not a key part of contemporary journalism, or central to the current debate about the situation. 

The Republicans are oblivious to anything but their plan to oppose and unseat Obama. The frightened and splintered Democrats have become a perfect foil for the Republicans.
  blog it

Jonathan Chait: Why Republicans Say They Want To Start Over On Health Care

Yeah, it’s pretty clear that:
1. the republicans don’t want to do anything about Health Care
– and –
2. they say that they want to start again because they KNOW the public DOES want Health Care Reform!

Here’s a clip from The New Republic:

clipped from www.tnr.com
In 1994, when they were killing Bill Clinton’s health care plan, Republicans promised over and over they just wanted to do it right. Start fresh and pass a real health care plan without all the bad socialist stuff:

“We don’t have to do it all this year,” [Bob Dole] said in the closing address to committee members. “We don’t have to do any of it this year. You know, Congress meets every year.

“I see a lot of bright spots to (acting) next year.” …

Of course, the Clinton plan died, and Republicans proceeded to do absolutely squat for the next fifteen years.

This year, when they’re doing everything possible to kill President Obama’s health care plan, Republicans again insist they just want to start over fresh, have a chance to enact a real bipartisan plan. Why do they say that? This is why:

If Republicans truly thought the public shared their beliefs, they wouldn’t be talking constantly about starting over and doing it right in a bipartisan fashion.
blog it

Restore the Glass-Steagall Act?

“Politics is the entertainment branch of industry.” – Frank Zappa

Here’s something that probably won’t get pulled off – but the more I think of it, the more I realize what a good idea it is. Here’s a clip from Shahien Nasiripour’s article in the HuffPo…there’s more if you go in and read it.

clipped from www.huffingtonpost.com

Five House Democrats will call this week for a return to a Depression-era law that separated Wall Street investment banking from Main Street commercial banking.

If adopted, the measure would give banks one year to choose between being commercial banks or investment banks.
The Obama administration opposes the measure.
The amendment’s five co-sponsors — Maurice Hinchey of New York, John Conyers of Michigan, Peter DeFazio of Oregon, Jay Inslee of Washington, and John Tierney of Massachusetts – want to restore the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, which prohibited commercial banks from underwriting stocks and bonds. The act was repealed in 1999 at the urging of, among others, Larry Summers, now President Barack Obama’s chief economic adviser.

The five congressman all voted against the repeal then — and now they want it back.

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker is one of a number of financial luminaries calling for at least a partial return to Glass-Steagall.
  blog it

Is this the next big Congressional Battle?

Think the Republicans made themselves huge obstacles on Health Care? Let’s see what they do in the face of massive Banking Reform.

As many of you know, I am a strong supporter of Chris Dodd, going back to my days as a Connecticut taxpayer. When you look at the changes he is trying to put into this corrupt banking system which has landed us in much of the mess we’re in you’ll see why.

clipped from www.mcclatchydc.com

Dodd upsets banks with plan for a single bank overseer
A key Senate committee chairman unveiled a sweeping 1,136-page bill Tuesday that, if enacted, would mandate the most comprehensive overhaul of financial regulation since the Great Depression.
The bill proposed by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., would give ordinary folks tough protections against predatory lending and abuses by credit card companies, and would create a government agency to oversee mortgages, credit cards and other consumer-credit products.

However, the Senate bill differs in one significant and controversial way: It would strip the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. of their bank supervisory powers and merge federal bank regulation into a single entity, a new Financial Institutions Regulatory Administration.

Dodd said the times demanded a bold plan.

“This is not the time for timidity,” he said.

Summary of Dodd bill

  blog it

Quote of the Day

Garrison Keillor talked about his encounter with a stroke and hospitalization in Salon this week. His statement below stands out:

“Rich or poor, young or old, we all face the injustice of life — it ends too soon, and statistical probability is no comfort. We are all in the same boat, you and me and ex-Gov. Palin and Rep. Joe Wilson, and wealth and social status do not prevail against disease and injury. And now we must reform our health insurance system so that it reflects our common humanity. It is not decent that people avoid seeking help for want of insurance. It is not decent that people go broke trying to get well. You know it and I know it. Time to fix it.”

Time to fix it, indeed.

Salon has a good article this morning about the effect of racism on Health Care Reform

Here’s a quick quote from Michael Lind’s piece “Uninsured Like Me”:

Since the 1964 Civil Rights Act destroyed formal white supremacy in the U.S., every attempt to expand traditional social insurance in America has failed. Meanwhile, there has been a massive expansion in government-sponsored welfare going disproportionately to the white and affluent. What the political scientist Christopher Howard calls the hidden welfare state includes the tax-favored employer-provided health insurance that most working-age Americans depend on, as well as the home mortgage interest deduction and the childcare and child tax credits. Affluent and educated workers are more likely to work for employers who provide private health benefits than are low-skilled workers and employees of small businesses. Personal tax benefits like the home mortgage interest deduction are available only to the top half of households who pay federal income taxes, and are unavailable to lower-income workers who pay payroll taxes but no income taxes. In many cases, the benefits of this tax-credit welfare state increase with income.

The whole article is a killer. Read it HERE.

This is a LONG article you MUST READ to get an understanding of HEALTH CARE REFORM and what to do next…

I was sent it in a post from www.1payer.net, the single-payer healthcare blog. It will lead you to a Huffington Post article by George Lakeoff that appeared on August 20th.

If you read NO OTHER ARTICLE this week, you must read this one… before Congress comes back in September, before you listen to another piece of poo from the Right. Start here:

clipped from www.1payer.net

If You Read Only One Thing on Health Reform …

Barack Obama ran the best-organized and best-framed presidential campaign in history. How is it possible that the same people who did so well in the campaign have done so badly on health care?

What has been going wrong?

It’s not too late to turn things around, but we must first understand why the administration is getting beat at the moment.

The answer is simple and unfortunate: The president put both the conceptual framing and the messaging for his health care plan in the hands of policy wonks. This led to twin disasters.

Read the remainder of the article from HuffPost here.

  blog it

Top Five Health Care Reform Lies—and How to Fight Back

Picked these up at Phil Hanson’s FriedDogLeg and he got it from MoveOn.org (ain’t the Web a  neat forum?).

Lie #1: President Obama wants to euthanize your grandma!!!

The truth: These accusations—of “death panels” and forced euthanasia—are, of course, flatly untrue. As an article from the Associated Press puts it: “No ‘death panel’ in health care bill.”4 What’s the real deal? Reform legislation includes a provision, supported by the AARP, to offer senior citizens access to a professional medical counselor who will provide them with information on preparing a living will and other issues facing older Americans.5

Lie #2: Democrats are going to outlaw private insurance and force you into a government plan!!!

The truth: With reform, choices will increase, not decrease. Obama’s reform plans will create a health insurance exchange, a one-stop shopping marketplace for affordable, high-quality insurance options.6 Included in the exchange is the public health insurance option—a nationwide plan with a broad network of providers—that will operate alongside private insurance companies, injecting competition into the market to drive quality up and costs down.7

If you’re happy with your coverage and doctors, you can keep them.8 But the new public plan will expand choices to millions of businesses or individuals who choose to opt into it, including many who simply can’t afford health care now.

Lie #3: President Obama wants to implement Soviet-style rationing!!!

The truth: Health care reform will expand access to high-quality health insurance, and give individuals, families, and businesses more choices for coverage. Right now, big corporations decide whether to give you coverage, what doctors you get to see, and whether a particular procedure or medicine is covered—that is rationed care. And a big part of reform is to stop that.

Health care reform will do away with some of the most nefarious aspects of this rationing: discrimination for pre-existing conditions, insurers that cancel coverage when you get sick, gender discrimination, and lifetime and yearly limits on coverage.9 And outside of that, as noted above, reform will increase insurance options, not force anyone into a rationed situation.

Lie #4: Obama is secretly plotting to cut senior citizens’ Medicare benefits!!!

The truth: Health care reform plans will not reduce Medicare benefits.10 Reform includes savings from Medicare that are unrelated to patient care—in fact, the savings comes from cutting billions of dollars in overpayments to insurance companies and eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse.11

Lie #5: Obama’s health care plan will bankrupt America!!!

The truth: We need health care reform now in order to prevent bankruptcy—to control spiraling costs that affect individuals, families, small businesses, and the American economy.

Right now, we spend more than $2 trillion dollars a year on health care.12 The average family premium is projected to rise to over $22,000 in the next decade13—and each year, nearly a million people face bankruptcy because of medical expenses.14 Reform, with an affordable, high-quality public option that can spur competition, is necessary to bring down skyrocketing costs. Also, President Obama’s reform plans would be fully paid for over 10 years and not add a penny to the deficit.15

We’re closer to real health care reform than we’ve ever been—and the next few weeks will decide whether it happens. We need to make sure the truth about health care reform is spread far and wide to combat right wing lies.



Sources:


1. “More ‘Town Halls Gone Wild’: Angry Far Right Protesters Disrupt Events With ‘Incomprehensible’ Yelling,” Think Progress, August 4, 2009.


2. “Fight the smears,” Health Care for America NOW, accessed August 10, 2009.


3. “Palin Paints Picture of ‘Obama Death Panel’ Giving Thumbs Down to Trig,” ABC News, August 7, 2009.


4. “No ‘death panel’ in health care bill,” The Associated Press, August 10, 2009.


5. “Stop Distorting the Truth about End of Life Care,” The Huffington Post, July 24, 2009.


6. “Reality Check FAQs,” WhiteHouse.gov, accessed August 11, 2009.


7. “Why We Need a Public Health-Care Plan,” The Wall Street Journal, June 24, 2009.


8. “Obama: ‘If You Like Your Doctor, You Can Keep Your Doctor,'” The Wall Street Journal, 15, 2009.


9. “Reality Check FAQs,” WhiteHouse.gov, accessed August 10, 2009.


10. “Obama: No reduced Medicare benefits in health care reform,” CNN, July 28, 2009.


11. “Reality Check FAQs,” WhiteHouse.gov, accessed August 10, 2009.


12. “Reality Check FAQs,” WhiteHouse.gov, accessed August 10, 2009.


13. “Premiums Run Amok,” Center for American Progress, July 24, 2009.


14. “Medical bills prompt more than 60 percent of U.S. bankruptcies,” CNN, June 5, 2009.


15. “Reality Check FAQs,” WhiteHouse.gov, accessed August 10, 2009.


Sources for the Five Lies:


#1: “A euthanasia mandate,” The Washington Times, July 29, 2009.


#2: It’s Not An Option,” Investor’s Business Daily, July 15, 2009.


#3: “Rationing Health Care,” The Washington Times, April 21, 2009.


#4: “60 Plus Ad Is Chock Full Of Misinformation,” Media Matters for America, August 8, 2009.


#5: Obama’s ‘Public’ Health Plan Will Bankrupt the Nation,” The National Review, May 13, 2009.


Thanks to Nita Chaudhary and others at MoveOn.org for providing the contents of this post.

West Virginia Citizens Action Group is petitioning for Health Care Reform

This from the WV Citizens Action Group:

Health Care Summer Heats UP – your help is needed now!

We need your help to get Health Reform passed this year. Can you volunteer some summertime to make it happen?

Citizen Action is joining in two national Days of Action on Health Reform – Aug 8th and 22nd

You can help right in your hometown by downloading our petition at www.wvcag.org and pledging to spend an hour or a morning or afternoon on one or both of those days to get your neighbors to sign on in favor of reform. A local supermarket is a good location or anywhere people gather – town fairs, bus stops – use your imagination.

Let us know if you’re willing to fight for reform – we’re looking for 50 of you to say yes, I can!

Call the CAG office at 304-346-5891 or e-mail me at garyz@wvcag.org to let us know you’re on the team.

We’re also looking for those who are willing to sign a letter to the editor (we have several samples on hand you can adapt)

Remember- Opponents are spending $1.4 MILLION/Day to kill Reform.

See: http://www.alternet.org/story/141713/ – Rush’s DittoHeads are outnumbering us in the volume of calls and letters into Congress and we need to make our voices louder!

Thanks in advance for your help!

Gary Zuckett, Director, WV Citizen Action

So, if you are in WV like me, download the petition, send in a signed copy and pass it around to your friends and get ready to participate on Aug 8 and 22.

And for you folks on the Eastern Panhandle remember that Shelly Moore Capito is NOT going to support Single Payer or any other reform sponsored by the current administration.

450,000 Doctors Can’t Be Wrong

Robert Reich is Right! It’s Up To Us.

This was Reich’s blog yesterday… I reproduce it in full:

“What Can I Do?”

Someone recently approached me at the cheese counter of a local supermarket, asking “what can I do?” At first I thought the person was seeking advice about a choice of cheese. But I soon realized the question was larger than that. It was: what can I do about the way things are going in Washington?

People who voted for Barack Obama tend to fall into one of two camps: Trusters, who believe he’s a good man with the right values and he’s doing everything he can; and cynics, who have become disillusioned with his bailouts of Wall Street, flimsy proposals for taming the Street, willingness to give away 85 percent of cap-and-trade pollution permits, seeming reversals on eavesdropping and torture, and squishiness on a public option for health care.

In my view, both positions are wrong. A new president — even one as talented and well-motivated as Obama — can’t get a thing done in Washington unless the public is actively behind him. As FDR said in the reelection campaign of 1936 when a lady insisted that if she were to vote for him he must commit to a long list of objectives, “Maam, I want to do those things, but you must make me.”

We must make Obama do the right things. Email, write, and phone the White House. Do the same with your members of Congress. Round up others to do so. Also: Find friends and family members in red states who agree with you, and get them fired up to do the same. For example, if you happen to have a good friend or family member in Montana, you might ask him or her to write Max Baucus and tell him they want a public option included in any healthcare bill.

Ok… let’s get at it.

Reform Agenda is now part of Under The LobsterScope

I’ve added a new link category over there in the right hand column. It is called Reform Agenda and it’s where I’ll be posting sites which deal with political reforms that demand that we all get involved. The first site I’ve posted deals with Single-Payer health care, which you now I support.

-Bill

This article from Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight Blog…Worth Reading!

Here’s the start of it, but go to the site and look at it all. Silver always backs up his points with solid statistics!
clipped from www.fivethirtyeight.com

American Medical Association Has Long Donated to Opponents of Health Care Reform

You might think that the American Medical Association, which today came out in opposition to a “public option” on comprehensive health care reform, is just a bunch of doctors trying to do what’s best for their patients, and that their opposition to the public option is a mere disagreement over details.

And you’d be wrong. The AMA is not just a bunch of doctors, but among other things an extremely lucrative lobbying organization that has given more than $12 million in campaign contributions to federal candidates since 1998. And since 1998, according to the nonpartisan OpenSecrets.org, some 64 percent of the AMA’s donations to federal candidates have been to Republicans — although 2008, in which the AMA gave 56 percent of its contributions to Democrats, was a notable exception.
blog it