Tag: health care reform

About those lobbyists who visited the President

Curious about who those lobbyists were with whom Obama has been meeting? First a quick rant and then we can look at who these people are and what they are all about after the fold.

Too often, we see the word “lobbyist” and reflexively think “bad,” “evil,” “spawn of Satan,” and “lower than the poop I stepped in while walking in the park the other day.”

While that may be true for some of them, like this guy, there are some “good” lobbyists, too. Organizations like the American Cancer Society, Sierra Club, and Human Rights Campaign are just as much lobbyists as PMA Group. Furthermore, every time you call your Senator or member of Congress, you are a citizen lobbyist.

Sen. Hatch Jumps Ship On Health Care Negotiations

Well, we have moved on step closer top getting a more rational policy out of the Senate today. Bloomberg News is reporting that Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) has decided to end his participation in bipartisan talks on the health care reform. Now of course the chattering classes on our TV machines are going to spin this as another reason the sky is falling on the Presidents (and our) health care reform initiative, but the Dog does not see it that way at all.

Originally posted at Squarestate.net

Framing — the Final Frontier

also posted on on dkos


Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations; to boldly go where no man has gone before.


a frame refers to the way media and media gatekeepers organize and present the events and issues they cover, and the way audiences interpret what they are provided. Frames are abstract notions that serve to organize or structure social meanings. Frames […] not only tells what to think about, but also how to think about it.


It’s simply amazing, how Obstructionists operate

also posted on the kos

It’s simply amazing, how Obstructionists operate

Step Right Up!

This magic elixir, will solve everything —

It’s called “More of the Same”

(aka “Private Insurance knows best.”)

It’s simply amazing what Paid Shills will say

to keep their Wealthy Patrons rolling in clover.

Another day at the Office, for Lobby America

also posted on the kos

A Day In The Life Of A Georgia Lobbyist

Her phone rings. It is another board member, and he is at the Capitol.  We are off to the third floor and a day that accelerates from 0 to 60 very quickly.  Among the sea of suits, we find her guest and connect him with Rep. Stephens, who will escort him onto the floor of the House for a visit.

Immediately thereafter, we meet up with the lobbyist for the Department of Economic Development, which houses the tourism budget and serves as the state’s marketing apparatus for the industry. They discuss the House budget cuts, pending legislation and chart strategy.  During that conversation she is approached by another lobbyist from the Association County Commissioners of Georgia who relays concerns over a hotel tax bill introduced a day earlier.  Joy assures her the bill is a temporary bill and that a substitute is coming.  […]

Not much later, the lobbyist for the Georgia Municipal Association approaches Joy expressing similar concerns.  Joy again explains a substitute is coming.

Shhhh! it’s a secret!

Non-profit health cooperatives are trojan horses for private insurers

There is yet another Baucus bipartisan health care reform story, this one from Roll Call.  While primarily a story about the fight over funding reform, this nugget is thrown in at the end:

In a sign of a potential d├ętente on another divisive issue – whether to implement a government-run insurance option as a part of health care reform – Baucus hinted that Senate Democratic leaders might be softening their position. Disagreement over the government-run insurance option is one of the main obstacles to a bipartisan health care bill.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told reporters Thursday that he could envision a nonprofit medical cooperative plan of some sort being acceptable substitute for a government-run insurance option. And Baucus said he believes Reid is now flexible on the issue, a hopeful sign for his goal of drafting a consensus bill.

If you know the history of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and the way the public has been screwed in a number of non-profit conversions to for-profit companies, then you can clearly see what is happening.  Establishing a non-profit co-op leaves the door open for corporate takeovers by private insurers.

Rick Scott Literally Swift Boating The Health Care Debate

As she so often does, digby makes a great catch. The health care debate is being partially highjacked by a major right wing donor, who also just happens to be a former health care industry executive. And the corporate media are helping him along.

The article comes from Mother Jones:

You’ve probably seen the ads. Ominous voice-overs warn you about how health care reform “could put a bureaucrat in charge of your medical decisions, not you.” A massive bulldozer with “government-run insurance plan” written on the side crushes your health care “choices.” Canadians and Britons relay horror stories of their experiences dealing with health care in those nightmarish socialist dystopias.

The ads are the product of a multimillion-dollar ad campaign designed to derail health care reform-especially what’s been dubbed the “public option,” which would set up a government-run plan to compete with private insurers. The man behind this ad blitz is the person who might be Public Option Enemy No. 1: one-time hospital executive and longtime Republican donor Richard Scott.

Back in March, Scott spent $5 million of his own money to set up a nonprofit called Conservatives for Patients’ Rights. The group aims to be the command center for the right’s fight against Democratic reform efforts. With the major interest groups-including hospital companies, pharmaceutical companies, and doctors-that have opposed reform in the past holding their fire this year in order to have a seat at the legislative table, Scott’s group has filled the anti-reform void. According to an estimate reported by the Associated Press, around $15 million has already been spent on ads favoring the Democrats’ plan, and  $4 million has been spent to oppose it. Much of that $4 million has come from Scott and CPR, and he’s claimed his group will spend as much as $20 million.

Of course, as the article points out, and as is true “Harry and Louise” style, Scott’s group doesn’t say it opposes health care reform. Of course not. It does want reform, it’s just a matter of the details. Of course, when you get into the details of the details, it’s really about derailing real reform. And the ad is, according to Media Matters, simple based on lies.

WSJ reports: White House Open to Deal on Public Health Plan

crossposted on Daily Kos

White House Open to Deal on Public Health Plan


WASHINGTON — It is more important that health-care legislation inject stiff competition among insurance plans than it is for Congress to create a pure government-run option, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said Monday.


One of the most contentious issues is whether to create a public health-insurance plan to compete with private companies.

Mr. Emanuel said one of several ways to meet President Barack Obama’s goals is a mechanism under which a public plan is introduced only if the marketplace fails to provide sufficient competition on its own. He noted that congressional Republicans crafted a similar trigger mechanism when they created a prescription-drug benefit for Medicare in 2003. In that case, private competition has been judged sufficient and the public option has never gone into effect.

Mr. Obama has pushed hard for a vigorous public option. But he has also said he won’t draw a “line in the sand” over this point.


OH NO! Not that stupid Trigger Option again!

Enough Already!  

Making a killing in the free market

Call it Personal Disaster Capitalism

   If Reform Costs X and Fighting it costs Y – choose the lesser of the two everytime.


    Executives of three of the nation’s largest health insurers told federal lawmakers in Washington on Tuesday that they would continue canceling medical coverage for some sick policyholders, despite withering criticism from Republican and Democratic members of Congress who decried the practice as unfair and abusive.


    Why? Why would they do this?

    Because it is profitable, of course.

    The line between taking a profit and making a killing is where ethics ends and Super Profits begin. There are thousands of examples we can find in our economy today where taking a profit is not good enough, and thus making a killing is what we do.

    It seems as though once the line between making a profit ethically is crossed there is no going back. Once the people who profit by stepping over the line and making a killing have gone there, the damage is already done and it is too late. What good is it to us if we fine a polluter some millions they can afford after they have made the Super Profit and ripped the resources out of the bare earth, or by denying someone Health Care they paid the Insurance for, or by ginning up a war fro their contractor buddies. The war still happens, people die of preventable disease and no one can put the environment back together again.

   This is how our economy works. Whoever can fuck over the most people the best win. You can be too big to fail but if there is any competition to worry about, don’t worry, the Government will take care of it for you, but if average Joe Sixpacks demand the same thing that is socialism, and that is bad.

    So what is a person to do?

    The first step to fighting the Class War is to know your enemy.


    An investigation by the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations showed that health insurers WellPoint Inc., UnitedHealth Group and Assurant Inc. canceled the coverage of more than 20,000 people, allowing the companies to avoid paying more than $300 million in medical claims over a five-year period.

    It also found that policyholders with breast cancer, lymphoma and more than 1,000 other conditions were targeted for rescission and that employees were praised in performance reviews for terminating the policies of customers with expensive illnesses.


    You see, if they actually provided the health care insurance policy holders are paying for, they would not make such a big profit. It is as simple as that. $300,000,000 over 5 years is hard for a Board of Directors to turn down.

    The Murder By Spreadsheet Industry is not alone here. Many industries and big businesses claim they can not survive without there special little exceptions around basic decency and common sense.

    Some examples are

    Mountain Top Removal Coal Mining

    You can call this Environmental Disaster Capitalism

    First off, these companies will NEVER invest in Green Technology and Green energy, because that costs money and any initial investment towards progress will hurt their profits, and that makes Executives cry.

    Never mind the fact that there are other, less destructive ways to mine for coal, but that costs money, and is less profitable than the Super – Profits that can be made by wrecking the place. Never mind the fact that coal is toxic, toxic to the air, the rivers, everything around it. That is not important, making money, now that is what is important.

    Labor Unions

    If companies do not have the ability to bust unions, how will they make their Super Profits? Can large employers like WalMart get by when their employees can demand better wages and benefits? Of course.

    Will they admit that? Hell no!

    What costs more, making TV ads or actually paying employees more? Do the long term benefits to society and our economy outweigh the initial costs? Of course not, that would get in the way of making a killing. What are you, some kind of socialist?

    Well, yes, if by socialist you mean something other than an unfettered free market capitalist. If that is what you mean by socialist I am guilty as charged.

    Wall St

    This one is so big I will not get into it too much, suffice it too say that they are certainly making a killing on Wall St. I have yet to hear when the Wall St Bailout will be paid back

    No matter how bad the risk, the people who take those risks never feel the pain of their failure. They are Too Big To Fail. You are not.

    Socialism for the rich is fine, just don’t go getting socialist on the rest of the proletariat. If you feed them once you will never get rid of them.

    War and The Military Industrial Complex

    This is true Disaster Capitalism at work, and the heart of all class warfare. War is class warfare.

    If we do not have wars to fight how will we ever justify spending a quarter of our federal budget on our military, plus supplemental spending and all the other goodies we hand out to the MIC year to year?

    And if there are no actual wars to fight, we can just invent them with a little help from the Corporate controlled media


Action! Send your Congress Critter a “Get Well” card

Crossposted at http://www.dailykos.com/story/…

get screwed

    I was recently told that an effective way of contacting my Congress Critter is to write a hand written letter and then send it off to them. Apparently, the effort that goes into writing an actual letter is a clear signal that I mean business, much more so than a phone call that never reaches my Congressperson or an e-mail that can be easily deleted.

    Therefore, I propose that we all get some “Get Well Cards” and send them off to our Representatives in Congress. That way, they will know we really, really care.

    We know the votes are there. Are the vertebrae there is the question.

Sorry you are a pussy


Choosing the right card is important. It can be funny or angry, home made or store bought, and you should definitely personalize the message on the inside.

the turth will set you free

    The message should be as clear as daylight. We want health care reform with a real and robust public option. You want to get re-elected. We should work together in order to accomplish our goals.


    Send one to both your Senators and your Congressional Representative, as well as your local State Representatives. Let them know that the American public will not tolerate bullshit on this issue, or any other issue where the status quo and Big Business stands in the way of real reform and progress.

    Mailing addresses for your Representative in the House can be found here at writerep.house.gov

    And your Senators mailing address can be found here at www.senate.gov


Lobbyists up, voters down. Status quo kicking and screaming

Crosspsoted at daily kos

Top 5 Lobbyists for the First Quarter of 2009

1. Chamber of Commerce of the U.S.A.: $9,996,000

2. Exxon Mobil: $9,320,000

3. Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America: $6,910,000

4. Chevron U.S.A. Inc: $6,800,000

5. Lockheed Martin Corporation: $6,380,000

    No wonder there are so many alternatives to real reform and real change. If the buck stops in Washington the buck started in a lobbyists briefcase.

    Simply put, if they can afford to lobby, they can afford to change.

    This goes for every Special Interest and every Big Business. While they fight change and kick and scream we here in Real America are fucking dying. We are dying while fighting your wars, we are dying waiting for health care reform, we are going broke waiting for Wall St to clean up it’s act, to make a long point short, Americans know you have the money, and now it is time to ante up.

Payola and the Demise of Health Care Reform

Crossposted at BlueRage and CobaltVA.

The best solution to health care and one that has a large amount of support among the U.S. public is the simplest, the single-payer option.  Single-payer puts the insurance companies out of business, period.  No longer would health care be rationed by cost, services and treatments denied, permission to see doctors of choice denied. No longer would families be forced into bankruptcy, and no longer would the considerable cost of the 50 million uninsured be forced upon a health care system that is already stressed to the breaking point.

Read on, then contact your congress critters, state reps, relatives, friends and neighbors and tell them to raise hell for single-payer.  Grass roots is all we’ve got…

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