Tag Archives: HCR

Sharron Angle, Tea Party Hypocrite

28 Sep

Tea Party candidate for US Senate from Nevada, the detestable Sharron Angle, says this about Obama’s health care reform:

Angle’s prior aversion to government-run health care — at least for others — has been no secret. She openly touts her intent to “Repeal and replace Obamacare” on her website, and even claimed recently that such broad legislation was actually unnecessary because there was “nothing wrong with our health care system.”

“Our healthcare system is the best in the world,” said Angle of the American system, once rated37th-best in the world, in August. “Our doctors are the best…The access is not what is being denied.”

Despite Angle’s contention that access to health care is not an issue, more than 18 percent of Nevada’s population is currently uninsured, nearly 3 percent higher than the national rate.

And in 2009, Angle railed against mandated health care coverage even for autism treatment and maternity leave.

“You know what I’m talking about. You’re paying for things that you don’t even need. They just passed the latest one, is everything that they want to throw at us now is covered under ‘autism,'” Angle said, using air quotes for the neurological disorder. “So, that’s a mandate that you have to pay for. How about maternity leave? I’m not going to have anymore babies, but I sure get to pay for it on my insurance. Those are the kinds of things that we want to get rid of.

Anyway, Sharron Angle receives her health insurance through the federal civil service retirement program – that’s a federally-run single-payer program that you and I fund.

She’s one of those tea partiers who minds the “redistribution of wealth” only when she’s not the direct beneficiary.

Health Care Reform: How New York Benefits Now

22 Jun

This was posted to Twitter yesterday by Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27).

Health Insurance: Reformed

26 Mar

The Republican party chose a deliberate strategy to vote no on any health insurance reform from day one. The strategy was a plank of an overall “Obama must fail” platform; it became more important to score cheap political points than to participate in representative democracy. Had they engaged and behaved like a legislative opposition (with real power, in the Senate) ought to behave, a lot of what they wanted changed could have been changed. Maybe not all the way, but part of legislative leadership is the art of negotiation and compromise.

They did, however, have conservative Democrats participating, which resulted in about 200 Republican-backed changes to the law.

But compromise and negotiation isn’t what the Republicans wanted. They wanted Obama defeated. They wanted Pelosi defeated. They wanted – and fully expected – a massive, epic defeat not unlike Clinton’s in the early 90s. A defeat that led within months to Newt Gingrich’s failed “Contract with America”.

But it didn’t work out that way. Even despite Scott Brown’s election to the Senate, what everyone missed is that the Senate had already voted. The already-passed Senate and House bills just needed to be reconciled.

That was accomplished, finally, last night.

So, while the Republicans continue their attacks on this bill as being unconstitutional totalitarianism, know that it’s neither. When they say that this is a complete government takeover of the health care industry, you can laugh in their faces. Because it’s not. When they call it socialized medicine, ask them that they have a clue what that term means. Because it’s not. When they say that this will bankrupt the country, or that the cost is untenable, just say, “let’s wait and see.” Because it won’t.

When they say it will destroy America, turn and walk away. Because life’s too short to pay attention to that kind of dumb talk.

Those who suggest repealing this historic law are the ones who should be vulnerable. The opponents of this law should be worried about November.

  • You want to re-instate discrimination against pre-existing conditions?
  • You want to re-instate rescission?
  • You want to re-instate lifetime policy limits?
  • You want to keep ~40 million Americans uninsured, almost all of them in middle class?
  • You want to drop 21 – 26 year olds who are underemployed or still in school and on their parents’ insurance?

Well, then you run with that.


The Immediate Changes

24 Mar
A Medicare card, with several areas of the car...
Image via Wikipedia

From Nancy Pelosi’s blog:


  • SMALL BUSINESS TAX CREDITS—Offers tax credits to small businesses to make employee coverage more affordable. Tax credits of up to 35 percent of premiums will be immediately available. Effective beginning for calendar year 2010. (Beginning in 2014, small business tax credits will cover 50 percent of premiums.)


  • BEGINS TO CLOSE THE MEDICARE PART D DONUT HOLE—Provides a $250 rebate to Medicare beneficiaries who hit the donut hole in 2010. Effective for calendar year 2010. (Beginning in 2011, institutes a 50% discount on brand-name drugs in the donut hole; also completely closes the donut hole by 2020.)
  • FREE PREVENTIVE CARE UNDER MEDICARE—Eliminates co-payments for preventive services and exempts preventive services from deductibles under the Medicare program. Effective beginning January 1, 2011.
  • HELP FOR EARLY RETIREES—Creates a temporary re-insurance program (until the Exchanges are available) to help offset the costs of expensive health claims for employers that provide health benefits for retirees age 55-64. Effective 90 days after enactment.


  • NO DISCRIMINATION AGAINST CHILDREN WITH PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS—Prohibits health plans from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions. Effective 6 months after enactment. (Beginning in 2014, this prohibition would apply to adults as well.)
  • NO RESCISSIONS—Bans health plans from dropping people from coverage when they get sick. Effective 6 months after enactment.
  • NO LIFETIME LIMITS ON COVERAGE—Prohibits health plans from placing lifetime caps on coverage. Effective 6 months after enactment.
  • NO RESTRICTIVE ANNUAL LIMITS ON COVERAGE—Tightly restricts new plans’ use of annual limits to ensure access to needed care. These tight restrictions will be defined by HHS. Effective 6 months after enactment. (Beginning in 2014, the use of any annual limits would be prohibited for all plans.)
  • FREE PREVENTIVE CARE UNDER NEW PLANS—Requires new private plans to cover preventive services with no co-payments and with preventive services being exempt from deductibles. Effective 6 months after enactment.
  • NEW, INDEPENDENT APPEALS PROCESS FOR NEW PLANS—Ensures consumers in new plans have access to an effective internal and external appeals process to appeal decisions. Effective 6 months after enactment.
  • MORE FOR YOUR PREMIUM DOLLAR—Requires plans to put more of your premiums into your care, and less into profits, CEO pay, etc. This medical loss ratio requires plans in the individual and small group market to spend 80 percent of premiums on medical services, and plans in the large group market to spend 85 percent. Insurers that don’t meet these thresholds must provide rebates to policyholders. Effective on January 1, 2011.
  • NO DISCRIMINATION BASED ON SALARY—Prohibits new group health plans from establishing any eligibility rules for health care coverage that have the effect of discriminating in favor of higher wage employees. Effective 6 months after enactment.


  • IMMEDIATE HELP FOR THE UNINSURED WITH PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS (INTERIM HIGH-RISK POOL)—Provides immediate access to insurance for Americans who are uninsured because of a pre-existing condition – through a temporary high-risk pool – until the Exchanges up and running in 2014. Effective 90 days after enactment. (Beginning in 2014, health plans are banned from discriminating against all people with pre-existing conditions, so high-risk pools would phase out).
  • EXTENDING COVERAGE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE UP TO 26TH BIRTHDAY THROUGH PARENTS’ INSURANCE – Requires health plans to allow young people up to their 26th birthday to remain on their parents’ insurance policy, at the parents’ choice. Effective 6 months after enactment.


  • COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTERS—Increases funding for Community Health Centers to allow for nearly doubling the number of patients served over the next 5 years. Effective beginning in fiscal year 2010.
  • MORE PRIMARY CARE DOCTORS—Provides new investment in training programs to increase the number of primary care doctors, nurses, and public health professionals. Effective beginning in fiscal year 2010.
  • HEALTH INSURANCE CONSUMER ASSISTANCE—Provides aid to states to establish offices of health insurance consumer assistance to help consumers file complaints and appeals. Effective beginning in FY 2010.
  • A NEW, VOLUNTARY, PUBLIC LONG-TERM CARE INSURANCE PROGRAM—Creates a long-term care insurance program to be financed by voluntary payroll deductions to provide benefits to adults who become functionally disabled. Effective on January 1, 2011.

And in 2014, once the exchanges have formed, more insurance reforms go into effect, including:

  • CAP ON OUT-OF-POCKET EXPENSES for private health plans

Whom Do Those AGs Represent?

24 Mar

Here’s what the governor of Washington has to say about that state’s Attorney General filing suit to block Romneycare Obamacare. (Let’s keep calling that, k?)


Republicans’ hatred for government means that when elected, they are pretty much fundamentally unwilling and unprepared to govern.

Good Thing

23 Mar

Last week, the polls may have shown that more Americans didn’t want health care passed than did.

But now that it’s passed, more Americans are happy that it did than aren’t.

What a difference a day, a win, and a little momentum make.

Physicians Payments Sunshine Act

23 Mar

Why, it’s as if the ghosts of Marx, Lenin, and Mao came back to life to bring us this:

…hospitals will have to post prices. Insurance products will be presented with standardized information, consumer ratings and quality measures. The payments physicians take from drug and device companies will be in a public database. There will be independent funding for research on the relative effectiveness of different treatments. Some of these changes are small and some are big, but put together, the system is going to become a lot more visible in the coming years.

Consumer protection and information? The horror.

Tyrannic Totalitarian Representatives

23 Mar
Washington, DC "Taxation Without Represen...
Image via Wikipedia

Whilst tea party Republicans bleat and whine about Congress being the Central Committee of the Communist Party, and health insurance consumer protections and universal coverage being the second coming of Marx and Hitler and Stalin, I wanted to point something out.

The tea party in Boston in 1773 was about taxation without representation. It was about colonists being treated unfairly by their King and mother country. Are you really saying you’re not represented? Because the candidate who would have ostensibly voted against this bill wasn’t elected, that’s the same as subjugation under an imperial master?

Because I wanted the bill to pass, and my representative didn’t listen to me. Chris Lee ignored my desire that this become law so that I can have health insurance portability, no rescission, and access to insurance for pre-existing conditions should I lose mine at some point. I also think it’s critically important that every American have access to affordable, quality insurance.

Chris Lee didn’t listen to me. I wasn’t “represented”, by your argument.

So, should we elect two representatives to the house – one Democrat and one Republican? Well, then the Greens and the Communists aren’t represented. That’s not fair.

If you don’t like the system, then your faux, ignorant fawning over the founding fathers is bullshit, isn’t it? Because this is how they set it up. Representatives get elected. They vote their conscience – they lead by principle, not by taking a poll of their constituents and going along with the majority.

So, frankly, I won’t be taking to the streets in colonial garb to rail against the totalitarianism of Chris Lee. The guy didn’t vote the way I want. That means I’ll do what I can to get his opponent elected, should one ever emerge.

But this whole nonsense about tea parties and dictatorship and the end of America? I swear, there’s another Timothy McVeigh out there brewing, and he’s going to strike sooner rather than later. You’re just enabling him and feeding him. I’ll be the first to say “I told you so.”

Have fun with that.

Aw, They Let Him Hold “KILL”

22 Mar
Chris Lee (NY-26)

What an unfortunate sign for Chris Lee (NY-26) to hold (click to enlarge)

Chris Lee (NY-26)

Chris Lee (NY-26) Pandering to the Tea Partiers (click to enlarge)

Holding “KILL” is like Teabagger Christmas. 

You stay classy, Chris Lee (NY-26).


22 Mar
This is a 2x8 mosaic of the dome of the US Cap...
Image via Wikipedia

The health care reform that passed the House last night won’t so much “destroy the country” as many Republicans claimed.  Yes, people were “frightened”.  Mostly because congressional Republicans were busy frightening them – about how this spelled the end of America as we know it.

My representative, Chris Lee, was on the wrong side of history last night.  A first-termer, he voted against a fundamental reformation of America’s woefully broken, $2TN annual health insurance system – changes that will have immediate positive effects.  The millionaire son of millionaires tried to deny to his poorer and middle-class constituents real help.  His lying Code Red emails and ridiculously inconvenient “telephone town hall meetings” reveal a doctrinaire, knee-jerk, Limbaughist conservatism that I thought he eschewed.

Congressman Chris Lee ill served his constituents last night.

Last night, I stayed up as late as I could to watch the votes and Republican maneuvering unfold.  Yes, Nancy Pelosi’s speech was rather fumfering and she has an odd laugh from time to time, but she substantively told the truth.

Before her, on the other side of the aisle, John Boehner gave an impassioned speech, pleading with the house to lead not based on principle, but on polls.  He crowed that there would be not one single Republican vote for the bill, omitting the fact that “Obama must fail” was and is their sole platform plank.   This despite the fact that the current bill, “rammed through” over the course of more than a year, contains at least 200 Republican amendments to it.  This despite the fact that the current bill reflects what the Republicans recommended as an alternative to Hillary Clinton’s plan in the early 90s.

John Boehner also warned Democrats that they might lose their majority come November.  That underscores the fact that the concern his side of the aisle is driven solely by politics, not policy.  Yes, Democrats may be in some jeopardy.  But so might the Republicans.  In fact, in the long run, they will be the ones who will have to answer for their obstinant insistence on killing this bill, no matter how many concessions they extracted.

Public service is not about worrying about your electoral prospects, but instead voting your conscience and your principles.  Boehner’s speech was a huge, perhaps unintentional, reveal of just how superficial Republican congresspeople have become.

Meanwhile, we don’t have to wait another 16 years to take up health insurance reform.

When the Republicans moved to recommit the bill to add the Stupak amendment into the bill’s language (which the Senate would have rejected), one rep from New Jersey all but accused this bill as being a license for everyone – even men – to have abortions on demand on a daily basis.  The Democrats countered with a few minutes from Congressman Bart Stupak himself, who explained that not only did the compromise for President Obama’s executive order re-stating existing federal law do what pro-life forces wanted, but he re-stated the very real fact that the Democrats were helping not only fetuses, but all Americans from conception to death.

During Stupak’s speech, a Republican congressman yelled, “baby-killer!” at him.

Everyone’s dummied up as to who said it, but we’ll probably know today, and it’s clearly someone with a southern accent.  Surprise, surprise.  Earlier yesterday, Stupak was their hero.  Now that Stupak secured the pro-life assurance he needed, and voted for the bill, he was their mortal enemy.  Because it’s not about being pro-life for the poll-watching, phony congressional Republicans.  It’s about Obama losing.  It’s about November.

But despite the predictable, hateful, ignorant conservative outburst, today is an historic day.  President Obama’s remarks last night:

For the first time in our nation’s history, Congress has passed comprehensive health care reform. America waited a hundred years and fought for decades to reach this moment. Tonight, thanks to you, we are finally here.

Consider the staggering scope of what you have just accomplished:

Because of you, every American will finally be guaranteed high quality, affordable health care coverage.

Every American will be covered under the toughest patient protections in history. Arbitrary premium hikes, insurance cancellations, and discrimination against pre-existing conditions will now be gone forever.

And we’ll finally start reducing the cost of care — creating millions of jobs, preventing families and businesses from plunging into bankruptcy, and removing over a trillion dollars of debt from the backs of our children.

But the victory that matters most tonight goes beyond the laws and far past the numbers.

It is the peace of mind enjoyed by every American, no longer one injury or illness away from catastrophe.

It is the workers and entrepreneurs who are now freed to pursue their slice of the American dream without fear of losing coverage or facing a crippling bill.

And it is the immeasurable joy of families in every part of this great nation, living happier, healthier lives together because they can finally receive the vital care they need.

This is what change looks like.

My gratitude tonight is profound. I am thankful for those in past generations whose heroic efforts brought this great goal within reach for our times. I am thankful for the members of Congress whose months of effort and brave votes made it possible to take this final step. But most of all, I am thankful for you.

This day is not the end of this journey. Much hard work remains, and we have a solemn responsibility to do it right. But we can face that work together with the confidence of those who have moved mountains.

Our journey began three years ago, driven by a shared belief that fundamental change is indeed still possible. We have worked hard together every day since to deliver on that belief.

We have shared moments of tremendous hope, and we’ve faced setbacks and doubt. We have all been forced to ask if our politics had simply become too polarized and too short-sighted to meet the pressing challenges of our time. This struggle became a test of whether the American people could still rally together when the cause was right — and actually create the change we believe in.

Tonight, thanks to your mighty efforts, the answer is indisputable: Yes we can.

Thank you,

President Barack Obama

If one family is no longer bankrupted by health care bills; if one person is no longer left destitute because his insurer rescinded his policy; if tip jars to help pay for someone’s leukemia treatments are no longer needed in corner stores, then we will have won a great and historic victory.