March 17, 2010 archive

The Good Bad News on Insurance Company Welfare

It’s Not That the Health Care Bill Does Too Little Good, It’s That It Does Too Much Harm

By: Jon Walker Wednesday March 17, 2010 1:41 pm

The Senate bill further entrenches the private health insurance system. It continues the terrible pattern of privatizing our social safety net in such a way that business skims 20% off the top. It makes sure the big, life saving medications of the future remain incredibly expensive, so as to enrich the drug industry. It takes a giant step towards eroding women’s reproductive rights. It wastes hundreds of millions to fortify the same, broken health care system that is crushing our economy. The worst part is I don’t see anything in this bill that might serve as a path to real reform. There is no public option or Medicare buy-in. There is no proper state single payer waiver. There is no mechanism to move to an all-payer system and/or a clear path to force for-profit companies out of the health insurance market.


House Democrats scramble to ensure adequate deficit reduction in health bill

By Lori Montgomery, Washington Post Staff Writer

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Democrats hoped to receive the Congressional Budget Office report on the legislation’s budgetary impact late Tuesday night. Because Democrats are using special budget rules, known as reconciliation, to protect the package from a Republican filibuster, the measure must reduce the deficit by at least $2 billion over the next five years and avoid increasing the deficit in any year thereafter. Under normal circumstances, that rule would require the bill simply to contain enough revenue-raising provisions to offset new spending. But, like so much else in the health-care debate, this time it is more complicated.

Instead of being measured against current law, the deficit-reduction potential of the “fixes” package will be measured against the Senate bill, which must be passed by the House before the Senate can approve the fixes. The Senate bill would trim $118 billion from the deficit over the next decade and hundreds of billions of dollars in the following 10 years. For the fixes package to comply with reconciliation rules, it must also promise significant long-term deficit reduction, aides said.

Even with Kucinich-

New Health Care Whip Count: Still 191 Yes, 206 No (205-209 with Leaners)

By: David Dayen Wednesday March 17, 2010 11:34 am

In fact, there is some slippage-

Jerry Costello Flips into the Stupak Bloc

By: David Dayen Wednesday March 17, 2010 1:14 pm

However, the abortion language was always going to be a problem for the Illinois lawmaker, and this is a fairly clear sign that he has returned to the Stupak bloc and out of the “Stupak-curious” realm. So add another no vote to the big board. With leaners, you’re at 205-210, with Democrats able to lose only 5 of the remaining uncommitted 16:

But there is a solution-

A Public Option Would Sure Fix Democrats’ CBO Troubles

By: Jon Walker Wednesday March 17, 2010 12:30 pm

Why have we not yet seen a reconciliation bill with a final CBO score? It needs to be made public today if they want to have it online for 72 hours before a planned Saturday vote. The answer seems to be that they are having trouble putting together a reconciliation bill that the CBO will project as saving a sufficient amount of money.

There is, of course, a very easy solution to the House Democrats’ CBO trouble. They could add a public option or Medicare buy-in. The CBO projects that even a very weak and restricted public option would save the government $25 billion. A stronger but still restricted public option would save roughly $110 billion. Those savings would be more than large enough to produce an acceptable CBO score.

Of course, Democrats are not going to include a public option because it would ruin bipartisanship, we need Olympia Snowe, Ben Nelson, Joe Lieberman, Blanche Lincoln, Dick Durbin would whip against it, the Senate does not have the votes, the Senate has the votes the House does not, it might delay the bill Obama traded it away to the for-profit hospitals in a backroom deal. Instead, I suspect that they will make up the loss by either raising more taxes or cutting much-needed aid to students and community colleges.

Have fun explaining that move Democrats. Go home and tell your constituents that not only did you deny them the public option they overwhelming want, but you decided to take money from low income college students, and use it to protect the profits of the private health insurance industry.

For Your Consideration: Countdown to HIR(?): Up Dated X 3

The latest whip count from the house from David Dayen at FDL reports New Health Care Whip Count: Still 191 Yes, 206 No (205-209 with leaners). Since Dennis Kucinich has now switched his vote to “yes”, Nancy Pelosi still finds that they are short voted to pass this travesty.

I think they are withholding the CBO score because without the Public Option, cutting back on the excise tax (Cadillac tax, yes they did that by giving Unions a reprieve, and not raising taxes on the wealthy, the House bill is more costly than even the Senate version. In order for it to pass via reconciliation the bill must be cost effective and in the case of this particular bell must cost less than the one the Senate has already passed. Ergo, hold back the CBO report until they can hammer out details that add to the cost to tax payers. Confused? That’s what they want.

Maverick to AZ children: MARK IT ZERO!!!! You are entering a world of pain

Crossposted at Daily Kos

Image Hosting by This is GOOD NEWS for John McCain, and it comes at the expense of 42,000 Arizona children. What a sellout maverick.

    Roughly translated, McCain and the Arizona GOP’s message to sick AZ children would read like this . . . .

    Dear Tiny Tim,

    SCHIP costs money that should be going to tax cuts for the rich. Get a job and buy private insurance. Until then, don’t get sick, and if you do, die quickly.

                      Tough shit, Sen. John McCain

    U.S. Sen. John McCain may finally get his health-care wish, which is less care for fewer of Arizona’s children.

    The Arizona legislature voted to permanently end the state’s participation in the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), 13 years after McCain voted against it and 3 years after leading the charge against reauthorizing the popular bi-partisan program.

    McCain’s home state of Arizona is now the first and only state to ever opt out of SCHIP.

For Immediate Release

Rodney Glassman U.S. Senate

Exploratory Committee

More below the fold . . .  

Afternoon Edition

Afternoon Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Haiti reveals ambitious $11.5 bln reconstruction plan

by Andrew Gully, AFP

Wed Mar 17, 5:15 am ET

PORT-AU-PRINCE (AFP) – Haiti has unveiled the first draft of its grand reconstruction plan, saying 11.5 billion dollars would be needed to help the country rebuild after January’s devastating earthquake.

Prepared by the government with the help of the international community, the Preliminary Damage and Needs Assessment (PDNA) will provide the framework for discussions at a major donors conference in New York on March 31.

The plan, published online Tuesday, goes far beyond the immediate priorities of post-quake reconstruction and looks at the massive economic and governance challenges Haiti faces if it wants to become a fully functional state.

Why Did Kucinich Cave In To Obama?

I am totally shocked by what has happened.

It had appeared that Dennis Kucinich had Obama worried, rather than the other way around.

It appeared with Obama and Kucinich “discussing” Health Care on Air Force 1 no less, that the opportunity existed where Obama might possibly consider making a concession or two, just to secure Kucinich’s vote.

Suddenly, and sadly, Kucinich just gave in, and got absolutely nothing back in return.

While DKos, MoveOn.bored, and mainstream Democrats all publically threatened to oppose Kucinich and get their pay back and revenge on him, it is pretty well established that Kucinich is in a district which knows him well, and that re-elects him every two years — whether or not he faces a Primary challenge. I can’t see Kucinich caving just on something like empty “reelection” bluffs, hot air, and threats of this nature. Kucinich has been through all of that many times before and won the War.

Remember Dennis Kucinich is a guy who stared down the Bank Monopoly in Ohio before and won. He even faced an assassination attempt before and won.  This is a man not easily shaken. So why would Kucinich suddenly be so easily intimidated now?

What threat did Obama issue?  Black Ops?  Did his unconstitutional wiretapping program create or fabricate some embarrassing family story or personal smear?  Did Obama threaten Elizabeth Kucinich? Did Obama and Pelosi move to take away Kucinich’s SubCommittee Chair (something they’d never do to Joe Lieberman)? Was Dennis Kucinich’s life directly threatened?

Open Question


Senate cuts taxes for business: and call it a ‘Jobs’ bill

Under the bill now heading to President Obama’s desk, businesses that hire workers who have been jobless for at least 60 days will be exempt from paying the 6.2 percent payroll tax on those employees’ earnings until the end of the year. If those workers stay on for a full year, businesses will also get a $1,000 tax credit. (The employee’s pay would still be subject to the usual personal income taxes.) The business tax breaks would add up to about $15 billion in all.

Of course, yeah… that’ll do pig.

The US government is basically just a conduit for taking money from employees, or future generations at this point, and giving said money to the largest companies, on the theory that some of that money will trickle down–which some of it will (right to congress) .  

Newspapers are Folding, and We’re Part of their Problem!

The fact that Newspapers are folding, left and right, is hardly News. It’s a long-term trend playing out, due to the ‘Market Forces’ of the Internet.

What is News is the effect that Internet Bloggers (aka Citizen Journalists) are having on the long, slow fade of “Traditional” News.

It seems fewer and fewer people are willing to pay for their News, these days — and WHY should we when we can find it FREE on-line, often with a dash of humor and wit throw-in, for free too!

One Problem though — Bloggers to maintain credibility, have this little habit of citing those very same “Traditional” News Sources who are quietly fading away, as we speak Type.

I think there is a “Chicken and Egg” thing going on here — just few of us have yet to realize it.

Could be someday we go out to get our Information Breakfast — and it turns out that both “nutritional items” have turned up MISSING! (the Blogger and the Source)

Feliz Dia de San Patricio

Listen to the classic “CanciĆ³n Mixteca,” sung in Spanish by the Mexican supergroup Los Tigres del Norte, accompanied by [Irish] accordion, bajo sexto, tin whistle and uilleann pipes.

“How far I am from the land where I was born! Immense longing invades my thoughts, and when I see myself as alone and sad as a leaf in the wind, I want to cry. I want to die of sorrow.”

Imbecile Americans Empower Brutal Anti-American Fanatic

In Baghdad alone, whose vote is decisive in the election, Sadrist candidates, many of them political unknowns, were 6 of the top 12 vote-getters.

This tiny factoid is buried in the eleventh paragraph of an article in the New York Times with an already unpleasant headline…

Followers of Sadr Emerge Stronger After Iraq Elections

What does it mean?

If you want to cast a vote that says “I hate America,” there is nobody in the world you could vote for and say “I hate America” more clearly than you can say “I hate America” by voting for Moktada al-Sadr, and Moktada al-Sadr just swamped all other parties in Baghdad, in an election that’s supposedly the triumphant outcome of our genocidal occupation of Iraq.

Congratulations, imbeciles! You just spent at least a trillion dollars and killed more than 1,000,000 Iraqis and more than 5000 American soldiers to make a brutal anti-American fanatic the king of Baghdad!


This is what the imbecile George W. Bush created in 2003!

This is what the imbeciles John Kerry, John Edwards, and Hillary Clinton, and 26 other Democrats and 48 Republican Senators voted for in 2002!

This is what the imbecile Senator Barack Obama voted to fund in 2005 and 2006 and 2007 and 2008!

This is what the imbecile President and Commander-in-Chief Barack Obama has been commanding for the last 14 months!

Congratulations, imbeciles! You just spent at least a trillion dollars and killed more than 1,000,000 Iraqis and more than 5000 American soldiers to make a brutal anti-American fanatic the king of Baghdad!



The Best Laid Plans, Etc. Etc…

I had planned on flying to visit my Dad this coming Friday, but the latest news has changed for the worse, so I will be leaving here for the airport in about ten minutes. My brother called late last night and Dad is now in the hospital not only with a morphine drip for the cancer pain, but now also with pneumonia and kidney failure. It’s to a point now where we hope it is quick for him and he doesn’t suffer much longer.

Thank you all for your support during this time and for your good wishes.

I’m off now for a few days…  

Todays Youth and Health Concerns

This is going to be rather short, was going to wait and place in an open thread but thinking it really needs a stand alone and frankly many more separate posts and discussions or ability to add reports from around the country.

This isn’t a new dangerous problem it’s been growing for the last couple of decades and especially in the recent past one, especially the health problems.

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