Helping the Working Poor — A Practical Defense of PPACA 3

The Health Care Bill, more often than not, raises the ire of both conservatives and progressives. They’ve teamed up to spread as much misinformation about the bill as possible. Why? I am not sure, because this bill goes a long way to get more people access to health care.

I think it all began with a guy named Howard Dean and some comments he made In December of 2009.  Dean was very angry that the public option was eliminated from the Senate bill. The target of Dean’s rant was Joe Lieberman, ( I)CT, he was pretty pissed at Lieberman and he seemed to feel no bill would be better than this bill now. He was angry at the process. And his anger is not unfounded. This Senate has become a branch of our government that is immovable, ideologically entrenched, almost completely unable to pass any worthwhile legislation. Dr. Dean was pretty pissed about that, as we all should be. However, instead of directing his anger at the improbable 60 vote requirement to pass any legislation of substance, he decided it would be time to just let Republicans win by killing the bill. That didn’t happen of course, but that was an extreme reaction, one Republicans were relying upon, this is where they were able to begin to sow the seeds of discontent among voters, they have filled the air with misinformation, with the help of people who are otherwise quite progressive. All that discontent, and the Executive Branches unbelievable inability to fight back against the propaganda has left people with a sour taste in their mouths when it comes to their thoughts about PPACA.

A number of people jumped on Dr. Dean’s bandwagon, Keith Olbermann went on the air to loudly proclaim why the Senate Bill should not be passed. Two days after Dean’s rant against the bill, a number of left leaning organizations and people banded together to help kill the bill:

Dave Linderhoff of The Public Record
Jane Hamsher of FireDogLake
Markos Moulitsas; Daily Kos Founder
Darcy Bruner; a past candidate for Congress

Lying about ACA has become something of a cottage industry. But don’t believe the hype, the reforms already implemented have brought down insurance costs, added more people to insurance rolls, new benefits for senior citizens, implemented necessary regulations regarding pre-existing conditions and an 80% requirement that premiums be spend on the consumers health care costs, with 20 mandated for administrative costs.

People who will benefit most from the bill:

  1. Those without any insurance.
  2. Those who have paid for expensive individual policies on their own.
  3. Employees of small businesses that have trouble affording the cost of joining a group plan.
  4. Low income Medicare participants who are left paying for whatever is not covered by Medicare for their medical bills and prescriptions.

Who is without access to health insurance? Some of those people are the working poor. It has been a long struggle to get federal legislation dealing with this problem, the estimates are there are some 45 million people without access to basic heath care.  In the past, some states attempted to solve this problem on their own by setting up their own state run “group” for people who didn’t qualify for Medicaid. When the boom of the 1990’s ran its course, those programs began to be cut severely because of the expense of running the programs and because states don’t have as much revenue since the economic downturn and they are having to make tough choices.  Many states of course never attempted such things. Washington State has such a program, but its funding has been cut in the past few years so although people may qualify by their income, there are no slots open to take them as customers, in fact the plan has had to disenroll people because of a lack of funding, in total 17,000 members were disenrolled.

However the results of PPACA have been positive.

  • More young adults have coverage
  • Requires beginning this year, insurers must spend 80% – 85% of premiums in actually delivering care
  • Premiums decreasing even for state employees.
  • Our health insurance plans now have to justify their premium rate increases to the State and pass an approval process before they can raise prices.
  • Because of the ACA, young adults can now stay on their parents’ insurance until the age of 26.
  • New York has something called “community rating,” which means that health insurers can’t charge you higher rates simply because of your age, gender, or health history.
  • Because of the ACA, we no longer have to pay co-pays for many preventative care services.
  • Because of the ACA, people with pre-existing conditions now have choices for coverage, one example the NY Bridge Plan.
  • Because of the ACA, seniors who hit the Medicare “donut hole” are now getting help with their prescription drug costs.
  • States like New York have a law in place called “guaranteed issue,” which means that insurers have to offer health insurance to everyone, even if they have a pre-existing condition (even though they have waiting periods for coverage related to that condition.  But thanks to the ACA - those waiting periods will soon be a thing of the past!). 
  • More changes to Pre-existing condition plans by states, here is a preview, premiums have decreased.
  • Premium and Cost sharing subsidies to individuals: the mechanism provides refundable and advanceable premium credits to eligible individuals and families who fall between 133% and 400% of FPL (Federal Poverty Level) to purchase insurance through state created health exchanges.
  • Provide Costsharing subsidies to eligible individuals and families. Cost-sharing credits reduce the cost sharing amounts and annual cost-sharing limits and have the effect of increasing the actuarial value of basic benefit plan to the following percentages of the full value of the plan:
    • 100 – 150% FPL  94%
    • 150 – 200% FPL  87%
    • 200 – 250% FPL  73%
    • 250 – 400% FPL  70%

Health Exchanges: a few examples

  • Vermont : passed legislation to build a single payer plan for the state of Vermont and in October  of this year, (2011) that plan got one step closer to implementation.

These new federal policies are working. I think this is good. There seems to be a small, but loud coalition of people on both sides of the ideological aisle who would have you believe PPACA is a complete failure, but the evidence says otherwise. Let’s stop letting them get away with their propaganda war against delivering health care to those who would not otherwise have access. Let’s fight back with the facts at hand, because the facts indicate the legislation is working.

Crossposted at DAGBlog

In Defense of Melissa Harris Perry 3

It all began with a Michael Moore visit to the View. It was nothing short of appalling. So we will call it Exhibit 1:

For the longest time I just didn’t know what to say about that clip, I’d certainly read all of the criticism of Moore after this episode. I’ve been formulating what I want to say since then, and reading as much as possible about onslaught of commentary that followed his outburst of what can only be called blatant racism. And in a sense I think Professor Harris Perry (ProfHP), was really responding to this, after being exposed to much of the diva outbursts that attempt to denigrate the Presidency of Barack Obama, in the so-called progressive blogsophere. I am going to introduce this clip as the penultimate example of racism in the so-called progressive community, and I am using Moore’s gaff first because it is a blatant example of employing a stereotype to describe ones disappointment in the President. Does Moore really believe this?    Moore definitely caused an avalanche virtual debate.  I did read much of it. However as a white person, I still believe I have much to learn about racism and how it manifests in the most blatant and subtle ways. Ultimately in order to bridge our racial divide white people have to listen. But in a deeper sense first and foremost ProfHP does have some real hard evidence of racism in the so-called progressive community and that begins with Michael Moore’s statement on The View. That does constitute evidence, it really does.   Why would you stoop to a stereotype to register your already well-known disappointment in the President? So we have one significant piece of evidence or outright racism, because unlike what Joan Walsh writes, evidence that is not in the form of a poll can also be relevant and serve as examples of racism at work, because most progressives don’t believe they are racist! They would never admit to it to a pollster, and that means we have to have other means of gathering data, come on, this isn’t that hard.

Exhibit 2: So after ProfHP’s original piece appeared in The Nation, Joan Walsh weighed in, with an okay blog, but it didn’t tell the entire story, and her blog required proof of racism via poll data.  Poll responses about subtle racism cannot be supported without actual working evidence, which is often the things people say and write. Joan Walsh used the conservative talking point, there is no evidence to conclude such things, when in fact there is evidence, first and foremost Michael Moore.

Exhibit 3: The leader of the group New Progressive Alliance, Anthony Noel, told an African-American blogger to get over being black and to start debating like a human. What? OMG, I don’t know how to respond to that kind of racism and I can’t believe this is actually happening and this does constitute evidence, cold hard factual evidence of racism among the so-called progressive blogosphere.

Exhibit 4: David Sirota’s response to ProfHP: Boy that guy is one mad upper middle class employed talk show radio host isn’t he, I had never read him prior to this, so I delved into his stream of consciousness, and that is what it was a stream of consciousness wrapped in white-hot anger. So let’s get to Sirota’s criticism, to which he claims not one person has taken on his so-called facts to challenge him, people have just called him a racist. Well Dave if the shoe fits buddy, I guess you will have to wear it. Sirota wrote this:

By seeing this record and then explaining away declining liberal support for President Obama as a product of bigotry, Harris-Perry exhibits the ultimate form of both denialism and elitism.

But does she really exhibit the “ultimate” form of both denialism (which is not a word for the record) and elitism, (hello pot, meet kettle). Because there is ample evidence of her thesis. Sirota doesn’t want to acknowledge it, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t evidence. First of course this elitism crap is being carried too far, Sirota by definition is a liberal elitist, he should quit pulling the faux populism card.  But what does account for the declining support of so-called progressives? Hell according to politifact.com the President has accomplished many of his campaign promises, in fact he has accomplished 147 of his campaign promises. Why are his accomplishments never acknowledged or if they are they are written off as tiny and not worthwhile and doesn’t make him progressive etc and so on. The list of his accomplishments are here: Politifact.com.  Was Clinton a surrender monkey when his health care bill failed and he never talked about universal health care again? Health Care was huge, and because of it more people are covered.

Let’s go over more examples of racism in the Progressive community and these do constitute proof, the proof folks like Walsh, Sirota and Lyons are demanding.

Exhibit 5: 2011 article by Robert Kuttner: Black and Bleak

The problem is less Obama’s failure to target black unemployment per se than his weakness on the jobs issue generally. Race comes into the equation because of an almost pathological aversion to conflict on Obama’s part, which has been widely attributed to his wish to bridge racial and ideological gaps.

What? It is as though Kuttner doesn’t realize that the President through policy implementation has successfully “strengthened  Small Business Administration programs that provide capital to minority-owned businesses, support outreach programs that help minority business owners apply for loans, and work to encourage the growth and capacity of minority firms.”  So actually the President is working to help minority communities by supporting the growth of business, which can only serve to help any given community by providing more jobs. So that makes Kuttner’s analysis not just wrong, but weird. Is it direct racism? Maybe not, but it is subtle, if Kuttner had done his homework he would see the President is implementing the same kind of policies the Clinton Admin for minority owned business. These were programs that were immediately ended when Bush took office.  No doubt African-Americans have suffered a great deal during this terrible recession, greatly. However, this is a statistic that never changes, it doesn’t matter who is in office or what his color might be. African-Americans have always suffered more during economic downturns and as a people we should attempt to address and make corrections. It is all our responsibility, and we should start by getting Republicans out of congress.   So  when I read this particular line made me feel uncomfortable; is it subtle racism? It makes me think Kuttner believes the President is just looking for approval of white, protestant men, otherwise, why is up with the sloppy statement based on some sort of ESP?

Race comes into the equation because of an almost pathological aversion to conflict on Obama’s part, which has been widely attributed to his wish to bridge racial and ideological gaps.

Exhibit 6: FDL sometimes is a hotbed for subtle and outright racism. Case in point: This is a blog post about labor unions, but then there is this the last line in the blog:

The basic problem is that the Rich ate all the pie. What do you intend to do about it? Snuggle up to their Democratic Party incarnation some more in the hope of getting some crumbs? There used to be a term for that, on the plantations. House N****r.

No one is going to tell me this isn’t evidence of racism amongst so-called progressives. Was it necessary to  head directly to plantation talk? Was it? How can anyone write that there is no evidence of some divisive racial language used by some people on the left?

Exhibit 7: Now let’s get to Gene Lyons, who perhaps responded like a bully and then pulled his own race card.  Lyons in retaliation asserted that ProfHP was a fool, and that was bad enough, but then came the most troubling paragraph:

Furthermore, unless you’re black, you can’t possibly understand. Yada, yada, yada. This unfortunate obsession increasingly resembles a photo negative of KKK racial thought. It’s useful for intimidating tenure committees staffed by Ph.D.s trained to find racist symbols in the passing clouds. Otherwise, Harris-Perry’s becoming a left-wing Michele Bachmann, an attractive woman seeking fame and fortune by saying silly things on cable TV.

If I didn’t know better, I would have figured this was written by one Rush Limbaugh, not just denigrating the Professors expertise but making a claim that she used her blackness to intimidate tenure committees, OMG, and yet there is no racism in the so-called white progressive community.  This type of commentary makes me nearly speechless. I said nearly.  When the President was elected I was naive enough to believe that so-called progressives would never ever stoop to racially insensitive speech. I.Was.Wrong.

Cross Posted at  DAGblog

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane Hamsher? 11

Wow, things happen when you are on vacation, and by things I mean Baby Jane Hudson  Hamsher’s blog meltdown the other day has turned into a thing of absolute wonder.  It was very dramatic wasn’t it, her Baby Jane Hudson style meltdown, dumb m-fers, really? Yeah that is the way to win an election, start another big fight on the interwebzz between like-minded people, that definitely gets us to where we want to be, wait, wut?

This ridiculous behavior is just  all too familiar to me, I still haven’t really gotten over the 2000 election. I can’t tell you how many well-meaning people I argued with back then who said they wouldn’t vote for Al Gore, who had become one of the more powerful Vice Presidents of our time, in terms of his mastery of government and his ideas of reform and modernizing government via the ever-changing world of technology.  He brought in an era of reform among the ranks of government.  Most people may or may not remember his Reinventing Government initiative, it was a program that worked, it was the result of Al Gores hard work and his experience in congress. Yet what was with the crowd that insisted  Gore and Bush were essentially the same, and why are they doing it again after all they should have learned from the Bush fiasco Presidency.  We can safely say there would have been no Iraq War if Al Gore had been President during 9-11. And yet here we are, discussing one more time how awful times a million the President is and his supporters are soooo stupid to ruin his chances like this, by supporting him, err or something.  It has now reached the crazy stage, in fact since Hamsher and that other crazy irrelevant guy Pat Cadell are actively working to make sure this President isn’t reelected, how liberal could either one really be? Yes, we know the answer, not liberal.   These shoddy analysis are pushed by the media.  They rely on manufactured controversy to get better ratings, and that is their only goal. The problem with the “primary Obama”  as led by Baby Jane is they seem impervious to facts, they seem unable to understand party politics, they just hope that the President will be in a primary race. That isn’t going to happen and if anyone thinks it will it is because they actually have their head planted firmly in the sand.  The Party has her candidate and it will not be Alan Grayson or Dennis Kucinich.  It is time to accept this fact and move on.   I am hoping we won’t let a faction of “the always pissed off crowd” disrupt this election.  I don’t know if they have the power to do so, but they certainly believe they have the power to do so.

Baby Jane Hamsher seems no different from Ralph Nader, she is a professional gadfly. She is a woman scorned no doubt about it,  I believe the blogger Eclectablog that he was sent an email from one of her employees basically saying she is going to crush him, and keep him from getting paid writing gigs on the internet..it is kind of comical in a sad sort of way. Does anyone really have that kind of power on the internet? I mean this isn’t William Randolf Hearsts era anymore, so the email comes off as ridiculous. I am not convinced anyone has that kind of power to crush a voice on the interwebzzz. How can anyone take her seriously after this kind of behavior? The over-the-top anger seems so like TBag in its apparent irrationality. And this draws us right back to the Baby Jane Hudson metaphor; Baby Jane Hudson, a former child star whose light went out long ago, her one and only goal in life was to become relevant again, one more time, this time she wouldn’t blow her chance, except that she did, because she always blows her chances.

What I don’t get is the end game, because certainly if they help sweep in more Republicans, progressivism will be even further from the doorstep of American politics. Because my instinct tells me that if you really are progressive you would want to prevent a Republican from being President, because in this day and age they simply have proven to be a threat to America. I mean hell, they are willing to play chicken with the economy, i.e. debt ceiling fiasco.  Republicans are holding a gun to their own heads and ours by their willingness to take the entire nation down in order to win a Presidential election, which is surreal and might I add unpatriotic!   And shouldn’t we be rallying people around this fact rather than fighting over whether or not there will be a primary challenger for this President?  (There will be no primary… it just isn’t going to happen).

Personally, I wish the war between progressives would end, ugh it is sooo tiring, and boring as the same issues are rehashed over and over again with no solutions in sight.   Baby Jane is relegating herself to obscurity, by her own actions, and for what? Just to be a contrarian, a gadfly, a rabble-rouser?  She never does explain why we are dumb mfers?  Nor does she adequately explain how supporting the President is really hurting his chances, is it opposite day and no one told me?  Well we will never truly be able to understand Baby Jane’s motives but I think they have more to do with making money rather than any real political agenda, she is just doing it the Rush Limbaugh/Scientology way, by building a base of fanatic followers who don’t ever think for themselves. Yikes what  way to make money.