As The Bullets Find Their Mark..

I will never understand the GOP obsession with repealing Obamacare.

I could certainly understand efforts to improve it, or even replace it with a different mechanism (not the smoke and mirrors sort of replacement that Trump yammered about but was unable to describe, but a different way to deliver actual healthcare).

It is hard for me to accept that there are people who genuinely believe poor folks aren’t entitled to medical care, that being unable to afford a doctor means you don’t deserve one. On the other hand, I recall that telling–and chilling– moment in a GOP debate when Ron Paul was asked what should be done with people who don’t have insurance, and the audience members yelled “let them die.”

So there’s that…

Even though Paul Ryan and his cronies couldn’t manage a complete repeal of the Affordable Care Act, they did manage to make it less workable. They didn’t kill it–they just made it more incoherent and costly.

According to Michael Hiltzik in the L.A. Times,

Those fiscal geniuses in the White House and Republican-controlled Congress have managed to do the impossible: Their sabotage of the Affordable Care Act will lead to 6.4 million fewer Americans with health insurance, while the federal bill for coverage rises by some $33 billion per year.

Also, by the way, premiums in the individual market will rise by an average of more than 18%.

These figures come from the Urban Institute, which on Monday released the first estimate of the impact of two GOP initiatives. The first is the elimination of the individual mandate, which is an offshoot of the GOP tax-cut measure signed by President Trump in December. The measure reduced the penalty for not carrying insurance to zero as of next Jan. 1.

The second is Trump’s plan to expand short-term insurance plans, which don’t comply with many of the ACA’s essential benefits requirements and allow insurers to reject or surcharge people with preexisting medical conditions or histories.

Both of these provisions siphon younger, healthier people out of the insurance pool–an entirely foreseeable (and indeed, widely foreseen) consequence. When the pool of insured individuals contains older, sicker participants not offset by as many young healthy ones, insurers must raise premiums.

Because government premium subsidies rise in tandem with premium increases, the cost of subsidies borne by the government will rise by $33.3 billion next year, or 9.3% — to $391.4 billion from $358.1 billion under existing law.

It isn’t only taxpayers who will get hosed by the changes Trump is so proud of. The article goes through a variety of ways in which people needing health insurance will get screwed over, and I encourage you to click through and read the whole analysis.

It’s hard to disagree with Hiltzik’s conclusion:

The damage estimate can’t be restricted to the immediate impact on individuals and families, the researchers observed. “As healthier enrollees exit for short-term plans, insurers will by necessity reexamine the profitability of remaining in the compliant markets. This may well lead to more insurer exits from the compliant markets in the next years, reducing choice for the people remaining and ultimately making the markets difficult to maintain.”

In other words, the Republican sabotage will continue to undermine health coverage in the U.S. The only alternative, it becomes clearer with every day, is some form of single-payer, Medicare-for-all coverage. That’s increasingly becoming part of Democratic Party orthodoxy, and it’s about time.

One more reason why we need a wave election in November.


  1. The Koch brothers have fought Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security since those programs were created. They spent millions trying to sabotage the ACA and stop it from becoming a government program. They have been fighting to destroy the ACA ever since and are finally seeing the fruits of their investments in members of Congress.

    I hope their destruction of the ACA will speed up the approval of a government single payer health insurance option. Profit driven health insurance must be ended. For profit health insurers are the real death panels that have existed for decades. They are responsible for killing millions and forcing millions more into bankruptcy.

  2. “As The Bullets Find Their Mark…” brings to my mind the literal connection between the mass shootings, brought about in great part by the GOP love and support of Amendment II, and the health care vital to save lives of surviving victims. There must be a great number of them requiring life-long aftercare due to physical damage and often disability. They are victimized by the attack and the exorbitant cost or lack of medical care covered by their health care – IF they continue to afford it. Annual deductibles are outrageous; often more than the victims and their families can afford and often at such a ridiculous level the average family never reaches that amount, another situation of deciding between medical care and food for many families.

    I view the Republican’s determination to repeal the ACA as only part of their efforts; they appear to want to stand in the way of health care insurance providers providing even basic health care paid for by forcing clients to pay thousands for their health care through deductibles along with their premiums. Another form of “red lining” or “wealthy white flight”; separating themselves and weeding out those who need medical care in their efforts to enrich the insurance companies? One example is the only family policy through the Indiana health care system offered to my daughter-in-law who works as a custodian in a Catholic church and school; the policy premium was $1,200 per month with a $12,000 annual deductible. Because she trusted the state to provide coverage she dropped her health care policy in October 2013, $450 monthly with $9,000 annual deductible, looking for lower deductible she placed her application through the state system. Repeated contacts seeking information through January 2014, she was told the state would not release status information to applicants till late May or June 2014. She received her offer late June; because she had been without the REQUIRED health care coverage, she was fined $900 which was deducted from her IRS refund. Just one of “…a variety of ways in which people needing health insurance will get screwed over…”

  3. The problem is the Democratic Party isn’t supporting single-payer. They had their chance in California and whiffed. Turns out the health insurance lobby and CEO’s don’t want to see their roles eliminated. It’s hard for them to find another gig paying $22 million a year.

    The Democratic National Committee actually sabotaged efforts of progressives to get a presidential candidate who supports single payer. They’re part of the capitalist system which favors profits over people. The political spectrum is really the realm of free-market capitalism.

    The right-wing donors believe in authoritarian free market capitalism and the left-wing is ready to transition into a planned economy or democratic socialism.

    Currently, both the DNC and GOP occupy the right-wing of the political spectrum.

    The left-wing is occupied by The Green Party, The People’s Party and Democratic Socialists.

    Most progressives have given up on the DNC because of their well-trenched interests with their Wall Street Donors.

    The free market should not be deciding who gets healthcare and who doesn’t. It is the government’s responsibility to provide for public health. It’s a public right to have access to healthcare. Every single industrialized nation understands this except the USA.

    Why is that?

    It’s also against the law to bribe a public official in all other industrialized countries besides the United States. Other countries have figured out that bribing public officials leads to corruption.

    The Koch’s supreme court justice, Scalia, in his opinion on Citizens United, “There is no evidence that Donors expect or receive reciprocity for their campaign donations.”

    This is the most fraudulent statement of the 21st century. It’s why our system of governance has morphed into a Kleptocracy and is now in a Kakistocracy as well. Honorable politicians have no access to money and you need lots of it to run for a federal office. Who’s going to fund the campaign of single payer advocates? Which corporate lobbying firm will pay to lose profits? Which company wants to see their positions eliminated overnight? Do you think the AMA members support seeing their wages lowered as they become government employees? LOL

    The only ones who benefit from single payer are every single consumer in this country.

    This one topic alone illustrates that our democracy is dead and so is any pretense that we have a representative republic. If we didn’t have a capitalist based media which spews propaganda along target markets, the 60% approval rating for universal coverage for healthcare would be closer to 80% support.

    By the way, public schools have been target of privatization efforts for decades by Milton Friedman and his very wealthy benefactors. Milton told us in the 80’s the end goal is to eliminate the teachers union. The Democratic Party and the existing union leaders have shown very little resistance to this movement.

    Follow the money…

  4. Maybe someone on this blog can explain this. Recently my niece was diagnosed with carpel tunnel and needs an operation. When trying to schedule said surgery she was told that she had to pay $500 up front even though she has health insurance. Since then I have heard of other people facing the same thing… up front money, often big amounts, before surgery or treatment will be given. What is that all about?

  5. Theresa; I Googled your basic question; below I copied and pasted part of a CNN Money article dated September 29, 2017:

    “Hospitals are increasingly asking patients to pay for procedures either upfront or before they are discharged. That’s because Americans are shouldering a greater portion of their health care bills, and medical centers don’t want to get stuck with patients that can’t pay.

    Traditionally, neither patients nor providers knew the exact price of procedures until after the insurer processed the charges. Now, however, new technology is allowing hospitals to determine the patient’s responsibility in advance of treatment.”

    This is probably something not included in health care policy books due to being the option of hospitals…or the information could be hidden in the fine print. Further victimization included in “…a variety of ways in which people needing health insurance will get screwed over…”

  6. Health insurance in this country has long been a scam. Insurers collect your money, then they deny payment for claims. Believe it or not, most people won’t fight them. They just make arrangements to pay directly with the provider, or they declare bankruptcy. What I have found is that, if you call them on it and are persistent, they will pay. It took me three hours to convince BC/BS that a woman (not me) who is 8 months pregnant and who begins bleeding does have a legitimate reason to visit an emergency room. Once I got the supervisor to admit that, they had to pay. If my friends hadn’t told me about this issue, BC/BS would have saved money, just as they do with thousands of other claims. This isn’t my only personal example, but it may be the most outrageous.

  7. It’s not that the GOP doesn’t like people. They love their donors, the bigger the better. They have reduced all of Congress to the House of Lords. It’s the producers of wealth they hate not the consumers of it.

    Democrats have a conundrum. They hang on to the quaint old notion that all citizens are owed governance but the House of Commons has been shut down, Republicans hope forever, now that the combination of Fox and Putin can orchestrate enough Electoral College votes to stay in power.

    Our President in the meantime entertains the donors with golf at his personal Versailles in Florida giving the finger to those who built and staff it while pigging out on what they supply. Democrats waiting on Republicans as God always intended.

    To the barricades. All D’s in ’18 and ’20.

  8. JoAnn, Thanks for your research. The only thing I can think of is that my niece has a high deductible, and it is that money they are after up front. The problem with this is that if the patient does not have that money on hand they have to forgo health care until they get it. A similar problem arises when I have been charged for the health care I received even though I have supplemental insurance. In the past, I have paid for this and later was reimbursed by the health care provider. What I came to see was that they were “using” my money all that time knowing full well that they would be paid by my insurance. That two to three month turn around allowed for some nifty investment of MY money.

    I say healthcare in the United States fell apart on the day that the first doctor incorporated himself and got into bed with the insurance companies. It has been downhill ever since.

  9. Todd tells us today that our now-departed Justice Scalia noted in Citizens United that “There is no evidence that Donors expect or receive reciprocity for their campaign contributions.” I think this observation must have been a typo that somehow survived clerk surveillance since it should have read “There is no evidence that Donors do not expect to receive reciprocity for their campaign contributions.”

    So the Kochs, Mercers, and the fossil fuel industries just give away hundreds of millions of dollars annually to their congressional lackeys and pay out millions more for armies of lobbyists out of the goodness of their hearts? Yeah, right, and two and two are five, the moon is made of green cheese, and the dish ran away with the spoon. One can expect a playout of ideology in high places, but pure fantasy?

    We should have joined the rest of the civilized world long ago with single payer health coverage but didn’t, and have allowed the health insurance industry and their minions to frame the issue of single payer healthcare as submission to socialism. Like Scalia, they are talking fantasy. Cancer and diabetes know no ideology. Healthcare is about healthcare, and like eating, a necessity. It has nothing to do with politics other than the phony and unrelated cover those who wish to profit off disease and death insist is involved in its administration (and for their own bottom lines).

    FDR noted long ago that we have a political Bill of Rights but no Economic Bill of Rights. He proposed such a bill, and among other government guarantees of rights to citizens was a single payer healthcare guarantee. Can’t afford it? That’s funny; we were able to afford a 1.5 trillion dollar giveaway to the rich and corporate class just recently while cutting the tax rate of that class in a show of fantasy economics that would have made Scalia blush. We in fact cannot afford not to afford it in view of the spiraling costs of the present system with no end in sight. Single payer is the answer, as demonstrated in both capitalist and socialist countries, so let’s do it.

  10. Todd Smekens: “Other countries have figured out that bribing public officials leads to corruption.”

    Bribing public officials does not lead to corruption; it is corruption.

    Other countries have not figured that out, since the “lead to” characterization does not exist. Many other countries have known how it’s done for generations and become very prolific at bribing. Bribing is another way to insure that the wealthy put economic space between themselves and the rest of us; you can’t get service by bribing if you don’t have the wealth to afford the bribe. And to the needy wealthy, that fact is showy, it stands out, the difference between them and us glistens only when the difference is brandished: difference is the banner, the standard, the battle flag of the wealthy. The wealthy and wantabe wealthy of the United States have been jealous of other country’s possession of the show-off bribery device for a long time and have been positioning in the political dark to establish the practice here. They are gaining position quickly, primarily because the rest of us do not know the game being played ( its name is Difference) or the rules of the game.

  11. Theresa Bowers, the answer provided by JoAnn is correct but allow me to expand on it. One way that insurance companies have managed to keep insurance premiums lower than they otherwise would be is to raise the deductible required. In other words, the insured (or employee) pays the first $X,XXX of all claims in a given year before insurance benefits kick in. When I was working this deductible was $500 for me and $1,000 for the family, but in recent years it has sky-rocketed to amounts like $4,000-$5,000 and even $10,000. An individual who makes $25,000-$30,000/yr and has this type of benefit TYPICALLY do NOT have $4,000-$10,000 sitting in their bank accounts waiting for such emergency needs (hell, some people who make $150K don’t) and the hospitals and other providers have figured this out. They would admit a patient for treatment, then bill the insurance company, who would in turn respond to the hospital that the amount was applied to the deductible (unless the cost of the procedure was greater than the deductible – then they would pay the excess (or usually 80% of it). So the hospitals now often require a patient to demonstrate their ability to pay.

    The thing about high-deductible plans, and these will flourish if 45 gets his way in the markets, is that for low income people they’re almost worthless, unless the provide ACA-required preventative benefits (annual checkups, screenings, etc.) because the patient can’t afford the deductible. This has the pernicious effect of denying these people access to healthcare in that it discourages them from even going to a doctor. Another result then is a sicker population and deferred treatment of serious health issues at far higher cost and mortality.

    Repeal of ACA would have been than death by a thousand cuts IF the GOP were to remain in charge of the federal government, BUT, it can be revived if the DEMS re-take control of Congress and find a way to work with Agent Orange, his successor, or simply overrride them.

    I’m not holding my breath.

  12. Peggy; over 40 years ago a friend of mine was so proud and excited that she had been hired by BC/BS until she began their training. They were told to deny, deny, deny coverage; send more and more paperwork for signatures, bogus reasons to deny coverage. As you said most people would give up and pay themselves or be forced into bankruptcy in severe cases. I have told the story before of my $22,000 sore toe (a necrotic ulcer); after testing by primary physician, then a circulatory specialist, then sent to the ER for repeated testing (ignoring my health history information), they applied Bacitracin and a band-aid and referred me to a podiatrist. Hospitalized unnecessarily with a viral flu and severe dehydration; the ER doctor ignored my health history, ignored information from my daughter-in-law and granddaughter, an RN in that hospital, and hospitalized me with a diagnosis of heart disease. Most of this was billed to Medicare – the reason for Medicare problems is such over billing. I repeatedly told numerous doctors and nurses I have never had chest pains or difficulty breathing, the reason the ER doctor listed for the expensive cardiac tests. The program “60 Minutes” aired a segment on current training of ER staff members; admit to inpatient 20% of all ER patients and 50% of all senior patients and to order as many expensive tests as they could.

  13. “This one topic alone illustrates that our democracy is dead and so is any pretense that we have a representative republic.”

    It’s all pretense. Better described as “bullshit.” Its been that way since the 60’s. America presently has two epidemics: NEO-FASCISM spreading from the Republicans and WISHFUL THINKING spreading from the Democrats which can be observed time and time again on this blog.

    Wow! What a combination for a CATASTROPHE.

  14. Our problem is not the creation of wealth but the way we choose to distribute it.

    For years we lived with government fixing what capitalism broke. Capitalism distributed wealth up, government redistributed it back down. Everyone was happy with that until oligarchs bought the GOP.

    The problem that they created by breaking the solution we had is now not just an economic problem but a social stability problem with potentially dire consequences.

  15. If I understand insurance correctly, it works like a co-op… everyone pays in, but not everyone uses the benefits. So, the fewer people paying in, the smaller the ratio between those who use it and those who don’t.. meaning higher cost?

    If that’s true, then shouldn’t we be able to divide the cost by everyone, and pay a reasonable, flat “health care fee”?

    Regardless, I don’t think cost of coverage is the root problem. It’s the unchecked cost of medicine and procedures that’s the problem. Such as, when that guy bought the company that made X pill selling it for $13.50.. then raised the price to $750 a pill. Because he assumed “insurance pays for it”. He forgot who pays for insurance, all of us.

    Maybe we need to decide as a society, if medical procedures and pharmaceuticals should be a free market. Or, if it would be better for all, if there were limits on pricing? Should the few be able to capitalize on the poor health of many?

    I’m no bleeding heart, but it seems unethical.

  16. Pete,

    “The problem that they created by breaking the solution we had is now not just an economic problem but a social stability problem with potentially dire consequences.”

    Thanks. Our basic problem in a “nutshell.”

  17. Gerald Stinson: “…(We) have allowed the health insurance industry and their minions to frame the issue of single payer healthcare as submission to socialism.” Agreed.

    Unfortunately, Americans have been led to confuse socialism with communism. Americans think socialism cannot exist without a cruel dictator and a takeover of private property by the state.

    When Americans learn that socialism is the precise purpose of government–to socialize the beast (the bully)(by instituting cooperations) –only then will Americans accept democratic socialism and single payer healthcare. Until then, we can help speed understanding by refusing to spread propaganda.

    For instance, we have been taught that in socialist countries individuals do not own property. But they do. We have been shielded from knowing that people of socialist countries buy insurance. Insurance to protect their home. Insurance to protect their car, insurance to protect their boats, planes, and liabilities. You do not buy insurance to protect possessions that belong to the government.

    In the same breath, our teachers taught us that socialist countries do not have unions, but we are denied the knowledge that, say, China experiences throughout the country almost 100 strikes per day. If we knew that data, at least some of us would conclude that strikes are led by unions; therefore, socialist countries have unions.

    Americans think socialism cannot exist without a cruel dictator and a takeover of private property by the state. For America, that would only be true to the extent that our government would have to be strong enough, and our people resolute enough, to keep the bullies in their straight jackets. It appears to me that the absence of resolute people is the more fundamental problem.

  18. The people who said, “Let ’em die” are the very people that Trump tapped into to help get his sorry ass elected. They are the “true believers” of the Republican mantra of “I’ve got mine and to hell with you”. This anti-person, pro-money schtick that Republicans play is an old game for them. They’ve been trying to instill the failed free-market enterprise lie since Lincoln was shot. They’ve tried to kill the New Deal before the ink was dry on FDR’s great plan. It’s in their DNA.

    Why else would these people be so horribly misguided about sharing the largesse of the entire nation? Doing so is what makes us great and even a little harmonious. The rest of the world thinks access to health care is a right, but Republicans have to see everything through the fogged lens of money and wealth, both abstractions. The REALITY is that a healthy populace is a productive populous that allows MORE people to be wealthy other than just the few.

    Todd keeps thinking the Democrats are at fault for everything. Well, if it weren’t for Medicare and the ACA, brought to us by DEMOCRATS, we would be having an entirely different conversation.

  19. Todd Smekens today:
    “Most progressives have given up on the DNC because of their well-trenched interests with their Wall Street Donors.”

    Maybe you’re thinking of Indiana (Red State Unprogressive GOP-LiTE) who for craven political reasons denigrate the Democrat National Party Platform on Health Care Issues. I urge you to compare these side-by-side with the GOP draconian Platform, particularly on the issue of Women’s Health. This year women should number considerably more than half of the electorate.

    I am a lifelong Democrat and I am decidedly progressive. I must do what I can to sideline the Trump/Pence before they drive us all nuts! I am convinced that I have no acceptable alternative in 2018 and 2020 and that you have not read the Democrat Party National Platform quoted here in reaction to your diatribe on Health Care:
    • Ensure the Health and Safety of All Americans
    . Securing Universal Health Care
    . Supporting Community Health Centers
    . Reducing Prescription Drug Costs
    . Enabling Cutting-Edge Medical Research
    . Combating Drug and Alcohol Addiction
    . Treating Mental Health
    . Supporting Those Living with Autism and their Families
    . Securing Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice
    . Ensuring Long-Term Care, Services, and Supports
    . Protecting and Promoting Public Health
    . Ending Violence Against Women
    . Preventing Gun Violence

    Sure, Mr. Smekens, there is plenty of dissatisfaction to go around but, at all costs, we MUST NOT support the present patently incredibly insane un-American administration and we must not give lip-service to FOX NEWS.

    I think I’m doing the best I can do with my freedom to vote. How will you use yours?

  20. Todd Smekens, I enjoy reading your comments (as well as those of all others). But especially yours because they highlight how most of the writing you find on this blog (including much of the commentary) is pure 1980’s Centrist Republican. When people I know jest about how liberal I am I usually reply that, no, I’m still pretty much a moderate centrist – it’s just that the whole world has lurched to the right and many to the far, far right. However, and consistent with what I read in your commentary, I have developed a strong disdain for the status-quo inflicted upon us by the political duopoly comprised of both the GOP and the Democratic Party and ESPECIALLY their central committees, the RNC and DCCC. I simply do not believe that a system so thoroughly corrupted by money and power can ever be expected to reform itself from the inside in a democracy. It is not clear what should replace it, but I take the anarchical view that anything would better, so long as it didn’t move us close towards a totalitarian state, a path we seem to be on at the present time. This view lies at the crux of the battle between those who still pine for Hillary as our President and possibly those who threw their lot in with Bernie or Jill.

    I’ll take none of the above, thank you.

    Long time Hoosiers may remember that fiscally-responsible social-progressives used to play a prominent role in national politics, and especially in Indiana..People like Andy Jacobs of Indianapolis and J. Edward Roush of Ft. Wayne (the latter was the father of “911”, which just celebrated its 50th anniversary). What appears to be the last remnant of that in Indiana is Joe Donnelly, who is hanging onto office for dear life and I currently don’t believe he has a very good chance of getting re-elected. But not ONLY because the Koch-Bros-fueled-AFP is pouring $ millions into our state to have him replaced by one of three GOP snakes, and most likely the slimiest snake of all Luke Messer. But also because the many and rightly unsatisfied Democrats yearning for reform have categorically rejected ALL center-left politicians as enemies of the state. Unfortunately, that typically results in things like what happened in the IN 3rd in 2016 – the left managed to get a homeless man with a drug habit nominated to run for US Congress. Instead of supporting a young and energetic, albeit realistic, candidate in a race with no incumbent, they managed to hand the seat over to racist war-monger and tool of ALEC and AFP, Jim Banks (he would have won in the Trumpist wave anyway).

    I’m really hoping the same mistakes aren’t made in 2018 but, again, I’m not holding my breath.

    Back to health insurance and health care. Again, the strong position on single-payer. It’s not a panacea and it’s not working really anywhere it’s used exclusively and especially not in the US, where it accounts for 50% of health care spending. Medicare, Medicaid, and VA costs are growing at dramatically higher rates than either the population or the growth of the economy and is unsustainable (And neither is a $700B defense budget – which is really $800B including the 9 wars currently underway as well as all military benefits such as VA). If you were to do a survey of all the healthcare payment and delivery systems in the G20 developed nations, you would find that Taiwan is the most recent to have adopted single-payer national insurance as the foundation for their system. Although China still views it as a territory, it’s been operating as an independent country since 1949 AND it has an economy and government that most closely resembles a libertarian’s wet dream. It has the most unregulated economy in the developed world and it is also known as one of the most entrepreneur-friendly nations in the world (anything goes baby!). But even THEY tried and tried and tried to make a market-based health payer and deliver system work and failed to cover more that 57% of their citizens. So they did a LOT of research into every other system in the world and arrived at the same conclusion: That single-payer national insurance program is LESS AWFUL than the current hodge-podge program of multiple single-payer programs, private insurance and no insurance for the rest.

    Until and unless, we can get to a single-payer national health insurance system can we ever hope to address systemic cost issues on the delivery side and the number one driver of spiraling costs in the US are: 1) those blood-sucking Me-Generation-Boomers as they make their way through their 7th decade and beyond (I’m one of them), and 2) the fact that we have an inordinately UNHEALTHY population, plagued by poor diet, neonatal care, obesity, gun-shot wounds and on and on and on. It will take at least a GENERATION to work through these two obstacles and they’re not even the biggest obstacle of all:

    The biggest obstacle of all is money – or that of getting it out of the political system. No less than a congressional act to reverse Citizen’s United AND another to enact stricter limits on campaign spending will be required to EVER get to where we can reform health care for our citizens.

    And for the THIRD time, and all together now: I am not holding my breath.


  21. Economic Neoliberalism and a denial to genuine healthcare is something the GOP and the upper echelons of the Democratic establishment are in agreement. Their answer is “If you get sick,go die–because markets!”

    The premiums,deductibles, et al…..Even if you have ACA,one is shouldered with the burden to jump through hoops for access. Of course,that is a feature and not a bug. We must never ever inconvenience the members of the donor-class such as the CEO’s of the pharma and Insurance industries. Hell,the Obama administration gave away the ability for the government to negotiate drug prices in order to pass the HeritageFoundation/RepublicanThinkTank/Romney/ObamaCare. Thanks to Max Baucus.

    As Todd mentions,Democrats have overtly sabotaged efforts for real healthcare reform…And we’re expected to give continued unbridled support to the Democrats? Oh,but they’re sorry and will correct past mistakes if only we give them our support next time? I’m done acting as if I’m an abused spouse which means you’ll have my support only when I see genuine results supporting my interests from the party. Otherwise,save the BS speech for unity for much more naive marks. Universal Healthcare isn’t even a part of the Democratic platform.That says everything.In the meantime,the Democratic mantra continues to be OMG Russia!! Trump is a despot! Nevermind the Bush and Cheney years and what they had wrought.

    Btw,the Democrats that brought us Medicare and the Liberals that brought us a 40 hour work week no longer exist. The people’s Party of the past has become the party of the donor-class. The Liberals of today would never leave the confines of their gated-communities to get their skulls cracked at picket lines for shorter work days and to bring an end to children working in factories–because markets. Hell,some act as if bloviating on a blog leaves one as wounded and bleeding as if one were at the Ludlow Massacre.

  22. Glad to read Mr. Stinson’s comments on Scalia who served too long.
    Let us get going on Term Limits.
    Can you imagine SCOTUS being reconstituted by Trump?
    How about Pence tinkering with SCOTUS ?
    What a disaster!
    ALL DEMOCRATS IN 2018!! Our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor depend on it.

  23. Interesting,there’s not been a mention of the teacher’s strike in WV. It seems the strike has the support of the people in the state. Of course,perhaps that’s why it hasn’t been mentioned? Since the folks of WV have always been a whipping post among the commenters of this very forum.

    Food for thought.

  24. Theresa Bowers:

    “The only thing I can think of is that my niece has a high deductible, and it is that money they are after up front. The problem with this is that if the patient does not have that money on hand they have to forgo health care until they get it”

    Welcome to America 2018!

    So,how did we get here? Let’s be honest, we arrived here well before January 2017.

  25. Well, I remember many histories telling of how past powers have fallen – by rotting from the inside; Ya remember “We will bury you!” well the full statement was: “We will bury you through your own ignorance.” Things are looking mighty ignorant in this country – and methinks I see the Visi-Goths on the horizon!

  26. As long as the propaganda network keeps people believing that we have an insurance problem there will be no progress on health care and if we don’t progress health care we will continue the economic death spiral of uncompetitive countries.

    Most of the countries we compete with have a multiple decade lead in the only affordable way to deliver health care and that’s to make it a right and have all of us own the means of production. That’s sometimes called socialized medicine which is probably the main reason we have avoided what works fine all over the rest of the world.

    It is not single payer which is an insurance syrategy.

    ACA was the tinyest step conceivable to address health care and we were not as a nation able to agree even on that.

    This is one more reason for all Ds in ’18 and ’20. Only by blowing up current politics and having a do over can we get back to a place in the real world of connected competing countries with the success of our efforts shared by all of us.

  27. Todd Smekens: “The problem is the Democratic Party isn’t supporting single-payer.”

    Isn’t? If not the DNC then who??

  28. William, it is like that “debtor’s prison” thing. You cannot get out of prison until you come up with the money, but you can’t come up with the money because you are in prison. Insanity!

  29. This isn’t a red and blue issue, this is a life and death issue!

    Unless and until we recognize this, we are all doomed to this FOR PROFIT healthcare run by insurance companies. I’m sick and tired of the insurance companies making all of the decisions about my personal health care. I have a life long thyroid disease and the healthcare in this country didn’t diagnose me, I did! I’m no where near educated for a doctorate but I was able to do the research and realize my health concerns were not being addressed. Especially after hearing from family members that WERE diagnosed and finding out that it is a heredity disease. After I asked for the specific blood tests (from my research) and getting the diagnosis I needed, I left traditional medicine doctors and found a Naturopath MD that also has this nasty disease who doesn’t take insurance. She was the one that knew what to address and helped me get into remission at my own expense. This disease doesn’t always kill you but the lack of treatment for it can. We have to stop fighting about who is red and blue and just save folks with health care solutions. The rest of the world has figured this out. /rant over

  30. While single-payer health care sounds like a panacea to many; look at the current condition of Medicare and Medicaid which this government cannot properly “govern” or control. The foolish rule which prevents Medicare from bargaining to seek reasonable costs of medications from Big Pharma is a good example. The TV ads for Harvoni promise a cure to patients with Hepatitis C; it truly does appear to be a miracle drug. It did completely cure my daughter but…her health care system waited until she was near death FOUR times before seeking someone to pay her $700 share PER PILL of the $1, 152.58 PER PILL cost of the drug. Research found that it cost drug manufacturers $17 PER PILL to produce the medication…I won’t even try to figure that percentage of markup.

    EpiPens sold to a private company priced this immediate life-saving drug to approximately $400; I believe there are two injections in the pack. This drug must be administered immediately upon the first sign of onset. Test strips for diabetics are no longer covered so patients must pay full price; most cannot afford it. This is also a life-saving situation for diabetics. How many more are there who cannot afford their medication; even those with decent salaries cannot afford many of their medications; it is not only the poor and unemployed who are suffering but working people whose ill health can and often does, cost them their jobs. How many other than the 1% can afford $1,152.58 PER PILL to stay alive?

    “I will never understand the GOP obsession with repealing Obamacare.”

    Sorry Sheila but, maybe if all referrals to this system would call it by the legal title of the bill; Affordable Care Act (ACA), the GOP would lose some of their support by those who believe the ACA and Obamacare or two separate health care systems. Was it Jimmy Fallon who conducted the man-on-the-street poll and found many who wanted to end Obamacare but keep the ACA?

  31. In antibellum times the solution to today’s problems would be to split the union into a wealth creating nation and a wealth consuming one.

    Today that’s more problamatic though.

    For one thing where would the split be geographically? The wealth is on the west coast and in the northeast and they are blue states.

    For another who would create the wealth for the wealthy country? Perhaps they already have enough to carry them a century or two but who would maintain the mansions and clean the yachts?

  32. Todd Smekens @ 7:28 am – Good comments. The Democratic Party laments the attacks by the Trumpet (aka Agent Orange) and Republicans on ACA.

    The key words I look for when I read through individual Democratic Party Candidates is: – ACA was an important first step that now must be improved upon, support the marketplaces or access to affordable, quality health care. Glittering generalities with no substance. You can easily read the commitment is to the For Profit Health Care System. The ACA was never going to gather in all Americans.

    Every time I read about “improving ACA” 0r “Affordable Health Care”, from the Democrats, I think of lets improve Beta-Max, Eight Track Tapes or VCRs.

    HR 676 Enhanced Medicare for all provides – health care that includes all medically necessary care, such as primary care and prevention, dietary and nutritional therapies, prescription drugs, emergency care, long-term care, mental health services, dental services, and vision care.

    HR 676 has 121 Co-Sponsors, all Democrats. Absent from the list Co-Sponsors is the current Democratic Leader in the House Nancy Pelosi and former chair of the DNC Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

  33. It’s my belief the overt defending of the ACA/HeritageFoundation/RepublicanThinkTank/Romney/ObamaCare is a ruse to keep single payer/universal healthcare out of the discussion…..Because the monies from the insurance and pharma industries are more important to the party than the lives of people.

    It’s amazing,multimillionaire members of congress are covered by taxpayers for their needs–yet multitudes of millions of Americans have no access to proper healthcare. Yes,it is class warfare and guess who is winning? Just because one has insurance doesn’t mean shit.

  34. A good example here of the Corporate Democratic Party: Warren Calls Out Fellow Democrats for Helping GOP Ram Through ‘Wish Lists of Big Bank Lobbyists’

    “It’s time for the rest of us to fight back and demand that Washington work for us, not the big bank lobbyists.”

    Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) called attention to a massive bank deregulation bill (S.2155) that could reach the Senate floor for a final vote next week, and highlighted the fact that a dozen Democrats are providing crucial support for the measure.

    If passed, the legislation—derisively labeled “The Bank Lobbyist Act” by Warren and other critics—would make it more difficult to combat racial discrimination by big banks, provide regulatory relief for more than two dozen of the nation’s large financial institutions, and eliminate many consumer protections put into place after the 2008 financial crisis.

    Here is a list of the Dirty Dozen Democrats lining up with Republicans:
    12 Democratic senators currently co-sponsoring the deregulation measure are: Doug Jones (Ala.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Jon Tester (Mont.), Mark Warner (Va.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Tim Kaine (Va.), Gary Peters (Mich.), Michael Bennet (Colo.), Chris Coons (Del.), and Tom Carper of Delaware.

    Note Joe Donnelly’s name and Hillary’s choice for VP Tim Kaine and former Chair of DNC 2009–2011.

  35. My Sen Hietkamp, (D-ND) sent me her latest online news, shes working on the protection of pension and retirment plans. though she voted for mnuchin,banks and wall street. dino in the chamber. shes facing kevin cramer,our lone congressperson, and shes got mega money as far as nodak goes to run on this terms election cycle. the dccc is calling me for more,(noway)
    and as the demos grow alarmed at feinstein runoff, progessives are not taking any crap from the dccc…its all or none. as far as the ACA , she wouldnt put any effort to support it,as her voting
    record shows. repeatedly,ive asked she change parties,(3 times) and im sure shes pissed. but, when you walk a line,stay in the border you intend to support. voting for gorsuch and pruit as epa head
    kinda tells,the tale,as along with heavy support of the banks and health care lobby..
    so dont expect her name after november election,to be in the demo sure our red planet state will vote republican congressman cramer into her office…

  36. It is torally incorrect to state that BCBS of NC. lost money on their ‘ACA business’ last year. That is what the insurer would like everyone to believe, yet on top of 290 million in profit last year, BCBS of NC made another 265 million in federal subsidies from the ACA policies it was forced to underwrite. What BCBS of NC has actuallu done is used its obligations under the ACA to cancel all existing grandfathered policies and raise most new premiums 300+% something the public was lead to believe insurers were forbidden to do under the ACA. BCBS of NC is perpetrating one of the biggest insurance scams ever under the ACA and nothing is being said about it, and disingenuous articles like this provides BCBS of NC cover gor their thievery.

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